June 1, 2017 The Birthday Massacre & Army of the Universe Get Denver Moving 5-25-17
Being genre specific, good or bad trait to inherit? This is the conundrum that so many different styles of music has been struggling with in the last couple of decades. With fans having gone the direction of staying within specific genres, bands were more reluctant to step outside of their proverbial box and cross pollinate with other genres. Some of the greatest Punk bands of the past merged their loud abrasive sounds with the like of Reggae, Rock; hell, Sid Vicious, at one of his few heights to fame, covered Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way.” What exactly does Frank Sinatra have in common with Punk Rock outside of him doing it “his way,” absolutely nothing.
The point, throughout music history, crossbreeding styles was what kept everything interesting, palpable, and most of all, kept it from getting stagnant. From Anthrax working with Public Enemy, KISS writing Disco, to bands like Rage Against the Machine and Faith No More being born; some experiments worked and some did not. However, the desire for evolution was clear. As mentioned, while that mentality has been lacking in the industry till as of late with the rise of genre crossers Twenty One Pilots blowing up and Gorillaz returning, bands such as The Birthday Massacre and Army of the Universe were ahead of the curve and forging their own path long before this return.
Fitting the two up for 2017’s Under Your Spell Tour, the run that kicked off on May 18th at Toronto’s The Opera House before bouncing around North America through June 21st. Lucky for Denver, Colorado, the evening of Thursday May 25th saw the merge of Canada’s own hard hitters, The Birthday Massacre, and Italy’s favorite DJ killer Army of the Universe, at Marquis Theater as they trekked through their massive North American tour.
Both bands are no strangers to the Mile High City as both have played several times in the past; The Birthday Massacre joined the likes of Mindless Self Indulgence and Combichrist, each time almost leveling their respective venues. Army of the Universe refreshed audiences while leaving them speechless having come through with the likes of KMFDM and Skinny Puppy. While both bands offered so much in common with their fellow tour partners, they were vastly different in sound and approach. As one shuffled to the line at the Marquis Theater, one could hear the talk about how, though different, this was the perfect bill for both bands. Both bands have been known for their interaction with the audience, theatrics, and all out dedication to delivering a great show.
Joining Army of the Universe and Birthday Massacre for a few live shows on the tour, the show was kicked off by Toronto up-and-comer Sumo Cyco. This female led group got the audience riled up with a bang. Armed with a fresh new album, Opus Mar, they delivered their brute Metal/Punk edge in convincing fashion. Make sure to keep your eye out for this band as their tour schedule is about to get out of control, one has plenty of chances to check them out.
Having been amped up, the audience was ready for Army of the Universe, chanting the band by name as they prepared to begin. Albert Vorne (aka Trebla) on keys, Lord K on vocals, and Dave Tavecchia on guitars hit the stage and got the party started with their high octane track “Another Escape” from 2016’s 1999 & The Aftershow. While Lord K’s connection with the audience could not be dismissed, it is noteworthy that Guitarist Tavecchia took on more of a role in getting the audience to go absolutely insane.
Army of the Universe’s last two visits to the western shores have shown a band which continues to grow in sound and in confidence with their fans. This was best shown as they played tracks from their 2011 debut album Mother Ignorance. Tracks such as “Goodnight” and “Hollywood Drama” had a certain edge to it that only comes in time with learning to refine. As Army of the Universe closed out their set, they left their audience drenched in sweat and welcomed a new legion of fans now hooked.
Armed with seven releases, The Birthday Massacre coursed through their discography with absolute intensity, including favorites such as “Looking Glass,” “Superstition,” “Lovers End,” “Happy Birthday,” and “Video Kid.” After 15 years as The Birthday Massacre, Chibi has only further solidified herself as one of the premier female singers, delivering intensity and entrancement of her fans. That said, her performance at Marquis Theater was no different as she sang her heart out.
In addition, the hardworking band also delivered several sneak peak treats for their fans with new music from their upcoming album Under Your Spell with songs such as “All of Nothing,” “Counterpane,” album title-track, “Under the Spell,” as well as “No Tomorrow.” What did the new tracks offer? An even heavier edge to the night and further excitement to hear the entire new record as the June 9th release date approaches. Having complete control over the room all set long, the members of The Birthday Massacre exhibited high energy as they wrapped up the set with other songs including “In the Dark,” “Blue,” and Broken.”
While each band on this tour to an average listener could be easily dismissed as Goth/Industrial, the night in Denver proved there is so much more to Army of the Universe and The Birthday Massacre than most would expect. There was a hard edge to the music that could easily send a mosh pit in full frenzy, a screw-it-all attitude that the most dedicated of Punk fans could stomp to, and a sexy infectious dark element that will get any fishnet clad goth out on the dance floor. With a score of tour dates still left, the Under Your Spell Tour is not to be missed by anyone who is a true fan of darker music, so dust off those dancing boots, Kill the DJ, and get yourselves out there.