August 29, 2018 ohGr Level The Oriental Theatre Denver, CO 8-25-18 w/ Lead Into Gold & Omniflux
Few artists through the years have truly challenged fans while establishing the foundations of a musical genre like one Nivek Ogre. Since helping to put a little band named Skinny Puppy on the map and assisting in establishing them as one of the godfathers for Industrial music, he has done everything to stand apart from the rest. Think of him as an almost Alice Cooper meets Jello Biafra kind of character in the grand scheme of things. Always bringing out a theatrical side that is larger and more haunting every time, but fusing it with a social and political outlook that can shock even the most ardent of fans.
In the mid ’80s, together with legendary cEvin Key and Dwayne Goettel, Skinny Puppy was built and would thrust the members into the role of musical innovators. With a little nudge from one Al Jourgensen (Ministry), one of the most influential labels of the genre, Wax Trax, signed Skinny Puppy and unleashed them on the world. Albums such as 1989’s Rabies and 1990’s Too Dark Park, not only did the band throw out conventional wisdom on how a band should “sound,” they scared the hell out of onlookers with some of the most bloody and thought-invoking visuals known. Sadly, in 1996, soon after the passing of Dwayne Goettel, the band came to an end. However, Ogre was just getting started as he joined together with Mark Walk and put together the new band ohGr for the masses.
Providing a little history, ohGr’s first testimonial came via 2001’s masterpiece, Welt. While most when departing a band cannot muster the creativity to form a band completely unlike the first, Ogre and Walk did just that. Tracks such as “Cracker,” “Water,” and “Kettle” completely separated them from Skinny Puppy and forged a new path, but still remained true to Orge’s artistic/theatrical role of a frontman. Just like Skinny Puppy, Ogre devised new stage settings and visuals that shocked and awed his audience. Ogre solidified his artistic presence so well that he later was brought in to play a disturbing role as the skinned-face wearing Pavi Largo in the 2008 cult classic Repo! The Genetic Opera. So, in a time where a theatrical spin on the state of the world was need, Ogre obliged his fans with the release of his newest testament TrickS and hitting the road with Paul Barker’s (ex-Ministry) Lead Into Gold and Omniflux.
An exciting lineup, debuted as the TricKs ToUr, it was only fitting for Ogre with his love for the independent and a disdain for the establishment, the tour would hit Denver, Colorado at the last independently functioning venue, The Oriental Theatre. An event that took place on Saturday, August 25, 2018, fans came out of the woodwork to see the return of ohGr and see what kind of ear and visual candy was in store for them.
First up for the night was new artist Omniflux. Armed with her recently released debut album, Aquarelle, Omniflux was quick to take over everyone’s attention. Her sound was mesmerizing, every beat and note washing over the audience like a wave, keeping them in complete awe. Visually, while only needing a back screen that played visuals that added a certain depth to the music, each song was given its own personality. Despite so many only having heard Omniflux for the first time that night, the connection was established as they just surrendered to the music. This is a project to keep one’s eye on, as it is only getting started, the very fact that she got the attention of Ogre and Paul Barker only proves the talent.
Next up was none other than the return of the legendary Paul Barker with his project Lead Into Gold. Most will remember Mr. Barker for being one of the core members (bassist, producer, engineer) behind the most influential albums Ministry has ever released – 1988’s The Land of Rape and Honey and 1989’s The Mind is a Terrible Thing To Taste. However, what some do not understand is Paul Barker’s reach goes a lot farther than that.
Outside of lending his immense production skills to a few bands post Ministry, he also was behind joining forces with Duane Denison (Tomahawk and ex-Jesus Lizard) to form an extremely underrated band called U.S.S.A. He also is a touring member of Puscifer. As Barker kicked off the set for Lead Into Gold, fans were fully entranced by the synthetic waves that crashed down. One trait that was welcomed by fans was the strong Wax Trax essence to the music; a return to unconventional sounds and programming that truly demonstrate Barker’s outside the box melodies. Adding to this, vocals returned fans to a classic approach that gave ’90s Industrial music an edge unlike any other.
One of the highlights to the set was the appearance of Mhsa Zagaran joining Barker on stage for a few tracks and playing guitar. Blending a perfect set of material from his first album, 1990’s Age of Reason, and newest masterpiece, 2018’s The Sun Behind the Sun, Barker demonstrated why so many consider him a true visionary with no boundaries.
Finally, the moment that the audience had been waiting for had come with ohGr set to hit the stage. As mentioned before, outside of the set lists varying with every tour adding new material, an ohGr live show always drastically changes. Ogre’s theatrics always border on the strange and horrific, often reflecting a part of the story on his albums.
That in mind, as Ogre approached the crowd cloaked in a mesh hoodie, the eerie setting painted. Beneath the hoodie he revealed the most twisted rabbit mask one could fathom. Not to be confused with the Easter Bunny, or even Roger Rabbit, picture more on the lines of Hellraiser Cenobites meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
While of course introducing new material to the night such as punctuating and charismatic “Freaky” and the title-track “Tricks,” it should be noted how perfectly they fit staples that fans have come to love. Sure, it has been 10 years since the release of 2008’s iconic Devil in My Details, this night’s rendition of “Shhh” was absolutely masterful, full, and perfectly executed. With visuals of a magic show which saw Ogre pulling a rather demented looking “Tricks” the rabbit from a hat and satirical imagery mocking the current American Administration, ohGr yet again delivered a thought-provoking, groove delivering night that should not be missed.
With plenty of dates yet to come on this tour, there is something for everyone to enjoy. From engrossing melodies of Omniflux, to the punishing crunch of Lead Into Gold, topped with the chaotic art of ohGr, this is the top Industrial tour one will find this year. Rush out, get your tickets now, before you miss out on one tour that will be hard to forget!