Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's the Comedy and Death of the Senses: IAMX Live in Warsaw

I just received my IAMX Live in Warsaw album this morning in the post. Officially released on November 14, this recording of IAMX for the Polish radio station Trojka is an incredible reminder of how truly incendiary they are live. It features nearly an identical set to the ones I witnessed last year with an absence of Nightlife, but the presence of the stunning Mercy (which was played for the encore of some shows on that 2007 tour, but not for the ones I attended) and Missile. Mastered by Chris Corner himself, this live recording is a brilliant taste of what makes IAMX an unparalleled behemoth on stage.

The show begins with the genius title track of The Alternative - its extended intro hammers away and whips the audience into an anticipatory froth. The cataclysm continues with Bring Me Back a Dog and The Negative Sex, both of which are bigger and more vicious than most live rock songs I've ever experienced. The show then slows down slightly to the swaying hypnosis of President, the ethereal pulse of Mercy, and the undulating depravity of Lulled By Numbers. Next come Kiss and Swallow and Spit It Out, two of IAMX's previously released singles and hugely powerful anthems. Before Spit It Out, Corner plays his seductive game with the crowd as he continues to say, "This is our last song," and the audience keeps screaming "No." Then just as the music strikes up, like a benevolent master, he says, "Well, we'll see." Spit It Out in all its bombastic glory, beautifully rearranged slightly for the live show, is the last song for the show proper. However, after chants of "IAMX," Corner and the band return for the encore.

As in the shows I saw, the unholy, esoteric cabaret of Song of Imaginary Beings kicks it off. Its accordion and plinking keys introduction drips with the beguiling bewitchment to come. Then, the opening bars of Missile elicit a roar of recognition from the crowd and the delicate, vulnerable song moves along to the climax when Corner gives the vocals over to the audience. Almost immediately after Missile concludes, the dark beats come back to another one of my favourite songs from Kiss + Swallow, Your Joy is My Low. It is one last battlecry for the beautiful people in IAMX's kingdom of the wretched.

Outside of Poland, you can only order the album through the Nineteen95 shop. I'm still waiting, as other fans probably are, for a live DVD to be officially created and released to document the intoxicating image that goes with the music. I'm still rattled by the energy that the IAMX band and Chris Corner's intense persona have managed to project through my speakers. I'll happily write an elegy to my senses tomorrow.

The Alternative - IAMX (Live in Warsaw)

Mercy - IAMX (Live in Warsaw)