• Will Kriss

Lords of Acid “Pretty in Kink” tour review - Flint, MI [3/9/19]

Background

The last US tour by Lords of Acid in the Fall of 2017 included a stop in Detroit at St. Andrews Hall, which was unquestionably one of the best Industrial/Electronic type shows I’ve ever witnessed. The tour was meant as a sort of appetizer to the release of the band’s 2018 full-length album “Pretty in Kink,” which was the result of a successful crowdfunding campaign. It ended up being my favorite album released that year.

I even wrote a review of it for the Western Herald, stressing that it was not only the Industrial album of the year, but Electronic album of the year overall, and that the band was still “creating sexy, drug-infused rave music unparalleled by their contemporaries.”

Despite the fact that the show was a blast, it was missing LOA mastermind Praga Khan behind the decks, who had to miss several dates due to an ear infection preventing him from boarding a plane. It didn’t faze me at all - like the band said, the show must go on.

So imagine my excitement when the Lords announced another full-length US tour for Spring 2019. This tour would be very important for two reasons: first, the first US tour since the release of Pretty in Kink almost a year prior. Second, the live US debut of new Lords of Acid vocalist Marieke “Little Bloody Marie” Bresseleers, whose talent as a vocalist simply cannot be understated. Sultry on some tracks, operatic on others, all with an underlying tone of wickedness, Bresseleers brings her own brand of debauchery to the Lords.

Part of the deal for supporting the crowdfunding campaign was a pass to the Lords of Acid “Backers Only” Facebook group, and in the months leading up to the show, the band members would periodically host live Q&A interviews with fans to get everyone ready for an unforgettable night in each respective city, a nice touch of class.

The rest of the lineup on this tour for the Lords would include DietTrich Thrall on bass (Doyle), Sin Quirin on guitar (Ministry), and Galen Waling on drums (Ludovico Technique, various).

Support for the tour was provided by Gabriel and the Apocalypse, Little Miss Nasty, Genitorturers, and Orgy. Genitorturers are a band I’ve been trying to see live ever since I was old enough to start attending shows, so I was as excited for them as I was for the Lords.

Unlike the previous tour, the Michigan date was booked in Flint instead of Detroit at a newer club called Buick City Event Center. It had seemingly sprung up overnight - at the beginning of the year, shows started appearing online that would be booked there, such as Soulfly and other larger names. Most of the time, going to a show in Flint would indicate a trip to the Machine Shop, which is the best venue in Michigan in my opinion. So not only would I be getting to see the Lords again, I would also be experiencing a new venue.

Along with me on this adventure would be fellow WIDR FM personality DJ Shadowplay, host of The Eleventh Hour on Wednesday nights, along with my friend Austin, a man with low-to-no knowledge of Industrial music or Lords of Acid, but open-minded enough to buy a ticket on a whim and join in. The show was booked for Saturday, March 9th.

The Venue

The actual venue itself was gorgeous, and I will definitely be returning for future shows. Secure, fenced-in parking lots immediately eased my worries about being in an area of Flint that was new to me, and there were already several cars in the lot when we arrived. The setup is interesting - when walking in, the club appears to be a small Buick/auto museum, and it isn’t until walking further in that you get to the nightclub area. The nightclub part is soaked in purple and blue neon lights with an interior decor scheme similar to the aesthetic of the Motor City Casino and Hotel. In other words, very swanky.

In between bands, the hype man / MC of the event would toss out free Buick City Event Center Merchandise to the patrons.

“Who wants to play a game? Raise your hand if you want to play a game!”

As soon as someone raised their hand, he yelled “You win!” and tossed out free shirts and hats. I forget what he said his name was, but he was a great source of entertainment through the night, and kind of made me want HIS job. He also talked about how excited he was to see LOA, since he used to play them all the time when he was a strip club DJ. We had rail the whole time from start to finish, and later on he noticed me still in the same spot and exclaimed, “Damn dude, you’ve been there ALL night!”

Speaking of rail, it was the perfect height, so nobody could be too short for it. The stage is small, but it provided an intimate setting. The size is somewhere between the Machine Shop of Flint and St. Andrews Hall of Detroit.

The sound quality for every act was also on point - most instruments and vocals could be easily distinguished from each other, no problem.

Like many venues, the sides are equipped with VIP tables. Closed circuit monitors adorn the walls which show a clear view of the main stage. These monitors are apparently equipped in VIP rooms throughout the venue, which are available to attendees for a few hundred dollars upgrade.

