NEW YORK, NY—Berlin-based electro-pop combo IAMX ended their North American tour, termed “Metanoia” after their new album of the same name, on Friday, Oct. 30, on the big stage at the East Village’s Webster Hall, which was filled to capacity for the event. Opening band Mr. Kitty did a spectacular job of warming the crowd with an over-the-top level of energy and a voluminous, hook-laden wall of sound, while frontman Forrest Avery Carney gyrated frenetically on stage in an all-white outfit like a jittery male nurse in a lab coat and mini-shorts that revealed his lengthy, gazelle-like legs sheathed in white stockings. As satisfying as Mr. Kitty was, its effect was to charge up the crowd for an even higher level of enthusiasm for the headliner to come.
IAMX in the form of a quartet roared on stage on schedule at 8:30, opening with “I Come With Knives,” off The Unified Field (2013), which starts low key then gradually develops into a crescendo. Vocalist Chris Corner was joined on stage by a drummer and two gorgeously and scantily clad keyboardist/guitarist females who also contributed backup vocals. For better or worse, the stage lighting was kept low and monochromatic in reds, blues and purples, in keeping with the dark nature of the music, but I sure would have liked a better look at the whole quartet, Corner himself, as well as the accompanists. The packed hall responded with appreciation and physical agitation that lasted the rest of the night. Strongly cadenced “The Alternative,” title track off the album of the same name, continued to intensify the mood and was followed by “Happiness,” ironically named from the latest album, Metanoia. Also off that album, which Corner represents to be an expression of his release from mental anguish associated with recent depression and insomnia, were “No Maker Made Me,” “Oh Cruel Darkness Embrace Me” and “Aphrodisiac.”
At one point Chris Corner exchanged his kerchief-like hood for a wide-brimmed hat, but maintained an all-black wardrobe throughout the performance.
The other 12 songs (17 in all) were off the various albums that constitute IAMX’s broad repertoire. The syncopated rhythm of “Tear Garden” off the album Kingdom Of WelcomeAddiction contrasted with slow-paced “Bernadette” off Volatile Times. Club favorite “Spit It Out” had the effect of increasing the rhythmic pulsation of the spectators who were too tightly packed to break into actual dance.
“Your Joy Is My Low” ended the regular set, but this audience screamed for more, so after a momentary break, IAMX regrouped on stage for an encore consisting of three more songs which of necessity included “Kiss And Swallow,” then ending with the slow and melodious “I Am Terrified.”
From the opening act, Mr. Kitty, to the last beat and final note from IAMX, the packed-house audience remained totally rapt and kept in constant motion by the compelling and unique rhythms.