Hell Camino – Denver – The Ogden, CO – 2000-03-29

Hell Camino
Where: Denver – The Ogden, CO.

When: 2000-03-29

Sometimes, it’s all about the gimmick. Does anyone remember Marilyn Manson’s first album, before he/she/it started dressing like a freak and making every evil little song sound the same? No, cuz he was pre-gimmick (although the name was gimmicky). Some bands get by with talent, some strictly with gimmick, and some with a mixture of the two. These bands know gimmick. As for talent, well, let’s just start with the gimmick.

hell Camino is a local (Denver) band that plays a combination industrial/goth/rock blend of music. Talking strictly about the music, they sound like a cross between Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and White Zombie. In other words, turn the bass way up, echo out the vocals, and swear a lot. That, alone, wouldn’t have been enough for me. But they’ve got stage presence. Well, really the lead singer, Al Pierson, has stage presence. Dressed in the shortest of leather skirts and four-inch heels as well as a tight top, Al had her long blonde hair in two school-girl pony tails. And she strutted and pranced and squatted and preened her way across the stage while singing her heart out into the mic. Young men throughout the venue just stared, getting glimpses of just about all of her as she trotted around to the music. On stage, Al looked to be about 7 feet tall, most of it leg, and she knew how to use it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough to distract from the music that was, if not bad, just somewhat uninspired.

Rorschach Test is simply metal, pure and simple. With plenty of smoke and blaring instruments, the band bellowed their way through a set that was so loud it still hurts my ears. I’m not a big fan of metal. Most of the time, it’s just chugga-chugga guitars and some fancy drum work combined with singing in a gruff, nothing-but-attitude kind of voice. But when Rorschach Test sped things up, screaming into the mic and putting more originality behind the music hardcore-wise, they weren’t half bad. Too bad they didn’t do that more often.

Ah, but the Genitorturers. Now that’s a band that knows gimmick. Whoo-eee, do they ever. Where to start. The Genitorturers, out of Florida, feature a drummer on a raised platform that plays half of the time standing up and barely lit, two guitarists in tight leather and makeup, and the lead singer, a tall, vivacious blonde dominatrix named, appropriately enough, Gen. But, of course, that’s not all. You’ve got a red cross, a wheel (supposedly to pick some type of punishment), a back-lit enclosure that shows the silhouette of what dancers are doing inside, and plenty of back-up…well, not really dancers, but supporting roles.

Gen changes outfit between every song, and she does it startlingly quick. With props such as a riding crop, metal sexual device, and strap-on, she is all about attitude and shaking it in front of the crowd (of mostly men). Behind her, girls mock whip and spank each other or men, flouncing around on platforms wearing practically nothing. With all this going on, who has time to listen to the music?

Well, I suppose you have to. And it’s kind of a letdown. It’s pretty typical gothic industrial, every song sounding the same, relatively uninspired but making up for it with loud. And you can’t understand a word Gen sings, just getting the sense of her voice. But, really, it’s not about the music. It’s about watching the cavalcade that’s going on on stage, trying to move around to get a better view. It’s all background music to the show. I heard it compared to a sexual GWAR. Heh, that could be close.

Why did I go to a show this far out of my normal interest when the Pinehurst Kids were playing down the street? Well, first because hell Camino sent me an e-mail and suggested I go. Then I have a friend who is in to the whole goth scene. And, frankly, because it was fun. Sometimes, it’s all about going to a “show,” not just a concert. I had the chance to look at some of the oddest people you never see on the street and watch an interesting show. All three of these bands knows how to put on a show. If only they spent a little more time on their musical ability.