Ten Years Too Long, Ogre

Standing on the bench seat on the main floor of the Vic, faint smile curling my lips, there was no way I would let my eyes blink for fear I would miss even a second of the chaos around me. The music was so loud I could feel it in my chest. The huge screen was backlit with images of politics, psychedelic skulls, and religious icons so when he stood in front of it, he was a perfect silhouette. I was witnessing an important moment in music history and I was loving every minute of it. Listening to ‘Choke’ brought back many memories long forgotten and made me happy to be standing in that exact place at that exact moment. Everything on that stage embodied the pure essence of industrial music…the raw passion that escaped their pores, my pores, every pore in the jam packed crowd, was invigorating. THIS is what an industrial show is supposed to be, should be! Hell, this is what every musical show should be – raw passion you can feel, breathe, and even taste.

After ten long years and short one member (synthesist Dwayne Goettel was found dead of a heroin overdose on September 23, 1995), Skinny Puppy released a new album and toured once again. But we’ve all been there, right? The beloved band goes MIA for a while, gets back together for another round only to disfigure the beautiful memories with a pitiful performance that only showcases the fact they have aged. This, however, was not the case last night at the Vic. While their new cd, The Greater Wrong of the Right, is birthed a decade after their last production, it sure as hell didn’t feel like it. Ogre’s vocals were astounding, the stage production was visually stimulating, and the music was perfect. The icing on the cake was the venue. It amazes me how the Vic manages to be not only intimate, but small and large at the same time. As Ogre drizzled fake blood over his well defined abs with one hand and screams into a mic’d gas mask with the other, it dawns on me. This is when I ultimately appreciate being a Chicagoan.

I snapped pictures with my cell phone throughout the night and was reviewing them this morning. The pictures are tiny, 180×180 pixels at best with little detail beyond pink and blue blurs with a 10 pixel high smudge that is definitely Ogre. He was singing to me, I’m afraid to tell you. And even though the cell phone pictures are blurry, tiny, and unremarkable, they will always remind me of the time Skinny Puppy came out of retirement, to Chicago so Ogre to serenade me in front of hundreds of people. [Don’t you dare burst my bubble, dammit.]

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