NEW YORK, NY–A long line populated by a cross-section of the bizarre–preteens draped in Goth gear, metalheads clad in the standard band t-shirt and jeans, fans decked out in bright neon- pink tights, black mesh shirts, fairy wings, etc., extended from Terminal 5 and out into the West Side Highway. Yes, it was a sold out Mindless Self Indulgence show, plus company, which could only mean a night of mayhem and entertainment was in store.
The first opener was Julien-K. Although their dark electronica tracks were subdued and only somewhat danceable, they had some of the audience bouncing to the beat. The assertion “You fucking love us,” by lead singer Ryan Shuck, was a bit of an overstatement, but he had girls screaming and cheering (I was personally laughing) when he went shirtless and fondled himself repeatedly in accordance with the suggestive lyrics of “Systeme de Sexe.”
Next up was What What Where?, who seemed to be the odd ones out on the tour. Except for lead singer Ruthy Mirsky, the band was incongruously dressed in plain white t-shirts and jeans, and played comparatively lighter songs that combined soul, pop, electronica and rock. The audience showed no love for the New York sextet, which received boos and thumbs down. Sadly, the only cheers came when the audience learned the band’s set was over.
The Birthday Massacre, however, completely turned the show around from the total standstill that What What Where? had left. They revved up and transformed the audience, which had already started its typical pushing and surging while the band was setting up, into a swirling crowd of jumping, thrashing bodies. Their live show was injected with more energy and a heavier, more guitar-based sound than on their studio albums. Spunky female vocalist Chibi paraded around the stage with a huge smile on her face and continually made hearts with her hands to the crowd. The whole band seemed to be having fun and enjoying the positive crowd response, while the audience was clearly thankful to have a suitable outlet to release some pent up energy and excitement.
After The Birthday Massacre left the stage, the wait for Mindless Self Indulgence seemed like an eternity. The crowd was so tightly packed near the front of the stage that security personnel had to distribute water to the overheated, dehydrated audience; some fans on the verge of passing out had to crowdsurf their way to the front just to get out of the suffocating mass of sweaty bodies.
When MSI finally took the stage and opened with “Shut Me Up,” the riff of which the band had been teasing the audience with throughout the entire night, the floor became one swirling vortex and mosh pits opened up all over the place. The band, which was acting as crazy on stage as fans were off stage, played most of the songs off their latest album, If, as well as old favorites. They upped audience interaction to a new level, with Jimmy Urine talking to (and often yelling at) the audience between each song.
MSI know how to deliver and every second of their set was an entertaining one. Lead singer Jimmy Urine brought out his wife, vocalist Chantal Claret of Morningwood, to accompany him on “Get It Up.” For “Faggot,” the band selected members of the audience to come on stage and sing the chorus with a man dressed as Jesus. At one point, Urine demanded fans to dress him, and audience members promptly obliged by throwing their clothing on stage (Urine opted to wear a black bra, a tank top for a skirt, a pink tie and a tiara, among other things). During “I Hate Jimmy Page,” the half-naked vocalist climbed on top of one of the amps to get onto the second story balcony.
MSI ended the show with a recording of “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” This chaos-filled, adrenaline- fueled night just reinforced what fans are already well aware of: There’s no show like a Mindless Self Indulgence show.