January 31, 2014
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Love Tsunami
Photos by Brian Ullrich
Shapes For Arms Embaraces The Granada Theater
I don't always know what's going on around me. I like to think I'm hip and cool and all that, but it can be hard to keep up with music. My head is often occupied with laundry and dishes. Skinny Puppy has been around since I was a kid, so when they were scheduled to appear at Granada Theater in Dallas, I got excited. I saw them in 1992 at the now defunct Bronco Bowl. Just hearing their name made me feel 22 again. Being focused on things to qualify me as A Responsible Adult, I didn't keep up with their work after that tour, so I imagined that I was going to see a nostalgia act. I'm sure diehard Skinny Puppy fans groaned when they read that. Please feel free to soapbox about the current relevance of their artistic contributions to industrial music in the comment section below.
Once I got inside the theater, I noticed how young the general audience was. I considered the possibility that their act might not have arrested itself just because I wasn't watching it. There were plenty of people my age and several who were old enough to have seen Frank Zappa. The place was packed, but fortunately my companion had some friends who were already down front and they made room for us. Moments later Skinny Puppy was on stage and 200 cell phone cameras went up. What happened after that was a near miracle.
The band had such a mesmerizing effect so fast that ¾ of them were down in under a minute. I'm blown away by any band that can make the people be where they are with full presence. The theatrical charisma of Skinny Puppy is legendary. I'm sure Alice Cooper is proud of his bastard stepchildren. He should be. They take technology and marry it with good old fashioned horror straight from the Saturday Matinee Double Feature. For this show, Ogre became a mad scientist who gleefully drank glowing liquid from beakers. Harsh colored repeating organic patterns flashed on screens. A galactic light design painted the ceiling for patrons in the upper balcony. They were the only ones in a position to see it without actively having to drag their attention away from the stage. For a few minutes, it felt like I was in Hell and I mean that in the best possible way.
My friend ditched out for awhile toward the end of the show to beat the rush at the merchandise table where she scored a t-shirt with the merch girl's makeup and some doodling in silver sharpie drawn by Ogre. She played a game of Roshambo for it with a guy who wanted it for his girlfriend. Not really. It was Rock Paper Scissors, but she still got the shirt and a cool story for cocktail parties. Of course, as always, I stood next to the drunk guy who spilled his beer down my back while I was dancing, lost in the moment. I didn't even care right then. Skinny Puppy was so good that they now rank in my Top 5 for Granada bookings. That's major. Peter Murphy occupies two of those spots and he's not giving up his title as Goth God anytime soon.
They played an hour and 40 minute set, but it was so hypnotic that I got lost in it. I honestly couldn't tell you from one song to the next what they were playing or what I saw while they were playing it. It felt like that time passed in the blink of an eye. Time flies and you know the rest. It was an amazing performance. I hate that I missed the encore because I was in the bathroom drying off my dress from my beer bath, but these are just the hazards of the job.