Preeminent synthwave icon Perturbator — cardinaled by musician James Kent — have returned from the uncanny valley to pontificate that all denominational positions on vice are now permitted under new edict called the Lustful Sacraments. To put it simply: What happens on planet Earth, stays on planet Earth. Imbibe in the multi-fountain of manifold desires faithful flock. Between the alluring lights of the Red Light District, the harmonious clang of slot machines, all-you-can-eat buffets, televised fight clubs, and crumbling steeples, Perturbator have rewound to 1984 as a fast-forward to mid-2045, where the iniquities of one generation passing to another isn’t punished by a higher authority but rather celebrated as treasures of the self.
Before Decibel gets too far down a pre-sci-fi/post-modern world — with Kent as the Minister-mega of Musical Propaganda — rabbit hole with Denis Villeneuve as the auteur du jour, we posited the question of memorable live shows, venues, and experiences to the Perturbator mastermind. Since much of last year and this year have been a veritable abyss of on-stage nothingness, living vicariously through our own memories and that of others — like Kent — is filling the ever-widening hole. To hoist the live event aloft and bless it with the ritual of remembrance, Kent has provided his Top 5 U.S. venue experiences since his first show (we presume) on holy ground in 2017.
Live on, take from (responsibly), and carouse passionately to the beats of flesh and spirit. The Lustful Sacraments are officially official.
5) Tampa, The Orpheum, May 19th 2019
I’m putting this one on the list mostly because I really enjoyed the place and meeting people while hanging out in the aftershow around The Orpheum. The two times I played there, the venue and its surrounding area were very fun and chill. There’s a really cool bar around the corner called The Boneyard which I absolutely love. The whole city has this warm and nice vibe. Sometimes strange in a “Florida” sort of way, like with massive screaming roosters just hanging outside the venue in the streets and also that comically creepy-looking Church of Scientology nearby. But it all adds to the charm of Tampa and, most importantly, the people there are just really nice.
4) Los Angeles, Regent Theater, April 29th 2019
Another place where I played more than once. The Regent is really gorgeous and I absolutely love Los Angeles and its West Coast charms. Especially after seeing it so many times in movies, photos and video games throughout my entire childhood. But there are two things that made this area fascinating for me. First one is the movie prop store located right next to the green room. I had the chance to check it out in 2017 and it’s just a really fun place to visit. The second thing is the fact that the Regent is located in Skid Row — literally a couple of blocks away from the now famous Cecil Hotel (now called the Stay On Main, I believe). I was always a big fan of true crime stories and strange cases from around the world and was very much aware of the history surrounding the hotel and the case of Elisa Lam back in 2019. So, after having watched so many documentaries about it, it really felt surreal to be right next to the real thing.
3) Chicago, Reggies Rock Club, Oct 6th 2017
I believe Reggie’s is the place where I have performed the most shows overseas. I even played there twice in a row once which was kinda weird to be honest. Now, Reggie’s is kind of different from my Top 1 and 2 picks because in this case, it’s the actual venue that I really love. In Europe, most of the time venues and bars are two very separate things and when I saw this kind of place for the first time where they serve food, drinks, have karaoke nights and sports playing on screens all while a full-blown concert plays out downstairs; I know it’s something most U.S. citizens are very used to, but to me it just felt really new and cool. Made me want to hang around and never leave this hot spot of music lovers.
2) Dallas, Trees, Sep 19th 2017
I actually played there two times, but it’s the first one that really stood out for me. The people in Texas are so nice and welcoming and this venue has a sort of legendary status attached to it (which probably stems from that very famous Nirvana show in 1991, I presume). Weirdly enough, it’s actually not so much the venue itself, even though I absolutely love it, that makes it memorable for me, but more of the nightlife surrounding it. This area is full of bars and clubs that are stupidly fun to check out and has so many colorful people and stuff to see. Especially during the aftershows once everything is packed. I really enjoyed that place.
1) Las Vegas, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Opening for John Carpenter, Oct 29th 2017
Hands down my favorite experience. There’s something about Las Vegas that puts such an ecstatic smile on my face. Maybe it’s the chaotic mix of architectures; from its Googie and Populuxe roots all the way up to the current Modernism and Post-Modernism looks (and even shades of Neoclassicism, with “Caesar’s Palace,” for example), all backed up by insane lights that literally pierce the skies at nights. Maybe it’s the fact that the entire city is a sort of “Disneyland” for adults, where no one really sleeps because nothing is ever closed and where over-indulgence in all sorts of delights seem encouraged rather than punished. Or maybe it’s the fact that this famous corner of the world is absolutely surrounded in isolating sand like a literal jewel in the desert. Either way, Las Vegas (and the state of Nevada, in general) is my favorite place to be, and adding to that the fact that I got the chance to play a show with the master of horror himself, John Carpenter, during Halloween in the beautiful Hard Rock hotel… Yeah, this was pretty much both the best live and travel experience I’ve ever had.
** Perturbator’s new album, Lustful Sacraments, is out May 28, 2021 on Blood Music. U.S.-based pre-orders can be found HERE. Vinyl, CDs, and t-shirts abound! Even presses of his pre-Lustful Sacraments catalog! Rest of the world, follow HERE for the same.
** For more on synthwave, dark ambient, dungeon synth, check out Decibel contributor’s Neill Jameson Exploring Synths column HERE.