By Matt “Rabit” Martinez, Red Hare Images
The first time I got to go to the Regent Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles was to see CombiChrist. It was my first experience seeing them and it made me an instant fan. I have had the opportunity to see them two more times since then. My second encounter with them was seeing them at Glenn Danzig’s Blackest of the Black Festival, and the third time in October of last year when they were supporting Lords of Acid. Though both shows they put on a good performance, it did not live up to their headlining show that I got to experience the first time. Now a year and some change later, I got the chance to catch them Headlining their own tour again. Coming back to the Regent Theatre on the Everybody Still Hates You Tour, and bringing with them Wednesday 13, Night Club, Prison, and Death Valley High. This is the type of show I have been waiting to experience again from CombiChrist.
First up to the stage was Death Valley High from Northern California. They are a four-piece band consisting of Reyka Osburn, Adam Bannister, Huffy Hafera, and Daniel Ka$$hu. Playing most of their songs from their latest album CVLT [AS FVK], and classifying themselves as Death Disco. They fit into the bill perfectly blending a bit of stage show flamboyancy with heavy dance riffs. Ending the set with the lead singer jumping into the crowd and singing with the audience. The crowd was getting into Death Valley High as their night just began.
Full Death Valley High slide show below:
Next up to the stage was an Alternative Metal band from Florida, Prison. Starting their performance out by making a visual statement, lead singer Johnny Crowder walked out shirtless with a bulky chain wrapped around his next. Whipping the chain over the stage as if a prisoner working in the yard, he launched into the opening song. Mixing djent guitar work and heavy break downs, Prison was there to get the people moving and moshing. This night in the Regent Theatre there was no barricade, so the crowd was right up to the edge of the stage. Crowder took this opportunity to tell people he wanted to shake everyone’s hand personally, motivating them to move in even closer to the stage. Before ending their set, Crowder made a statement to anyone going through tough times or dealing with dark thoughts, that he wants you to use their music, their set as a release. Let their music help you get past your tough times. It just goes to show non-metal fans that the music is not just noise and nonsense, but has a message and is there to help people.
Full Prison slide show below:
Following Prison and their heavy sound was a bit of a right turn tonally, but flowed with the night perfectly. My friends in Night Club were back with CombiChrist following their tour with them last October. Lead Singer Emily Kavanaugh and music programmer Mark Brooks were back on an even bigger stage from last year and were not afraid to unleash their music on the crowd. Opening their set with their song “Requiem,” Brooks built the suspense mixing the track live behind the keyboards, while Kavanaugh sauntered onto stage dawning their Night Club branded leather jackets. Unfortunately, they did hit some technical difficulties during their second song as the mic lost complete power. Night Club did not let this hinder their performance as Kavanaugh still flew across the stage dancing and singing into the dead mic making sure the energy of the show did not die down. Luckily the sound was restored quickly before the following song, and the rest of the performance went off without any trouble. Playing songs like “Freak Like Me,” “Dear Enemy,” and their newest single “Candy Coated Suicide” Night Club is showing that they can be big stage performers regardless of the fact that they are a two-piece band.
Full Night Club slide show below:
Up next to the stage was the gothic shock rockers known as Wednesday 13. Bringing an Alice Cooper style stage show with costume changes and props, Wednesday 13 was there to entertain you as well as rock you. Lead Singer Wednesday 13 brought out a few different characters throughout the performance. Starting out with a shirtless leather jacket wearing ring master style character. Commanding the stage and fellow band members they opened their set with “What the Night Brings.” Probably one of the most visual tricks Wednesday 13 pulled off was wearing a kabuki mask on the back of his head, and facing away from the crowd. As he moved and sang in this outfit, it gave a very creepy and unnatural movement to his body as you gazed into the Kabuki mask on the back of his head. Ending their set with “I Love to Say Fuck/Bad Things” Wednesday 13 brought out a giant umbrella with a middle finger emblazoned across it to flip off the crowd as the crowd ate up the theatrics with excitement flipping off Wednesday 13 back.
Full Wednesday 13 slide show below:
As I mentioned earlier, this would be my fourth time seeing CombiChrist and I have yet to experience the type of show I know this band is capable of since I first saw them. Well I came to the right show, as they were about to blow every show I’ve seen from them out of the water. Opening their set with “All Pain is Gone” CombiChrist was not going to wait to make the crowd go crazy. Lead singer Andy LaPlegua walked out with makeup as if he had gone rabid, ready to kill someone. On guitar is Eric13 running around the stage like a madman with a psychotic gleam in his eyes. Newest member on backing vocals and keyboards is Elliott Berlin, jumping around his keyboard and swinging it around while never missing a note. One of my favorite aspects of this band is that they have two drummers. Joe Letz helming the main drum line and Nick Rossi filling in the beats on percussion. No matter who you watch on stage, they are all going to give you some form of visual eye candy to enjoy.
The energy that CombiChrist brings to the stage is insane, and they maintain this energy throughout their entire show. If you were running low on energy after four bands, you were about to be woken back up. Andy LaPlegua is the perfect front man to this band, always interacting with the crowd and making sure to cover the whole stage while having vocals that hit the back of the room. The one member that can pull attention away from Andy has to be Joe Letz, dressed in his Neutered Nancy character. Letz is constantly pouring water over his drum kit, throwing his sticks into the air, and tossing his floor tom to the literal floor throughout each song. He has a drum tech that is responsible for making sure his drum kit is always functional, and I applaud this man.
Ending their set with a three-song encore, CombChrist was not ready to let the party end. Starting out with “Never Surrender,” the crowd went crazy trying to get one last taste of the band. Moving into “Maggots at the Party” the audience pushed forward towards the stage, dying to get ever closer to their Industrial idols. And truly finishing off the night with “What the Fuck is Wrong With You” every member of the Regent Theatre was singing and shouting at the top of their lungs. As this was the end of a six-week tour, Death Valley High and Prison came back out halfway through the song to sing backup vocals and just take in the energy of the crowd. Nick Rossi could also be seen destroying his drum kit, not leaving a single piece still in tack. It was pure musical bliss.
Full CombiChrist slide show below:
This night lived up to what I have expected of CombiChrist and they did not disappoint me. Surprisingly enough, I have never seen CombiChrist in the same incarnation twice. Every show they seem to have a new member, or someone filling in. But this night’s line up must be the best I’ve seen yet, and hopefully this is the lineup that will continue touring for the foreseeable future. With Death Valley High, Prison, Night Club, and Wednesday 13, CombiChrist created the Everybody Still Hates You Tour full of industrial music bliss any industrial fan would regret missing this tour.