by C. D. Harvill
In the heart of the New Orleans ghetto, an industrial- electro metal show headlining a said musical genius took place this past Friday night. Combichrist, kicked off Demons on Tour, their sixth US outing, on a billing that included Julien K, Aesthetic Perfection, and Ego Likeness at The Hangar on South Rendon.
Upon approaching the building one could easily spot the makings of an appropriate crowd. Fans and overall members of the scene were clad in fishnets, dreads, combat boots, capes, and the almost compulsory black.
Once inside The Hangar Combichrist’s tour manager led me backstage (or outside and upstairs to a hotel room in what was once Rendon Inn) where I met with the brain behind Combichrist, Andy LaPlegua.
After playing in other metal bands Andy decided metal’s sound needed more experimentation, so he birthed Combichrist. His sound pulls from electro, house, metal, industrial, and punk. The result is a juggernaut that defies simple description. In order to stay fresh, he shared with me, he avoids listening to any music that has the same style as he. He’ll listen to the basic electronica, metal, punk, etc., but nothing that has the same experimental roots that he excels so strongly in.
Being so innovative, the average radio station would never grace its listeners’ ears with Combichrist, but Andy isn’t concerned with Combichrist getting airplay as long as what he’s doing works. “If that were my goal I would do hip hop or something, my personal goal isn’t to get my music played on the radio or be on the top of the sales charts; if it were then I’d be doing something different” Although he did admit that “if it gets to that point that’s awesome, obviously¬¬–if we still had our musical integrity in tact…I’m never gonna jeopardize my integrity, my art form just, to get airplay.”
As a vital organ in this unique body of music Andy LaPlegue is obviously a passionate individual and it shows in many aspects of his life. From his love of animals to the creation and presentation of his music, his fervent personality shows.
Having come from a family of hunters in his native Norway, Andy is displeased that because of the over-processed foods being bought in supermarkets and fast food restaurants people have become disconnected with where their food originates. He has always had a love of animals and especially frowns upon dog fighting. Andy has spoken out through PETA and while on this tour is giving fans a chance to spend the day with Combichrist. The catch is you buy a VIP package, for which a portion of the profit will be donated to PETA.
Hearing so much about Combichrist’s theatrical performances I was excited to be invited back to get ready for the show with the band. Part of the agreement, however, was that I sport full onstage makeup, which stand-up percussionist Trevor, so eagerly reminded me of as he and Z_Marr, the keyboardist, began applying a black line stretching from my hairline down my nose to my cleavage along with strategically placed blood across my mouth, chest, and finally the infamous bleeding ears.
After everyone’s makeup was complete, the guys relaxed listening to music before their set where you saw the transformation complete. The laid back, fun group of guys backstage became intense entertainers displaying the true definition of a rock show backed with pulsating catchy electronic beats.
Although Combichrist has played their fair share of sold out concerts this event didn’t draw quite as large a crowd. Even with that in mind the band put their all into the performance. Delivering a set well worth driving into the ghetto to experience.
Every second of Combichrist’s presence on stage had an electric current keeping the room hot with the lust for more. Each member of the live band was a power animal daring the audience, whether fans of the band and/or genre, not to remember the show above all others. A Combichrist concert is a form of self-discovery far outweighing the cost of a ticket or commute. So check out their tour dates and make sure you’re up front and center at their next closet venue.