22nd February 2020
Aesthetic Perfection & Support: Jadu and Biomechanimal
An unusual small and intimate gig from this big hitter of the scene, only 300 tickets were up for grabs. It has just been announced that AESTHETIC PERFECTION are due to return to London on a bigger stage as a headliner at Islington O2 Academy in May 2020. However, the small venue, the closeness of the high-energy bands to the crowd made for a very special evening - sometimes the smaller venues are the ones to remember.
Started in 2013, and self-releasing the self-titled debut album in 2015, BIOMECHANIMAL has been a staple of the underground London Alternative and Industrial scene for about five years. If you have seen GRENDEL, THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE, COVENANT, FADERHEAD, or any of the Industrial big hitters in London, BIOMECHANIMAL was probably on the bill at some point in time. With an aggressive, physical live show, they have often been touted as “one to watch” of the UK dark electronic scene. After teasing new material for some time, the BIOMECHANIMAL of 2020 is the strongest the band has ever been. With frontman and producer Matt Simpson leading the charge, supported by Keith Kamholz (MECHANICAL VEIN) of electro-axe fame, and Lex Liebert on live guitars, the band has numerous releases planned to drop this year, starting with a single at the end of February. Drawing from a diverse pool of genres, BIOMECHANIMAL’s eclectic sound is dangerously catchy, and by ‘Granfalloon’, you will be raising your fist with them too. https://www.facebook.com/BiomechanimalMain / https://biomechanimal.bandcamp.com
Music & Performance
The preparation from this writer and photographer was abysmal for this trip - I had over 500 miles round trip to attend this gig and decided to pack light. I neglected to pack my favourite gig lens, and even arrived late at the venue - not good. However, I did manage to get straight to the front, and kept my place within the high-energy crowd throughout! BIOMECHANIMAL arrived on stage shortly after, the first thing I noticed was Lex, complete with guitar being helped onto the stage - she had her leg in a pot having suffered some kind of an injury - presumably a broken bone. Amazingly she managed throughout, huge kudos! The stage was very, very crowded with little room for a four-piece band to move. Having two touring bands, AESTHETIC PERFECTION and JADU’s kit on stage - along with BIOMECHANIMALS drum kit and mixing desk - meant it was very, very tight for the band to move.
Thankfully as the gig progressed the table was removed, no easy feat as it had to be moved from the front of the stage, into the crowd - a fantastic crew managed this with little or no fuss. BIOMECHANIMAL seemed to take this in their stride - as they should they are seasoned gig performers. This allowed for more of the usual high energy head banging and stomps from Matt and Keith - I’m sure Lex and Kekko on guitars and drums were also having fun, but that side of the stage was barely lit and I could just about make out that they were there, but not particularly anything else! There is nothing better than watching a high-energy band like BIOMECHANIMAL, they always provide a great aural assault, but the pure passion they force through their bodies adds so much more. Each stomp by Keith was audible on the small stage floor, even above the level of sounds blasting through the loudspeakers - this is what makes live music.
If the band can get it right, as BIOMECHANIMAL do, it is an assault on the senses. As they blast through their set I was engrossed, only seven songs; far too short! However, I am now fully warmed up to continue the experience next month when they play at Elektro Vox music festival at Slimelight, London. If you have not had the experience of BIOMECHANIMAL…. You have not experienced home-grown London industrial music - fantastic.
01. Haksal (학살)
02. Elder Gods
04. Waves (Sinister Souls remix)
05. Shattered Sun
07. Enter the Animal
Total: 7.8 / 10
A highly original approach to dark electronic music, heavily themed with WW2 sounds and imagery JADU, with her band, provides something different to the scene. Her live band is Mats Björke (keys), Valery Heer (drums) and Ludvig Larsson (guitar). Along with AESTHETIC PERFECTION she is currently on the LINDEMANN tour, catch them all on this European / Russian tour, only a few dates left. https://www.facebook.com/Jaduberlin
Music & Performance
I have to start by saying I had not listened to JADU before this gig (“bad reviewer”) but I am starting to believe at times this is a healthy approach to seeing unknown live bands. I have lately been so caught out, so surprised by not preparing, by not listening beforehand, and JADU provided this surprise and so much more. I was genuinely blown away by this gig. The band assembled in stage, it is not the first band I have seen in military themed uniform on stage, but the guys pulled it off well. With various props scattered around the stage, all having some kind of military theme (drums, mannequins dressed in uniform and rifles strapped to mic stands) matched to the intro music of WW2 style and feel, my senses were awakened. When the rather delightful Jadu Laciny arrives on stage, in a full leather boiler suit, the crowd were obviously feeling the same as me - a face full of wow!
