Imperative Reaction/Stimulate at dröm/September 22, 2018

    Ted Phelps founded electro-industrial band Imperative Reaction from the remains of Digital Neural Assault in 1996 in Los Angeles. Imperative Reaction circulated a demo tape entitled Debris in 1996, but eventually recalled and destroyed all known copies when the band chose to move in a different direction. After gaining momentum in the local industrial scene, the band released its first album in 1999. Imperative Reaction’s sixth and most recent album, Imperative Reaction, was released in 2011.

    For 10 years, Xris SMack! and his Stimulate parties have provided a stage for underground industrial, gothic and dark wave bands who might not get a New York gig otherwise. Imperative Reaction performed at the first Stimulate party and returned to perform at the 10th anniversary celebration. Backed by keyboardist Clint Carney and drummer Ben Tourkantonis, Phelps led Imperative Reaction through an intense set that matched sharp, aggressive vocals with throbbing electronic body music. The songs exploded with volcanic choruses, blazing, grinding grooves and a driving, pummeling dance beat. This was synthpop gone hard and heavy, yet maintaining its club roots. James Francis of Panic Lift joined in the encore on vocals.

<PÎG>/The Bowery Electric/September 24, 2018

    In 1985, British sound engineer Raymond Watts (also known by his former stage names Nainz, Nainz Watts and Ray Scaballero) became an early vocalist in the industrial band KMFDM in Hamburg, Germany. After writing the music for the second KMFDM album, Watts toured with Australian industrial musician Foetus, playing keyboards and guitar. Watts launched a solo project called <PÎG> in 1988. Shortly after the Berlin Wall opened, Watts relocated his <PÎG> project to London, England. In Japan, he played in both Schaft and Schwein. Along the way, Watts periodically rejoined KMFDM, but he always returned to <PÎG>. The most recent <PÎG> album, Risen, was released on June 8, 2018.

    Twelve days after opening for Killing Joke at Irving Plaza, <PÎG> headlined its own concert at the Bowery Electric, celebrating the 10th anniversary of industrial music concerts promoted by Xris SMack! and Stimulate. The 1995 <PÎG> song “Transceration” played over the public address system as Watts plus a guitarist and a drummer took the stage, with Watts again wearing a silver fringed jacket, a Roman collared shirt and several harnesses around the crotch of his black jeans. Seven of the 13 songs performed were from the current album and, like the earlier songs, they were dark yet danceable electronic body music. The new songs in particular seemed to feature rhythms that were a bit slower, allowing Watts to add soulful croons to his normally snarly growl. Floating between abrasive and ambient, <PÎG> defined what searing, squealing and scorching hard rock could be.

Sting & Shaggy/The Rooftop at Pier 97/September 26, 2018

    Gordon “Sting” Sumner, from Newcastle, England, and now living between New York City and Malibu, Calif., has won 16 Grammy Awards as bassist of the Police and as a solo artist. Orville “Shaggy” Burrell grew up in Raetown, Jamaica, and is a reggae artist with 13 hit albums. Sting and Shaggy first performed together publicly at the 2018 Grammy Awards. Their joint CD, 44/786 (named after their respective country codes), was released on April 20, 2018.

    Sting and Shaggy’s tour brought them to the Rooftop at Pier 17, where threatening storms prompted the promoters to begin the show 15 minutes early. Sting sang and played bass for most of the set, Shaggy sang and toasted Jamaican style, and as they traded vocals and harmonized, they were backed by longtime Sting guitarists Dominic Miller and Rufus Miller, and drummer John Freese, plus Shaggy’s keyboardist Kevon Webster and backing vocalists Melissa Musique and Gene Noble. From the start, Sting and Shaggy traded lyrics on Sting’s “Englishman in New York” (changed to “Jamaican” a few times), and several times did mash-ups of their hits. The set also included eight songs from their collaborative album, including “Crooked Tree”, during which Shaggy wore a judge’s robes and wig and Sting wore a black-and-white-striped shirt representing a prisoner. The show was a departure for both Sting and Shaggy, with Shaggy toasting as Sting’s hype man and Sting’s distinctive tenor as backup on some of Shaggy’s ribald lyrics, but somehow the chemistry clicked majestically for nearly two hours. The rain finally fell towards the end of the set, with many in the audience fleeing but many others soaking up the musical sunshine along with the rain, chanting the lyric “I dream of rain” during the encore of “Desert Rose”.


 

Supersuckers/Mercury Lounge/September 26, 2018

    As a child in Tucson, Arizona, Edward Daly chose his career path the minute he first heard the Knack’s “My Sharona”. Foregoing the country music he heard everywhere, he turned to heavy metal and punk rock. In 1988, he formed the Black Supersuckers, in which he played bass. He became Eddie Spaghetti and the band shortened its name to Supersuckers. The Supersuckers’ aim was to strip away some of the pretense of late 1980s metal and inject showmanship into the punk scene. In 1989, the band relocated to Seattle, Wash. Spaghetti became the band’s singer, while still playing bass. In 1995, Supersuckers went on a brief hiatus when Spaghetti was diagnosed with stage III oropharynx cancer and underwent surgery and radiation treatments. Supersuckers presently consists of Spaghetti, guitarist “Metal” Marty Chandler and drummer Christopher “Chango” Von Streicher. Supersuckers’ 11th and most recent album, Suck It, was released on Sept. 21, 2018.

    Supersuckers is on a 30th anniversary tour, and much of the 33-song set at Mercury Lounge was comprised of songs from the band’s first two albums. The band members may have looked like a outlaw country musicians, but the largest chunk of the nearly two-hour set was a tornado of hard-banging, punk-inspired rock ‘n’ roll. Lyrics were often humorous, even when politically incorrect, accentuating the straight-forward message that this was a rock and roll party. Spaghetti’s vocals were lighter now post-surgery, but he has lost none of his rock and roll animus or bravado, Chandler often played extended solos at the lip of the stage, and Von Streicher pounded the drums to keep the machinery pumping at adrenalin speed. After 30 years, the self-professed Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World still puts on a super show.

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