Revolution, Ft. Lauderdale Florida • October 29th, 2004
Jorge C. Galban
It was with great anticipation that Skinny Puppy roared into Ft. Lauderdale in support of their stunning “Greater Wrong of The Right” album. Upon arriving at the venue, I quickly moved close the entrance near the tour bus. A young couple approached me requesting information on getting a press/photo pass. However, this was no ordinary fan fare. It turns out this duo traveled 22 hours by plane from Cape Town, South Africa for the event. Apparently Puppy has a following there. Anyone willing to travel 22 hours to see a band perform deserves a guest pass. After passing the slew of security personnel (you would swear George W. Bush was attending the show) I ventured into the club and found an ideal viewing spot. The show opened with the eerie “Downsizer,” with Ogre singing the entire song from back stage. cEvin Key towered above a barrage of keyboards and effect units. The band was augmented by an outstanding drummer and guitarist/bassist. Once the audience was prepped, the foursome unleashed “I’mmortal” with its driving rhythm and pounding beats. Ogre finally appears, wearing the most bizarre headgear imaginable. His vocals and bodily movements added to the utter strangeness unfolding. This track really got the crowd jumping.
The adrenaline filled “Pro-test” followed with equal potency. The vicious drum sounds were so intense that I could feel my skeleton vibrating underneath my skin. A large screen at center stage displayed flashing images of destruction and chaos. cEvin performed beautifully and provided a vibrant sonic tapestry. The masses engaged in minor mosh activity and managed not to injure anyone severely. “Empte” came next with a high octane boost. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Ogre removed his mask and began dipping his hands into two buckets loaded with colored powder and fluids of unknown origin. Using a sponge, he slowly dripped the powder and liquids down his arm and onto his face & body. This ritual continued throughout several songs. The mid-tempo “Neuwerld” followed as images of dropping bombs, destruction and gore filled the screen. Then Orge left the stage and returned with something that resembled a laser gun attached to a hose. This hose led to a small tank attached to his leg.
During the next few songs, he would squeeze the trigger releasing red fluids onto the crowd. Anyone in the first five rows left in a blood red hue. Going back to their 1996 flagship The Process, Puppy performed the earth shattering “Death” to my utter delight. The aggression and energy oozed from the stage onto the crowd. An equally impressive light show accompanied the aural onslaught. The older material performed during the night was reworked to fit in with their current musical direction. Many of the songs were unrecognizable until the vocals and lyrics came in. These included “Smothered Hope, Choke” and a slew of others. During the first encore, “Blue Serge” soared through massive speakers setting the venue ablaze. Another gem from The Process,, this one woke up the dead. The two-hour set encompassed a great deal of the bands’ repertoire and appealed to fans of every kind. The only downside to the show was Puppy’ more-than-obvious hatred for George W. Bush; something I could have done without. It’s fine to have a political position, but don’t tell the audience not to vote for Bush or risk having “Smothered Hope.” However, putting their political rhetoric aside, SP displayed a level of professionalism and passion that I had not experienced since the last NIN US Tour. Here is a band still going after 20+ years with a fresh musical vision and an ass-kicking live performance that is second to none.
The latest news on the bands’ website is that they are currently working on a live DVD with performances recorded in Canada during the summer leg of the tour. The release date is set for Spring 2005! This will be a must-have for my collection.
Skinny Puppy: www.skinnypuppy.com