Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale had a total blast from the past of goth days of yore as Combichrist and Wednesday 13 brought the Everybody Still Hates You tour to the Sunshine State. When I got to the venue, before doors mind you, there were already plenty of bondage-clad and platform boot wearing fans sweltering in the Florida sun. That's pretty much the case whenever Combichrist rolls into town though, as South Florida's goth scene is still pretty prevalent (though no where near as grand as it was in the early 2000's). The band, and Wednesday for that matter, both tour fairly frequently, but the shows are always so high energy that it feels like a new experience each time. You see a lot of the same faces coming out year after year, and it's nice to see that while our music scene is far from booming, the regulars stay true to the music and come out to rock no matter what. The fans trickled inside and didn't have to wait that long for the first band to take the stage.
Opening the night was Death Valley High from Northern California. The great thing about this crowd was that despite there weren't that many fans there right at the start, the fans that were there were definitely there to party. Running straight for the front of the stage, they were dancing, and jumping along with vocalist Reyka Osburn. Most of Death Valley High's set contained songs off of their latest release, CVLT [AS FVK] from late 2016. Death Valley High was able to keep the energy up in the room for the early crowd, and was a killer opener for this lineup.
Florida's own nu-metal band, Prison, was up next. The band members took their place and grabbed their instruments as old time music began to play through the room. The growing crowd pushed closer to the stage, as a loud metallic noise reverberated from the shadows to the side of the stage. Lead singer, Johnny Crowder, walked out shirtless with the word "GIVE" wetly written across his chest and tally marks on his arms, with a chain wrapped around his wrist. Crowder whipped the chain over the stage floor as he walked, as if he was a prisoner working in the yard, until he got to his mic-stand and kicked into the first song. Crowder was down in front with the fans, making faces, and urging them along as they thrashed about. The music was fast and angry on the surface, but listening to his lyrics, the songs touch upon serious notes like depression and suicide. After hearing a few of their songs, I wasn't surprised when Crowder took the time to discuss his own struggles with mental health, and urged anyone struggling to find him to talk after the show. I think in these days it's important to talk about mental struggles, and will always support a band that's down to get real with their fans.
Night Club, an electronic band out of Los Angeles, California, was up next. Lead singer Emily Kavanaugh bounds around the stage singing and dancing as programmer Mark Brooks stands behind his equipment grooving along. These guys, while much more mellow on any band on the tour, we're pretty perfectly placed. The haunting goth dance tracks allowed the crowd to slow down and dance with each other and still enjoy some great live music. Kavanaugh asked early on for the lights to be brought down, setting the mood for their music, and making the only easily things seen her bright red hair flashing about the stage, and the Night Club logo glowing from behind her.
Freak Like Me / Show It 2 Me / Candy Coated Suicide / Blood on Your Blade / Pray / Dear Enemy / Bad Girl
Horror Rock King Wednesday 13 prowled onto the stage as his band mates played him in with their instrumental “Last Rites.” He raised his cane, with a bloody slash on his throat and some serious ringmaster vibes as he kicked into “What the Night Brings” off of 2017's Condolences. Wednesday 13 puts on Alice Cooper levels of stage show, with props and multiple outfit changes throughout the night including a kabuki mask on the back of his head where Wednesday stalked around the stage facing away from the crowd, giving the fans a disjointed and unnatural moving abomination Wednesday. Guitarists Roman Surman and Jack Tankersley jumped around the stage switching sides and hyping up the crowd with Troy Doebbler on bass and Kyle Castronovo on drums.
Wednesday brought out a giant middle finger umbrella and the band ended their set with the infamous “I Love to Say Fuck” also known as “The Song We All Used to Blare on Our Steroes When We Were Mad At Our Moms.” Whichever works, I guess. After bringing some queue cards our to end the night, and some playful banter with Surman, the fans were chanting “fuck, fuck, fuck” even during the “Bad Things” medley that closed out the set. Wednesday 13 hasn;t returned to Florida in nearly a decade, and this show almost made up for that super long time frame, and we hope he brings the Freak Show back to us soon!
What the Night Brings / Blood Sick / Scream Baby Scream / Serpent Society / Prey for Me / Blood Sucker / Gimmie Gimmie Bloodshed / Condolences / I Want You... Dead / I Walked With a Zombie / I Love to Say Fuck / Bad Things
Remember when I said that the same people come to Combichrist shows every year? Well there's another group that are also always there, but are also notoriously late. Those fans continued to pack in right up until Combichrist took the stage at 10pm. The lineup has changed slightly since the last time we saw them, and have seen even more changes between then. Andy LaPlegua burst onto the stage as Joe Letz and Nicki Rossi pounded away on the drums to “All Pain is Gone.” Eric13 (unrelated to Wednesday, from what I've gathered) is always great to see on stage, as he loves to interact with fans and is a huge ball of energy on stage, which is exactly what you need with Combichrist's heart-pounding skull-crushing beats. Elliott Berlin has returned to the stage and was right at home on his keyboards between the two drummers.
Nick and Elliot jumped up and down on their kits erratically, while Letz (or uhm, Neutered Nancy?) creepily stared down audience members with his mouth guard in place before chucking a drumstick in their direction. LaPlegua does not accept a low-energy crowd, and if you were worn down from the three previous hours of dancing, that was too bad. Before the first song was halfway through, the band's energy had taken over the crowd and had the entire floor dancing and thrashing along into each other. And while the entire set was jam-packed with heavily beats, the last five songs of the night really showed just how crazy a Combichrist show can get with mega fan favorites like “Get Your Body Beat,” “Never Surrender,” and the always super popular closer (I'm speaking from previous drunk experience) “What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?”
It was an intense night of some of the best goth, eletronic, horror show bands you can get, and while the genres may have differed from band to band, each was able to bring something exciting to the night. The Everybody Still Hates You Tour is just full of pure energy, and even if you haven't heard of half the bands, or are just a fan of one of two, definitely check this tour out, you won't be disappointed with this one.
All Pain Is Gone / Blut Royale / Can't Control / Electrohead / Throat Full of Glass / Scarred / Fuck That Shit / Exit Eternity / Denial / Get Your Body Beat / Sent to Destroy / Never Surrender / Maggots at the Party / What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?
Death Valley High