One of the best things about seeing a rock band that acknowledges its use of samples is that the members usually feel otherwise compelled to let it all hang out onstage, as the four guys in St. Louis industrial entry Gravity Kills did at the Troubadour.
Someone must have told them that the place holds 10,000 people, because Gravity Kills squeezed the bright lights and the effects and the attitude of an arena concert into the little club, and then preceded to perform full-throttle as if to a huge throng.
Devilish vocalist Jeff Scheer, growled and screamed his intense lyrics of disease, emotional trauma and internal struggle into an oversized metal cordless microphone, all the while taunting and prodding the mosh-pitters in the front, many of whom appeared to be acting out the histrionic lyrics (all with one word titles) like “Guilty” and “Never” as they sang them.
The trio of guitar, keys and drums around Scheer mostly offered an exciting update on the old Nine Inch Nails template, boosted plenty by effects and drums machines. Most of the dozen songs perfed followed the same basic musical formula, though, with varied tempo often the only difference between them.
The members of Gravity Kills may think they’re ready for the big time, but the group’s slightly dated sound, which progressed very little on their new sophomore “Perversion” (TVT) album, as well as their ultimate scarcity of substance, will probably keep them battling it out down here in the trenches. Well, unless the highly anticipated new Nine Inch Nails album due later this year wears long coattails.