Lords of Acid
with My Life with Thrill Kill Kult and Blownload
Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Better Than: People-watching at Hot Topic.
Face it, the '90s are retro now. And raunchy industrial dance parties? They're so '90s. So it came as no surprise that Thursday night's Sextreme Ball with Lords of Acid and My Life with Thrill Kill Kult felt every bit the anachronism. (Both of these bands emerged in the late '80s, but didn't release their most mainstream successes until 1991.) Modern-era raves and dance-punk just can't engage all the appetites that debauched electronica (and disco) once did. Sadly, there's no resurrecting it: Hot Topic capitalized on the movement a long time ago, officiating its death with a backwards haircut.
But there is nothing dead about a Thrill Kill Kult dance floor. I arrived at the Culture Room about 20 minutes into Thrill Kill Kult's
set, and managed to navigate my way through Satan's army of
dominatrices, fish-netted rivetheads, and gothic cowboys. The sea of
black -- a friend called and offered her "green shirt" as coordinates --
was ecstatic (naturally and not-so-naturally) and ironically, sort of
precious: a throwback to a bygone era when big-beat industrial screamers
carried some sort of shock value.
It's been 15 years since Lords of Acid and Thrill Kill Kult toured together, and between six and eight years since I've seen either (LOA 2002, TKK 2004). Thrill Kill Kult lead singer Groovie Mann is as snarly and devilish as ever when he snakes his ripped body (shirtless by the end of the show) to the pulsating vintage beats that made the band a cult classic. From the slower bass-heavy dance number "Do You Fear (For Your Child)" to the sassy "Days of Swine and Roses" with its cheekily protracted chorus "christian zombie vampires" to their anthem "Sex on Wheelz," Thrill Kill Kult is as deliciously evil as it was in its early years, from which much of their set list came. In fact, the audience was much more enthusiastic about a TKK encore, than it was about Lords of Acid returning to the stage.
Uncomfortable criticism? No one in the band -- all original members -- seemed to be playing his instrument. Or, they were playing without being plugged in, like mimes or something. "Do You Fear (For Your Child)" sounded like a CD blasting. There was ongoing debate throughout the night: one acquaintance protested the charge, but the consensus was that neither Charles Levi (bass) nor Buzz McCoy (keyboards) were live.
Lords of Acid, however, were definitely playing their instruments, and with the sweaty gusto of a smoldering orgy. They opened with the blistering "Scrood Bi U" that had reticent old me -- prematurely annoyed that Rock of Love's Lacey Conner had been recruited as the new female vocalist -- banging my pony tail and bod as much as my five-inch stilettos would let me.
While "Scrood Bi U" isn't anything groundbreaking, the song was the perfect opener, foreshadowing the way the show would procede: with the band, made up of founder Praga Khan, guitarist Sin Quirin (Ministry, Revolting Cocks), bassist M3 (Powerman 5000), and Kirk Salvador, absolutely owning their parts, and Conner vacillating between industrial powerhouse and desecrator of LOA mainstays. The sexy chorus "I wanna be screwed by you, and you, and you..." is typical LOA, with a flirty beginning and a requisite growl. But no matter how hard Conner tried, or how smokin' her body was (and it was), or how many times she awkwardly humped the speakers, she's not a sex-kitten. Instead that role belonged to Praga Khan's insanely hot girlfriend whose sassy faces, gas masks, and taped bust were a much-needed distraction from Conner's clumsy grooves.
In fact, "Rough Sex" and "Pussy" inspired cringing reflexes, and I almost left during the latter. But as I watched all the female fans onstage (a "Pussy" tradition) ready to rock with their...umm... pussies out, I had a dilemma. I was having too much fun. My criticisms were kind of beside the point. Lords of Acid have always had a problem with people taking them a tad too seriously, whether it be the band's sexual themes, its lack of groundbreaking material, or the failure of fans and critics to see the humor in it all. Sure, Conner isn't the founding LOA sex goddess Jade 4 U. But who cares! Her larynx was made for the rough shit, and so what if it wasn't made for "Rough Sex."
Personal Bias: I'll take the anachronistic gothic cowboy over the crowd at some esoteric indie band any day.
Random Detail: If you are a sweaty goth kid, or anybody really, but especially a sweaty, eye-linered goth kid, who I don't know, who I have never seen before in my life, don't ask me for a sip of my beer. Seriously, what's wrong with you?
By the Way: Lacey Conner told the audience Lords of Acid will be back in South Florida next year. The band is currently working on a new album.