After the intro, a beautiful, symphonic, instrumental rendition of “Spit It Out”, IAMX roared onto the stage with “The Alternative” followed by “Bring Me Back A Dog”, a humorous acknowledgment of how pets, dogs in particular, are often more loved than other humans (“God, give a little love, bring me back a dog in the next life”).
IAMX gave a stellar performance at the Music Hall of Williamsburg as part of CMJ 2007. The high-energy set of dancey, catchy tunes mainly featured tracks from The Alternative, the second album, (released early 2006 in Europe and mid 2007 in the US), though there were also a few songs from the 2004 debut. Dark and erotic, the songs are often lyrically provocative as well. Can it get much more provocative than, “We all want to fuck ourselves and rape the world”, from the song “The Negative Sex”?
The solo project of Chris Corner (of Sneaker Pimps fame), IAMX’s live line-up is completed by Janine on keyboards, bass and backing vocals, Dean on guitar and Tom on Drums. IAMX’s sound, while highly original, melds together a variety of influences. It’s current indie rock meets new wave and synth-pop, disco and soul from the 1970′s and 1980′s. “Skin Vision” pays homage to some of the popular Giorgio Moroder/Donna Summer hits while “Your Joy Is My Low” exudes the soulful sexiness of Prince. “Kiss + Swallow”, “The Negative Sex” and “The Alternative” feel more indie rock with a heavy dose of synthesizers.
Also included in the set was the edgier IAMX remake of “After Every Party I Die”, a song that Chris wrote and originally recorded with Sneaker Pimps several years ago (the IAMX version has a more driving, electro-clash beat), as well as the poppier vocal version of the single “Spit It Out”. IAMX ended the set with a two-song encore, “Song of Imaginary Beings” and “Your Joy is My Low”.
As usual, the band’s performance was quite theatrical, with amazing dance moves and well-coordinated outfits . All were dressed in black and yello, or yellow and black, matching the predominate colors of the cover art from The Alternative, and the theme was even carried over to some of the band members’ make-up.
Since the last US tour (which coincided with SXSW last spring), IAMX has incorporated video visuals into the live set. During the waltzy, cabaret-influenced “President”, the visual was an animation of silhouetted caricatures that evoked scenes of Weimar-era Berlin (where Chris has been residing in recent years and which he cites as an inspiration). The visual for “Spit It Out”, a song that offers poignant commentary on the sad state of our society, ended rather somberly with a silhouette of a bull taking down a toreador in a bullfighting ring.
While there wasn’t much talking between songs, Chris did at one point comment on the enthusiasm of the audience. “You Fuckers Are Nuts! I love it.” The band did not disappoint, and the crowd was fully engaged, having just as much fun as the band. “It’s good to be fucking back,” added Chris.–Teresa Sampson