As if the desert couldn’t get any hotter, Saturday night in Mesa proved everyone wrong when the Blood, Lust, Death Tour 2017 came to town at Club Red Mesa. While it may seem that the venue is small, the walls are only there to protect music lovers from all ages from the soaring temps and searing sun of the Valley of the Sun. There is no shortage of butts in the seats when a tour like this comes to town. For this tour, Club Red opens up the BIG room, and they have to because a line-up like this brings industrial metal fans of all ages who line up outside and down the block even before the doors open. They’re here to rock, and they’ll go home tired…Dope, Combichrist, Davey Suicide, and September Mourning will see to that.
First up for the night was nu metal underground artist Davey Suicide. If there was ever a hero story, this would be it. The music industry has its problems, but it does our hearts (and our ears) good to hear that when bad things happen to good music, that doesn’t have to be the end. Music has always been a vehicle for transforming thought into action, and recent events in the Davey Suicide timeline have added their story to the “Never Give Up, Never Surrender” chapter of Music History. It was heartbreaking to hear him talk about the struggles he’s had to bring the music that people want to hear. You want so badly to be able to help somehow, but then you realize that you’re there. At his show. You ARE helping. The performance he delivered to a full house gave the finger to every suit and tie that ever did him dirty. The setlist for the evening revolved around his latest album Made From Fire, which was his “going to war” album, with a sound like Marilyn Manson meets Motley Crue, inspired by his struggle to survive in the face of adversity, and his performance of the album’s single Resurrection let everyone know that Davey Suicide can take all comers. He’s been quoted as saying that he’ll never get the last five years of his life back after a long, arduous battle with his record company, but the intensity of his voice and the fire in his eyes says he’s going to at least make up for it…and it kinda felt like he was going to make up for all five years in just 45 minutes.
Next, on a dimly lit stage, the story of unfinished destiny unfolded as Mesa, Arizona became part of one woman’s war between worlds. For the unsuspecting soul, September Mourning is a transmedia creative project that combines story into song of a journey into darkness and purgatory. Beginning as a dark fantasy comic and graphic novel, September Mourning uses song and print to advance concept and character. Portrayed by creator Emily Lazar, herself, September Mourning is a half-human, half-reaper hybrid with no past and a dark present full of voices. Her songs tell the story of a tormented being torn between two worlds, charged with reaping the souls of the broken and escorting them to meet Fate, who has turned against humanity and now secretly plans to gorge himself on the souls of the worthless and destroy the world. Struggling with the balance of dark and right, September is charged with bringing the souls to Mortem, the netherworld where Fate lies in wait in his tower of shadow and stone. Learning of his twist, September tarries the souls in her Hotel Sanctuary, helping them to complete the last unfinished deed from their life which releases them from their impending destruction. This infuriates Fate who sends The Dark Man and his minions to find her. Aided by the voice of her Skullfly tattoo, September stands against Fate to give the world a second chance. On the stage, Emily Lazar appears as the half-reaper September come to life straight from the illustrated page. Flanked by a band of Fate’s reaper minions — Riven, Wraith, Shadou, and Stitch — September Mourning sings through her own struggle between worlds with the songs Skin and Bones and Before the Fall. As she absorbs the energy of the audience, September becomes the embodiment of the stories of her souls in such songs as 20 Below and Eye of the Storm, which are about finding release from cycles of abuse and violence through encouragement and inner strength.
I’m not sure what’s in the water over there in Scandanavia, but whatever it is, those Norwegians can crank out some fantastic metal that rival much of what the 90’s left behind. Combichrist is no exception. Combichrist is the nominal incarnation of a 90’s punk rock messiah fanzine character created by Andy LaPlegua, and the music very much lives up to the character’s name and attitude. The band is a punk/industrial crossover, blending the heavy industrial techno beat with aggro punk-style guitars and lyrics, fueled by the corrosive beats of not one but TWO drummers on stage. Drummer Joe Letz never disappoints, donning hot pink pigtails complete with bikini top and tutu while tossing sticks back and forth and with co-drummer Nick Rossi. While the two bang away at your heartbeat, frontman LaPlegua raises the room to mosh pit riot status with his searing vocals and menacing stares. “Can’t wait to get back on the road in the US and actually play a full show for all of you again. Hope you’re all ready to party, because shit’s getting serious. We are packing the set full of old classics as well as our new favorite tracks”, said Andy LaPlegua, prior to the tour’s start. This is definitely not a show to bring your breakables to, and maybe not your best leather, either. Even if you don’t participate in any of the rougher expressions, Combichirst will still turn the air into cottage cheese and raise the temperature with their smiles and energy by about 15 degrees. You will sing. You will sweat. You will go home happy. On the Blood, Lust, Death 2017 tour, Combichrist is co-headlining with Dope and will play a full set.
Wrapping up the evening was long running nu metal band, Dope. Edsel & co never fail to bring a certain realness to the stage. He likes to talk between songs, and when he talks, you hear how much he genuinely loves his fans. Fans are family. The more times you see Dope, the more you feel like you know them even if you’ve never met them. Dope is a balanced blend of hip hop and old skool metal that you can listen to even if you don’t particularly like or the other. On the set list was Debonaire, which was featured in first The Fast And the Furious movie along with selections from their latest album Blood Money. Going to a Dope show is like being inside a music video. When the music starts, there’s a lot of supporting imagery playing out behind the band on large LED screen. So, you see the graphics and hear the music just like you would if you were sitting on your couch at home, and then he talks to you like you’re old friends. And then you all sing a rousing chorus of long-time fan favorite Die Motherf*r Die.
The Blood, Lust, Death 2017 tour wrapped up its public performances for the season at Club Red in Mesa, AZ and completed the tour with a private viewing at the Regent Theater in West Hollywood, CA.
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