Aftermath: Aging Industrialists Skinny Puppy at Warehouse Live

Aftermath never thought that the day would come when he would leave a Skinny Puppy totally blank and content. He's either completely burned out on shock over this past year of seeing Yanni and Insane Clown Posse, or the industrial train has officially come into passé station.

That's the strange thing, because Aftermath digs industrial music, but we are slowly coming to the unwelcome and sad conclusion that maybe he doesn't like the stuff in a live setting. It almost never lives up to the scorched earth images in our own head and instead comes off as hokey at times. The genre's best and brightest pioneers, like Puppy, are aging quickly along with their bedrock audience.

In some genres, physical age only coats the music with a fine patina that makes it all the more grizzled and endearing. You know the point when the artist begins to live up to the lyrics? Just like how now when Mick and Keith sing about "Waiting On A Friend," it now means that maybe someones pacemaker stopped in the night and no one told them that they would be waiting for a while.

The thing about industrial music is that it is inherently a young man's game. A lot the stalwarts in any fashion-driven enterprise either get out of the game or change their tactics along the way to stay at least relevant to their target market. Industrial music is now reaching middle age, and it seems it's getting harder to elicit the same sense of prescience, on top of still trying to fill a room. Hell, lead singer Nivek Ogre turns 47 years old this coming weekend.

This touring version of Puppy has been pared down to only a three-piece with Ogre and cEvin Key the only two classic-era members still alive and touring. Opening with Ogre in an over-sized face-covering dunce cap and false beard and clutching a walker, the band started off with "Love In Vein" from 1992's Last Rights. Puppy is also one of those lucky bands whose older music doesn't clash with their newer work. Tracks from the two-year old Mythmaker weren't out of place next to "Deadlines," for instance.

The stride was hit nine songs in with "Pro-Test," as Ogre started to shed some of the theatrical props and coverings and began to move more freely. With the better-known songs came more physical involvement amongst fans, which until then had sat quietly and stiffly in their weeknight warrior-goth garb. The triple shot of "Morpheus Laughing," 'Ugli" and "Assimilate" brought everyone under one black umbrella.

By the encore, Ogre was down to just a white sweaty jumper and was seen doing some suspect Eastern stretches in between the three songs included. Closing with the mid-80s era "Far Too Frail", Puppy said goodbye to the diminishing throng.

Set List

Love In Vein










Morpheus Laughing






Far Too Frail

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty