Saturday, March 1
When Vancouver, B.C., electro-industrial pioneers Skinny Puppy “heard through a reliable grapevine that our music was being used in Guantanamo Bay prison camps to musically stun or torture people,” keyboardist cEvin Key (a copy editor’s worst nightmare) told Phoenix New Times, the news inspired the band’s new album, Weapon.
In response, the trio reportedly invoiced the government for $666,000, a sum the band calls a “random evil figure.” But it was all a ruse, a clever publicity stunt timed to the release of Weapon, the band’s 12th LP. “The album cover is the invoice,” Key says, which depicts a spider built from guns, blades, and bombs.
Though different in sound from the band’s early material, the new album fits in lockstep with Skinny Puppy’s boundary-pushing philosophy, blending politics with a roulette wheel of genres—segueing from ambient to cacophonous, electronic to organic, an evolution of its sound over three decades together. Though the band never hit the commercial highs of those they influenced, most notably Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails (who admitted his song “Down in It” is a direct rip-off of Puppy’s “Dig It”), the band has certainly had lots of critical encouragement while retaining a core following.
Weapon is no exception. AllMusic.com calls it “an electro-industrial winner released when few were asking for one,” while Canadian indie rag Exclaim! says the album is “a testament to one of the few reformed bands still striving to push, not just themselves, but an entire bygone genre forward.”
If the records are powerful statements on their own, Skinny Puppy’s live shows are all-sensory assaults. The band puts an equal amount of thought into the concert experience; expect projections, elaborate lighting, masks, costume changes, and visual stimulations that match the aural ones. With Baal. The Showbox, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151, showboxonline.com. 9 p.m. SOLD OUT. 21 and over.