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S&S Presents

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Tragic Black, IMPXVIII

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

8:00 pm


This event is 21 and over

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(Raymond Watts) inhabits a genre of one. How to begin to describe it? We can start with KMFDM, since the unforgettable Englishman behind it – Raymond Watts – was a founder member. Once you have a certain combination of hard rock, soulful electro-pop and funk in your head, you can introduce Foetus: big band, blues and classical samples pounded into place by some behemoth of machinery – but zigs where Foetus zags. JG Thirlwell was a frequent collaborator and shaper of the early sound; he appears on ‘Peoria‘ and ‘Sick City‘ and produced the first couple of albums. Accordingly, Watts took a brief turn in the Foetus live band, and contributed to the first two Steroid Maximus albums.

So, we’re up to hard rock, electro-pop, funk, big band, blues, clanging metallic percussion, samples of classical, world music, soundtracks … and we can throw in the auras of his erstwhile collaborators, too: the swaggering, strutting sexuality of 90s Foetus topped with the effortless glamour of KMFDM. Then take his time in Japan, where he’s played with Schaft and Schwein – sounding roughly like all of the above but with Buck-Tick’s punky Visual Kei sensibility added to the mix.

Ignoring the occasional curveball (such as the latin influence on ‘Salambo’), we could almost by this point imagine the sound, were it not for the one thing that makes truly unique. makes rock like nobody else. Take the chunky, maddeningly memorable riffs from Metallica’s ‘Black Album‘ and double them. Punishing and pleasing in equal measure, it’s a perfect storm of pop hooks and grinding guitars. Take any track from ‘Sinsation‘ or ‘Wrecked‘ – ‘Everything‘, ‘Serial Killer Thriller‘, the popular single ‘Painiac‘ … there you have it in distilled and devastating form. is obliteration and alliteration.

is a soufflé of scorching, searing squeals, pummeling percussion and eccentric electronics. Raymond’s voice ricochets between delicious soulful croon and aggressive, snarling growl. Take a track like ‘Scumsberg‘ that blends Gregorian chant samples, dissonant bells, playful brass, dramatic orchestral stabs and the most absurdly funky bassline you’ll never forget. Take the uptempo ‘Contempt‘ – surely the most dance floor-friendly disco-metal stomper since Raymond’s own ‘Juke Joint Jezebel‘. Take the ferocious, frenzied ‘Hamstrung on the Highway‘, or the candy-sweet ‘Angel‘ or the joyfully colossal ‘Death Rattle and Roll‘.

A collection of beautifully-written, catchy rock songs with quirky arrangements is a starting point, but doesn’t get close to what makes unique. Ultimately, just has to be heard.
Tragic Black
Tragic Black
Venue Information:
Urban Lounge
241 South 500 East
Salt Lake City, UT, 84102