MANHATTAN, NY—This was a very special Valentine’s Day for lovers of industrial music. The object of their love, Skinny Puppy, made this a most fulfilling holiday to a sell-out crowd of their fanatical metropolitan area followers.
The audience was surprised with a somewhat earlier-than-expected 8:50 p.m. start. The eerie and somewhat hard-to-recognize strains of the rhythm-less “Chloralone” accompanied the advent of light on stage and the entrance of frontman Nivek Ogre in the first of several horrific costumes he would don for the show. Skinny Puppy’s music transitioned seamlessly into “Illisit,” in which they accuse this of being “the criminal age.”
The backdrop and the performers were flooded with a crazy quilt of broken, animated lighting that was disorienting and hallucinatory. A model of a slender canine appeared in silhouette on stage and would later serve briefly as a stage prop.
“Village” from the Handover album and the classic “The Choke” from the 1985 Bites album followed, then back to Weapon for “Plasicage” and “Wornin’.” A screen on stage ran LED figures displaying the rapidly-growing national debt at $55 trillion and mounting while images of electronic circuit boards, disasters, chaos and op-art flashed behind the stage performers.
“Deep Down Trauma Hounds” from the 1987 Cleanse Fold And Manipulate album provided a welcomed return to the classics, as did their all-time favorite, “Warlock,” the uniquely cadenced, compelling and mesmerizing hit from the Rabies release. The show continued in the same vein, alternating cuts from the current Weapon with such classics as “Hexonxonx,” “Pasturn” from Mythmaker, and “First Aid.”
The stage performance included Ogre’s simulated cutting himself with a large dagger. An audience member invaded the stage and was quickly subdued and ejected. Ogre donned a hideous, expressionless mask and hood, vaguely resembling a nightmarish version of Death from Ingmar Bergman’s movie, The Seventh Seal. After performing “Solvent,” he bid “Thanks to New York!” and disappeared briefly. Upon return, the encores included classics “Far Too Frail,” “Glass Houses” and the wonderful “Smothered Hope” before concluding with “Overdose” from Weapon.
Throughout the concert, no effort was spared, as Ogre donned a furry costume, then a hazmat suit, another terrifying headdress or two and poured himself and drank a tall glass of some repulsive, phosphorescent blue-green liquid.
As always, Skinny Puppy were magnanimous in the generous and unbounded efforts to please, entertain and shock their zealous and loving fans, for whom this will always be a Valentine’s Day to remember.