Friday Night: Covenant at Numbers
I couldn't believe that this was Covenant's first Houston show, and much thanks must go to Roberth Ehlinger of The New Beat and John Housman and David Spade of Past Present Productions for making it happen.
It cannot be overstated just how popular they are in the goth club scene. I would dare you to find a single Underworld-goer that does not own a copy of Northern Light. It's quite simply one of the finest EBM/future pop recordings ever done, and tracks from it never fail to fill the dance floor. This proved as true live as it does in the hands of the spinners.
I've remarked on many occasions how bands like VNV Nation and Nitzer Ebb all take a page from the book of televangelism, with their front men dancing the line between pop stars and popular prophets. Covenant's Eskil Simonsson is certainly no exception. Dressed in a sharp suit and a thin tie, he sauntered out like a combination of Dave Gahan and Mephistopheles Smith before grabbing the mike and letting loose that iconic voice.
Still, I felt bad for the Swede in this heat. He lost the jacket fairly early on and often broke for water at the back of the stage.
As to be expected, the show started off with the opener from last year's Modern Ruin, and though the record itself is pretty dig-worthy with its more industrial touches than Skyshaper, the crowd really didn't jump together until 2002's "Bullet" came blasting out.
At that point Numbers became a wave of black movement, shouted lyrics, and undeniable ecstasy. It seemed to loosen up the people and made them much more receptive to a later number from Modern Ruin like "Judge of My Domain" that frankly, is one of the weaker tracks from the record.
Still, they kept the energy extremely high, especially when they busted out "20 hz." I was standing next to Paul Fredric of Asmodeus X at this point, who mouthed every lyric with perfect pitch and precision, but looked at me like I was an idiot when I asked the name of the song as it had slipped my mind.
Let me give you a little advice. If you're going to an EBM show in Houston, go visit Asmo's Facebook page and ask Paul if he'll be there. It enhances the experience like nothing else.
In addition to me realizing that I could trace his own work over the years based on which Covenant album he was listening to at the time, I got an in-depth look into the mind of a master of electronica when Daniel Jonasson began having trouble with his rig that required an onstage tech to fix.
"I know what Eskil's thinking," yelled Paul in my ear. "He's thinking, 'I'm going to fucking kill you for this. I told you not to bring all that extra crap on stage. I am going to kill you!'"