Skinny Puppy @ Metropolis

Presented by Evenko and Greenland Productions

Photo by Greg Cristman

Montreal saw the return of Vancouver's own industrial trailblazers Skinny Puppy for the second time this year as part of their Live Shapes For Arms Tour to promote their 2013 release, Weapon, like ya do. Those around me who also saw them last February seemed to notice some similarities regarding their entire fucking set, but for those who attended neither show, well... Thank God for me, I guess. Mind you, before Saturday, I had as close to no idea what to expect as is conceivable. Join me on this expedition.

The stage is set, a cozy little armchair sits eagerly to the side in the pool of warm light provided by a cheerful old standing lamp. Except for the few seconds of spastic humping it must endure some forty minutes later, the lamp shall remain empty and quietly attentive throughout. The projectors flicker, both on the immense backdrop and upon a semi-transparent unfolded cube centre stage, and out shambles Ogre, a hooded mass of tatters flourishing a black and yellow umbrella. Sounds from the god-damned future form a soundtrack for the grooviest apocalypse we can reasonably hope for, a colossal mantis devours her mate, and the show is under way.

Skinny Puppy are peddling an experience, if I may be permitted to dredge up that term from the trite mines. This is not the sort of act that benefits from an objective approach, so fuck it. Since when have I done anything less than give free reign to my various biases? As I stood amongst the throng, grotesque mechanized pseudo-pods burrowed into my skull, vigorously rooting themselves in the areas of my brain which, unfortunately, would have been more responsive had I been high as balls. It's the thought that counts, though.

There is a small screen to the side, quartered like a security monitor, and apparently displaying live feed of the show from various angles. I soon notice figures flitting around the periphery, ghostly shapes in gas masks and anti-bacterial suits, who coincide with the points of view. Ogre lurches to the side, and they raise a curtain around him. A few moments later, out scampers some shaggy road kill. Par for the course so far. The observers begin to take an interest in him, producing clipboards and prodding him. It occurs to me that there may only have been one of these goons, I'm not really sure, fukken sue me. In any case he/they are joined by a larger black-clad and be-gasmasked figure around when Ogre transforms once more into some breed of simian mutant, and they are promptly upon him to mount a small camera to a bendy-arm harness on his back. Now we can see up his nose! It's a plus.

Things proceed in this vein for the remainder of the show, with a couple more metamorphoses and just a dash of chair-humping, until our frenetic frontman is eventually beaten with cudgels and stuffed into the refolded cube. I leave, sweaty and bemused. All in a night's work for Skinny Puppy.


--From the bowels of the underworld, DJ Spacepirate hosts Burnt Offerings, every Sunday at 6 PM on CJLO.