I wrote about seeing Meat Beat in 1991 (twice), 1992, and 1996 so what was it like to see them more than a decade later? I think Meat Beat Manifesto is one of the few bands I would see no matter how long it had been since their last album or tour for a couple of reasons. Chief among them is that Jack Dangers has made some of my favorite music of all time. Records like Storm the Studio feel every bit as vibrant and necessary now as they did when they were released. But beyond the music itself, Dangers has always had a knack for figuring out how to make the live show of a guy playing with computers and synthesizers a real experience.
In 2008, the big story for Meat Beat's live show was the touring video rig. By using video samplers instead of a pre-recorded or simply-mixed video stream, the visuals became part of the show in ways that I had never seen before. One of my first experiences on the internet was Christopher Miller's Meat Beat Manifesto discography. That led me to Brainwashed.com (where I used to write album and show reviews) and somewhere in that mix there was a list of samples used in Meat Beat songs. Sure, everyone in 1992 was sampling Aliens but Meat Beat was doing weird things like looping Mariah Carey's high notes to create a siren or playing rhythms out of Donald Sutherland's voice. I knew this from reading about it, but with the live show in 2008, I could see it!
And you can see it too in this 2016 clip of "Radio Babylon". Watch the projection screen in the foreground (to the left of the frame) and listen for the audio that accompanies those clips.
In short, this is what makes a great artist. I first saw MBM in 1991 and I was young and in love with the scene and the music and the style of it all. In 2008, I was much older but still just as excited about what the band was doing. Not because I was nostalgic for 1991, but because the band still possessed a certain creative urgency that spoke to me. And in 2017, it still does.