CONCERT REVIEW: Stabbing Westward – The Hunger – Unitcode:Machine Live at Scout Bar


This weekend saw fans of Industrial music flocking to a pair of shows in Texas. A three-band bill consisting of Unitcode:Machine, The Hunger, and headliner Stabbing Westward promised an evening not soon forgotten. Friday night was in San Antonio at Paper Tiger and Saturday was the Scout Bar in Houston. Both are one thousand plus capacity (at least according to fire code) and feature powerful sound systems that render earplugs inadequate. Tying all everything together is the fact that lead singer for Stabbing Westward, Christopher Hall, has been working with the other two bands on their music and even producing the latest albums from both of them. The setlists and performances stayed the same at both locations and were well worth seeing twice.

Up first was Unitcode:Machine, a two-man operation consisting of a keyboard/synthesizer player and an imposing figure of a lead singer named Eric Kristoffer who after meeting proved to be one of the friendliest people present and was happy to talk with everyone after the show. With a sound and style that consists of a strong, very danceable back beat overlayed with synth and vocals, the crowd was immediately invested in what was on the stage. A set of completely new material was expertly executed and went way too quickly. Standouts were the opening song ‘Cold’,  ‘Emptiness’ towards the end of the set, and the finale of ‘Undone’. Definitely worth keeping an eye on these guys as there is a lot more to come as well. 

The Hunger is a band that has had some notoriety in the past and it is clearly earned. Hailing from Houston, Texas, these were hometown shows and many of those in attendance were very familiar with the band. Calling it high energy does a great disservice to the performance as they tore through their setlist. Counting the band members on stage was a difficult task as people came and went as others switched positions. Songs such as ‘Let’s Get the Party Started’ and set closer ‘Vanishing Cream’ was fast-paced to say the least, but a clear highlight of the set was a cover of the Concrete Blond song ‘Bloodletting’ (The Vampire Song) when Christopher Hall emerged from the wings and added his vocals. Hall’s return to the stage was met with a roar and genuine appreciation, his vocals sounding as crisp as ever.

Stabbing Westward has played precious few shows in the last three years and hasn’t mounted a tour since pre-Covid. Last playing in The United States at Cold Waves Festival in 2021 and only playing one show at a festival in Belgium in 2022 this appearance was long overdue and highly anticipated. During their hiatus the band released a very well-received new album Chasing Ghosts (COP International) and it was amply represented during the set. ‘Ghost’, and the melodic ‘Push’ were clear hits while the audience sang along with Chris while he dominated the vocals. After not performing for a while, it took a song or two before the band really hit their stride; a hugely positive reaction from the crowd helped, but after that, there was no stopping them. Genuinely appreciative of the audience response, Hall said “I am really happy to be here”,  meaning every word of it. As the show progressed, it became clear that the band was having as much fun as those in attendance and some more lighthearted moments emerged. At one point Chris Hall enlisted the help of an audience member to tie his shoes and the discovery of a bass drop machine proved too much of a temptation to resist. Traditional favorites like ‘Violent Mood Swings’ and a stellar cover of the Cure’s ‘Burn’ were capped with the band’s biggest hit ‘Save Yourself’. A two-song encore finished the night and proved that Stabbing Westward is a band to be reckoned with.

Up next are two shows in Las Vegas,  one at Brooklyn Bowl and one the next day as part of the Sick New World Festival. They may not be in your hometown in the immediate future but it is well worth the effort to travel and see Stabbing Westward wherever you can find them.


Stabbing Westward setlist:

Damaged Goods

Falls Apart

So Far Away



I Am Nothing

What Do I Have To Do

The Thing I Hate

Violent Mood Swings

Save Yourself




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