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Front line Assembly - Well worth the wait!!!
Pioneer's of Industrial show why they are so influential
Front line Assembly ***** have finally made it over to the UK as part of their European tour, and tonight they played at the hot and sweaty Highbury Garage. Bill Leeb most be ecstatic to have his longtime friend Rhys Fulber back in the band, and touring with them for the first time in ten years. Ok it is not the tour we all really wanted which Front line Assembly did in America with Skinny Puppy but they have brought two great support bands with them.
The band actually have played the venue before, including the last time they were over a couple of years ago. And I am one of their fans that has been waiting with baited breath to play again, for me its going to be an Electronic week and a half which started off with a visit to the London Electrowerkz (Slimelights) to see Hocico which Front line Assembly played with recently in Mexico.
I was just hoping this show was not going to be the same smoke filled affair. I think the reason Front line Assembly have had such longevity is because they know how to evolve with the times with all about being slightly different. We all have our favourites, mine would be the last offering 'Echogenetic' the classic 'Caustic Grip' and the wild card 'Millenium'.
The anticipation could be cut with a knife as Front line Assembly take to the stage, and the strobes go crazy as 'The Chair' intro goes around the venue, they burst into 'Final Impact' which is a metronome of sound. This starts things off really well, and as Bill Leeb's haunting vocals come in you know this is going to be a great note. Tonight's setlist goes on from their and is totally faultless... they give the fans what they want.
For 'Final Impact' Bill wears a really creepy cool mask, which is now going in with the bands imagery really well and I think will be used loads in the future. One thing I didn't like to much was, that the keyboard are place so high again... so for most of the performance you can't even see Rhys. This for me is a little let down, because I always like to see what is going on... on stage.
They take things back to the 1995 album 'Hard Wired' and the Electronic futuristic 'Neologic Spasm', which is so dark and twisted and you can hear that Bill is still living his Skinny Puppy past. This is a track I was really happy to hear down live, and shows off the connection with the band members really well. The speed up the pace a little with the first of the newish tracks of 'Echogenetic'... 'Killing Grounds' a track that would be perfect for a Sci-Fi film.
This track would go down well in many mainstream Dance clubs, or Raves and shows they can really cross boundaries and are still as interesting as when they started. 'Blood' also off the last album is a little more dirty and has a vibe that is like a cross between Nine inch Nails and Stabbing Westward with a hint of Zeromancer's later work. This leads on to one of the moments we have been waiting for 'Resist' from 'Caustic Grip', this is one of the bands most popular classic songs.
The stage get's a little darker, but least the smoke is not really coming out and the bands screen that is projecting their imagery looks really cool and grabs your attention away from the darkness. Their are some really interesting projection, so it really sets the scene for tonights performance. The show then goes cosmic with even more imagery and the pace goes even faster for the very evil 'Plasticity'. This track has some very cool sequences, this is a club track like 'Deadened' which just launches off like a space shuttle.
I really love 'Echogenetic' so for me it's nice that their is a quite a few songs in tonight's set from it. Like 'Exhale' which is really driven and one of the tracks that has really grown on me over time. Sometimes the tracks you hear first are not the ones you end up liking the most, and other songs hit you at a later date... like this one. They take things back to the 'Implode' album in 1999 for a long lost gem 'Prophecy''... which was a single off the album.
But I have not heard in quite a while, It is really creepy and dark... but that's how I like my music. The lifts on this are brilliant, and works well with the lights. They end the main set with another classic off the 'Caustic Grip' album 'Mental Distortion', which is a really great climax song. But it's 'Ghosts' that is the biggest highlight of their set, it is so magical and the atmosphere is really special. They could have played this over and over for an hour and I would not have been bored.
Ending the set with classic 'Mindphaser' you know you have seen Veterans in their game, that have not lost a thing. You really can't go wrong with a little bit of 90's Industrial and Bill Leeb Front line Assembly are one of the pioneers that really need to be respected. I would like to see them play maybe a better venue in London for the lights like the Islington o2 Academy in Angel where they played before and would get the full benefit of their light show and sound... but I have to say this was a good solid performance by a band in my eyes can do no wrong.
Front line Assembly - Setlist
The Chair (Intro)
Review by Dan Devour and Photo's by Dan Devour and Dezadie
Check Out! the Video for 'Mindphaser (12" Mix)' Below...