16th October 2021
Slimelight 34th Birthday Bash with Nachtmahr, Reaper, Black Light Ascension, My Hysteria
Slimelight, how time flies - thirty-four years? I am officially very old indeed. For me my history with this legendary club night started nearly three decades ago. Over that time, it’s been a safe haven for not only me, but every other dark alternative black clad weirdo in the UK.
I’ve never been very good at socialising, I like to be sociable, I just never seem to fit in - once in Slimelight I can be me, nobody bothers anybody, nor pressurises. It’s a very special place indeed, a soulful group of warm hearted, caring people - a family; even if you are the quiet member of the family. The sad death of Mak, one of the founders, makes this his lasting legacy. It’s important to never forget what this kind-hearted soul did - along with Dette and other folk from the beginning. Yes, Electrowerkz (the building) is currently evolving, along with its club nights, but the spirit will never be altered.
MY HYSTERIA is a London band I came across around three years ago, from their EP ‘Murder in Platform Boots’. I’ve never seen them play live before. There has been some kind of recent turmoil within the band, and this is now the solo act of Alessio Croe. A dark Synth sound, with bounce and German and Scandinavian overtones is the best description. https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMyHysteria
Music & Performance
After this gig I found out this was Alessio Croe’s first performance after the split. Not only was it all very fresh - there was only a week to get this set together as a solo artist. I have new respect, over and above the excellent EP I found in 2018. There was only one track played from this EP tonight, I’m guessing this was a decision based on more than promoting new material. Perhaps it’s a kind of a divorce break-up mental line drawn in the sand. Of course, all gig going crowds need some familiarity, so it was a good choice to play ‘Survive’. I think that said it all to be perfectly honest. MY HYSTERIA will survive that, I am sure. There is a great creative approach, as well as writing catchy dance tunes - this cannot die.
The new songs, due to be on the next MY HYSTERIA album, were all strong and in a similar vein to the original material. It’s a brave band to run a set of unheard tracks, an even braver man to put together such a strong performance under the circumstances. It was obvious he hadn’t healed after the split. Respect, total respect - I’m so looking forward to the new single due soon, and of course the prospect of a new album. You need to check this band out.
02. City Under The Sun
04. Set A Light
Total: 8.5 / 10
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. 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’. A rather special band in mop opinion. https://www.facebook.com/blacklightascension / https://blacklightascension.bandcamp.com/music
Music & Performance
Tonight was a lucky gig for the band as they were a stand in after SPLATTERDISKO had to cancel due to ill health - we wish them a speedy recovery. A fantastic bit of luck for me too, I’m a big fan of BLACK LIGHT ASCENSION. Andrew turned up on stage looking like the local vicar, complete with dog collar, suit and typical vicar hat. As he climbed the stairs up to the stage, he looked like he was on a Sunday morning stroll to his part-time job, more tea vicar? Of course, as he strapped on his guitar, he then looked very different - almost manic under his priestly hat. The choice of lighting worked so well with this image, and Andrew stole the stage from Hunter on this performance - it was such a strong image. As the performance progressed the dog collar slipped, the hat disappeared and by halfway through Andrew kind of had the look of the slightly mad, alcoholic vicar. I’d be cruel to suggest he looked like Father Jack Hackett from Father Ted (UK TV comedy), but… I’ll be kind and resist.
Hunter was in fine form leaning over his keyboards as he played. It worked especially well having both guys so close to the front of the stage, giving Hunter the chance to interact with the crowd as well as Andrew. Visually they look fantastic, musically they were exceptional - as always. All that after Hunter had driven 18 hours from East Germany to get to this last-minute gig. Two opening bands on the same line-up that I have the greatest respect to their commitment - fantastic.
01. Dark Angels
02. Night Came In
05. Black Sun Rising
06. Jack In, Burn Out
Total: 8.8 / 10
Vasi Vallis has become a bit of a legend in the scene with FROZEN PLASMA and of course NAMNAMBULU. REAPER was born around the time of the NAMNAMBULU disintegration, and is a harder dance-oriented direction. With a couple of albums and a handful of singles, there are recent rumours of new material coming - perhaps even a new album? Let’s hope so! https://www.facebook.com/reaperelectro
Music & Performance
Vasi arrives on stage, at last - I’ve had at least half a dozen people asking me if REAPER had already been on stage. They were concerned they had missed the set after arriving late! REAPER fans were in abundance this evening! The top floor of Electrowerkz is a large room, and it has now filled dramatically. Vasi ripped through his set of pounding intense dark tunes. He’s always a busy fella on stage, banked by electronics. I can see, from my vantage point, how busy he actually is. He is intense to watch, completely engrossed, I love being lucky enough to watch his set from such close quarters as I take photographs. Every now and then he looks up, and notices he actually has a crowd - a crowd now fully into the dance sounds he is creating.
A smile appears on his face - he’s loving it as much as the crowd. Gigs like this, with a common ground between artists and crowd seems to create a living breathing entity - a special thing to watch unfold for sure. As always, a concentrated slab of hard electro dance is yet again delivered with ease but forceful excitement.
Total: 8.8 / 10
Thomas Rainer and his solo project - infamous as equally impressive. The perfection of a rockstar many would say. OK, listen to NACHTMAHR, L'ÂME IMMORTELLE or the now defunct SIECHTUM I’m not sure “rock” is the right description - but certainly with NACHTMAHR Thomas has managed to create an eminent aura that some liken to the likes of MARILYN MANSON. There is a certain level of controversy. I’m not sure the infamous image is indeed that shocking to be honest, and certainly there are bands out there that use perhaps similar imagery in a very repulsive way. This is a uniform fetish derived image, nothing more, despite the commercially useful controversy. More importantly Thomas gathers together an amazing array of musicians and artists for live shows. Combine this with rather splendid studio recordings and NACHTMAHR belongs high on the bill of any line-up - a genuine superstar. https://www.facebook.com/nachtmahr.band
Music & Performance
And… another legend appears after Vasi… just like that. In a puff of smoke almost, there is Thomas. As always, he is super confident, and moves around the stage without a hint of awkwardness. I get the impression that each gig is a party - life is good, Thomas is going to enjoy it and he will jet propel anybody willing to join him for his party. Tonight, the stage is smaller than usual, so no female artists, only Thomas and Andrea. No extra visual trimmings, the electronics and keys are in a semi-circle to the middle of the stage, with both guys alternating from behind and front of the electronics. Their outfits are simple boiler suits - it’s a much rawer overall gig for Slimelight tonight. The emphasis is on one topic - to party; it is after all Slimelight’s Birthday Bash!
There is a full top floor, bursting to the seams and much activity at the front of the stage - the punters being swept along with their enthusiasm. This is what hard, harsh electro is about - moving in unison! The power us into action, we are pliable, eager for their direction - only great performers can achieve this. Thomas has a prime track record, tonight this was the right choice for the birthday celebrations - Mak would have loved the reaction from the crowd. Yes, the correct and completely perfect choice - Slimelight; we salute you for bringing us this opportunity. As always, one family altogether and one set of guiding rules - be who you are and accept others even if not understanding them. But mostly, move! Dance! Get into the rib rattling pounds, that irrational need to move. NACHTMAHR did a fine, fine job. I loved it.
Total: 8.8 / 10
All pictures by Kevin Stevens (Coast to Coast Image Works)