Skinny Puppy / Otto Von Schirach Kool Haus, Toronto ON — November 10, 2004

Skinny Puppy / Otto Von Schirach Kool Haus, Toronto ON — November 10, 2004

Say what you will about the group's latest work, Skinny Puppy stand as gods to the world of industrial music. By warping the boundaries of the genre's roots through a fusion of psychotic imagery, demonic vocals and an erratic backdrop of beats, samples and (in some cases) guitar riffs, the band have found their way onto thousands of "influences" lists. Having been apart for several years now, this tour could have easily fallen into being just another mediocre reunion. Instead, the show was a showcase of the artists' abilities to both play to a crowd and put forth a stage show rivalling any multi-million dollar rock star's. Featuring ambitiously grandiose video displays, profuse bleeding in the form of stigmata, surreal costume changes and insane lighting effects, the music, which was still awe-inspiring, took second stage to the visuals. Even Otto Von Schirach understood the value of merging experimental music with a bizarre level of costume changes (though he also highlighted the one downfall of Skinny Puppy's legacy by producing substandard music achieving annoyance over astonishment). Of course, the fact they were filming footage for an upcoming DVD was insurance the group would hold nothing back and even the body-bagged camera lurching menacingly around the stage added to the theatrics. Kevin Ogilvie's stage presence was the key to this show, and he managed to breathe life into the stale songs featured from The Greater Wrong of the Right. Even the rapping in "Pro-test" was tolerable, mostly because he did so wearing a dog-like Egyptian-styled mask. Older material was also readily available, and the encore, including "Shores of Pluto" and "Smothered Hope," alone made this show worth attending. It is comforting that a group who have influenced three decades worth of music still has the ability to put forth a great live performance.