Ohgr 11/30 at Double Door

Sunday night Ohgr returned to Chicago after a seven year absence from touring to play a show at the Double Door. I was quite surprised he wasn’t playing at Metro again based on the popularity of Skinny Puppy and the fact that the Double Door is so small. I knew shooting the show was going to be a challenge, but one I was up for considering who it was that was playing!


Chris Connelly

When the doors finally opened, the line of people waiting to get in the club was well down the street. It didn’t take very long for the club to fill up as the place filled up with eager fans. After about an hour of standing around and waiting, the show finally got started when Chris Connelly took the stage. I haven’t seen Chris on a stage in well over ten years, perhaps even longer. For those of you unfamiliar with Chris, he once was in Fini Tribe, then he did time in such fine bands as Ministry, Revolting Cocks, and Pigface before embarking on a solo career that saw him give up industrial rock for a mellower kind of music. It was just Chris and an accousic guitar doing a variety of songs that span his solo career. It was really neat to hear accoustic versions of “Stowaway” and “July” which were songs I’ve been enjoying on his first two albums for years and years. In between songs Chris would make some small talk and was very upbeat. His set lasted about a half hour and was really enjoyable.


Chris Connelly

After Chris left, a screen was rolled down in front of the stage and I could see some familiar looking people come out behind it. It was William Morrison and Justin Bennett, both of whom have done time in Skinny Puppy and are both part of the touring version of Ohgr. The screen in front of the stage was to show the band created films on while they played music in the background. The music was all instrumental and some of it had a lot of samples. It really set the tone for the images on the screen quite well. There were images of American Indians and bits of early American history among other things. It really worked well and reminded me of something you might see in a history flim but able to keep your interest for a lot longer. At times it was spooky and at times it was aggressive. It was a pretty neat thing to witness and hear for the 45 mins they played. The name of this little band of theirs is the American Memory Project.


Ohgr


Ohgr

As the screen was removed and final preparations were being done, the crowd started chanting for Ohgr. The place was totally packed at this point and it was again I was wondering why they didn’t have this show at a larger venue. From my spot up front I could see Ogre being outfit with a cover to hide the outfit he was going to be coming out in until it was time.


Ohgr


Ohgr


Ohgr

When the band took the stage, they started playing and the drumbeats and intro was instantly recognizable as the beginning of “Shhhh”, the first track of Devils In My Details. In the live setting, the drums and song in general was far more powerful than the recorded version on the album. Ogre walked out on stage and the cover was dropped to reveal a monster type of outfit on his back. The outfit had camera lenses for eyes and other camera lenses and with Ogre’s arms outsteched, it gave the appearance of a strange creature growing out of his back. The gimmick worked really well, it felt and looked like a different character and reminded me a lot of earlier Skinny Puppy shows, almost like a tribute to the Guilt Man! It makes sense because the suit was done by the legendary (and long time friend of mine) Tim Gore! Tim was the man responsible for the props and designs on the Skinny Puppy Too Dark Park and Last Rights tours.


Ohgr


Ohgr

While the band were pummeling the audience with as much force and impact of a live Skinny Puppy show (those who’ve witnessed them know what I’m talking about), there were videos and images being projected onto the backdrop behind the musicians. This also served as the main lighting on stage with some minor exceptions. After the first song completed, just like the album, they transitioned into “Eye Candy” and the images on the screen reflected the subject matter of the song. Ogre was still in creature mode and it was very creepy staring at this weird creation looking at me with camera lens eyes while singing those songs in the trademark Ogre vocal.


Ohgr


Ohgr

After this Ogre shed part of his costume to reveal another character with a plastic face. It was even more creepy than the last one. They played the entire DIMD album in order. Just like the album itself was conceived as one long concept piece, it was presented in the same fashion. After Ogre came out of his plastic head shell, it revealed he was painted up kind of like the Joker but even more twisted looking. During “Feelin’ Chicken” he pulled out a box of down feathers and blew them everywhere. It was snowing feathers throughout the entire song and I ended up going home to find many stuck in my hair! DIMD worked very well as a live set and the songs that I wasn’t that into on the album sounded so much better in a live setting. The band played those songs to perfection and even improved on them. DIMD live was definitely a must-see. I’d have been happy if that was the entire show, but thankfully it wasn’t.


Ohgr


Ohgr

After the final song of the album, “Witness”, Ogre announced that was the end of the DIMD concept and it was time for some older material. They played some songs off the previous two albums including “Cracker”, “Majik” and “Minus”. The stuff sounded even better this time around than it did on the last Ohgr tour. On top of the main set, the band came out for two encores, the final one was something I didn’t recognize at all and I think was some improv piece, or as Skinny Puppy fans call it, a brap. It was pretty damn cool whatever it was and it again gave me flashbacks to early Skinny Puppy shows.


Ohgr


Ohgr

Ohgr managed to do something at this show that I didn’t think was possible, they (and he) eclipsed not only the previous Ohgr tour, but this show also eclipsed the last Skinny Puppy show in Chicago! This show is probably going to go down easilly as the best show in 2008. The icing on the cake though was on this tour, they are selling a tour-only vinyl version of Devils In My Details on clear vinyl!