Not knocking it, but I couldn’t help but wonder why someone would pay extra money for a concert just to be able to watch it from a separate room in the building on a screen. Once the bands busted out the smoke machines, they became practically unwatchable on the monitors, especially with the bass rattling the camera. I CANNOT say what the VIP rooms are like on the inside, but I still have to question who would pay to watch a show like that. Either way, I’ll probably never find out.

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

This Minneapolis-based Industrial/Hard Rock band has been making waves in the underground in the last few years as a wildly powerful onstage spectacle. My friend (and part-time co-host) Chad Thomas Carsten has done interviews with them in the past, and this tour served as the precursor to the release of their new album “Alpha Bionic,” produced in part by fellow Minneapolis musician John Wheeler of MYZERO and Blue Felix. However, fans attending had the opportunity to grab the new album before its release date.

Dressed in the fashion of post-apocalyptic comic book characters, or zombies that became self-aware enough to form a rock band, the band immediately grabbed the attention of the still-arriving crowd as the first performance of the night. Keyboardist Figgles McGee seemingly emerged out of nowhere and immediately started jumping like a madman on a large drum, screaming to the crowd “DON’T BE SCARED! COME UP HERE!”

The crowd heeded his call and began to fill in. When the band launched into their high-octane industrial rock sound, they were joined shortly thereafter by lead singer and band namesake Lindy Gabriel. The chemistry between the band members was apparent, and Lindy seemed to be “commanding” the band like some kind of valkyrie. The members were climbing the amps and being generally crazy onstage. The bassist, Will Reisdorf, noticed my Ministry 2018 tour shirt, gave me a big thumbs up, mouthed “I like your shirt!” and threw me a purple Dunlop pick.

One unexpected song was a cover of Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil, which will be available on the new album, and which DJ Shadowplay got a kick out of.

Overall, it was one of the most entertaining opening sets I’ve seen in recent months, and it’ll be exciting to see what they do next. Lord (no pun intended) knows this tour should gain them plenty of new fans.

Little Miss Nasty

Not a “band” as much as a rock-and-roll burlesque group, Little Miss Nasty was the “wild card” on the lineup. I had an idea of what to expect, but wasn’t sure how it would play in to the rest of the show. Having viewed their performance first-hand, I’ve concluded that this is EXACTLY the kind of entertainment I would expect from a Lords of Acid tour, and wondered why something like this wasn’t on the bill when I saw them the first time.

Four gorgeous women in schoolgirl outfits (and other tantalizing ensembles), accented by G-strings and electric tape, performed several exotic dancing routines to the beats of various hard rock and heavy metal hits, beginning the first block with Korn’s cover of “Another Brick in the Wall.” They would periodically exit the stage for a quick outfit or prop change, so each segment was something different and exciting.

They actually performed two different shows, one before Genitorturers and one before Lords of Acid. During the first show, the crowd was mostly hushed, and I realized that I kept forgetting to blink by what I was seeing.

Towards the end of the first show, one of the women spat beer all over me, then leaned in real close to caress my face, handing me a (mostly) full can of Coors Light. It was one of the greatest moments of my life, and I even got a free beer out of it!

The second set was even more exciting than the first. Since the crowd had warmed up to it, Little Miss Nasty was greeted with wild cheers. The second set involved a large swing bar that was fastened to the stage so that the members could perform suspension routines (not the hook kind), which was even more impressive to see. I kept thinking something bad was gonna happen, but it didn’t, and that made it even better.

It’s difficult to explain in words all the things that I saw them do, and I feel that trying to explain it would be an injustice. I would gladly go and see Little Miss Nasty perform again if I had the opportunity, and would highly recommend it for other people.

I also need to note that I really like the idea of having some kind of performance group in between bands. It gives a nice break in between sets of rocking out really hard, rather than just going full steam ahead. Maybe next time we can have some sword swallowers or something, too.

Genitorturers

Of all the openers on this lineup, I was most excited for Genitorturers. I’ve been trying to see this BDSM-infused Industrial Metal band ever since I was old enough to attend shows on my own, but had missed them every single time. Their stage shows are always ridiculous with all sorts of props and freak show routines, and I was eager to see what they would be bringing to Flint.

Kicking things off with “Revolution,” lead singer Gen Torture graced the crowd dressed like a bondage-clad war combatant complete with a bizarre gas mask. Despite the costumes, the stage show felt a little more stripped back than with Gabriel and the Apocalypse. The focus was mostly on Gen, with the band members performing the grinding metal tunes like a well-oiled war machine.

For the most part, I couldn’t stop headbanging and jumping on the rail, screaming the lyrics to every song. Following Revolution, they launched into “Cum Junkie,” my favorite Genitorturers song.

