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BLADSC 6142 DN low light 53Electrowerkz, London, UK
24th July 2021
Inertia - “Strange Daze Tour” - Support: Danse Society, Black Light Ascension, The Frixion

This tour was the first brave tour (within our scene) after the UK’s so called Freedom Day after Covid restrictions were lifted. I can only imagine the effort put in by all concerned, not knowing whether the tour would happen or not. I tip my hat to everybody that made this tour happen, very brave indeed. The tour has several dates, and I hope it gathers momentum to fully reward the effort. Also, a special mention to Electrowerkz, the home of the legendary Slimelight, their first tour event after not only Covid, but also the sad death of one of the founders. Rip Mak.


The Frixion

A great band that deserves more recognition out there, check them out if you are unfamiliar and into melodic Electro. Their latest single is out now, ‘We Should be Dancing’, and of course their latest album, ‘To Hell and Back’, is available from their Bandcamp. Gene Serene is the lyricist and provides vocals, she has worked with the likes of S’EXPRESS, CHRIS LAKE and CALVERTRON. Lloyd Price provides keyboards, programming and production. He was previously a member of MASSIVE EGO and had a solo project called POLEMIC. His skills have been used by STEREO IN SOLO and TERMINATRYX. https://thefrixion.bandcamp.com / https://www.facebook.com/TheFrixion

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Music & Performance
There seemed to be a problem with the band’s sound check this evening, and perhaps a little rustiness in staff organisation at Electrowerkz. THE FRIXION eventually arrived on stage, some 45 minutes later than planned. But they were definitely worth the wait. I had caught up with this band only last year hearing ‘Cry, Cry, Cry’ with Roi Robertson of MECHANICAL CABARET, and had a few rushed listening of their latest album prior to the gig. They opened with the single ‘To Hell and Back’, a track I suspect is very personal to them both. It’s a fantastic mix of powerful meaning, presented in an upbeat, up-tempo, positive manner - a great choice of opener. Having said that, it seems this band have a choice of such tracks, as they continue through their set. THE FRIXION seem to have a knack of catchy instantly appealing melodies hiding deep, personal meaning in the lyrics and general feeling. Gene has a fantastic live appeal, visually and her vocals are sublime - Lloyd manages to capture the key feel of the studio production, I loved the overall sound.

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Great visuals too, the best of the evening - a great selection of cold projected images. It’s worth mentioning they also had the best attendance in the crowd for the evening. My first time seeing THE FRIXION play live - I’ll certainly keep a watch for them playing live again. Highly recommended.

Setlist
01 To Hell and Back
02. I Cannot Play These Games
03. From Dusk til Dawn
04. We Should be Dancing
05. Collapse in Slow Motion
06. Deceive a Believer

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Light: 6.5
Sound: 8.5
Total: 8.3 / 10

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Black Light Ascension

Andrew Trail and Hunter Barr teamed up around eleven years ago for their gritty paranoia ridden Industrial Post Punk grooves. Now with four albums behind them they are constantly pushing boundaries in written content and musical styles. But they still manage to keep the main ingredients to allow an instantly recognisable overall sound - chunky, angular guitar riffs combined with powering electronics and a mix of clear, concise (and at times) growling vocals. Check out their latest album ‘Flesh Gods’. https://blacklightascension.bandcamp.com / https://www.facebook.com/blacklightascension

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Music & Performance
I’ve only seen BLA play live once before, I remembered them being pretty impressive and was looking forward to this evening to catch up with them again. They arrived on stage to ‘Dark Angels’ a firm favourite of mine, what an opener! Their dystopian, twisted sounds fill the hallowed grounds of Electrowerkz - this is going to be a good gig! Andrew is in fine form, his vocals are clear, cutting and powerful - and wow! Those synth sounds echoing! Wonderful! They blast through the track, both guys fully committed, Andrew not lasting long with his flowing locks tied up, guitar in hand his distinctive crop of hair flopping around his face - the energy is truly electric! They continue through the set with a mix covering all four albums, documenting their history perfectly.

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With thoughts in my mind of their truly stunning interpretation of Post Punk melodies, difficult to categorise - perhaps a stab would be the ancestral offspring of long-gone breeding projects of JOY DIVISION / KILLING JOKE / JOHN FOXX. Mental note to myself; ensure you see BLACK LIGHT ASCENSION more often! Fantastic.

