IAMX / Animal Impulses Tour / Live in London @ Electric Ballroom
Read it on Hunger TV
Words / M.P.
Photography / Fabio Esposito
“Want to know how to survive in the nightlife?” The best thing to do is to pour yourself a glass of wine before kicking off a show. This is how Chris Corner welcomed his crowd at the Electric Ballroom in Camden for his London stop of the “Animal Impulses Tour” supporting his latest project as IAMX, “The Unified Field”. The alternative and former frontman from Sneaker Pimps is gaining popularity and acclaim with his fifth IAMX record and his loyal fans were treated to a strong and intoxicating cocktail of dark-electronica, synthpop, and raw percussions. “The thief came out in my London town”, he sings in “Volatile Times”, so he was up to steal our common beliefs and show a different way of making music.
The psychotic “Animal Impulses” opens the night and what we get to see of Chris and his band throughout the whole show is their shadows, sharply outlined and enhanced by the video projections behind them. This staging method creates a post-apocalyptic atmosphere where his profound and emotional voice guides and incites us like a prophet. Dressed in black with gloves and feathered hat, his face seems to float in the air because of the black paint on his neck and he looks doomed, possessed and full of “Sorrow” that is the title of following song. The new material don’t fail to exalt his quality song writing that dig into very secret and dangerous emotional areas but Mr. X has only just begun.
Heavily focusing on his previous works, as to preserve his identity, the set list is energetic and pumps adrenaline in the room leaving his more melancholic compositions out. “Kiss + Swallow” causes excitement from the very first note and as the prophet approaches the part of the song where he speaks “Are you listening? No, in the narrowest sense. Are you listening?”, the rhythm is compressed before blasting out loud again. London is listening as we read on the screens “Love is just a blood sport”, a nice reminder of the Sneaker Pimps era. The IAMX victims are deep into his kingdom by now, he reaches out to touch a finger in the audience during “Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction” and he takes a wig from the front row to perform “My Secret Friend” and the sensual “Cold Red Light”. “My sister used to dress me as a girl, I never got over it. I kinda liked it” he confesses.
Brand new “The Unified Field” brings us back to the present with a newfound dance-floor beat before the hypnotic “Walk With The Noise” followed by Chris’ own consideration on the music business through “Music People”. The lyrics are provoking, “I challenge you to think” he says to the makers of meaningless music and its finale is a pure rhapsody but as he says “it’s not enough!”, and synths kicks in to lead us towards “The Alternative”. Powerful, violent, and perfect to close the set before the encore that sees new single “I Come With Knives” with its German chant intro and a song that never fails to make it into an IAMX show: “President”. It is in between a military and a funeral march, it is compelling and meaningful like the words popping up behind him, “Love-Father-Mother-Enemy-Country-Happiness-Me”.
“You have been exceptional tonight”, he states very clearly but the night can’t be over without “Nightlife”, a mantra, reciting over and over, the words “I want to know how to survive in the nightlife. The truth and dare of the drug for the first time. I click my heels and dance with the heat rise.” It creates a scenario from a Danny Boyle film and in pure IAMX style it is erotic, raving, and sinful. Their shadows on stage fade away after a show that looked like a visual art installation and rocked the crowd like an atomic bomb. A mystery is left behind, one we can all relate to, and after all the blood, sweat, and hormones his ultimate perversion is being one with the unified field of this reality. Being able to be one with your audience is a good way to start and his London town praised the alternative president X.