My second opportunity to see The Nine, my first The Galan Pixs and I've lost count how many times I've seen Inertia. This was the second date in a brief UK tour which also took in Brighton, Nottingham, Leeds and Cheltenham.
Hard-edged electronic pop produced by two Englishmen who are perhaps better known in Europe and America than they are here in the UK. Suffering from the overly familiar live line up of many electro two-pieces - a singer and a guy on keyboards - The Nine nevertheless manage to generate a certain amount of heat, even for those unfamiliar with their songs.
Although they seem relatively new to the UK live circuit, the members of The Nine have been together for over a decade, previously gigging (including support for Gary Numan on his Emotion tour) as Glasshouse. This accounts for their professionally polished live presence. The set was, understandably, based around The Nine's debut album Native Anger which is still receiving good reviews across the globe. Although not quite a bowled over as when I first saw them, The Nine are distinctive enough, especially due to the unexpected use of occasional heavy guitar riffs, to keep themselves the respectable side of the dreaded 'synth-pop' tag. Strong vocals and well-structured pop songs should ensure they'll find a welcoming market both live and on CD.
The Galan Pixs
For German band The Galan Pixs this date represented only their second night live in the UK after their debut in Brighton the night before. Although the audience here was only modest - 100 maybe - it was clear that many had (like myself) come specifically to see The Galan Pixs. First impressions were that they looked great and they were a full band, namely they had drums, bass and lead guitar, synths and lead vocalist. Five distinctive members, the two guitarists in sunglasses (and managing to pull that off with ease), one of whom was also wearing a silver, full-length skirt and a black cowboy hat! Okay, so the look was off beat, cool and convincing - what about the sound? How about The Revolting Cocks in a blender with some obscure German techno act - a techno Rev. Co?
The metal/industrial crossover sound recalls the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and Die Krupps, but the sublime and (as far as I've heard) unique overlaying of acidic techno bleeping was an odd (but slightly surprisingly) totally successful marriage. The sequencer synth backing and front end bleeping provided the basis for much dancing, whilst the chugging guitar riffs fulfilled the ballsy, headbanging element. The live drummer was a major asset as were the guitarists who put on an entertaining stage show. Gaunt and Peter Murphy-esque vocalist Stefan has a memorable face and his vocals, both in German and English, are varied, clear and strong. Just as soon as they'd finished the first song, the audience exploded with appreciation. Band members smiled, relaxed and enjoyed the rest of their set.
Whereas the GP releases display more shades of grey and some subtle and melodic songs, live the focus is very much on the heavier side of The Galan Pixs. And that's no bad thing. They were only twenty minutes into the set when I decided that I ought to get to the merchandise table just in case they sold out of CDs. I picked up 1999's Pink Film Edition album and returned to take in the remainder of the set. It was equally impressive and included a competent cover of Nine Inch Nails' Closer (which also appears on Pink Film Edition).
The cheers of the small but appreciative crowd at the end of the set made clear London's view of The Galan Pixs. Suitably convinced, I headed for the merchandise stall again at the end of the night, picking up copies of the early Holocaust In Toyland single (1994) and their latest - the limited edition Crackerjack UK Tour EP (2000). I spoke briefly with keyboard player Timo and he said he was happy with the response the band received, saying that it a been a long-held dream of his to play in England and now that dream had come true. I hope the promoter gives The Galan Pixs a chance to play in front of more people by asking them back to play on one of the Flag one day festivals in the near future. If they receive more exposure over here, I'm sure this band could shift a lot more CDs in the UK. This gig and the others on this small UK tour with Inertia was a good start.
I'm not the biggest fan of industrial electro terrorists Inertia and, having seen them live many times before, chose not to stay for their entire set. Suffice it to say that this was Inertia at their very heaviest, with a restless Reza running back and forth across the stage, Alexys B kitted out in her usual 'attractive' clothing, with Eddie Tempest and Ed Luxmoore adding to the stage pacing with their face-painted antics.
I'd come mainly to see The Galan Pixs and so, it would seem, did many others. After twenty minutes of Inertia playing, the dance floor remained noticeably spacious compared to when the Germans were on stage. But credit where credit is due, Inertia certainly provide a good show for their fans, here previewing material off their next album (due out early next year), and their frequent (some would say too frequent) UK gigs at least give fans plenty of chances to see them deliver live.