November 29th, 2019
depotek | Gaelynn Lea
It is easier to list all of the members of Pigface, from various groups, that managed to fit onto the stage at The Cabooze in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Yes, all ten musicians managed to put on a very energetic show and there weren’t even any collision mishaps. The industrial show was energetic, very unique, and the audience and band consistently engaged back and forth throughout the set.
Martin Atkins – drums – PiL, Killing Joke
Randy Blythe – vocals/percussion – Lamb of God
Danny Carey – drums – Tool/Green Jello
Curse Mackey – vocals – Evil Mothers
En Esch – guitars - KMFDM, Pig
Dirk Flannigan – vocals – 77 Luscious Babes
Lesley Rankine – vocals – Silverfish, Ruby
Charles Levi – guitar – My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult
Bobchain Caitlin – bass - Evil Mothers, Bradley Bills
After great performances by openers depotek and Gaelynn Lea, the stage was prepped for the legendary industrial supergroup formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1990. The list of random collaborators of various band is obscenely long and includes many well known names including Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Ogre from Skinny Puppy. Before the Pigface set opened up, a short video was shown both paying respect to pioneering industrial acts including Front 242, who is arguably of the self-invented genre Electronic Body Music (EBM). However, that is neither here nor there. My apologies for not remembering the independent film that is a story of Chicago industrial bands.
Opening up the set with “Insemination” was interesting as screens in front of the members were set up with lights behind, casting shadows reminiscent of early Nine Inch Nails shows. The song was somewhat modified and set up the audience for an oddball experience, if they were not already prepared. Oddities included air raid sirens and a sitar randomly playing. All three drummers randomly playing including Danny Carey of Tool, who was added to the line up just weeks before this opening concert of the first Pigface tour in decades.
After the intro, began the first actual song. “Asphole” is certainly a crowd favorite. This, at least for me, is certainly helped by featuring vocals and cowriting by Ohgr from the now legendary industrial band: Skinny Puppy. Curse Mackey, who sang lead vocals for many songs, did a wonderful job filling the shoes of such an important vocalist.
“Murder, Inc” followed, which was wonderful. “War Ich Nicht” was also pleasantly creepy and fully in German. “Tapeworm” was also played, which was the origin for the title of a never released side project/supergroup including Trent Reznor and Maynard James Keenan. Want to get the crowd yelling in case they lack momentum and energy, which the Minneapolis audience most certainly did not. Enter a song titled “Hips, T*ts, Lips, Power!” where they get to chant and yell the title of the song repeatedly.
Starting off the first encore, that’s right, was an acoustic version of Trent Reznor/Pigface songwriting collaboration “Suck”. No, in reference of ‘acoustic’, we are not speaking of acoustic guitars. This is Pigface, after all. Acoustic version meant playing it with only a sitar, violin by Gaelyn Lea and vocals by Lesley Rankine. The version was quite different and creepy. Sidenote: the original version featured Trent Reznor on vocals.
Elated, though I shouldn’t have been so surprised to hear, was Pigface’s cover of KMDFM’s industrial classic “Godlike”. Like everything else, the cover was not performed with any lacking energy. Another crowd group participation event was “F*ck It Up” which included humorous chanting of the song title. Please don’t forget the completely random acapella “Pink Panther” theme with plenty of crowd participation.
I was originally disappointed to hear the acoustic version of “Suck”. Though it was good as well, I had been craving to hear the original version of the song. It’s dark, lurking atmosphere. Trent Reznor later recorded the song as, technically, a cover on Nine Inch Nails’ Broken EP. This also included a cover of Adam Ant’s “Physical”. Unlike the original version of “Suck”, Reznor took the once stripped down version to adding distorted electronic drums, guitars, a heavier chorus. To close out Pigface’s insanely energetic and quirky set, was this version. Lead vocals were sung by Randy Blythe, who isn’t known for dark and lurking vocals sang it wonderfully with, again, plenty of respect for the original vocal recording.
Certainly, worth noting is Curse Mackey’s very energetic performance throughout the show, often dancing and pumping up mechanical movements. Pigface’s show, living up to its reputation, looked like an adult version of what happens when a teacher leaves the kindergarten kids alone in the music room. When it comes to physical energy, Mackey and Randy Blythe really stood out despite the ten plus members creating musical and visual chaos onstage. Visual effects? This is not needed for such a show to be entertaining. Time between songs were often filled with very humorous random conversations between all members of the band for the crowd’s amusement.
Bottom line: This was the most bizarre, humorous and quirky concerts I’ve ever been honored to witness. The energy was not absent for a single second from opening to end, which featured the current lineup and random musicians from the crew and opening bands to bang on instruments and mass vocals of the chorus to “Suck”. Despite it being Black Friday, The Cabooze was nearly packed to capacity. If another tour follows when the current Covid-19 pandemic and you enjoy industrial music plus a quirky show, it would a shame to miss Pigface live.
War Ich Nicht
Alle Ist Meins
Hips, Tits, Lips, Power
Suck (Acoustic Version)
Godlike (KMDFM cover)
Fuck It Up
Suck (Nine Inch Nails version)