16 Volt and Chemlab 5/9 at Darkroom

16 Volt and Chemlab 5/9 at Darkroom

The Darkroom played host to the return of some long time Industrial Rock bands in the form of 16 Volt and Chemlab as part of the Midi Ghetto Tour. Both of these bands have been around for a long time now, dating back to when industrial music was making a big splash in the early 1990s.

A local band, Defcon, got things started pretty early and unfortunately for them the club was still rather empty when they took the stage. They played a metal/industrial hybrid which was heavier on the metal, but not at all like Ministry. They played in near darkness too which made them difficult to see. With some more time under their belt they will likely become quite a solid band as they certainly showed promise this evening despite the lack of people in the for most of their set.

Defcon
Defcon

Defcon
Defcon


Defcon

Canadian exports, Left Spine Down, made their return here after playing here with Revolting Cocks last fall. They played a fun set of their machine punk, which combines industrial music and hardcore. Think a way more punk Babyland and you will be in the ballpark. As the crowd started growing during their set, they got the people moving a little bit with a very energetic set. While they played they had films going on the background kind of like Skinny Puppy did, but without all the gore. The singer also would employ the use of a megaphone to sing through from time to time.

Left Spine Down
Left Spine Down

Left Spine Down
Left Spine Down

Left Spine Down
Left Spine Down

Before Chemlab took the stage, lead singer/founder Jared Louche was stalking all over the club like a serial killer. He was grabbing things and people while pacing around which it would seem was some sort of ritual to psyche himself up for the performance. One would think he was on something if it wasn’t for the fact that he announced he was now 11 years clean. That’s an amazing feat from someone who was legendary for his drug abuse.

Chemlab
Chemlab

Chemlab
Chemlab

Chemlab
Chemlab

While the man may look a little road worn from years of hard living, it sure didn’t seem to slow down his performance however. While this new live version of Chemlab played a greatest hits package of most of their best songs, Jared pranced and danced all over the stage, and even took it out to the floor. He posed, vogued, strutted, kissed people, and did his best to channel his inner David Johansen including wearing a feather boa and lipstick. The band’s machine rock sounded great and it was very cool to hear the best songs from the first two records especially. They played about an hour to what was now a pretty full club and everyone in the crowd was clapping and cheering and dancing about. Some people even sang along when Jared would hold the mic out to their faces. The band played a new song too which sounded really good and hopefully it means new records in the future.

After a few years away from the Windy City, 16 Volt finally graced the city with its presence. They opened with, “American Porn Song,” off their newest album with the same name. The band looked different since their last visit which was due to it having pretty much all newer members with the exception of founder/singer Eric. The new batch of musicians were quite talented and all the songs they played sounded tight and powerful.

16 Volt
16 Volt

16 Volt
16 Volt

16 Volt
16 Volt

16 Volt
16 Volt

16 Volt’s set of industrial rock was far more rock than industrial, a trend that seems to be prevalent in many of these bands now. Whichever way you lean towards, there was no denying songs like, “A Cloth Like Gauze,” “The Cut Collector,” “The Enemy,” and “Suffering You,” sounded great. The band played for about an hour to the delight of everyone in the club and then called it a night, leaving a sweaty and satisfied crowd to finish their drinks and head home.

More photos from the show can be seen in the gallery here.






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