Monday 20 March 2017

Live Review: Mortiis / PIG – Plug, Sheffield 14/03/2017

MORTIIS / PIG (+ Seraph Sin)
Plug, Sheffield

A double-headline tour is not a common occurrence, and certainly not one that boasts two industrial rock bands with cult legacies such as PIG and Mortiis. Alternating headlines slots at shows up and down the UK, putting egos aside and adding a little surprise as to just who will be topping the bill. With several dates straddling school nights a large crowd may not be on the cards, but those who do make the trip are certainly feeling the passion.

But before all of that it's left to Glaswegian industrial rockers Seraph Sin to warm the crowd up. Their mixture of metal-tinged industrial rock is a sharp wake-up call to anyone feeling the mid-week malaise. They tear through a half hour setlist of up-tempo gritty tunes that balance menace and groove nicely. The beats fly thick, the riffs come hard and fast and front-man Gabriel even ends up playing from the front row of the crowd. Tight on time they may have been but by the end of their set they'd definitely got the blood pumping.

Next up the lord of lard, the baron of bacon, the mighty swine himself Raymond Watts hits the stage with PIG. This tour marks the first for the band in the UK since supporting Nine Inch Nails on their Downward Spiral tour. Let's just let that sink in for a minute. In that time Raymond has become a cult hero of the industrial rock scene thanks to his work as PIG and time with KMFDM. The reanimated PIG live crew sees Watts joined by ex-KMFDM bandmates En Esh and Gunter Schulz, as well as ex-Combichrist synths man Z. Marr, and 16 Volt's Galen Waling on drums. It's a strong line-up (worthy of “supergroup” in fact) that produces a blistering set.

Watts is the epitome of the rock frontman. He chews the rind of irony and spits it back amidst a set of groove-laden industrial rock that not only spans the career of PIG, but also dives into KMFDM territory. The latest album 'The Gospel' is well represented right from the start, but arguably the most enjoyable moment of the set was seeing Watts, En Esh and Schulz going hell-for-leather on 'Juke Joint Jezabelle'.

By the process of elimination it is down to Norwegian industrial rockers Mortiis to headline the evening.
Håvard Ellefsen's band may have also come in from the cold with last year's 'The Great Deceiver', but certainly they show no signs of rust. Last year's album revealed a darker and more malevolent edge to the band's sound, one that has translated into an intense live performance. The set draws heavily from the new album but there are room for well-received classics such as 'Decadent And Desperate' and 'Parasite God' (which unfortunately suffers from a brief microphone glitch at the start, and quite frankly deserves a re-release in this high-octane version).

Ellefsen stalks the stage like a rabid animal pacing and throwing his dreadlocks around with intensity, yet he still manages to smile and joke, showing his enjoyment throughout the energetic performance. It's a tight set and despite only being three-men strong the band still fills the stage with ease, but it's not surprising given Ellefsen's pedigree as a showman. Yet again, Mortiis show that they are a criminally underrated band with an intensity that can see them hold their own on any night.  

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