Skinny Puppy concert review with special guest Youth Code – Cleveland, OH – The Agora – 11.14.15
Industrial pioneers Skinny Puppy returned to Cleveland on their new “Down the SocioPath” tour and pounded the crowd at the Agora with songs new and old. Skinny Puppy has been known to create some of the most visceral and politically charged live shows of most bands in the same genre; and their performance did not disappoint. Nivek Ogre hit the stage in a white suit with a hood, and after the band opened with such favorites as “Dogshit” and “Fascist Jock Itch,” the reactions of the fans proved that Skinny Puppy had not lost their audience. Expected theatrics of a Skinny Puppy live show, such as stunning visual graphics on the backdrop, were evidenced, and Ogre continued his legacy of incorporating performance art into the show. Ogre was lanced by hypodermic needles and appeared to be bleeding as he performed. This type of theatricality is not often still seen, as many bands tend to discontinue parts of their previous live shows as they age. As a result, this show was old school industrial at its finest. Skinny Puppy continued the set with “Worlock” and “Killing Game” and saw the audience respond with acclaim accordingly, cheering and singing along to their favorite songs. Even though the crowd was not as sprightly as they were 25 years ago when Skinny Puppy first burst onto the scene, the enthusiasm was palpable and a comraderie was apparent among Skinny Puppy lovers of all ages. Skinny Puppy started their career as luminaries of the industrial music scene with their intricate and thought provoking live shows dealing with politics, drug abuse and vivisection, and have been providing controversial and theatrical commentary on these and other issues ever since. Seeing such a legendary industrial band perform live is a rare phenomenon- enjoy it while it’s still around.
Youth Code opened the night, setting the tone for Skinny Puppy. Lead singer Sarah Taylor and bandmate Ryan William George are a duo and this is their second time opening for Skinny Puppy. While their stripped down look was far different from the headliners, Youth Code was able to garner the attention of the audience with punchy songs such as “Agagnorisis” and “Consuming Guilt.” Taylor delivered her vocals with a sinister grin, vowing to make every member of the crowd a fan. The response to the band’s performance proved that industrial music is no longer a genre that requires elaborate costumery. Skinny Puppy’s “Down the Sociopath” tour’s stop in Cleveland showcased both the history and the future of industrial music. While the costumery of industrial music is entertaining, the raw ideas behind the music can be equally as compelling- some things never go out of style.