It’s a rainy Thursday night for my first concert since the COVID-19 pandemic began. According to some of the more frequent concert-goers I spoke with, despite the vaccine rollout and eased restrictions, show attendance has not returned to its normal, pre-pandemic state. This was certainly the case in this instance, with a crowd of maybe 40 fans in attendance, exacerbated by it being a Thursday, and at the same time as a Green Bay Packers game, something the average Wisconsinite is not going to miss.
Despite the smaller crowd of dedicated fans, there was certainly an energy of excitement. As the night went on, the crowd and energy level grew and grew until Combichrist finally hit the stage, bringing with them an incredibly powerful aura of visuals and sound.
Combichrist’s set kicked off at full force, blasting heavy beats of Compliance, their latest release, which feels like a return to their electronic and industrial roots like previous albums Making Monsters or Today We Are All Demons. They play Guns at Last Dawn next, from their latest album, One Fire, before moving into a killer set from all eras of their different styles.
Since their work on the DMC soundtrack album, No Redemption, Combichrist has been moving more and more towards a metal sound, rather than their aggrotech beginnings. Their latest albums included a combination of the genres, creating a wider variety to their sound. The incorporation of the guitars into the older, more electronic-focused songs only adds to how powerful and punchy they feel in a live setting. The intensity of the live trio is unmatched, and singer Andy LePlagua’s harsh vocals are on another level when it comes to live performances. He seemed to really be having fun, adding different tones and inflections to his deliveries, rather than singing the studio versions exactly as they were recorded.
It was impossible not to get moving to the set with tracks like Get Your Body Beat and Blut Royale, and by this point most of the crowd had made it to the pit area, and were either bouncing or dancing. This energy kept up throughout the rest of the set, and it even grew to the point of a small mosh pit forming for one of the heaviest tracks of the night, Slakt. The few moshers continued until the end of the show, where Combichrist performed What the Fuck is Wrong With You? as an encore. It was a great choice to end the show on, and had everyone singing along.
As a longtime fan of Combichrist, I really appreciated the diverse setlist, covering tracks from most albums, and even going back to some of the earliest works and fan favorites.
Guns at Last Dawn
Throat Full of Glass
Get Your Body Beat
Shut Up and Swallow
Hate Like Me
Not My Enemy
What the Fuck is Wrong With You?