Combichrist @ Irving Plaza

NEW YORK, NY—Between dates as support on Rammstein’s late spring tour, Combichrist could be found playing a few headlining shows themselves. With Irving Plaza being turned into goth central the night Combichrist took over the venue, I headed over. And I have to boast about finding parking literally right in front of the venue. This was an indication of the night to follow: a once in a blue moon killer evening.

Walking into Irving Plaza, you need a strategy to enter the main floor. With merch tables right at the top of the stairs across from the main room’s entrance, it was a maze working through fans to get in front of the stage. Once inside the main area, I was excited to find a chill audience, some straight out of the industrial clubs and others looking a bit more like they just got there from their office job.

My all black wardrobe fit right in with the crowd, who I was hoping did not notice that I barely knew any of the song by any of the artists. I was in time to see Angelspit, who were more like creatures, with vocalist ZooG wearing spikes that extended from his temple to lower back and vocalist Destroyx looking like a sweet gothic Lolita, but vicious as well.

Angelspit pleased the crowd with electro-industrial music that was only a prelude to the aggressive set to come from Combichrist. They were surrounded on stage by lights and screens that projected images to enhance the mood of their music. When their current single “Toxic Girl” played, the video for the song was projected. If you weren’t confused or intrigued by their performance at that point, you certainly were after that song!

I was enthralled by the amount of drums that were being brought on stage for Combichrist. Throughout the set though, the drum setup caused problems and provide further entertainment than the music alone. There was either not enough space or things were not mounted correctly because drums kept falling onto the main stage area and made the stagehands really get a work out running back and forth fixing things.

Starting things off with “Shut Up And Swallow,” Combichrist remained shrouded in lights and smoke, letting the heavy, aggressive beats bleed through to the crowd. Then singer Andy LaPlegua emerged from the fog and strobe lights to reveal an even menacing creature than that seen earlier with ZooG.

The whole venue lost itself to the music and the crowd below danced and even moshed a bit during the set. I fell in love with song titles, which the best of the night was saved for the encore. The main set revolved around songs like “Electrohead” and “Body Beat,” causing everyone to move including those office workers I had been impressed to see there when I first walked in.

Encores are as standard as shout outs to all the supporting acts on a tour. So when the lights faded, the crowd waited patiently for the return of the music makers. They came back with “Never Surrender” from their 2010 release, Making Monsters, before ending on one of the best song names ever, “What the Fuck Is Wrong With You?” I had wished the set didn’t end, but I’m sure drummer Joe Letz was happy to be done. Letz had been in charge of the bass drum setup that did not want to cooperate. With the last note, he kicked the one drum over and proceeded to destroy the stage, but I’m sure nothing was left terribly broken.