IAMX at the Electric Ballroom
Camden, London: a fittingly eccentric host to IAMX’s long-awaited homecoming show – a place where creative freedoms have always been embraced and unearthed in a boiling pot for the monsters of the night, not least of whom is Chris Corner, founding member of IAMX.
A small man of gargantuan talent, Corner attacks the stage with an unshakeable confidence, emitting a forceful grace that permeates the smoke-filled air like an electric bolt, shrouded under dim lights, disco-ball eyebrows and feathered bowler hat. Corner is a black pearl, safe in the solace of his armour-like exterior.
Opening with new mutant dance track Animal impulses (also the name of the current tour), IAMX engages the madding crowd from all angles in an onslaught of audiovisual wonderment. Video screens show self-produced montage footage, complementing and enhancing the unrelenting stage show, with Corner drumming in syncopation with guitarist Alberto Alvarez on wet stand drums for added finesse.
Sorrow is a sweeping powerhouse of a song, showcasing the raw magnetism of backing vocalist/keyboardist/bassist/gladiator Janine Gezang (an indispensable and visually enticing onstage comrade to Corner’s teasing antics). Kiss+Swallow brought a silky electro mood to the venue, with Corner declaring that he was going to have a “patriotic orgasm” in honour of his largely costume-clad devotees.
“Where’s Imogen (Heap) when you need her?” asked Corner during 2009’s Secret Friend, before accepting a bright pink shoulder-length wig from ecstatic fans, transforming himself into a sultry combination of Andy Warhol and the Child Catcher.
Cold Red Light found Corner applying lipstick and declaring: “My sister used to dress me up as a girl, I haven’t recovered…I quite liked it,” before stalking the stage to the synthed-out stompings of drummer Richard Ankers and new recruit Sammi Doll (who proudly embrace their lead singer’s unique aesthetic).
IAMX graced the audience with a three-song encore, including President (a potently tongue-in-cheek rebuke of social conventions), and an entrancing rendition of latest single I Come with Knives, the dashing singer coyly asking: “Do you want me dirty or clean?” before smearing black face-paint.
Corner emotes vicariously through the IAMX glitter, a sexual jester with a mind as sharp as his cheekbones. With flawless vocals and more stage presence than you can shake a bejewelled stick at, refined excess doesn’t come any better than IAMX.
Photo: Frank Buttenbender
For further information about IAMX and future events, visit here.
Watch the video for Quiet the Mind here