Pigface - 02/06/1993

Pigface 1993

This wasn't my first Pigface show, but this was arguably the best one. With Gub, Pigface was an unknown quantity that seemed like half-experiement and half-joke. People went to see if the band would play Skinny Puppy (yes) and Ministry (no) covers. People went to see if Trent Reznor would be there (he was not.) No one was sure what to exepct but we knew that a lot of our favorite musicians would be on the stage.

By the time Fook came around, Pigface had built a reputation and a kind of modus operandi: gather up a bunch of folks from the world of industrial rock music who aren't busy, throw them together on a stage and let them play songs and have fun. This eventually got to be a little too self-referential for my tastes, but the Fook tour was just about the right amount of silly fun.

Lab Report opened and they were fantastic. It's not often that the opening act on a tour like this completely upstages the main act--and it's even more rare when the main act is a preposterous supergroup like Pigface. Lab Report's simple use of home-built instruments, lo-fi sampling, 8MM film projections, and a spooky stage presence was perfect, though. That opening set was one of the most influential performances that I saw when I was younger as I tried to develop my own work.

Pigface started their set memorably with drummers in sihouette banging out the beginning of a song. Since Pigface was Martin Atkins' project, it was always pretty drum-centrirc. By the time the full band was in swing, Pigface was rolling and the carnival atmosphere worked. I can't remember the full lineup at this show (as the lineup changed from venue to venue depending on who was available and up for a jam.) There was a woman playing a cello, I do remember that--and the guy from Gay Bikers on Acid seemed to handle more of the vocals than I would have preferred. After Fook, Pigface started sliding downhill for me. Atkins seemed more interested in selling records by name-dropping than he did in putting together worthwhile albums. I remember thinking that when the beat from "Asphole" wound up getting recycled about half a dozen times, it was time to put Pigface to rest. When Atkins stiffed Scorn 8 ways to sunday, I was ready to let go of Invisible records altogether. Atkins has a really bad reputation in a lot of places and somehow that has soured me to the stuff he is involved with that I might actually like.