MANHATTAN, NY—Since 1996, New York-based Xris SMack! has developed a cultic following by mixing gothic and fetish lifestyles in nightclubs and concert halls. Onstage, there might be a techno industrial band pumping out hard and heavy synth beats. On the side of the stage or on the floor in front of the stage, women in latex, rubber or studded leather outfits dance provocatively. At one corner there may be an illuminated whipping post for those who might like to participate in flagellation. Under his blue dreads, the ever-charming SMack! can be found at the edge of the stage, resetting the fog machines or taking photographs of the musicians; otherwise, he will be out in the audience meeting and greeting his longtime followers and introducing himself to newcomers.
SMack!’s events are more than concerts; they are a gathering spot for a colorful collective of countercultural scene makers. The SMack! series seems to be more fetish oriented and his Stimulate series may be more music-rooted. He also collaborates with Vampire Freaks and other similar promoters. The thread that runs throughout all these series is that of a new alternative community of vibrant rockers. The events start late and end in the wee hours, but there will not be any sleepers.
SMack! has an acute ear for new underground darkwave bands and a knack for reuniting older bands from the subsurface. At Dröm on May 20, Stimulate presented Dawn of Ashes, Projekt F and Nightmare before Krztoff. Headliner Dawn of Ashes, from Los Angeles, California, is an extreme metal band incorporating a horror image with industrial and melodic black metal compositions. Projekt F is an industrial metal band from Montreal, Canada. Nightmare before Krztoff featured members of Bile and Pigface, who played what the band has described as “electronic audio oddities and alien soundscapes.”
SMack! manages several websites that announce his various projects, but for information on forthcoming parties, start with a visit to www.stimulate-me.com.