Baltimore Soundstage, Baltimore, MD – 10-25-2017
Since the band first appeared in the early ’90s, Praga Khan has taken Lords of Acid through numerous permutations, experimenting with different styles with varying levels of success, all in an effort to provide a sensory experience unlike any other. Incorporating all aspects of hard electronic music and industrial/rock, Lords of Acid’s music is as much a conduit for sexual as it is for musical gratification, with the Sextreme Fest ’17 tour being a celebration for the fans – the Children of Acid – to indulge. Joining the Lords on this momentous tour were fellow practitioners of the perverted En Esch, Christian Death, and Combichrist, all appearing at Baltimore Soundstage on October 25. ReGen Magazine was able to attend this particular night’s proceedings, although was not present during Combichrist’s set; furthermore, Wiccid had departed from the tour the night before for personal reasons… a bit of a letdown, but one that did little to hamper what was to be one hell of a night.
First to take the stage was En Esch, and it must be said that his is as imposing and intimidating a presence as ever, practically towering over all both on and off the stage with that distinct German stoicism etched into his face. That is, until he starts singing, at which point the statuesque scowl gives way to a sexual and sardonic sneer that is just so intrinsic to his performance. Right off the bat, En Esch presented a different live setup with Wulf DelReno taking centerstage behind a standing set of electronic drums with keyboardist Joshua Lutrell and co-vocalist Erica “Lady E” Dilanjian flanking En Esch in the flesh… and no guitars. Of course, given the man’s proficiency with programming and electronics, guitars would not necessarily be a requisite except for the particular track selections, which made their absence all the more conspicuous. KMFDM classics like “Liebeslied” and “Juke Joint Jezebel” along with his own solo tracks like “Live and Let Live” and “Do Me,” while interesting in these less sonically cluttered versions that emphasized the groovy beats and bass lines, with only a few guitar lines delivered by way of samples, have an uneasy inertness without the added oomph of those guttural riffs.
As well, it would’ve been nice to hear more of a selection from En Esch’s latest solo efforts; both strong albums, it was a tad bit disappointing to only hear so few tracks from SPÄNK
and Trash Chic
. On the other hand, those songs are timeless and surefire crowd pleasers, so why not? In any case, the vocal interplay between En Esch and Lady E along with the muscular drumming of DelReno made for enough visual spectacle to make the otherwise minimal show at least look and feel like a fuller industrialized display. As the first band of the night, it was disheartening to see that the venue was sparsely populated at the start of En Esch’s set, although that feeling was lifted to satisfaction at seeing more people in the crowd at the end… but really, it should’ve been more.
Next to take the stage was Christian Death, and while the band’s more gothic tones and deathly atmospheric predilections might seem in stark contrast to the more acerbically electronic sounds of En Esch or Lords of Acid, the band did not skimp on sensual theatricality. First, there is Valor Kand’s smooth baritone croon atop his resonant guitar tone like glass shards scraping the amplifiers, his head covered in a metallic headwear like a cross between an Egyptian pharaoh and a medieval knight, his poetic interludes between songs evocative of a randy elder statesman conducting an erotic symphony. Then there is Maitri, the darkly magnetic and provocatively dressed bassist, her face partially concealed by a half mask and a wide brimmed lacy hat, her fishnets and thigh-high boots adding to her already larger-than-life aura onstage. Besides a distinctively cold and rhythmic bass tone, her ghostly and ethereal vocals meshed in stellar fashion with Kand’s on tracks like “Penitence Forevermore” and the classic “Romeo’s Distress.”
However, it was her brazen and boisterous performance of “Workship Along the Nile” with its overt invitations to engage in various lustful acts with her “pussycat” that garnered a rather rowdy reaction from the crowd. This writer must admit to an unfamiliarity with Christian Death’s oeuvre and being only peripherally aware of the band’s history; as such, while enjoyable and sparking my interest, it would be difficult for me to say if this was performance was up to the band’s standards. That said, based on the audience’s cheers and howls, Christian Death clearly remains a dynamic and compelling force to be reckoned with onstage.
After Combichrist, it was time for the headlining act… the perverted purveyors of hypersexualized electro/industrial hedonism – Lords of Acid. The skittering electronics and the reversed breakbeats along with that distinctive distorted sample proclaiming “She has the body of a woman / she has the power to bewitch” emit that first libidinous wave; the band gradually makes its way to the stage, and then the shrill guitars and synths of “Voodoo-U” start the band off quite raucously into a full performance of the 1994 album of the same name. From the onset, the band radiates a manic energy that never diminishes, despite some technical difficulties and verbal altercations with the venue’s security; with Lady E joining once again as co-vocalist, she and Mea Fisher – a.k.a. DJ Méa – present a dichotomous display of pleasurable playfulness and confrontational corrosiveness.
If they seemed in competition for the audience’s attentions in the beginning of the set, they were in full cooperation by the end, both basking in the full enjoyment of the party that is a Lords of Acid performance. And wow, can their voices soar to those soulful yet sensual heights that make songs like “Out Comes the Evil” and “The Crablouse” so viscerally engaging. There was an in-your-face and a certain unhinged quality to Fisher’s performance as she would one moment be scowling viciously and ready to exchange fisticuffs, and grinning maliciously and dancing balletic and disturbing the next; it’s no wonder that she’s the longest serving female presence in Lords of Acid since Jade 4 U.
And then there was the band, a locked in unit of unbridled industrial/rock mania. Guitarist Joe Haze and bassist DieTrich Thrall seemed either unwilling or simply unable to remain stationary for very long, constantly in a state of motion, riling and revving up the crowd as they delivered the iconic riffs of songs like “Young Boys,” “Mr. Machoman,” and “Blowing Up Your Mind” with great fervor, backed by the primal and punishing percussive talents of Galen Waling, who once again proves to be one of the industrial scene’s most skilled and visually stunning drummers. Credit must also be given to keyboardist Roland Turner, for though masked and relegated to the rear end of the stage for most of the set, he managed to create quite an impression visually as he simply oozed a kind of animalistic masculinity that added to the theatricality of the show.
And then there was the ringleader of the circus of debauchery, Praga Khan, aggressively laser focused in his orchestrating every moment of the show while also loosening up for the more playful moments, grinning lasciviously as he submitted to Fisher’s occasional whipping. Other highlights of the set apart from the Voodoo-U
album included such classics as “Rough Sex,” “Scrood Bi U,” and “I Sit On Acid.” It just wouldn’t be a Lords of Acid show without the crowd joining in the onstage antics, with “Pussy” proving to be one of those songs that simply brings out everybody’s slutty side with a smile as ladies from the audience took to the stage in varying levels of undress engaging in cunnilingual celebration.
Suffice to say, the Sextreme Fest ’17 tour was one of the year’s hottest events, one that surely – to put it in appropriately lewd terms – had many a boner raging and a panty dripping. Even without any new material since the Deep Chills album five years ago, 2017 has been a productive and prosperous year for Lords of Acid, having released remastered editions of the band’s back catalog and conducting this most exhilarating exhibition for the Children of Acid. If you missed it, you missed out.
Article by Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
Photography by Tabetha Patton (MizTabby)
Lords of Acid
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