Review - My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult @ the Ritz (10/30/17)

Kevin Keating
Groovie Mann of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult (Photo: Kevin Keating)
It's been 30 years since the release of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult's (TKK) debut album on WaxTrax! Records, but the band hit The Ritz in San Jose, CA last night for the 30th anniversary of not only their first album, I See Good Spirits and I See Bad Spirits (iTunes), but also a performance of their follow-up, Confessions of a Knife (iTunes). They play San Francisco's Brick & Mortar tonight, for what I can only assume will be one hell of a Halloween party!

We had the chance to speak with TKK's lead singer Groovie Mann last week about the history of both albums and the early days of WaxTrax -- you can find our interview here -- and it was a thrill (no pun intended) for me to see TKK perform both early albums live last night, since I was too young to see the albums performed live back when they were originally released. And by the time I did finally see TKK perform live, it was after they made their disco transition and I don't remember the band playing much, if anything, from their earlier darker albums.
Groovie Mann & Buzz McCoy of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult (Photo: Kevin Keating)
On this tour, Groovie & Buzz McCoy, both the original founders of TKK, have added Mimi Star on bass guitar, Bradley Bills of CHANT on drums, and Arena Rock of the Bomb Gang Girlz on backing vocals. A mystery guitarist dressed in a goat mask joins the band for one song, but then disappeared for the rest of the night.
Arena Rock, Alvin Melivin, Groovie Mann, Buzz McCoy and Mimi Star of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult
Arena Rock, Alvin Melivin, Groovie Mann, Buzz McCoy and Mimi Star of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult (L-R) - (Photo: Kevin Keating)
One of the most impressive parts of the show last night was that the band went from one song almost immediately into the next with only a couple of short breaks throughout the entire night. The band kicked off at about 9:45 and wrapped right around 11:30, with really no chatter from any of the band members. Groovie said thanks a few times, but essentially, the band was focused on the task at hand -- reminding all of us in the audience that TKK were the originators of the industrial dance anthem. Mimi was a machine on bass, and provided the driving bass lines that underpinned nearly every song throughout the set, while Bradley kept the band on track with his solid drumming, and Buzz kept the synths and samples coming at a break neck pace. Up in front, Groovie worked center stage, while Arena maintained court on stage right -- both leather clad and sounded great!
Arena Rock of the Bomb Gang Girlz and Thrill Kill Kult (Photo: Kevin Keating)
As Groovie mentioned in our interview last week, they're working on new material that's expected to build upon the darker beats of their first two albums -- before TKK took a turn into electro disco in the '90s -- and be released sometime next year. There's only a few more dates left on this tour, and if you're lucky enough to be in Los Angeles next week, I'd highly recommend catching Groovie Mann at the Montebann Theater for a panel discussion on the history of WaxTrax and viewing of the upcoming documentary, Industrial Accident: The Story of WaxTrax Records.

In terms of the show last night though, it was an incredible chance to see the legendary TKK perform their classic early albums in full, and it didn't disappoint at all! I only wish I could have made it up to SF tonight for their Halloween show!

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My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult Setlist The Ritz, San Jose, CA, USA 2017, 30th Anniversary Tour

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