Cold Waves X Day 4 Recap:With Co- Headliners Front 242 & Nitzer Ebb Along with support from Portion Control, Light Asylum, The Foreign Resort & Hapax
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
Edited by Fiza Javid
Riviera Theatre Chicago- Sunday 9/25/22
Everything culminating in all things Cold Waves X comes to a mighty fine and celebratory conclusion at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago.
Yes- you heard right.
The Riviera Theatre.
A big leap, a big risk, and like all things Industrial- why not take the chance?
For all intent and purposes to close out Day 4, from my vantage point, talking with CW staff, talking to the CW faithful, what I've seen online- a giant success.
When Cold Waves made the announcement for all things Number 10 back in early March, had to take a second look to make sure it wasn't a typo- The Riv, and not the Metro Chicago.
The Cold Waves home away from home has always been the Metro, as well it should, except for their first year which was the Bottom Lounge, right after Jamie Duffy passed away.
For those not in the know, this is the sole reason that Cold Waves started, through Jason Novak and Kelly Britton- Novak, amongst many others in the industrial community of Chicago.
Hard to imagine it's been over ten years since his passing- a fixture on the Chicago music scene for some twenty years, a multi- tasker, whether it be mixing and engineering at various venues around town, or playing guitar with Acumen Nation, Cyanotic, Chemlab, let alone the mighty Pigface, amongst others.
So yes- you can see why the industrial music community of Chicago came together for a good cause, and has continued to the present day, in addressing issues of mental illness, let alone suicide and suicide prevention.
Not to completely dwell on this, but it needs to be said front and center the scope of the festival, and what Cold Waves brings to the table to support these important topics, the people involved, and always the chance for being there in reaching out to those in need with nowhere to turn.
So coming full circle- without a true mission statement to rely on, and going with my gut- Cold Waves exists in the spirit of community more than anything else.
Again, awareness of what it's about- sure- but after nine successful years, and the completion of number Ten, the culture, the vibe, the coming together in this beautiful city of Chicago, is all about community.
Keeping those thoughts in mind, and addressing all things Day 4- the booking is reflective of the overall aesthetic of Cold Waves, inviting, and also challenging. Challenging in a good way, not just with the obvious headliners, but with the undercard.
The undercard of all four days.
Makes you as a music hound to want to get there early, to not miss bands such as Leathers, New Canyons, Kontravoid, Spike Hellis, Ghostfeeder, Haloblack, let alone previous years with Pixel Grip, Panterah, or even Kanga- these are all bands where I was not even there and present.
Just goes to show the anticipatory feel year in / year out, when the Cold Waves crew make their announcement on the forthcoming Cold Waves Festival event.
You have plenty of time between March and September every year to get your act together and research, and discover new bands on the bill that may well deserve your attention.
Having said that- working from the openers and up in all things Day Four-
Must start with HAPAX - an Italian Post- Punk and Darkwave project all the way from Italy.
Their sound, their overall presentation, was full force, taking advantage of their brief 25 minute set, and playing to a decent sized crowd on the main floor, which looked like a lot of the Cold Waves faithful had gotten their early to catch the entire show.
As far as The Foreign Resort- have always been a fan of them, dating back to around 2010 or '11- introduced to their coolness courtesy of Scary Lady Sarah, when she played a few of their songs at either one of her Nocturna events at Metro, or something similar.
And like openers HAPAX, they had a brief 30 minute set, but it was incendiary, and tight, steeped in heavy melody with over the top guitar interludes.
This band, when provoked, can unleash the hounds with might and vigor.
Next up- another highlight for me- Light Asylum.
This girl also commands your attention.
Shannon Funchess, who is everything Light Asylum - Founder, producer, amazing vocalist, and overall multi- instrumentalist- she comes out with your basic sampler, and that's it.
Not as easy as it sounds, especially when performing live, and your mix can get somewhat thwarted compared to overall vocal.
And especially for a crowd such as Cold Waves- who can be somewhat forgiving, especially because of the circumstances- "Festival" and all-
But Shannon, her songs, and the slow and heavy build up....she commands.
She commands through dance. She commands through pulsating beats. She commands in choice of wicked hair coloring and camouflage pants, let alone searing vocal.
Such a riveting performance from Shannon.
And now look out for Portion Control.
The talk from doors opening at the Riviera, up until their performance- outside of co- headliners Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb, the Cold Waves faithful were geeked up for their set as well.
With Dean Piavani and John Whybrew, they have a dark wickedness about them that pervades to this very day- imagining a darker version of all things Underworld, and you sort of get the gist.
Although that in truth is not a fair comparison as well- Dean Piavani has a more commanding stage presence, immersed in confrontational moves and contortions, enticing whichever crowd to get up and dance on your feet, and embrace all things "Underground".
What a monumental set from these guys- the samples, the segway between songs just one big reveal after another, with the pulsating beats from the PA hitting you in the sternum all the way to the back of the venue.
As for Nitzer Ebb and Front 242- a one/ two punch of might and power and movement.
Bon Harris and Douglas McCarthy were splendid throughout, opening with "Blood Money" from their album "Belief' - a slow and steady buildup about shedding things- both personal and material.
Their whole set was like this- a slow buildup to inevitable pandemonium, so well thought out on what deliver, and when.
Me- I've always been a fan of "Getting Closer" and also "Lightning Man"- which the latter, sung so diabolical from Douglas, just gives you shivers.
And Douglas is fired up, believe me, in well fashioned black suit, looking like a guy with knives, knives, guns, guns, ready to do business his way.
Bon Harris, god bless him, has his moments in the sun as well, for the song captivate, and commanding the stage front and center with Douglas.
Of course we get the heavy hitter staples, "Join In The Chant" into "Control, I'm Here", into "Let Your Body Learn", and then closing out with the diabolical "Murderous".
What a set folks- memorable in oh so many ways.
Same goes for Front 242.
Still punishing, and still so inviting.
And Jean- Luc De Meyer- looking healthy, in full caustic vocal, slender, and meaning business.
Same with Richard 23- the both of them- the yin and yang of wicked onslaught, brought to you by yours truly all things Patrick Codenys at the controls and samples.
The three of them, to the very present day, can command with visuals and a PA that swirls around you and sucks you in, front of the house- back of the house.
Their songs still matter.
Their songs still count.
They sing and play with such urgency throughout.
Maybe because it's their supposed last hurrah- who the fuck knows.
But you can tell by the smiles- they're having a damn good time playing for each other, let alone their fauithful audience.
Their production is meticulous- well suited for the confines of the Riviera Theatre- their video projections not too intrusive, but done sophisticated enough to command your attention equal to the principal players performing.
And the main floor crowd- the world for all intent and purposes could've ended after the show, and most of us would've been in agreement that we're going out with a bang, and with the right band involved.
The nuggets.. Opening with "Moldavia"- heavy strobe flashlights involved for full effect, into "Take One", into "Don't Crash"...heavy breathing on my part at this point- the heavy buildup of song armory just continues, with "Soul Manager" and Command Mix", and we're not even to the heavy hitters yet- that being of course "Tragedy>For You<", "Headhunter", let alone "Body to Body".
I mean sheesh.
Their entire set is not sheepish one bit.
Adore these guys?
You should too.
As for Cold Waves X- to Jason Novak, Kelly Britton Novak, Ethan Novak, to Pat MamaKidd Duffy, to Brian Dickie, to Dann Szymczak, to Jean Shock...thank you so much for making this happen at The Riviera.
Love you all so much.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago