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Alien Ant FarmMatrix, Bochum, Germany
21st February 2018
Alien Ant Farm & Special guests: Local H, Soil

This roster is certainly for those people with good memories. It’s been a while since the main act ALIEN ANT FARM has made some waves. In fact, for most people this goes back to the turn of the millennium, when the band covered MICHAEL JACKSON’s ‘Smooth Criminal’, and landed a massive hit during the legendary time when there was still music on MTV. All reminiscence aside, the band teamed up with two excellent support acts, which made it more than worthwhile to check them out.

Local H

The first band on this evening’s roster were the Alternative Rock duo LOCAL H from Chicago, Illinois. Yep, you read that correctly: Duo, like in “two people”. In fact, LOCAL H were the pioneers of the ever growing popular two-person band setup (Hello ROYAL BLOOD…). Front man Scott Lucas has singing, playing guitar, and - through an extra pick-up - also playing bass guitar on his duty list, while drummer Ryan Harding takes care of the rhythm section. They released eight studio albums since their inception back 1990. Their latest release is called ‘Hey, Killer’ and was released in 2015. They have also released a live album titled ‘Live in Europe’ just this month. /

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Music & Performance
At 8pm sharp, the band entered the relatively narrow stage of the Bochum industrial dungeon, called “Matrix”. The long room was unfortunately still quite empty. LOCAL H did not let this discourage themselves, and went full throttle, with a huge feedback orgy in the beginning of their opener with the strange title ‘Jesus Christ! Did you see the Size of That Sperm Whale’? It is always fascinating to see the incredible amount of energy two people can unleash on the stage. In their studio productions, LOCAL H sound so much more polished, which emphasizes their excellent song writing skills. However, in a live situation LOCAL H are so much more intense and raw that you invariably fear your head might be blown off.

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The band’s 30-minute gig flew by very quickly, and I just hope for the band to get the chance to play many more tours with popular acts, as more people should definitively check out their show.

01. Jesus Christ! Did you see the Size of That Sperm Whale?
02. That’s What They all Say
03. The Misantrophe
04. City of Knives
05. Eddie Vedder
06. Bound for the Floor
07. High-Fiving MF

Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 7 / 10

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Next up were SOIL, a hard rock/ metal band also from Chicago, Illinois. They formed back in 1997 and have released a best-of album titled ‘Scream: The Essentials’ in September last year. /

Music & Performance
At around 8:50pm, SOIL entered the stage and started off with ‘Breaking Me Down’, a track from their debut album ‘Scars’. The band immediately won over the audience with their version of neck-breaking, desert-inspired music of heavy rock.

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Vocalist Ryan McCombs graciously accepted rounds of Jägermeisters that were handed to him from enthusiastic fans. The instrumental faction also did not disappoint, as bass, guitar, and drums perfectly worked in unison to deliver the musical foundation for Ryan’s impressive vocal style. A nice touch was the cover song ‘Black Betty’, which received a compelling heavy makeover by the band. Before the last song, singer Ryan photo-bombed a couple of selfies by walking into the crowd, and he delivered the last song ‘Halo’ singing from the middle of the mosh pit, which earned him once again a couple of shots and enthusiastic fan reactions. It was really a pity that this gig ended after 45 minutes, as SOIL just seemed to get started.  

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01. Intro
02. Breaking Me Down
03. Need to Feel
04. The Hate Song
05. Redefine
06. Pride
07. Black 7
08. Black Betty (Lead Belly cover)
09. Unreal
10. Halo

Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8 / 10

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Alien Ant Farm

The roots of the punk pop band ALIEN ANT FARM reach back into the year 1996. In 1999 the band released their first album ironically titled ‘Greatest Hits’, which also contained the first cover version of MICHAEL JACKSON’s ‘Smooth Criminal’, landing them a worldwide smash hit. For more about the band go to /

Music & Performance
At 10pm, ALIEN ANT FARM entered the stage to play the song ‘Bad Morning’ from their 2006 album ‘Up in the Attic’. Singer Dryden Mitchell then dedicated his next song to his three-year-old kid, whose birthday it was.

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The quartet delivered a solid performance and they played a good selection of their song history. However, something felt a bit off with ALIEN ANT FARM’s performance, and if it was only the slight lack of interaction with the limited available audience. So after an hour of playtime, the band played two encores with their uber hit ‘Smooth Criminal’ at the very end. The fact that a small venue such as the Matrix was only half full, must be pretty sobering for a band that sold five million records in the past. Thus, let’s hope that ALIEN ANT FARM will be able to re-connect with their inner creativity and energy, as the band in its current state will probably not generate many new fans.

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01. Bad Morning
02. Forgive & Forget
03. Movies
04. What I Feel Is Mine
05. These Days
06. Lord Knows
07. Never Meant
08. Attitude
09. Glow
10. Courage
11. Simpatico
12. Wish
13. Sticks and Stones
14. Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson cover)

Music: 6
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 6.5 / 10

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All Pictures by Markus Felix

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