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April 17, 2014

Combichrist turns up the heat at the Agora

By Joshua Hoover

Combichrist, an aggrotech band based out of Atlanta, Georgia, trashed the stage at the Agora on April 12 as part of their “We Love You” tour.

Though the show didn’t sell out, the Agora was still a sea of moving, sweaty bodies. The mass appeal of the bands on the tour was quickly apparent, with people coming from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to see William Control, and a couple from St. Louis, Missouri in attendance to see Combichrist.

The tour’s opening act is New Years Day, a pop-punkish band from California. Though some of the younger people in the crowd seemed to enjoy them, the vast majority alternated between cringing and looking at their cell phones, eagerly awaiting a band that didn’t sound like a cookie-cutter female-fronted rock band to hit the stage. Between the screeching vocals and the blood capsules that were chewed, then spit into the crowd, New Years Day was mostly bad and entirely forgettable.

Following the disaster that was New Years Day, William Control quickly won back the rest of the crowd. Created and fronted by William Francis, the frontman from horror-punk band Aiden, William Control is quite a change, sounding like a more gothic and electronica new-wave band. Though the music wasn’t as heavy as one would expect at a Combichrist show, William Control still got the crowd moving, with many singing along with single “I’m Only Human Sometimes”. Francis spoke up about the crowd, thanking the Combichrist fans for embracing him and his music as well, despite the difference in style from the headliners.

LaPlegua and crew quickly showed the crowd just how different they are from the rest of their tour, as their incredibly energetic stage show started with LaPlegua running out wearing a mask lit up with glowing red LED’s, while singing “We Were Made to Love You”, the opening track off of 2014’s “We Love You”. Though some in the crowd weren’t sure about the lyrics and couldn’t sing along, the band quickly followed it up with fan favorite “Blut Royale”, drawing screams and cheers from the crowd.

Although the crowd may not have been as familiar with the newest album, that didn’t stop them from attempting to sing along with what they did know, especially with the new single, “Maggots at the Party”, drawing smiles from the band.

With stage dives from every member, including one from guitarist Abbey Nex that inadvertently brought his mic stand with him, Combichrist wasn’t afraid to get involved with their fans.

Combichrist surprised the crowd during the encore by bringing Akron hip-hop collective Turquoise Jeep Records on stage to party with them during “F*** That S***”. Drummer Joe Letz explained to the crowd that the artists were what they had been listening to backstage all tour.

After clearing them off of the stage, Combichrist ended the show with “Sent to Destroy”, methodically destroying their stage set-up while performing. Following the song, LaPlegua and the band thanked everyone for coming out, with the vocalist even showing some emotion at the outpouring of support from the Cleveland crowd, who clapped and cheered for several minutes after the song ended, continuing even after the band left the stage.