September 25th, 2016
American Excess Tour 2016
Raymond Watts finally returns to Omaha. Watts, the founding and sole member of the post-industrial music project PIG, had taken an extended hiatus after his departure from KMFDM almost a decade ago, leaving many of us wondered if PIG would ever return with new music. If fact, it had been almost two decades since I’d been afforded the opportunity to see Raymond Watts on stage as PIG. It had been just as long for En Esch and Gunter Schulz also.
PIG opened for KMFDM during the 1997 Symbols Tour, and I was fortunate to have seen the Minneapolis, Minnesota show at the historic First Avenue. Thinking back, that show was a blur. I remember Watts walking on stage and telling the audience, “You don’t know who the fuck we are, and we don’t know who the fuck you are,” before shredding into PIG’s set. That was also the last time I’d seen current PIG touring members En Esch and Gunter Shulz on stage as well. KMFDM disbanded shortly after that tour, regrouped as MDFMK, and then reformed again in 2001 with Watts returning to the band. Watts would continue touring with KMFDM through the band’s WWIII Tour in 2003. Schulz and En Esch would also continue with their own projects, touring the world and collaborating with other artists, but Watts returned to England laid low for almost a decade.
PIG’s American Excess Tour would criss-cross the country and give fans the opportunity to hear new music from the band’s latest release, The Gospel. But PIG’s set wouldn’t focus on just their latest release. The American Excess tour was more of a “Welcome back” for PIG’s fans. Having Schulz and En Esch as touring members would give Watts the chance to remind the fans of his numerous contributions to KMFDM as well.
Musicians don’t successfully tour with multiple bands for three decades unless they’re stage performance is as equally powerful as their studio material. Even with a lackluster crowd turnout, caused in part by KORN and Breaking Benjamin performing on the same night, PIG were in top form.
I honestly had no idea what to expect from PIG’s show. When En Esch, Schulz, and keyboardist Z-Marr (of Combichrist) took the stage wearing hog masks, I knew it was game-on.
PIG smashed through a 17 song set during their hour and a half on stage. The spotlight wasn’t just on Watts during their set though. Schulz was given the chance to step to the front of the stage throughout the evening for various solos. En Esch backed up Watts on vocals for most of the evening’s songs.
Tonight’s show was more of a walk down memory lane, with highlights focusing on the future. Watts chose to add tracks from his time with KMFDM, and gave even more of the attending fans the chance to hear some music that KMFDM hadn’t played since Watts’ departure. While a lot of us were excited to hear tracks off of The Gospel, it was especially great to hear En Esch and Schulz playing the classic KMFDM tracks with Watts. I never got the chance to hear Conillon, a track Watts wrote with En Esch back in 1985, and Juke Joint Jezebel during KMFDM tours.
Tonight was about PIG’s musical journey with Watts holding the reigns. So many of us were fortunate enough to have been here for tonight’s show, and I feel badly for anyone who missed out. Most importantly, even without a sold out crowd, PIG performed like they owned the stage, and they did. Watts’ vocals were spot on. Having such a powerful group of veteran musicians backing him up on this tour proves that PIG have returned.
The Diamond Sinners
Found in Filth
Missing the Mainline
The Only Good One’s a Dead One
Conillon (KMFDM cover)
Serial Killer Thriller
Brute (KMFDM cover)
Flesh (KMFDM cover)
Juke Joint Jezebel (KMFDM cover)
Toleration or Truth
The Fly Upon the Pin
Find It Fuck It Forget It