After BIOMECHANIMAL’s hyper activity on stage this band were much more “steady”, JADU is about emotion, atmosphere and gives you a very different experience. Yes, Jadu Laciny can rock, and she does, she is active on stage, not at all static - much can be said for the guys too. However, there was a certain quality whilst they were on stage that did not need the antics. JADU is a very talented lady, boy she can sing, but she also play guitar and at one stage plays the military style drum which had been used as a stage prop - she looked amazing playing the drum too. The use of a megaphone is also added to her list of talents, working well mixed into the layered sounds encompassing modern electronics and WW2 themes. A very short set, I could have stood there mesmerised all evening. A band I need to see again, and I will be delving into their back catalogue.
01. Feldzug Berlin
04. Auf Drei
06. Sirenen & Wagner
Total: 8 / 10
AESTHETIC PERFECTION is an Industrial Pop project made up of Los Angeles born, Austrian based producer Daniel Graves, New York drummer Joe Letz, and Swedish multi-instrumentalist Elliott Berlin. Over a career spanning nearly 20 years, six full-length albums, and numerous singles and music videos, Graves and crew have reinvented dark Electro, combining Industrial, Pop, Goth, and everything in between. AESTHETIC PERFECTION defies definitions in a world that demands them. http://aesthetic-perfection.net / https://www.facebook.com/aestheticperfection
Music & Performance
The main course for the evening, AESTHETIC PERFECTION always provide a rather extravagant experience when live! Of course, they did not disappoint! The similar stage hyper-activity of BIOMECHANIMAL returned, but AESTHETIC PERFECTION style! All three band members give the impression they are completely bonkers - as the set powers through Elliott spends nearly as much time off the stage, in the crowd, complete with guitar and even at one point a set of keyboards. Joe has his time playing in amongst the crowd as they hold a drum for him to play from the stage - he has a fascination with playing “wet drums” (water poured on the drum skin) and drenches the front few rows of the crowd. Daniel as always commands attention, one of those rare performers that demands your focus - I am guessing this is why the other two guys compete for the crowds attention so lavishly!
The standard of these guys as a live band is exemplary, as close to perfection as humanly possible. They aim to give the best gig you have seen, and every time I have seen them, including this time they never, ever disappoint. It is not just the visual antics the standard of playing is fantastic - Elliot is an amazing talent being able to be musically exuberant in everything he plays; I loved to see him playing the Theremin, an unusual choice of instrument not often played nowadays. Joe is a standout talent in the drumming world; I could watch and listen to him solo all evening. As for Daniel, well - what can I say?! He has the lung power of a Satan induced hurricane as he snarls and powers his unique vocals. Outstanding. I have said this before, I am sure I will say it again; AESTHETIC PERFECTION set the bar high in the Industrial world. If you have lived under a stone for the last couple of decades and are not familiar with their studio or live sound you must check them out.
As for this small intimate set, if you missed it you missed something very extraordinary - there may have been a repeat performance in London the next night, in a bigger venue, but I was super pleased to have been at Kolis that evening. Truly a fantastic performance.
01. Gods & Gold
04. Rhythm + Control
06. Never Enough
07. Dark Ages
08. If I Die
09. The Siren
10. The Dark Half
11. All Beauty Destroyed
12. Love Like Lies
13. Spit It Out
Total: 8.3 / 10
All Pictures by Kevin Stevens