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Review & Photos: Stabbing Westward renews 90's industrial rock with I Ya Toyah in Columbus

By Neil Shumate, OOTB Publications

Blaring Stabbing Westward’s Ungod, Wither Blister Burn & Peel and Darkest Days was part of the norm for many fans of industrial rock in the mid-90s and the band has made a comeback of sorts by performing in small clubs for a mini summer tour with original vocalist/guitarist Christopher Hall and keyboardist/programmer Walter Flakus, backed by a live guitarist and drummer.
Although the '90s were prime for Stabbing Westward, don’t forget they also just released a new album titled Chasing Ghosts in 2022 and from the new album they performed “Ghost” and an encore of “Push.” However, they focused on the classics, performing: “Falls Apart,” “Sometimes It Hurts,” “What Do I Have To Do?” (during which Hall jumped down to sing directly in front of the audience), “Lies,” “Save Yourself,” “Shame,” “The Thing I Hate,” a sharp cover of The Cure’s “Burn” and other songs. 

Nobody left disappointed—the band was solid, it was loud and intense, Hall’s vocals remain prolific. Attending this show left wishful thinking of a full on 90’s industrial rock tour that would unify or reunite more acts from the era.

I Ya Toyah opened with a one-person show that could have easily been operated by four or more. Vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist/dancer/smoke effects/lighting tech Ania Tarnowska wowed fans with a superlative industrial synth wave mix. 

Having released numerous singles and some EPs since 2018, the Chicago native from Poland performed an electrifying cover of Depeche Mode’s “It’s No Good” as well as impulsive Lords Of Acid/KMFDM esque originals “Puppet,” “Deaths Kiss” and bass heavy “Vast Spaces.” 

I Ya Toyah used the stage to her full advantage, singing from stage left to right while quickly moving to her keys and switching out a guitar to loop, striking pedals and placing a mic stand—all timed perfectly—while a screen projected ominous images in the background. 

STABBING WESTWARD (click photos to enlarge)

I YA TOYAH (click photos to enlarge)