By Laura Tsu //
Chris Corner, formerly of the UK band Sneaker Pimps, developed IAMX as a solo music and visual art venture featuring dark melodies and intense theatrical production. Since 2004, the project has released eight albums, with the most recent being Everything Is Burning early last month. IAMX put the finishing touches on his North American tour with the penultimate date at the Great American Music Hall on a Monday night.
In an aura of fog and red smolder, Corner walked on the stage, joined by Janine Gezang and Sammi Doll on keyboards and backup vocals as well as Jon Siren on drums. Throughout the evening, Corner held two microphones in hand and either switched off from one or the other or sang into both. His voice fluctuated and highlighted the vocal diversity in musicianship; sometimes Corner screamed into his microphone, and other times he crooned in falsetto.
There were also portions of songs that more or less resembled spoken word, such as during “North Star”. Gezang and Doll significantly contributed vocals, whether they were harmonies in “Everything Is Burning” or more dynamic roles like in “You Stick It in Me”. Together, they synthesized dark, moody rhythms with a danceable complex.
Along with music composition, Corner clearly identified both performance energy and visual illustration as key components of the IAMX live show. Throughout the 80-minute set, Corner and the supporting musicians were constantly in motion throughout the performance — and none of them shied away from audience energy. Corner, Gezang and Doll constantly pointed their microphones to the crowd and invited them to directly engage in the show. Their visual showcase, tactically planned and moody, featured monotone hues amassed within fog amid strobe lights flashing as songs reached their apex.
Hovering above the band were four smaller rectangular screens with black-and-white or sepia videos of hellish imagery. Corner’s bandmates even went as far to incorporate body paint and some skintight attire into their outfits to further enhance the presentation.
At the end of the set, the crowd was hesitant to see IAMX depart. Band members embraced the audience and passed out printouts of the evening’s setlist. The breadth of content, from the beginning of the project in 2004 to more recent material, still merged to form a cohesive set. And altogether, the combination of IAMX’s music, energy, lighting, video and costumes created a primal undercurrent of shadow and pulse.
No Maker Made Me
The Unified Field
Everything Is Burning
You Stick It in Me
Spit It Out
Kiss + Swallow
I Come With Knives
Oh Cruel Darkness Embrace Me