There’s been plenty of talk surrounding Atari Teenage Riot’s “Reunion” Tour, most of the chatter being that there can never be a full reunion as one of the original members, MC Carl Crack, is no longer with us, and with Hanin Elias’ withdrawal from the tour she herself had instigated, in some ways it is true. However, as I left the London gig, I feel that Alec Empire, Nic Endo and CX KidtroniK have managed to achieve a tour de force, re-energising the spirit of ATR and making the band’s sound and message still all too relevant in 2010.
KidtroniK, Endo and Empire all took to the stage with a powerful version of ATR’s new single Activate. The sound was loud, the strobe lights blinding and the audience pumped up and ready for action. The tone of the show was set and from that point on the energy of both the band and the audience collided in raging cheers and “joyful” moshpit!
The stage set-up was relatively simple, only three stations of electronic gear – samplers and effects – still the amount of noise created was gigantic. Songs such as Sick to death, Fuck All! And Not your business resonated to their full capacity, thanks to the talent of the sound engineer who allowed the loudness of the music to be appreciated rather than endured by the audience.
Many punters present at the Electric Ballroom wished the night would never end and are probably hoping that this tour will not be a one-off, at least outside a festival environment. Considering the venue was running at almost full capacity, it would be fair to say that ATR’s audience hasn’t withered – rather the opposite: fans of the early days were happily rubbing shoulders with more recent fans, instead going from strength to strength despite a 10-year gap in the band’s activity.
As Empire communicated his emotion about making up for the previous London show the band had played in 1999, where one member, Elias, had walked out, leaving the rest of them feeling that particular performance was somehow unsatisfactory, one member of the audience shouted “Don’t give up!”, which received an agreeing uproar from the rest of the crowd. Everyone left awed and in shock by the sheer magnitude of the extraordinary event they’d just witnessed and no doubt would attend again should ATR decide to recommence its adventure.
There isn’t another band quite like ATR and as there is no way of knowing whether ATR will compose and/or perform again or not, we feel it would be a shame if the band decided to discontinue its activity as the message conveyed in its work still has a purpose and a resonance today. However if this truly is the end for ATR, whoever chooses to keep up the fight – and boy, do we need to keep it up – has got a lot to live up to.
Review by: CB Lux & Jo Whitby
Photography by: CB Lux
There’s still a chance to catch ATR live this year. Check out the dates on www.atari-teenage-riot.com