The King of Hate

The first thing I noticed when I walked into The Rock And Roll Hotel for the first time on sunday is that the space reminded me a lot of the old 9:30 Club – which is a plus. I had heard that the idea behind the place was to be like the 9:30 Club. When I heard that I had assumed the owners were talking about the new 9:30 – much to my surprise they meant the original. The main difference between the original sacred music den and this new club is that the auxilliary drinking space is upstairs instead of down and decorated a little nicer.

The Rock And Roll Hotel stage room is a cool space and I hope they can keep it filled with good bands. Good bands like the one I went to see play on sunday – Snog from the land down under.

Snog‘s touring set-up is spare – two keyboards, a guitar, and lead-singer/ mastermind David Thrussell. Based on Thrussell’s persona through lyrics I have always assumed the guy lives in a hand-made bunker somewhere underneath the Australian outback writing vitrolic diatribes against the “mainstream” world that exists outside his eutopic hippy-in-a-bombshelter compund.

Seeing Thrussell perform live for the first time I realized that my impression wasn’t that far off the mark. Thrussell looks like anything but the stereotype of an EBM musician. No Matrix outfits, no sunglasses, no patent-leather – Thrussell took the stage looking like a middle-aged roadie for White Snake – only instead of wearing a ‘Jersey Devil’ t-shirt he was wearing one that declared ‘I love Robots’.

Thrussell started off by leading his trio through half of their latest album, Snog vs the Faecal Juggernaut of Mass Culture. The new songs featured a range of bizarre vocal stunts by Thrussel backed by ultra-heavy electronic beats that were so in-your-face it was comical. But with Snog that’s the point – at least now-a-days. Thrussell is the Jello Biafra of Industrial – he’s got a message but he’s going to have a lot of fun delivering it.

The new songs seemed to be hit or miss for the crowd, it wasn’t until Thrussell stopped the music to address the crowd directly in a rant about the virtue of ‘true friendship’ that people started to loosen up. Thrussell went on to say that true friends help you when the chips are down – which led into the song ‘Al Qaeda is Your Best Friend’ – which was the most direct attack on Bush and Cheney of an evening filled with many.

Thrussell cut such a bizarre figure that it is hard to describe him to full effect. Between songs he often went off on mumbled rants to introduce songs. However Snog’s music has such biting satire in the lyrics already that the drugged exposition by Thrussell eventually got a little long in the tooth for my taste.

Thankfully Thrussell kept the intro to Snog’s older material short and sweet by saying ‘And now for a walking tour through the museum of EBM’ – which then immediately went into the opening blasts of ‘Corporate Slave’ followed by a good 30 minutes of uninterrupted classic Snog which got the joint jumping.

As much as I dig the newer Snog material it really was the chance to hear these older songs played that got me out to this concert and Snog did not disappoint. Highlights for me were ‘Corporate Slave’, ‘Cliche’, ‘Human Germ’ and the encore performance of ‘The Prole Song’.

‘The Prole Song’ was actually the best song of the show, so good in fact that I wish they had played more off of Buy Me I’ll Change Your Life. Instead Snog ended the show with an awful and totally out-of-place duet with some guy I’ve never heard of doing some lame-ass hippy-dippy song. Which resulted in the odd sight of a crowd of drunk industrial-types linking arms and singing along and of course holding up lighters.

In the end not the way I would choose to end your typical industrial concert, but then there isn’t very much about Snog that one could describe as typical, and that’s probably why I like them so much.

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