Gen kept exiting the stage to do a bunch of costume changes. Most notably, for the song “One Who Feeds,” she came out with what appeared to be dragonplate armor with hoses (or tentacles) coming out of her breastplates, some of which ended in dragon heads. She handed one of them to me and someone else in the crowd, and I thought you were supposed to drink something (milk?) out of it. So I tried, but nothing came out. It still LOOKED like we were sucking some mysterious liquid out of them, so I’ve had fun making jokes to friends that I really DID drink milk from a Witch’s Tit at the show.

Here’s a video from the same tour (not in Flint) to illustrate what I’m talking about.

Meanwhile, a woman on stilts dressed as a demoness with electric tape over her nipples and a big, floppy dildo hanging out kept making appearances on stage. The first appearance of this monstrosity was appropriately for the song “Devil in a Bottle,” during which Gen produced a bottle of whiskey and dumped it all over the demon dildo. Later, she would “amputate” that same dildo, neutering the demoness. (I can’t believe I just wrote that in a sentence). Whoever was underneath the costume made several bizarre wardrobe changes as well.

In the midst of all this craziness, I happened to look over to the right side of the VIP area, and who do I see but Praga Khan himself? He was standing with another fan enjoying the show, so I waved at him. They both grinned and waved back, and it was kind of a surreal “this guy is actually REAL” moment.

Genitorturers finished out their set with “Sin City” to enthusiastic roars from the crowd, and a heavy feeling of elation on my end for finally crossing this band off my list.

Meeting Praga Khan

After Genitorturers ended, Praga and the fan he was with both pointed at me and gestured for me to go to the VIP area entrance. I immediately jumped off the rail (the only time I left for anything that night), and he greeted me with a handshake and a hug. He said he saw me rocking out during Genitorturers and thanked me for doing so, as they deserve it. We talked for a bit and I thanked him for bringing the Lords back to Michigan. While I don’t use the term “sweet” very much for anything, that’s exactly what he was - a very sweet and warm man. It was definitely one of my best experiences meeting a musician I admire. The fan he was with was kind enough to take a picture of us, which I’m very grateful for. I just wish I could remember what all we talked about exactly, because I was so geeked that this was actually happening.

Orgy

Orgy clearly had the most level of excitement from the crowd. Once the band members starting filing onto the stage, they were greeted by cheers that might lead one to believe Orgy was actually headlining. And why shouldn’t people be excited? Several people I’ve talked to cite Orgy as some of their earliest influences into heavy music, as well as an early gateway into the world of Industrial music. It might come as a surprise to some, but I’m actually not as familiar with them as I should be, besides the singles and the “Talk Sick” EP. Therefore, I decided to approach this one with a fresh, open mind.

I’m happy to report that seeing Orgy live made me appreciate them quite a bit more than I did before; unfortunately, the set was marred by a couple problems.

It’s not that the towering frontman Jay Gordon and the rest of the Orgy gang weren’t giving it their all - quite the contrary, they were SELLING it. The band has been performing since the 90’s, and it shows, as they’ve had plenty of time to perfect their blend of industrial and rock sound. For the most part, the band appeared to be having quite a bit of fun onstage together. However, like I said, there were several technical difficulties throughout. Jay Gordon’s microphone was repeatedly cutting out, or would be way too quiet. I lost track of how many times he had to change microphones, and not a single one of them seemed to be working very well. He did appear a bit frustrated at moments, but kept his cool while the rest of the band played on.

Therefore, many parts came off as instrumental versions to the songs, or were performed only with backing vocals.

It was also sometimes difficult to figure out which song they were on, since there were so many microphone difficulties. For example, I’ve been checking www.setlist.fm to make sure I have my facts straight, and apparently they’ve been playing a cover of “Smack My Bitch Up” by The Prodigy on this tour. That’s nice of them to do, since The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint committed suicide recently, but I don’t remember hearing that played at ALL, because I would have recognized it right away, and neither did DJ Shadowplay. Maybe they played it and we just didn’t realize it at the time because of the difficulties, or maybe we just weren’t paying enough attention.

There was also one part where they started to play a song, but then immediately cut it off and decided to play something else, so that could have been it too.

All that being said, it was still a very enjoyable set. Their high-energy music is more than infectious, and I was bobbing my head and throwing horns the whole time. The crowd was undeterred, screaming the lyrics along with Jay, even when he wasn’t singing. There were even moments when Jay asked the fans in the crowd what they wanted to hear, which is always more than a classy touch. Ironically, he asked my friend Austin first, who was clueless. Again, Austin is a man with low-to-no knowledge of Industrial music, or what any of this was all about. So Austin turns to ME, but by this time Jay had already asked a different fan. (Please note this for later in the story during Lords of Acid).

