Baton Rouge — "So why does WCSL have a concert review?" you may be asking. "Is WCSL trying to be like Rolling Stone magazine now?" Until we get exclusive pictures of Christina Aguilera posing naked with a guitar she can't play, no. Zeromancer is mentionned here because Leif's second cousin is the songwriter and bassist.
|Practicing in Los Angeles for their Baton Rouge show.|
Being an important journalist, I easily got on the guestlist thanks to Kim Ljung, Leif's aforementioned relative. The doors at the Varsity Theatre were to open at 8:00P but someone must have been too drunk to show up for work as there was a slight delay in letting us in.
The air was pleasant enough standing in line. So pleasant, in fact, that I didn't even think about how pleasant it was until I walked through the door and saw a light white haze. Two DJs were up on stage, keeping their distance from each other. The guy on the left had a laptop and some other box-like device. The guy on the right had a keyboard and his own box. The music was a mediocre background thudding. Nothing too exciting. I figured it was a good time to buy a drink.
The two DJ guys stood in front of a temporary wall about 8 feet high behind which I assumed were amps and drums. Or maybe it was the fitting room.
The next loosely assembled group of men came up next and were called "Bile". They too found their place in front of the wall. There was a guitar guy on the right and a bass guy on the left, both white. Three mic stands were set up and a strobe light was being carried out. And a fog machine, because the air was too clean. Guitar guy started screeching his guitar and a drum machine began, cheesy but effective. Singer guy walked out and grabbed the mic and started wailing like he was drowning. And my earplugs went in. Not because the music was awful but because shows like this are making me go deaf.
The singer guy walked to the side of the stage between songs. I think he was fiddling with the drum machine. During the songs, it was pretty intense. The strobe was flashing more or less with the song. The fake kick drum was pounding. The singer guy was making us all believe his life genuinely sucks ass.
Since there were so many bands playing, they kept it short. It was actually a reasonable amount of time: they didn't overstay their welcome. As soon as they ended, the next band started to get their gear on the small piece of stage in front of the wall. Time for another drink.
|The poster I acquired from the venue.|
I noticed Kim at this point, setting up his side of the stage for his band, Zeromancer. They are from Norway and are friends with the likes of VNV Nation and Apoptygma Berzerk. They have released two albums in Europe, "Clone Your Lover" (2000) and "Eurotrash" (2001). Before the birth of Zeromancer, Kim was part of a band called Seigmen, which apparently got tiresome for everyone involved. It was a much more acoustic guitar-based band by their last album. (I seem to remember their first CD being a sort of loud, heavy metal. I'm not sure what happened there.)
I yell "Kim" and he looks around briefly and sees me. He smiles and reaches down to shake my hand. He says he emailed me earlier today to say he's in town. I feel bad because I hadn't checked my email. He says he'll find me after the show and he has to set up. We shake again and I head back to the bar.
I was told to expect only 5 songs from Zeromancer but they played something like 7 or 8. Kim's job was to psyche up the audience, which seemed to have worked as they looked to be digging it. It was bizarre to see a band that is well-known in Germany playing to a group of people who had probably never heard of them. But it was also exciting to think of how well-known they are about to be over here.
Another trip to the bar and I think My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult played next. The only thing I really remember about that set was seeing the lead singer and thinking he looked like a cross between Iggy Pop and Bono, but older and slower. But what I remember more was looking to my left to see a girl with no shirt or bra on sitting on someone's shoulders. "O, joyous day," I thought in an Indian accent (and probably said out loud). After staring at her chest for a considerable amount of time, I noticed black tape forming X's over her nipples.
|Erik, Kim, Alex, Chris, and Noralf after the eyebrow shaving accident.|
After them, Kim found me at the bar and we stepped outside for some non-white air. The earplugs came through for me as my ears were not ringing when I took them out. It was remarkable. He asked me if I wanted to see their tour bus and I said sure.
Climbing the stairs felt like a mix between a 6th grade field trip and a Bon Jovi video. Inside, the band was sitting around, calm but also tired. The bassist for Pigface was sitting down in front, talking to them. Alex, the singer guy, looked the most worn. I had a quick look around at the bus. The beds were stacked up four high, if I remember correctly. It reminded me of a submarine. The back room... well, all I can remember is the mirror on the ceiling.
Back up front, the tour manager was talking. He has a strong presence. I thought that at any moment, he could snap and start cracking skulls like back in 'Nam or something. Nice guy, but he just seemed too big.
By the time I left the bus to go see Pigface, the water for the tea was being boiled in the microwave.
Kim got me in backstage and told me how very small the green room was. We came out some doors beside the stage and I tried to conceal my strange delight at somehow being special enough to come from a door that leads backstage. I headed to the bar.
|Eurotrash is now being released in the States by Cleopatra Records.|
Pigface came onstage. Well, first I heard them. Then the crew took away all the pieces of the wall. The earplugs went back in. There may be two wonders to Pigface. One is obviously the music. The other is getting to see three girls prancing around in lingerie, singing to me and me alone. I commenced the moshing. (Cheers to the girl in the pit who let me repeatedly push her on her breasts.)
It was about 1:30A when the music stopped. I talked to Kim afterwards. He introduced me to one of the Pigface girlies, who hardly even noticed me standing there, which I guess was fine. Next stop for them was Houston and four other Texas cities.
My hearing the next day? Just fine. My clothes? Washing machine.