I finally had the chance to see IAMX perform live. It was about damned time, as they rarely tour the US, but it was worth the wait…
Touring in support of their 2015 release Metanoia, they performed at the Varsity Theatre in Minneapolis. There couldn’t have been a better venue for them. The Varsity’s character and décor perfectly matched the theatrical atmosphere that IAMX brought to the show.
I arrived during the opening act, Mr. Kitty. Hailing from Texas, they are sharing the stage with IAMX for the duration of their US tour, and with good reason. Despite being a 2-piece band, Mr. Kitty blew me away with their energy. Though the show wasn’t packed, and the venue was at a third of its 600+ capacity, this duo performed as if they were in front of 5,000. The crowd was captivated. Seriously, go check these guys out!
When the fierce bass subsided, you could feel the anticipation in the already amped crowd rise to a peak. The lights went out, and the venue was bathed in the glow from the on-stage projection screens which depicted strange and abstract imagery. Dark synths brought the masses’ hands together, clapping to the beat of ‘I Come With Knives’. As soon as singer, Chris Corner, stepped out of the darkness, the crowd collectively lost their shit — the show had begun.
IAMX flowed through the set effortlessly and seamlessly. There was hardly time to catch your breath between songs, and no one in the audience dared to try for fear of missing one second of the show. We’d all been waiting too long to see this band live, and there was no chance something as trivial as breathing would get in the way.
There was no security at the stage, and no rail or photo pit; virtually no separation between the crowd and the band. The venue was big and under filled, but every damn person was as close to the stage as possible. I asked Chris via email about the smaller shows here versus those in Europe and elsewhere: “We have bigger crowds in Europe which means it’s a little less intimate, and I have to say I do enjoy feeling the warmth of the audience….The Americans are generally a more rowdy and positive lot and I really love that attitude.”
The intimacy between band and audience went on and on. With members pouring themselves off the stage and into the enamored hands of the audience, Chris reaching out and smearing black makeup on fan’s faces, balloons making their way between the stage and crowd, it truly was an experience being felt on both ends. Chris went on in his email, “You never get bored of seeing beautiful wide-eyed faces in the crowd and people losing themselves in the music.”
Inevitably, the crowd demanded a two-song encore. As the show concluded you could feel the sense of release in the crowd — this was something special. IAMX created an atmosphere of intimacy, theatrics, love, and darkness. They bared their souls and held our hands. They gave us something truly beautiful, and I can only hope that they come back to do it all again very soon.
Photos by AJ Sugar