Before the gates opened to Bristol’s Marble Factory, there was already a fairly long queue forming, which was great to see considering Rabia Sorda were the first band of the evening and deserved to play to more than just a half empty venue.
Having entered the venue slightly later than arranged in order for Jo to interview Combichrist frontman Andy Laplegua – you can read the full interview here – just as we wrapped things up we heard Rabia Sorda [4/5] begin their set with their new up-tempo, electro-punk tinged single ‘King of the Wasteland’. I’m so glad we caught at least some of the opening song as it’s so full of energy and is the perfect way to kick their set immediately into gear. The audience were lapping it up from the get-go and even those who were new to Erk Aicrag and co’s band, or only knew Erk’s work as part of Harsh Elektro duo Hocico, were showing their appreciation for their material and high-energy performance. I’m used to seeing these guys playing in front of a fairly large crowd as main support so it was great to see the venue already at least two-thirds full during their set, despite being the first band of the evening.
It was an impressive opener and I hope that, given the positive reaction here in Bristol, Rabia Sorda will visit the South West on another tour, possibly as main support, some time in the near future.
Filter [2.5/5] were up next and although I remember some of their earlier material, especially those that appeared on soundtracks, such as ‘(You Can’t) Trip Like I Do’ (Spawn) and ‘Jurassitol’ (The Crow: City Of Angels), I can’t pretend that I’m overly familiar with a vast amount of their back catalogue. Before the gig I did manage to remember a number of their more popular songs and the majority of them, including new tracks from their latest album ‘Crazy Eyes’, were well-received by the crowd.
Despite an ever-changing line-up, the band members had plenty of individual experience to showcase great stage presence and involved the crowd on a number of occasions, though musically it did feel as though the foot was slightly off the gas a little when compared to openers Rabia Sorda. For this reason I felt that the set fell into a lull at times and left me feeling the need for a little more liveliness from the band in order to to fire up the crowd.
Suddenly I found myself paying more attention to the lengthy commentaries by notoriously outspoken vocalist Richard Patrick between some of the songs. It was a very jarring experience, given the tone of the comments, and although relevant to the material performed I was appalled by the vitriol with which he seemed to be spouting his opinions. They were extremely political and felt totally out of place at the gig, in front of a crowd who until this point were clearly out to have a good time. It really killed the mood for me, especially when words became slanderous and derogatory towards, without naming them, entire nations of people. I found the bitter, hate-filled remarks to be extremely distasteful and left me uncomfortable that Richard chose stage time to publicly air his hardline and somewhat controversial views.
Technically the performance was almost spot on and without the tone dropping between songs they were impressive. Sadly, I couldn’t shake the bad taste Richard had left, so it did impact on my overall enjoyment of their set.
With the awkwardness out of the way, the time was finally drawing near to get into full-on party mode. From the recent reactions to the European Tour so far it’s been said that Combichrist [5/5] are really enjoying themselves on the road, letting loose and encouraging the crowd to share in their energetic, crazy world every evening of the tour so far. There was definitely an expectant atmosphere leading up to the band taking to the stage.
The intro music kicked in, but surprisingly (to me at least) it was very dark, earthy and tribal. I would compare it to something that Wardruna would have written. It was incredibly atmospheric, especially with the double drumming creating such a massive sound, which led perfectly into the opening song ‘Slakt’, sending the crowd into a frenzy – a fantastic opener!
Every single member of the band was full of energy as they powered their way through ‘Skullcrusher’, ‘Never Surrender’, ‘No Redemption’ and ‘Zombie Fistfight’ to name just a few. The flow of the set was simply perfection. Andy and co. had certainly put a lot into crafting a setlist with all the elements required to keep the crowd (and themselves) in a perpetual state of excitement – it seemed as though just about everyone in the venue that night were having the time of their life, myself included.
Many favourites from their earlier Electronic era, such as ‘Blut Royal’, ‘Get Your Body Beat’ and ‘Fuck That Shit’ were performed, before the main set ended on new single/video track ‘My Life My Rules’, which culminated in a mass sing-along with the crowd.
For the encore, the fans were treated to ‘Maggots At The Party’ and ended on crowd-pleaser ‘What the Fuck Is Wrong With You?’. Again, just about everyone was chanting along with the chorus and it felt like the party atmosphere could and would have gone on all night if it was at all possible. I certainly didn’t want it to end, it was an absolute blinder of a show and the guys put everything they had into it, Andy commenting on how much they enjoyed themselves and appreciated the passion from the crowd.