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Alien Sex Fiend (live at The Batcave)

The Dome, London
1 December 2012

Picture - (C) Ben Guiver (ben-guiver-photography.blogspot.co.uk)Picture - (c) Ben Guiver (ben-guiver-photography.blogspot.co.uk)Thirty years ago, thirty years ago to the very day, the original power couple of electro-goth, Nik Fiend and his wife, erm, Mrs Fiend, first unveiled their psychedelic horror show for the first, and for what they admit they believed would also be the last, time. And somehow they’re still here, thirty years on. And it’s time for a party.

Onto a stage festooned with cobwebs, skulls with glowing eyes and all the usual Sex Fiend malarkey capers Nik, seemingly dressed as every Batman villain at once – the Mad Hatter hat, the Riddler jacket, the ghost of The Joker called forth by the trademark Fiend makeup, and the years drop away like the limbs of a zombie who’s just had Bruce Campbell show up unannounced with a chainsaw. I think the first time I saw them was in 1990, still a full two decades and some change ago. Back then, of course, The Batcave seemed as much ancient history as the Wars Of The Roses, even though over twice as much time has now passed since as separated the two back then.

Picture - (c) Ben Guiver (ben-guiver-photography.blogspot.co.uk)Picture - (c) Ben Guiver (ben-guiver-photography.blogspot.co.uk)Nobody seems as surprised by this as Nik himself, apart from possibly Mrs Fiend, but she isn’t saying much, she’s just piling on the beats as they launch with goth club floorfiller and bona fide Fiend classic “Ignore The Machine.” Some muddy sound takes the edge off this, unfortunately, but it’s soon fixed, and within the first couple of songs it’s like a particularly weird episode of Dr Who, where we’ve all been sent back in time and it’s the golden age of Fiendishness again.

Picture - (c) Ben Guiver (ben-guiver-photography.blogspot.co.uk)Picture - Ben Guiver (ben-guiver-photography.blogspot.co.uk)And Alien Sex Fiend’s low-rent horror show is as engaging as ever. A self-professed Alice Cooper devotee, Nik yet again proves that you don’t need a Hollywood budget to put on an awesome B-movie spectacle. He’s Roger Corman to Cooper’s James Whale (not the radio asshole, the horror movie legend – otherwise the analogy would make no sense), and proves that you can make up for what you lack in budget with enthusiasm, heart, and most importantly, awesome tunes. Alien Sex Fiend have always been the most fun of all goth bands, pitched somewhere between Evil Dead and Rocky Horror, if either of those movies had tried to get all punk by including a homage to Never Mind The Bollocks. Like a four-colour Rob Zombie cartoon of Rudimentary Peni. Or something. Only where today’s shock crew, yer Zombies and Mansons, alternately play the roles of tormentor and tormented, Fiend goes a more psychedelic route and flips between confused and Master Of Confusion.

Picture - (c) Ben Guiver (ben-guiver-photography.blogspot.co.uk)

And it’s only when you hear them all back to back again that you remember just how many great songs Alien Sex Fiend have. “Smells Like…”, “Dead And Buried,” “Now I’m Feeling Zombified…” and it seems like they play them ALL in an insane three-hour marathon. Around about they time they play “Voodoo,” the whole thing becomes intensely hypnotic and you just lose yourself in a swirling morass of psychobilly guitars, electro beats, horror visuals and punk attitude. Soon enough it’s like… well, if it’s not quite like you’ve died and gone to Heaven, it’s uncannily similar to having died and gone to wherever it was Lux Interior went when he spasmed off this mortal coil, and it’s PRETTY FUCKING SWEET.

By the end, when there are thank-you speeches and the offer of cake (yeah, cake! Remember, kids, it’s a made-up drug…), Nik’s a king celebrating his jubilee bedecked in razor wire and drowning in stage blood, and it’s all just about as awesome as you could possibly want it to be.

I know you never went away, but welcome back anyway, Nik. And the Mrs.

-DEUTERONEMU 90210’s brain is in the cupboard-

-Pictures: Ben Guiver

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