Nekrogoblikon + Psychostick + Urizen @ Katacombes – 23rd April 2016

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The chilled night air stung the lungs of those that had gathered to find the venue doors firmly bolted and behind schedule. The opening band, Crimson Shadows, had dropped off the bill and once the gates finally swung open, it was revealed that two of the six members of Necrogoblikon had be held by the notorious border patrol and hadn’t gained entry into the country.

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The usual late comers were now on time, and hadn’t missed the opening act yet. Which was a blessing because Urizen stole the show. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of the band prior to a quick check-up on YouTube the day of the show and I wasn’t expecting much. The show began dimly lit, which turned out to be so that the bands flashlight goggles could cast a beam across the crowd, which was neat and just the beginning. From there, a German sounding scientist appeared and ordered the show to stop sucking, tricking the members to use brain enhancing devices reminiscent of those that hang above the electric chair… and then they were electrocuted. This somehow caused the guitarist to play while inside a box, informing us that he could still see us. Prompting the return of the scientist who, of course, transformed into a massive one-eyed monster and had to be slain with the help of a giant robot. Basically your average rock show, ahem!

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Following that was Psychostick, whom I have a hard time enjoying. I suppose you could say songs consisting of lyrics that contain just one vulgar word strike me as extremely juvenile and pointless. Then, to their credit, they do state that “adulting” is their least favorite activity. Practically everything they do is an homage to geek culture; from songs about Bruce Campbell to the singer wearing a Zelda shirt – I believe a large part of their fan base, and judging by the crowd’s reaction I’m in the minority here, identify with the band on this level. Indeed, these boys are basically kids in adult bodies with the ability to buy beer. Lots and lots of beer. Their stage banter would suggest that they’ve just discovered poutine, and now are in love with Montreal as a result. Naturally. The highlight of their set was a cover of Kenny Loggins “Danger Zone”, which every single human on earth knows courtesy of Top Gun.

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Ending off with two thirds of Necrogoblikon was a bit of a grey area. I respect their will to give a show despite being down two components. But maybe there is a point where you have to admit that dragging your merch guy up on stage and plopping a microphone in his hands could be detrimental to the band more than it shows perseverance. Try as he did, Kody is better behind the merch table than he is behind the mic. Also missing was the keyboardist, whose parts were replaced by the guys humming his intros. Despite a couple of failed attempts from audience members to fill in for the missing singer; the party-like atmosphere was still enough to save the show and keep things lively and fun. Some requested refunds, but most stayed and had a good night out. And anyway, the Goblin was in town, completing the gimmick trifecta.

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The band’s performance was admirable under the circumstances, and the building was smoldering. Quite literally, as the air conditioning had broken down. I can’t imagine how hot those in costume must have been – suffering for art. At one point, Necrogoblikon were primed to play a new song, but had to do so instrumentally, I suppose because nobody knew the lyrics to the track! “Well that’s a first” announced bassist Brandon Frenzel, “That’s the first time we’ve ever played an instrumental”. Wounded, the boys still knocked out all their top tracks, like “Powercore”, “No One Survives” and the amusingly titled “We Need A Gimmick”. Also “Prince Of The Land Of Stench” and “Full Body Xplosion” – again, to echo myself, all things considered, they put on quite a commendable show.

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Review & photos – Kieron Yates

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