All technical difficulties seemed to subside towards the end of the show, during which Jay Gordon walked into the audience to perform their well-known cover of “Blue Monday” by New Order. Jay was handing the (now working) mic to fans to sing with, as well as posing for photos and Snapchat stories without missing a beat! He proved that he is a kickass frontman, even with a broken leg!

(Later on after the show, I saw Jay in the parking lot. I yelled across the way, asking him how he broke his leg, and he responded with "Man, I wish I had a cool story to tell, but I broke it while moving!”)

One of the best parts of the set was when the members of Gabriel and the Apocalypse gathered on the right side of the VIP area and were rocking out, screaming the lyrics, and overall having a blast together watching Orgy. When Jay exited the stage for Blue Monday, they stormed the stage, looking like they were having the time of their lives.

I would be happy to see them live again, as they have more then proven that they ARE great live, even in spite of the difficulties. The little touches I noted also show an ounce of class as performers.

This set, along with the following extra show by Little Miss Nasty, got the crowd all heated up for Lords of Acid. I couldn’t help but notice that I was shaking with anticipation.

Lords of Acid

Frankly, there’s so much that needs to be said about this set that I might accidentally forget something. A LOT happened on that stage.

Once the lights finally dimmed for the headlining slot, a new wave of energy could be felt surging through the crowd. Praga, Sin, Galen, and DieTrich all joined the stage, each garnering louder cheers than before, with Marieke joining last. For just one second, it felt like the entire Pretty in Kink crowdfunding campaign, the 2017 tour, and the album release had all led up to this exact moment in time - the one just before the Lords started playing. It felt unreal.

And then they actually started playing.

Unlike the 2017 tour, which mostly featured tracks from the 1994 “Voodoo-U” album, this one had a greater variety in addition to the new “Pretty in Kink” material. The band started off with two tracks from the 2001 release “Farstucker,” opening with “Sex Bomb” and going into “Scrood Bi U.”

Perhaps Sex Bomb was the best possible track to open with - it exemplifies most of what the group is all about with buzzing metal guitars, sexual samples, danceable beats, soaring atmospheric synthesizers, and an undeniably in-your-face punk rock attitude. Since the sound is so eclectic, it was difficult to decide whether to jump, dance, headbang, or throw metal horns. I settled on alternating between the choices, but Austin said he didn’t see me stop headbanging the whole time.

For new tracks from Pretty in Kink, the setlist included “Break Me,” “Sex Cam Girl,” and “My Demons are Inside.” Although I would definitely say these are three choice cuts from the album, I was a little surprised that the set only included three new songs. I would have liked to have heard a bit more, but I understand how that might be difficult when considering their extensive catalogue.

That said, the rest of the setlist had quite a few surprises in store. I wasn’t expecting to hear classic songs like “Out Comes the Evil” from Voodoo-U, which was absent last time; or “You Belong to Me” from the album Our Little Secret, my favorite Lords album.

Praga’s wife Inja van Gastel even made a few appearances during the show. Donning a blonde wig, she first appeared for the song “Worship the Lords,” carrying a giant double-sided cue card for the crowd to chant that read “Praise the Lords” and “Fuck the Rest.” It was a really cool touch to an already spectacular show.

Marieke surpassed all expectations as a performer and vocalist. Anyone who may have been concerned about how she would do with the old-school Acid tracks should have no reason to worry - the old material sounded amazing through her, and the new material sounded even better! It’s always a testament of talent when a vocalist can take tracks and put their own spin on it, and that’s exactly what happened here.

There were a few times where I didn’t even realize they changed songs because I was so entranced. I remember thinking that this must be what a siren song is like, because I’m not entirely convinced she’s completely human.

It was also very refreshing to have Praga back behind the decks. As previously mentioned, he had to miss several dates of the 2017 tour, and it was nice to finally be able to see the mastermind himself perform. It’s clear that decades of being the “Lord” haven’t worn on him at all, and he, along with the rest of the band, were clearly enjoying themselves with big grins abound. For a couple tracks, I even air-keyboarded(?) the notes back to him, and he did them back to me, most notably during the intro for “Drink My Honey.”

Will from GATA wasn’t the only one who noticed my Ministry shirt. Sin Quirin himself noticed it right away and gave me a big thumbs up, later on giving me a pick as well. Incidentally, I actually met Sin at that same show I got the shirt from (Ministry at 20 Monroe Live in Grand Rapids, 2018).

