90's industrial rock band Stabbing Westward hit Brooklyn Bowl on October 5th in celebration of the 20 year anniversary of their 3rd album Darkest Days.
Known as a more commercial version of Nine Inch Nails, the band had a few hits in the mid 90's. They failed to survive into the new century as NIN did. But, they had no shortage of memorable songs.
After the opening act, a solo horror/techo artist, who floundered through a set marred by technical issues... Time out. There's something to be said about a "band" that features one guy with a guitar and a laptop, who when said laptop crashes doesn't even bother to just PLAY HIS DAMN GUITAR while the issues get sorted out, Stabbing Westward took the stage.
Leading off with "Drug Store" and " Falls apart", the band sounded on point. But it can also be noted that they had heavy tracks and computer help as well.
The sound was fine, even if it looked a little sparse with just the 4 members on stage and a huge wall of keyboard and guitar sounds being provided by today's newest technologies.
The band plowed through a set that contained mostly tracks from the Darkest Days LP, but also added in some deep cuts from their breakthrough Wither Blister Burn + Peel. They even added an unusual cover of #1 Crush by Garbage.
While the small crowd was responsive, it became apparent that something was missing... The hits.
With the exception of "Nothing", placed 4th in the set, the band saved their biggest hits for the very end. "Save Yourself" and "What Do I Have to Do" ended the set. Probably their biggest hit "Shame" was saved for an encore.
While many artist subscribe to the "save the best for last" adage, it weakened the set here considerably, except for the die hard fans of the band. A more balanced set would have made the performance markedly better.
As far as the band goes, Lead singer Christopher Hall and founding keyboardist Walter Flakus sound spot on. New comers Carlton Bost on guitar and drummer Bobby Amaro fit in just fine, albeit obviously buoyed by the programmed effects.
The energy was definitely there, even if the hits weren't. At least until the end.
PHOTO CREDIT: All photos by Stephy Hayward for ZRockR Magazine, All Rights Reserved.