Musical Musings: Gloom Influx & Perturbator, May 13, 2019


The day had barely ended, but the sky was as dark as pitch. Light rain fell over a city awash in gunmetal greys and damp taupes. I leaned against the wall, half-finished drink in hand, and waited for my friends. Garish neon lights of blue and green flashed out from the Société des arts technologiques and lit up the raindrops in freefall. Heady baselines thumped through the wall, and I took the repeated slaps on the back until I spotted my entourage. We traded in our tickets at the door, held out our wrists for branding, and set foot inside the S.A.T for a Monday night show.

The first act was Gloom Influx, a local boy by the name of Luc Leclerc, who had a penchant for multitasking. Truly, I was amazed when I peered through the line of shadowy heads before me to see Gloom Influx handling a guitar, keyboard, and laptop all by himself. Through a haze of smoke, lights, and shadow, Influx’s music whisked me away to a world I had never experienced before. It was a world of bell-like chimes layered on top of threatening bass, sugary melodies melting into deep and sure beats. It put me in the mind of a half-lucid dream, where the landscape could change at any minute, and there was something strange but not unwelcome lurking around every corner. It was my first time hearing anything from this artist, and his music sucked me in and whetted my appetite for the cyberpunk nightmare that was to come. 

I had seen the main act before but was just as excited as the first time. The man behind the madness, James Kent, took up his position at stage right (his live drummer took centre stage) and wasted no time in immersing his audience in the world of Perturbator. I was delighted to hear my two favorite songs, “Neo Tokyo” and “Perturbator’s Theme”, at the beginning and end of the show respectively. Blinded by the prism of lights that accompanied the music, I danced. I forgot the world of our Neo-Montreal outside, the friends whose company I kept, and even myself. The frantic, grinding, threatening synths, and the metal-inspired progressions moved through the crowd and stirred our souls. The music dragged me down the alleyways of nameless industrial cities, over crumbling cement rooftops, and through dark warehouses where shadowy figures hung around the edges of my imagination. I was all too happy to follow where the self-induced aural psychosis led.

My friends and I often refer to the music of Perturbator and Gloom Influx as “electronic music for metalheads.” Indeed, the crowd that night boasted many a denim kutte and faded Napalm Death decal. However, there were also girls in flowing black dresses, men in plaid button downs, and even some folks who preferred to keep their rain jackets on. No matter what subculture the audience members identified with, we were united in our love for the music. As someone who often straddles the lines between subcultures, I have always seen Perturbator as a crossroads of various alternative scenes. It is electronic music for metalheads, but also for goths, punks, scene kids, rivetheads, and anyone who feels called to its dark atmosphere. 

The night ended with a tasteful encore that left the audience satisfied without keeping them past their bedtimes. My friends and I retrieved our coats, discussing the show, the lights, and Perturbator’s involvement in the Hotline Miami soundtrack. As we stepped out into the cold and wet night again, we bade our goodbyes and parted ways. I walked home riding a “concert high”, a sort of elation one experiences after a particularly fun concert. And, despite the miserable weather, the neon lights and flickering streetlamps of Neo-Montreal lit my path all the way home.

Brittany Wright is the host of Something Wicked on CJLO, airing every Monday evening at 10 pm.