The Beauty Bar
Las Vegas, NV
LORDS OF ACID, COMBICHRIST
It’s one of those nights when, to be quite honest, it’s a chore even getting to the show, and if not for being marked on the calendar for months, you probably wouldn’t bother. Streets around the venue are closed off for a nearby festival, Uber are charging ludicrous surge prices, frankly it’s a pain in the arse. But, hey, it’s Lords Of Acid, so you make the effort, right? They’re worth it! Especially in such an intimate venue, first night of the tour and all.
Having studiously avoided Combichrist for a number of years, it comes as rather a surprise to discover that such wilful avoidance was foolish, and that they are, in fact, pretty damn good. That’s not to say I hadn’t checked out a few songs online, but, perhaps having stumbled across their earlier work, found nothing particularly interesting, just some unimaginative dance beats with a dash of equally uninspiring rock. Live, however, they’re a totally different proposition, heavier than a bag of spanners, with shades of everything from Ministry and Rob Zombie to Misery Loves Co, the aforementioned dance beats providing a stomping backbeat throughout.
Speaking of which, there’s been no little controversy surrounding drummer Joe Letz and some ill-advised face-paint that saw him facing accusations of racism, and even suggestions that people boycott the band. Be that as it may, he is an absolute star behind the kit, dressed tonight as some sort of transexual horror clown and clearly channelling the ghost of Keith Moon, much to the dismay of the roadie who has to keep putting his kit back together. And not that racism is ever remotely defensible, but it seems a great deal more likely that his antics were not meant to offend…at least not in that way.
Even being unfamiliar with their music – obvious standouts being Electrohead and This Shit Will Fuck You Up – Combichrist put of a stunning performance, easily worthy of headline status. Which leaves Lords Of Acid with a lot to follow, but also with an audience who are nicely fired up and ready to dance.
Unfortunately, from the moment they hit the stage it’s pretty obvious they’re not up to the task. It’s also pretty obvious that founder member Praga Khan is missing from the line-up, apparently taken ill just 24 hours before the tour began, which leaves the distinct impression that at best we’re watching a tribute band. At worst a remarkably average tribute band, with little or no stage presence, and even less charisma.
To make matter worse, singer Mea Fisher – AKA DJ Mea – is completely off form, struggling to hit some of the notes and coming across as unsure of herself. Where previously she has oozed confidence and sex appeal, the complete diva, tonight she looks – and frequently sounds – like an amateur. And while we can endlessly analyse the whys and wherefores, like maybe it’s first night nerves, or maybe Lords Of Acid don’t translate in a small club after all, the painful truth is that this, with all due respect, is a load of bollocks.
Of course, no one wants to admit such things about a favourite band, but tonight Lords Of Acid are a buzzkill. They offer the classic Voodoo-U in its entirety, but the spell has gone and we don’t stay, bailing perhaps halfway through the show, sadly not even the first to leave. On a good night Lords Of Acid make you rush home (after the show) so you can get frisky with your significant other. Alas, tonight it’s just because you want to go home.