In ten days time, I will be standing in a club in ol Dubalin watching Belgian men create havoc with my mind. Not those men you read about in the papers, but Front 242, one of the most influential industrial-electro groups mid-Europa has to offer. They got together in 1981 and released album after album of odd deconstructed industrial sounds, then full-on electronic mayhem over which these very strange voices provide a kinda melody and a weird urgency. I know the place will be packed, but their fans aren’t generally seen in polite society. Where do they hide? Is there one beside you now? They try to look like you.
Stretch got into industrial type stuff as a teenager after listening to Nine Inch Nails’ first few albums, Pretty Hate Machine, Broken and the remix of that album Fixed. While listening to Fixed especially, I realised that listening to this music would be a solitary pastime. I bought albums by Front Line Assembly, Pigface, Foetus, Ministry, RevCo, Lard and Lab Report. Addicted to strange sounds, I sought out Skinny Puppy, Cubanate and basically bought the entire rack from the old Comet Records shop in Temple Bar. Ogre and En Esch were my heroes then. Still, nobody I knew was listening to this stuff, so in my head I was surrounded by this music and living life with a nihilistic outlook. I may as well have been smoking gitanes, reading Kant, shredding my knuckles with cheesegraters while shooting up.
The first album of Front 242 I bought was Mutage:Mixage in 1995 and it included remixes of their songs by The Orb, Underworld and the Prodigy, but the album was ordered by the band and involved some of their own remixes. I fucking loved it. Freaky, beautiful, cold, layered, dancy. It had everything, so I bought up as much of the group’s output as I could. Each album was completely different and well mad.
I used to go to the 13th Floor club in O’Connell Street which doesn’t exist anymore. The DJs would play great industrial and trance music in an intimate setting. Great club. Three floors: first floor was bang-bang skanger fest, the second floor was a Salsa club and the top was the 13th Floor (I know). So, you could be standing at the urinals with a seven-foot punk, a man with a puke-stained tracksuit and a fucking Mariachi. I was usually taking acid while there so the fun I had, I tell ya! The cops would raid the place occasionally, not for drugs, but to make sure the various groups stayed on their floors…not for the faint hearted.
Anyway, Front 242 (you gotta love them) are playing at the Button Factory on Saturday 28th. Bring some Nachos, just in case.