Julien-K at The Vault, New Bedford, MA -July 29, 2018

Julien-K is out on a run of dates supporting the Rev3 tour, which is a triple-headlining bill of The Cult, Stone Temple Pilots and Bush. In between those big shows, they’re playing some clubs in some of the smaller cities in the surrounding area. So while I could have driven into Boston the following night to catch the full lineup, I was lucky enough to have Julien-K headline a club in New Bedford, a mere twenty minutes away, and much more convenient to go to than Boston.

Julien-K guitarist Amir Derakh

I’ve been a fan of Julien-K for about ten years, and before that, I was a fan of Orgy since the late 90’s. For those who don’t know, Orgy guitar players Ryan Shuck and Amir Derakh formed Julien-K as Orgy became less active. In the early years of Julien-K, they did a little touring, but for the most part, they would occasionally play only in LA and NY. As this was my first time seeing them, I had no idea what sort of crowd to expect on a Sunday night in New Bedford.

Unfortunately, the crowd was not big in numbers. The couple of dozen people who were there, however, were very dedicated fans, that really gave the band all their energy. Shuck remarked during the show about how sometimes these little shows can end up being the most fun on the tour.

Before the show, I had a chance to interview Ryan and Amir, which you can watch here. One thing I asked was about how they prepare differently for the shows opening for Rev3 vs their headlining shows. What Ryan explained is that when opening for these legendary rock bands, they stick to their more rock & guitar oriented music. With a full show of their own, however, they can bring out the keyboards, iPads and samples, and really go all out with their setlist.

Julien-K Bassist & Keyboard Player Bidi Cobra

The band came out to “Flashpoint Riot,” off their second album, 2012’s We’re Here with You. It’s a powerful song to come out to, and it’s got a great chorus for the fans to chant along to. My favorite Julien-K song showed up before too long, as the fourth song they played was “Kick the Bass.”

Bass player/keyboard player Bidi Cobra and drummer Alex Gonzales round out Julien-K’s lineup. Bidi had a bass tone that was so thick and heavy and raunchy, that provides a great layer to Julien-K’s sound. With a band that is as electronic-based as JK, they don’t have to have a drummer, but having Alex behind the kit makes the songs feel much more alive.

They finished up their show with a performance of “Blue Monday,” the way they did it with Orgy. When we saw the current version of Orgy come to Providence in 2016, Orgy singer Jay Gordon got into the crowd, and let the crowd sing most of the lyrics to “Blue Monday.” It was a fun moment for the fans who did sing, but as somebody who wanted to see Orgy play it, it was disappointing. It came off in a way that seemed like Jay resented having to play the song. As Ryan introduced the song tonight, you could tell it came from a place of appreciating their past, and appreciating the fans who gave them a career in music. The song was a powerful as ever, and Ryan sounded phenomenal singing it.

Flashpoint Riot
Strange Invisible
Kick the Bass
California Noir
Photo Voltaire
Systeme De Sexe
Dark Cadence
Mannequin Eyes
Deep Beat Overground
Blue Monday

I’m glad that I made the choice to check out a full headlining show by Julien-K; it did not disappoint! While it was disappointing for them that the crowd wasn’t there, those of us who were essential got a private show by an incredible band. Keep your eye out for them, because it is not a show you want to miss! They have a new album, Harmonic Disruptor, which they are currently funding through Indiegogo. It promises to be a return to their industrial roots, and I can’t wait for it.

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