El Rey Theatre
Better than: Trent Reznor scoring a horror film.
Like so many industrial artists, collaboration fuels the fiendish sounds of Nivek Ogre. The same is true of his latest project, Ohgr, his group with composer Mark Walk. While Ogre's seminal industrial group, Skinny Puppy, is about the singer/writer/producer exorcising his demons in an aggressive, often horrific way, Ohgr explores theatricality more impishly, through movement and interaction while providing the sonic lashings and dissonance one would expect.
Ogre (real name Kevin Ogilvie) has played around with plenty of other musicians since SP's inception: Pigface, KMFDM, Al Jourgensen's Ministry and Revolting Cocks, and Trent Reznor too, but he's best when he's front and center. Like Reznor — who was so heavily influenced by Skinny Puppy, it's pretty much accepted that NIN “ripped” 'em off, at least in the early days — Ogre is a star that shines amid the dementia and darkness of his music.
Props and embellishments for the show included a helmet, creepy Crow-like face makeup, and a blow-horn during the encore. There was even a pop-in from former bandmate Tim Skold and horror movie legend Bill Moseley, who came out a couple times to read creepy limericks and provocative prose about death and “porno chicks.” (Ogre and Moseley worked together on the film, Repo: The Genetic Opera.)
Perhaps it's Ogre's dramatic turns of recent years that have re-ignited his stage persona. He had some captivating moves last night, and far from a troubled or tortured soul, he seemed, dare we say, happy. The black-clad crowd sure was, especially when older material was performed, such as cuts from Oghr's 2001 debut Welt and follow-up, 2003's SunnyPsyOp.
Newer stuff melded driving grooves with Ogre's signature use of pre-recorded audio. The opening number, called “Crash,” was particularly intriguing: it features recorded parts from the 911 call reporting Michael Jackson's death.
Another standout was the bullhorn-infused encore rant, “W.D.I.H.T.F” (Who Do I Have to Fuck?), which is also the name of the band's new website, where they appear to be self-releasing material after some contractual problems with past labels. The track, and the stuff on the site, sees this project less focused on clamor, and more on relentless yet accessible stomps. Rest assured, though, the wicked vocals and eerie soundscapes he spewed last night indicate this ogre remains a monster.
The Crowd: Boots and bondage pants.
Critical Bias: We knew Ogre and his (now) ex-girlfriend back in the '90's via mutual friends.
Random Notebook Dump: Oghr should do a dance remix thing. A lot of last night's tracks had banger potential.