IAMX is a musical project of Chris Corner, formerly of the band Sneaker Pimps. The group was founded in London in 2004. After a stint in Berlin, Germany IAMX now calls Los Angeles, California home. In support of IAMX’s 8th studio album, “Alive in New Light”, the group began a worldwide tour in Europe in March 2018. And in April 2018, IAMX sold out is first show at Rough Trade in NYC immediately. And due to overwhelming demand added two additional shows that also sold out.
For those unfamiliar with the group, IAMX focuses on and experiments with visual art. And Corner, a self-professed geek, has a major hand in IAMX’s music videos and concert visuals. IAMX’s sound is not easy to describe. It’s a mix of electronic rock, synth-pop, punk, and glam rock. Nine Inch Nails fans would feel quite at home with IAMX.
Alive In New Light
In fact IAMX may have one of electronic rock’s biggest following of fans that don’t even know anything about IAMX. This is because IAMX has had 15 of its songs featured on the hit US television series by Shonda Rhimes, How to Get Away with Murder. IAMX’s dark, vengeful and haunting sounds align perfectly to the backdrop of a group of law students and their professor who use their wits to cover up one murder after another that they are implicated in. In fact the single, “Alive in New Light,” premiered on Episode 9 of Season 4 in 2018.
The New York concert started with the title track from the new album, “Alive in New Light.” And Corner could not have chosen a better song to start the evening. This track is a bit of a departure from IAMX’s previous albums that had dark and bleak lyrics. The new album has a much more positive direction. And since IAMX is about visual art and music, there were no spotlights on Corner or the band. It was all about the experience, which the audience, made up primarily of Brooklyn hipsters, lapped up.
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The Mother Ship
Corner’s vocals were spot on ranging from moody despair to outright endearing hopefulness. The crowd appeared to be almost cult like as they stared in trance –like states. The majority of the crowd was completely immersed in the experience with only a handful of people using their cell phone to record the show. It was as if Corner was taking them on a ride. During the performance of “Body Politics” some people were raising a single hand in the air as if they wanted to be beamed up to the mother ship. A ship where Corner was clearly at the helm.
And while Corner spent the first part of the show somewhat reserved, speaking to the crowd only when he deemed it absolutely necessary, something changed during “North Star. “ Corner performed as if he were having an out of body experience. He was raw. It was almost hard to hear Corner as the crowd sang every single word of the song. Dropping to his knees, pounding the floor with his fist, Comer performed to near exhaustion leaving the crowd anxious and wanting more.
IAMX featuring Kat Von D
And more the crowd would get. Kat Von D, who collaborated with IAMX on three singles from the new album, was the special guest. Kat performed in selected cities on the world tour, and New York City was a lucky recipient. Kat Von D starred as one of the main tattoo artists on the American reality series LA Ink and has also launched her own beauty and makeup line. Surprisingly Kat proved to be a competent live vocalist. Her best effort and a crowd favorite was “Stardust.” And while Kat’s vocals were good, it’s hard to share a stage with Corner whose vocals were effortless and comforting.
An IAMX show is a musical and visual experience that requires complete and utter surrender. In exchange the audience gets a gift that is personal and self-reflective. Corner’s most profound moment of the evening occurred when he tells the crowd, “This is a very special feeling.” Then he stopped to clarify that he wasn’t referring to “us” (ie, IAMX) playing in concert. But rather Corner meant in a macro sense that it was a special moment. It was Corner’s reminder to himself and to others that being happy, alive and in the moment is very special.
The evenings set list was…
- Alive in New Light
- Break the Chain
- I Come With Knives
- North Star
- Body Politics
- No Maker Made Me
- Spit It Out
- Your Joy Is My Low
- The Alternative
- Kiss + Swallow
- The Power and the Glory