Setlist
01. Dark Angels
02. Night Came In
03. Journey
04. Melancholia
05. Black Moon
06. Reaper Man
07. Jack In / Burn Out

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Light: 6.5
Sound: 8.5
Total: 8.3 / 10

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Danse Society

Over forty years ago the DANSE SOCIETY lads from Barnsley appeared, as if by magic. They fitted into the times perfectly with their post punk gothic sounds and appeared on the same bill as KILLING JOKE, BAUHAUS and THE CURE - along with many others. The band has had a turbulent existence, even including legal battles. Thankfully Paul Nash, the remaining founding member has a vision for the band and they continue to evolve. They released the album ‘Sailing Mirrors’ in 2020. It showcases the bands new direction brilliantly, with new front woman Maethelyia on vocals, combining with the wall of DANSE SOCIETY Gothic sound. https://thedansesociety.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/thedansesociety

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Music & Performance
As the evening had a shaky start with its delayed timing, it seemed the bands were keen to play catch up. Danse Society arrived on stage Maethelyia being gentlemanly assisted onto stage by Paul Nash. Still a five piece, but now consisting of Paul Nash on guitar, Maethelyia on vocals, Billy Bostanci on bass, Jonathan Housbey on keyboards and Dylan Riley on drums. It’s a great place to start - they fire off with the lead track of the new album ‘Danse Away Your Love’. The fine recipe of DANSE SOCIETY is all still there, now embellished with edgy Post Punk style female vocals. I truly like the female vocals; it works very well - but I was intrigued to hear how it would all work with the classic tracks. Quickly any niggling concern I had was gone as the band play the 1982 single ‘Somewhere’. It all gels beautifully - good stuff. I loved the injection of the new tracks from the new album - for me this incarnation of the band blossomed with the last album - fantastic hearing ‘Valerio’s Theme’ live.

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This is a very good band; they have a very high playing standard - perhaps some of the raw energy of forty years ago has now left (but then I’m much the same) - but it’s replaced with a quiet confidence. They know exactly what they are doing and where they are going. There was a hitch, Paul managed to break a guitar string and had to retune, it must have been all the demon guitar playing! This was a strong performance, just a shame that there wasn’t a bigger crowd to appreciate it and to provide a little more atmosphere.

Setlist
01. Danse Away Your Love
02. Somewhere
03. Star Whisperer
04. The Hurt
05. Valerio’s Theme
06. Sailing Mirrors
07. We’re So Happy
08. Invincible
09. Heaven is Waiting
10. Danse Move

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 9
Light: 6
Sound: 8.5
Total: 8 / 10

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Inertia

If you have been into the UK dark electronic music scene for some time you would have had to have lived under a rock not to be familiar with Reza Udhin and his band INERTIA. From the mid-nineties the band (in its various incarnations) has provided pounding beats, great hooks and some remarkable melodies. With around a dozen albums, many dancefloor-filling hits and hugely memorable live performances INERTIA are truly a legendry entity. Reza has impressed such legends as KILLING JOKE, playing live in the band with them, and God-like artists such as GARY NUMAN name checks INERTIA. Their new single ‘Scowl’ is out on 30th July 2021 featuring guest vocals from ex-band member Alexys B and guest guitar from Steve White (KMFDM / PIG). Also look out for ‘Decade of Machines Volume 2’ (2007-2017) out now. Interestingly they plan a double-coloured vinyl limited edition of ‘Decade of Machines’, 100 copies only. However, they require 100 pre orders for this to go into production. If you would like a copy here is the link; https://qrates.com/projects/23846-decade-of-machines-volume-2. http://www.inertia.rocks / https://www.facebook.com/inertiaband

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Music & Performance
The whirlwind that is Reza Udhin arrives on set. His trademark hair is immaculate, but having seen him live many times, I know this won’t last! He is so active on stage no hair gel could withstand the challenge! The band now consists of Ollie cater (guitars), Andrew Lowlife (synths) and Blue Jigsaw (drums) - they all look every inch the part. And yes, it’s not just for show, these guys are good - as the set progressed the level of playing and the huge levels of energy was literally burning the stage up. Tons of smoke, and low levels of lighting made the band difficult for the crowd to see at times - in my privileged position as photographer I parted the smoke as best as I could! I personally love all of INERTIA’s material and have followed them from the beginning - however I feel they really found themselves in the last fifteen years or so.

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The set list was a delight for me, the intro ‘Dark Valentine’ being a firm favourite of mine. I was also pleased to hear the new single ‘Scowl’, a great track destined to have a position in my playlists. Perhaps it wasn’t ideal to include two covers on such a short set when the amount of original material is so high and varied. However, what a choice, never could two songs be a better choice - in particular for me PETER GABRIEL’s ‘Games Without Frontiers’ - which I was happy to hear live, a big personal favourite. Reza’s extreme energy was only trumped by the guitar player leaving the stage and playing in the crowd. Not content with playing at the front of the crowd, he mingled amongst - such a treat! Then it was all over, far too quickly, I’m guessing the set was shortened due to the late start for the evening - such a shame. I’d only just got into the gig! Inertia as always provided vast levels of energy tonight, for those in the know that’s not an easy feat.

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To create such musical and visual energy without it bursting into realms of chaos is simply miraculous. Fabulous stuff, as always.

Setlist
01. Dark Valentine
02. Stormfront
03. Games without Frontiers
04. Scowl
05. New Format
06. Children of the Revolution
07. Repeat & Follow
08. Anticulture

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9.5
Light: 5.5
Sound: 8.5
Total: 8.5 / 10

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All pictures by Kevin Stevens

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