Love for gothic industrial and nu-metal aesthetics seemed nonexistent for a while, being almost universally seen as cringe and outdated as indie rock and trap music dominated the airwaves in the late 00’s and early 2010’s. With political tensions rising after the 2016 election however, angry and darker music came back in a massive way that can be seen with festivals like Sick New World selling out quickly and the industrial scene feeling as relevant as ever again. 3Teeth is a band that took full advantage of this shift in attitude, bringing the angsty edge of 90’s greats like Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson to a new audience that’s just as wild at live concerts. In celebration of their newest album EndEx, 3Teeth transformed the Teragram Ballroom into a cyberpunk wasteland and hosted a late night of industrial sounds from every era; with ear-piercing distortion, infectiously dancey synthesizer melodies, and leather as far as the eye can see. With Skold, Straight Razor, and 8mm as surprise openers for the evening, there was a treat for all fans of industrial music no matter what their preference may be.
Straight Razor’s performance began with an eerie but blissful ambient intro, almost reminiscent of the unsettling anticipation felt in the opening theme of A Clockwork Orange. As soon as the beat dropped it became a galloping bassline that kept building, feeling as if the entire performance was one long extended track that never lost its momentum. 3Teeth’s fanbase is more based around industrial metal enthusiasts rather than the techno-influenced warehouse rave energy of Straight Razor, but Omar Doom still kept the entire room engaged and dancing while everyone was eager to get more aggressive later in the night.
The Skold set was a return to a more barebones time of industrial music, with his sound having a heavy glam rock influence not seen in the other artists of the evening. Founder Tim Skold is a longtime veteran within the scene, working with artists like KMFDM and Marilyn Manson in the past. The Manson spirit could be felt throughout his entire set, with Skold’s haunting vocals creating a hypnotic atmosphere during slower creepy verses that would rapidly break into explosive choruses of distorted screaming that sound like they’re being heard outside of a tornado. It was already turning out to be a pretty late night with 3Teeth not scheduled to go on until around 11:45, but industrial music was created by and for the weirdos of the night so nobody in attendance was opposed to this.
Before 3Teeth’s set had even started, lasers were crossed across the stage creating a spider web-like shield encasing the band within it and giving the illusion as if they were performing within a separate dimension than the audience. The drums of Nick Rossi slowly crept up as the first instrument to be heard, sounding like the stomping of metal boots being heard across a dark dungeon that you couldn’t find your way out of. Frontman Alexis Mincolla marched across the stage sporting the mask of a demonic looking dingo shortly after, as they broke into their live debut of the opening track “Xenogenesis” from the newest album EndEx. Mincolla screams with grinding vocals backed by thrashing instrumentals during the chorus that make you feel as if you’re descending further and further into a void of insanity, preparing everybody in the room for the chaotic set that would soon follow.
Even after taking off the mask, frontman Alexis Mincolla has the aura of a devious comic book supervillain that’s creating a world of pure destruction with his eccentric mustache and
small rounded sunglasses as he commands the crowd in front of him. He perfectly takes on the role of an orchestrator of chaos as Rossi’s drums fuse perfectly with the infectious riffs of guitarist Chase Brawner behind him, with walls of distorted noise burying the intricacies of each instrument. While 3Teeth does have some incredible compositions under all of the noise and effects, the focus is always on creating as much disorder as possible with their sound. While it’s rare to see an audience equally excited to hear tracks from the newest release as they are older classics, fans were rabidly enthusiastic as 3Teeth continued to play tracks from EndEx live for the first time. While people were dancing during the earlier sets, the energy in the crowd had been long brewing and 3Teeth’s set was the time for it to finally explode as a mosh pit broke out that was equal parts slam-dancing as it was raving.
3Teeth’s encore ended in the most surprising way with the performance of their controversial cover of Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” for the first time ever, although it was one of their first hits to put them on the map for the industrial scene in the first place. The catchy indie pop instrumentals backing the track were the main reason it became the radio classic that it did, with many people not even picking up on its darker themes surrounding a school shooting. This subtlety is completely thrown out the window, however, when the lyrics are engulfed in heavy distorted guitars and compressed wailing vocals that give the aura of doom and despair. 3Teeth’s decision to cover the track was a throwback to the moral panic surrounding industrial artists like Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails following the Columbine Massacre, almost coming off as more shocking and edgy than those artists with the modern context of school shootings becoming more common in the late 2010’s which is almost certainly why they hadn’t performed the song live before this.
Although a dark choice to end with, the tongue-in-cheek shocking nature of the cover was not lost on the audience as everybody danced with a more whimsical, carefree attitude than the slam-dancing seen earlier in the night. This shift in energy made the song feel like a proper finale to the evening, especially with the time being 1:30 AM already. Considering the night was a celebration of 3Teeth’s newest release EndEx, their set felt like it was structured with the same intention and purpose as the album with the transition from newer tracks into classic material before winding down during the incredibly special encore. 3Teeth are easily one of the most lively and theatrical industrial metal bands that you can see nowadays, and their record release show at The Teragram Ballroom was packed to the brim with unexpected surprises that made me excited to see what they have up their sleeves for the future.
Words: Danny Ryan
Photos: Abraham Preciado