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Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Industrial band Skinny Puppy played their final Pittsburgh show at the Roxian Theatre

Photo by Ana Bellamy
The lead singer oGhr, dressed up as an otherworldly being and covered in neon green slime, performing with Skinny puppy on November 11.

I’ve always loved Skinny Puppy, ever since I was in the womb.  My mom, when she was pregnant with me and my twin, used to listen to their earlier albums when she couldn’t sleep. I can still fall asleep to their music.Skinny Puppy’s music is a combination of heavy industrial, rock, electronic and dance music. Samples from horror and science fiction movies, as well as screams and growls belonging to the lead singer oGhr, are added to give the songs more depth and an ominous nature. His lyrics are horror-themed with some politics mixed in. It is the opposite of “falling asleep music”. 

When Skinny Puppy announced their final tour last year to celebrate their 40 years of being a band, I knew that I had to accompany my mom to the show. She had never seen them live before, and we only had one chance left to see them. After heavy anticipation for the announcement of the rescheduled Pittsburgh date, and after reading the high praise Skinny Puppy received for their live shows, a high bar was set for my mom and me. 

This show was easily one of the best shows I have ever been to. The electronic beats and sounds were played by cEvin Key, who stood behind this massive cage that housed his synthesizers and keyboards. He was busy the entire show just hammering away, and it was fun to see him in his element and completely surrounded by his music.

Key was accompanied by Justin Bennet on drums and Matthew Setzer on guitar, which added more depth to the music. I was not expecting any instruments, however, they did add an extra power behind the music and it was fun to hear the live drumming along with Key’s electronic beats. 

The songs the band chose to perform went along with oGhr ‘s performance and story on stage. The story was that the protagonist, an alien from outer space, became entranced by a horned figure, which is performed by Dustin Shultz. (“VX Gas Attack” and “I’mmortal.”)Next, the horned antagonist tortured and used the alien’s otherworldly qualities and abilities for his experiments, resulting in the creation of an alien baby. The antagonist then barred the alien from seeing his own offspring and took out the alien’s brain (“Choke” and “Warlock.”) Eventually, the alien became tired of the torture of himself and his offspring and fought back, but ultimately the horned figure ended the alien’s life off-stage during the final song (“Inquisition” and “Dig It.”) 

Earlier in the show, excessive amounts of fake blood and prosthetics were used on stage in order to elicit a shock factor from the audience. For this last tour, the fake blood was put to a minimum. Neon green liquid was used for the alien’s blood, and the aftermath of his brain being taken out by the horned figure was shown. It seemed like this more shocking imagery was set aside for the emotional story on the stage. 

To help heighten the performance even more, shadow work was done by oGre and the other performer, and live video footage taken by the horned figure throughout his experiments was shown on the projector screen. At one point during the experiments, the horned figure angrily threw out papers into the crowd that provided cryptic details about the alien. 

oGre was depicted as “the other” throughout the show. I felt bad for the alien throughout the performance. Being part of the transgender-nonbinary community, I know what it’s like to be considered as an outsider by society. The alien was exploited and ultimately killed because of who and what it was, and sadly I did not have high hopes for the alien once the experiments began. 

For the encore, the band decided to play their biggest hits: “Smothered Hope,” “Assimilate,” and “Candle.” They also played “Film”. oGhr came out on stage without any makeup or prosthetics on, sang and interacted with the crowd more than he did when he was performing as the alien. 

It was a show you couldn’t take your eyes off of, literally. There was a fight and a medical issue in the crowd, and even though I stopped concentrating on the show for only a few seconds at a time, I missed integral parts of the story. This is because of how involved and ingrained the story was in the overall performance. 

I am sad I’ll probably never get to see Skinny Puppy ever again, but honestly, this show was so good, that I am content if this tour is actually the end for the band. It was cool and entertaining, it was worth it, and I did not want to fall asleep once. 

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