Both Sin and DieTrich are, in a word, cool. The way they carry themselves onstage just screams pure rock-and-roll in a way that can’t be articulated unless seeing them live.

Galen’s militant pounding of the drums was also a sight to behold. I am always impressed with club-style drumming on an actual kit, rather than having them all pre-programmed. The multifaceted drummer proved that his industrial metal drumming is flexible across many styles.

The show was also filled with several laugh-out-loud moments, mostly thanks to Sin. He kept sticking his guitar neck out into the crowd, and different girls took turns licking it. Cheers of “Go, Sin!” were barely audible over all the noise.

During the song “Pussy,” in which female members of the audience are invited onstage to dance, bump, and grind (among other things) with the band, one lady was shaking her booty at Sin, and he took a pick and stuck it in her panties! (I don’t think she noticed though, because it fell out and she didn’t even pick it up).

Obviously for the song “Rubber Doll,” a blowup doll was actually brought out and sent crowd surfing. The girl who was standing next to me got ahold of her, propping her in front of the rail so that she could watch the show too.

Another thing that happened to my friend Austin was that Marieke got really close to his face, and he FLINCHED. He jumped back, and it could be the imagination of myself and DJ Shadowplay, but we thought she looked a tad disappointed. I don’t know if she was actually gonna kiss him, which is what it looked like, but we’ll never know now either way.

Regardless, I will never let him live that down. The irony of the situation is what’s funny about it - out of all the people in the club who she could have picked to get in the space of, she picked the one dude who doesn’t have a CLUE what this is all about, and arguably the most “normal” guy in the audience.

The show went on and wrapped up with a bunch of classics. The blistering set came to its conclusion with the classic tracks “I Sit on Acid” and “Let’s Get High,” with the band returning for an encore of “The Crablouse.”

Afterwards

We all needed a breather after the sensory overload that we had just witnessed first-hand. I caught a torn half-setlist, DJ Shadowplay caught a full one that drifted over the crowd like a paper airplane, and Austin was sporting the new hat he had caught.

A sizeable crowd had gathered over near the merch booth, and it was because the band had already come out to meet the fans. DieTrich actually walked up to US, and he signed DJ Shadowplay’s setlist. We thanked him for the awesome performance and for being there. I feel really bad though, because for some reason we forgot to ask him for a photo. At this point, I can’t remember what distracted us, but I chalk it up to still trying to process what just happened that we weren’t thinking clearly. I felt like I was rolling while completely sober.

Marieke passed us on her way elsewhere, enough time for a quick hug and a thank you. Meanwhile, there must have been a rush to buy Praga drinks, because everyone seemed to be handing him one. Shadowplay was able to meet Praga for a photo as well.

We also met some of the guys from GATA, and they signed a new CD. They told us to go bang on the tour bus and yell “HEY YOU FUCKING BITCHES! SIGN MY CD!” and they would do it, but we didn’t end up doing that.

I also saw Gen standing at the Genitorturers booth. I was equally excited about meeting her as I was Praga, and I kind of nervously approached, but she was a very sweet woman. She was surprisingly soft-spoken compared to her onstage presence, but very kind. She apologized for not having a whole lot of merch available (which didn’t appear to be the case), but I had no problem with that. I bought a patch and plan to stitch it onto a pair of worn Tripp shorts soon.

After a while, it became apparent that we had spent a little too much time hanging out after the show and needed to jet. None of us accounted for the daylight savings time change, so we didn’t actually get home until about 6:30 in the morning. But it was WELL worth the trip.

Closing Thoughts

Well, what more can you say? Lords of Acid were twice as good as the last time I saw them, all of the opening bands kicked ass and gained new fans along the way, and I was able to experience a new venue. Half-naked chicks, dragonplate boob tubes, acid-soaked electronics, and a monstrous amount of strobes and fog machines - it all comes together in an extravaganza that could only be described as a Lords of Acid show.

Beyond the show itself, when considering that I got to meet some of my favorite artists, I can only conclude that the Flint stop of the “Pretty in Kink” tour was one of the best damn nights of my LIFE! I would like to personally thank the Lords, the bands, the crew, the venue, and all other associates who had a hand in making this happen.

In conclusion, Praise the Lords. Fuck the Rest.

PS: As for Austin, he was glad he went. He discovered a whole new world of music he was previously unaware of, and I find his open-mindedness inspiring.

PPS: I feel really sorry for the guy in the Crystal Method shirt who didn’t know they were doing a free show in Grand Rapids that night. Talk about bad timing.

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