By Niki D'Andrea
Better than: Any other show I've ever seen at Chasers.
16volt got all up in our faces, and we loved it.
All of the *Sadisco events I've been to have been fun, but very few shows by the underground productions company/local rivethead collective that I've attended have featured full band instrumentation. Usually, there's just a crew of DJs, spinning a sick mix of underground trance, psycho techno, industrial, and death rock.
This show, the "*Sadisco Presents: Strange Days on the Denial Highway," was different. The stage was empty until Virginia quintet Bella Morte took to the stage, delivering a high-energy set of dark, gritty death rock with a metallic edge. Even the presence of a keytar couldn't take the edge off this band, who earned immediate street cred with me when I saw their guitar player had a patch for Screaming Lord Sutch sewn onto his vest. They sounded sorta like AFI, but much heavier. They've got a new, self-titled album coming out in October.
Headliners 16volt brought the crowd of around 500 right to the front of the stage. Singer Eric Powell (really the sole member of the band) greeted the audience with the words, "Phoenix, Arizona -- fucking hot, sweaty, and dirty, and there's no place I'd rather be right now." Powell's stellar live band included Steve Pig of KMFDM on guitar, and between the six string slinger's growling riffs and Powell's snarky, sadistic vocals, they created a sonic juggernaut onstage, periodically sending the audience into moshing frenzies alternating with seductive swaying.
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Random detail: There's a Bible shop/prayer center in the same strip mall as Chasers, and it was open at 11:45 p.m.
Personal bias: I love going to events where there are lots of women wearing black vinyl.