Bar XIII, Wilmington, DE – 07/08/2017
Standing on the outskirts of Wilmington, DE on Philadelphia Pike, Bar XIII may not be the largest venue one would expect to see and hear some of the most raucous and ravishing bands in the industrial music scene, but it has proven to be one of the most reliable. On the warm Saturday night of July 8, 2017, the venue continued its tradition of original music, strange people, and craft beer with the I Love Industrial night – presented and hosted by eminent scene DJs Mike Saga and Elijvh Vrms to keep the bass and the beats pumping, this night was a special presentation of not only three of the surrounding local scene’s hardest hitting industrial/metal acts, but also showcased a headlining performance from Los Angeles powerhouse 3TEETH!
First to take the stage was Death Maschine, setting the tone for the night with an onslaught of mechanized rhythms and electronics, scalding guitar riffs, and Nathan Maschine’s acerbic and confrontational vocal delivery. Not allowing himself to be impaired by a leg injury by wearing a makeshift splint fashioned from steel rebar and duct tape (go, cyborg!), Maschine is as dynamic a front man as one could hope for, howling with the kind of distorted fervor that is such a staple of the genre and bathing in the fiery embrace of the sparks ignited by the keyboardist Eddie Threaet’s grinder tool. Backed by guitarist Neil “LoTek” Genslinger of Chitin, who also provided some backup vocals, and second keyboardist Mike Keenan, the band would entice the audience with each song to approach closer to the stage and join in the raucous activity, finally erupting into a frenzy with a faithful rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ “Wish.”
Next up was Chitin, and credit must be given to virtually everyone involved in the band for operating like a well oiled hydraulic battering ram. Guitarist/vocalist LoTek took to the stage after his set with Death Maschine, and while Dusty Lux had to relinquish bass duties following surgery, he still joined onstage as a backing vocalist – neither of the main Chitin members showed any sign of fatigue or diminishment, delivering their own vicious brand of industrial/metal backed by an excellent complement of musical friends.
Among them was Kyle “Nytro” Kibler, guitarist for fellow Baltimore upstarts White Shadow, and while his more reserved dress and appearance might have stood out among the rest of Chitin, so did his excellent playing as he demonstrated the same precision and energy that he has been delivering in the local scene for years. Taking on the bass was Adrenacore9’s Scott Moricle, along with keyboardist Keenan still donning his mask and hood, and drummer Gary Woods, making for a scathing sextet that despite the small stage area blasted out a gritty set that could barely contain the crowd growing in numbers and fury, topped off by a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Terrible Lie.”
Of course, at this point, I remember joking that if the next band were to also include a Nine Inch Nails cover in the set, then 3TEETH would be obliged to perform a cover and maintain what seemed to be an unspoken theme for the evening. Perhaps thankfully, Generation Empty did not do so, preferring to focus on its own particular art of dehumanization – searing synth leads, fluid guitar riffs, vibrant rhythms, and aggressive vocals making for a third helping of vicious industrial/metal. Interesting to note that LoTek had provided the band with the cover artwork for The Art of Dehumanization
album released last year, showcasing a familial and communal atmosphere that is the virtual backbone of the industrial music scene in the surrounding area. Alas, this writer can only speak to the band’s music, listening from outside while engaging in conversation with members of the previous two bands, but if the music along with the approving cheers and howls of the audience were any indication, Generation Empty is just as excellent a live act and a great final primer for the headliner.
In a few short years, 3TEETH has become one of industrial music’s biggest success stories, offering up a brazen and blistering style of industrial/metal that has reminded many in the mainstream of the genre’s early power when the likes of MINISTRY and Nine Inch Nails reigned supreme. Having recently released the second album, <shutdown.exe>
, the quartet of ΔLΞX1S (Alexis Mincolla), XΔV1ΞR (Xavier Swafford), ΔИDRΞW (Andrew Means), and CHΔSΞ (Chase Brawner) is riding high on a wave of caustic electronics, scathing guitars, pummeling rhythms, and abrasive vocals that seems to have reinvigorated people’s enthusiasm for the style – the band’s live show is the proof. As a front man, Mincolla displays all the fury and zeal of a leather clad industrialized rock star, his distorted shouts and howls like a battle worn demigod preaching the cybernetic word.
From Swafford’s electronic mastery to Brawner’s guttural guitar onslaught, backed by the automaton-like precision of Means’ drumming, 3TEETH’s music may not stray from the conventions of industrial/metal, but presents all of the tropes and trademarks expertly and passionately to appeal to an audience that even after three equally formidable performances from the opening acts was ravenous for more… and more did 3TEETH deliver with songs like “Atrophy,” “Degrade,” and “Shutdown” from the new album standing alongside staples from the self-titled debut like “Pearls 2 Swine” and “Eradicate.” The Bar XIII stage might have been smaller than a band of such prominence and force has been used to, and the visuals may have been relegated to a barrage of spastic lighting, but 3TEETH uses the minimalism to its advantage, allowing for the musicians’ exuberant and compelling presence to more than adequately supplement the strength of the music. To say that the crowd was pleased would be an understatement.
Long after the speakers faded, the alcohol wore off, and night faded into day, the clank and clamor of the four bands and that performed at Bar XIII on that summer evening continued to resonate in this writer’s ears. Quite simply, I Love Industrial could not be more appropriate a name for such an event; what more needs to be said?
Article by Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
Photography by Tabetha Patton (MizTabby)
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