MANHATTAN, NY—All senses were catered to by IAMX at the Irving Plaza stop of the Animal Impulses Tour. New material was presented to appease the ears, a visual parade of lights made it a crime if you missed one moment, the crowd danced hypnotically to get closer to touch singer Chris Corner and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one imagining getting a whiff and taste of Corner’s bottle of wine.
Released in the spring, The Unified Field is the fifth album from IAMX, who filled up the setlist with the new material and fan favorites. What made this show so special to fans was that IAMX hadn’t played in the States for a few years. It’s like seeing a comet pass by and was almost mandatory for fans to come out.
Corner has intense stage presence and along with incredibly talented musicians, put on one of the best live shows still out there. The first thing to take notice was what Corner was wearing. For the evening, he took the stage in an all-black, Victorian-inspired ensemble with matching top hat and feathers to match. I couldn’t take my eyes off him and neither could those around me who were probably also feeling the need to savor every minute of the evening.
The eerie “Animal Impulses” started off the night and things rolled right along. With interesting visuals as the backdrop, backing musicians started to become one with their surroundings, seeming to contort with all the geometrical shapes floating about. Corner kept the talking to minimum and entered into a cluster of old material with “Kiss + Swallow.”
Not just a favorite of mine but of the crowd’s as well was “My Secret Friend,” in which the studio version features Imogen Heap. While Heap wasn’t there live, the unparalleled keyboardist Janine Gezang provided the haunting lyrics. Bringing back the introspective dance nature of his music, IAMX went into the title-track off the new album and the crowd went into joyous celebration and rightfully so, with the show only being halfway over.
Alternating between old and new material, the night hit a climax with “The Alternative” and the venue vibrated with the stomps of fans on the floor and in the balcony. You could feel the time for the encore was approaching and Corner didn’t disappoint, coming back after a pause with “I Come With Knives” and “President.”
It seemed odd to end the encore on that note, and something I hadn’t seen in a while happened: A second, well-deserved encore came about. After a night of dancing and watching Corner intermingle with the crowd and join in on playing instruments, everyone had that one last song left in them. “Nightlife” closed out the show and the audience applauded Corner and his band, which hopefully was enough to ensure a return visit in the near future.