23rd October 2009
IAMX & James Nemo
IAMX called and that’s actually already reason enough to walk out into a cold, grey afternoon on a Friday as I did on 23rd October, when Chris Corner and company would be playing at the Matrix club in Bochum. Many others had followed the call as well, some of them just wearing t-shirts while waiting for admission. Can’t be healthy at these temperatures! However, the t-shirt would turn out as best choice on the inside, where it was already quite warm but nothing compared to the degrees when the main act would be playing later.
JAMES NEMO aka James Cook has become known as being the charismatic singer and frontman of the British outfit NEMO. Besides that, he’s involved in a variety of other projects; the latest one is the band THE DOLLHOUSE he brought to live in 2008 and who will soon release their debut album. http://www.myspace.com/jamesnemoandthedollhouse
Music & Performance
It was 8 PM sharp when JAMES NEMO entered the stage. I only knew him as the distinct voice of the band NEMO, and I expected him to solely perform songs out of their repertoire on this evening. I was happy he actually did play some NEMO material like ‘Piccadilly in Sepia’ or the dreamy electro pop tune ‘rpt2fade’. The other stuff surprised with a strong influence of classical music, a string orchestra in particular. But all these arrangements could have been as beautiful as they wanted, it was James’ voice that made them complete. Surely it’s not an overstatement if I say that he’s an insanely talented vocalist. His engaging performance occasionally was interrupted by technical malfunctions. Guess some problems with the backing tracks on the HD, as he was performing all the stuff solo. That led to him being forced to skip a track. Fortunately, the last song he tried, the ballad ‘Silent Roads’ from the newest NEMO album, worked out with just a minor glitch and under appreciative applause he left the stage.
Total: 7 / 10
After a series of albums with SNEAKER PIMPS, Chris Corner started IAMX as his solo project in 2003. Corner produced the IAMX debut ‘Kiss + Swallow’ (Recall records, 2004) in his home studio and the follow-up ‘The Alternative’ (Major Records, 2006) in his new domicile in Berlin, Germany and now after a seemingly endless time span IAMX returns with the third album ‘Kingdom of Welcome Addiction’ in May 2009. IAMX live is Chris Corner (vocals), Janine Gezang (keyboard, guitar, backing vocals), Tom Marsh (drums) and Dean Rosenzweig (guitar). http://iamx.eu/ / http://www.myspace.com/iamx
Music & Performance
After we had nearly been bored to death with that monotonous club stuff during the changeover, it was like a relief when finally the lights dimmed and the show began with Tom Marsh, Dean Rosenzweig and the always imaginatively dressed Janine Gezang entering the stage. She started to rile up the audience right away; even more than they already were. With the appearance of Chris Corner on the scenery, the show could finally begin with the new album’s title track ‘Kingdom of Welcome Addiction’, a daring waltz on the edge. The first chords had barely sounded as the action began on the quite packed stage.
It was astonishing, what the three pulled up there between monstrous keyboard towers, effect pedals and synths. Especially Dean proved being a true stage hawk wildly jumping around and always stroking the right, if sometimes weird and whimsical, tones out of his instrument. Despite the other visual pleasures making an IAMX show so special, including the light show which is pleasing to watch but difficult for photographers, there’s always the exemplary voice of Chris Corner outshining it all in climbing up and down the scale to the next songs ‘The Nature of Inviting’, ‘Bring me Back a Dog’ and ‘The Alternative’. Thanks to the forceful live drumming, they kicked even more than they already do on CD and just forced you to move.
You even had to nod your head to ‘I am Terrified’, admittedly a ballad, but even here the drums had kind of an energizing effect. For ‘Running’, one of the most beautiful tracks on the new album, Chris sat down behind a synth/keyboard with his back to the audience and his face being projected on a little video wall beside him. It usually showed video footage to the respective tracks. Having almost no reverb on the vocals this time, the strength and at the same time the fragility of his voice came to full advantage here.My highlight, however, was the end of the main set. I had hoped so much to hear it and now it finally found its way on the setlist: ‘Think of England’!
Cheers broke all around when everyone recognized the melody and people started dancing instantly when the drums kicked in. The smile on Chris’ face during his wild performance revealed not only he had fun with the live performance of the track. Later on, he would hold the microphone into the audience and let them sing a part of the chorus. Such a fantastic performance demanded for an encore granted with the crowd pleasers ‘Kiss + Swallow’, ‘Nightlife’ and ‘President’. We thought it might be good to keep on clapping afterwards, so we might get another encore, but the stage crew soon appeared and started to demount the stuff on stage. So, another spectacular performance found its end which surely burnt into people’s memories.
01. Kingdom of Welcome Addiction
02. Nature of Inviting
03. Bring Me Back a Dog
04. The Alternative
06. My Secret Friend
07. I am Terrified
09. Tear Garden
10. An I for an I
11. Spit it Out
12. You can be Happy
13. Think of England
14. Kiss + Swallow
Total: 9 / 10
All pictures by Marcus Nathofer