IAMX w/Mr. Kitty Live @ Neumos in Seattle
October 13, 2015
By Frida Ray
Traffic sucks. Parking sucks.
The grand fortune of those two mini-sentences was that I missed nearly half of the night’s opener, Mr. Kitty. Their musical offerings via Bandcamp had been promising too; I enjoy a good dose of darkwave and I am particularly fond of solo projects. I just love watching a lone wolf bounce around on stage to their deep secrets and thoughtful beats.
Unfortunately, Mr. Kitty did not rise to the occasion: the performer’s stage presence wasn’t much beyond bouncing and hiding under a white hoodie. I was also gripped with wonder as to whether I was watching a lip-sync or if there were simply too many effects on the vocals to warrant the need to work at singing. I despise charlatans.
This wonderment, combined with the lack of mid-range in the tracks, the muddiness of the vocal, and the limp connection with the audience had me hightailing to the bar for a drink. I haven’t been this repelled by an act in eons.
Sometimes the choice of an opening band can prove a bad omen for what’s to come, so I was hopeful my beloved IAMX would be on point. The beautiful women of the group took the stage first, goading the crowd to cheer for the enigmatic Chris Corner to take the stage. We were still trying to get over the paltry performance from Mr. Kitty so it took several minutes to build up a decent sized roar. Just as I began to wonder if Corner was punishing us for hating the opener, he ascended from the depths below Neumo’s and hopped on stage. Phew. Everyone was screaming now. Game on.
Corner, formerly of British trip-hop band Sneaker Pimps, moved to East Berlin in 2006 in an effort to shift gears and give himself “the spirit to care less about the music industry and take an independent route.” I read this quote last year and wondered what his new-found solitude would bring about.
Metanoia, the album IAMX recently dropped, definitely departs from his melodic 2012 offering The Unified Field. Metanoia is a gorgeous, industrialized romp that hearkens back to his work with Sneaker Pimps, albeit with a decidedly more complex and layered sound. Dark, sexy, and raw, this is an album with poignant vocals about war, privilege, gender fluidity, and the evils of a world held captive by rampant greed.
The live performance was equally raw, intimate, overflowing with sexual innuendo, and unrelenting in its open commentary about the state of our world. Corner unabashedly whips the crowd with his searing views, wrapped in silky vocals that captivate and convince.
It is important to note that Corner doesn’t consider IAMX to be solely a musical project. This is dark cabaret at its best, with gorgeous, evocative costuming combined with Corner’s self-made visuals that flawlessly accompany every song.
The backbone of the stage show rests squarely on the sexual dynamics and vocal interactions with L.A. goddess Janine Gezang. The combination of these two wonderfully androgynous beings and their stage antics is intense, sexually driven beauty.
If you’ve been to an IAMX show without being turned on, you just might need to get a check-up from your doctor to make certain that your heart actually beats.