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Skinny Puppy/Baal (live at Wonder Ballroom)

Portland, OR 2 March 2014

Rise Of The Mutants

I had the strongest sensation of living in the future, as I bussed past the emerald green glass towers of the Oregon Convention Center on my way to the Wonder Ballroom on a drizzly Sunday evening, the trancey binaural beat construction of Thug Entrancer‘s Death After Life lulling me into a theta wave slo burn. The RTD bus seemed to glide over pockmarked asphalt, as we detoured through the garish neon LCD displays of Portland’s downtown. There was a feeling of having arrived, and there was a feeling of no time having passed at all.

I started listening to Skinny Puppy when I was 15, on the prowl for ever-harsher sounds, seeking the trve underground, looking for the inspirations of my inspirations. I’ve always been a crumbtrail sniffer. I remember hearing Too Dark Park on a pair of borrowed headphones at

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Skinny Puppy – Weapon

Metropolis

Skinny Puppy - WeaponWeapon, Skinny Puppy‘s twelfth studio album and the latest entry in a catalogue going back more than thirty years, doesn’t really fuck about. Tangentially, at least, it’s all about guns. Apparently. Of course, being Skinny Puppy, it’s a mish-mash of ranting, nursery rhyming, shouting, screaming – and irritating spelling and capitalisation, all delivered over, or rather in the midst of, their trademark dancefloor-friendly beats, squirts, whooshes and bleeps. And you wouldn’t want it any other way. Or I wouldn’t, at any rate.

And it’s very recognisably Skinny Puppy from the outset, as “wornin’” piles in with its ’80s synth sounds and hard beat rhythm section, blips and glitches flying off in all directions as Ogre growls and scrapes his anguished way through the middle. It’s a pretty good idea of what to expect, and simultaneously

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Skinny Puppy (live)

The Forum, London 18 July 2010

Orge unmaskedcEvin KeySkinny Puppy shows are pretty much bound to be weird, and more than a tad befuddling; bemusing even. Where else can a grown man shimmy onstage dressed like cross between a lightshow-bejewelled Torquemada and the dead king of Sutton Hoo, all pointy white cone-hat and empty-socketed stare against a background of videogame corridors – which it soon transpires on further exposure are probably filmed in the real world – and a panorama of desert warfare fallout and urban debris colour-filtered into psychedelic abstraction. Skinny Puppy’s musical approach is somewhat similar to their visual sense; distorting, inverting and making the organisation of commonplace sounds unfamiliar and more than a bit digitally outré. Slipping wraith-like between the precise boundaries of genre with an unnerving adroitness, walking the tightrope between the

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Skinny Puppy (live)

A foggy Skinny Puppy emerge...(click for larger image)The Forum, London 19 July 2004

It’s a point that’s already been made, I’m sure, but there’s at least something to be said for the otherwise abhorrent War Against Terror. Just look, or rather listen, to what’s going on. As well as the politicisation of once-apathetic masses, the already-politicised but seldom heard of Industrial Rock giants are all coming out to the barricades to chuck stuff. See the headlines – “NEW MINISTRY ALBUM NOT SHIT SHOCKER!”, “KMFDM INVADE BRITAIN AGAIN” and now even “SKINNY PUPPY FINALLY RETURN TO LONDON”.

Having bought tickets for their last (cancelled) London gig back in, ooh, 1990 or thereabouts, I have to say I was really quite excited about this, and like an excitable schoolgirl (albeit one who was into anguished shrieks and cut-up beats) prepared myself for the occasion with a couple of

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