When the "Sextreme Ball 2017" hit Cleveland, no one knew what to expect. Keyboard legend Praga Khan was missing from the lineup with an ear infection (without medical permission to travel), and the last time that Combichrist came to Cleveland, they had no keyboardist at all. Not only that, but the singer for Lords Of Acid has also replaced their singer once again.

As before, Combichrist still runs without a keyboard, and that is the only complaint to be had. Running sequences is acceptable in live environments, but not for parts that are as vital as this bands synth sections. That said, everything sounded quite solid, and the addition of guitar to the mix sounded very satisfying.

"WTF Is Wrong With You," "Get Your Body Beat," and Electrohead" worked great alongside all newer set selections, too.

Combichrist "Letz" loose

Combichrist drummer Joe Letz, who despite his playful/creepy stage antics that get worse (in a good way) each tour and even how he manages to purposefully knock down his floor tom enough to give his drum tech a stroke, is one of the most precise drummers around today. Playing over loops can be murderously complicated. Even minor mistakes can sound like basketballs being dropped out of time and his prowess shouldn't be overlooked.

Combichrist guitarist Eric 13 was asked for this interview, "Out of everything that you've added guitar-wise since it is more of an electronic band, what was the hardest part about being incorporated into it?"

He replied, "Playing the songs that no guitar.

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Playing the simplest parts, those are the most difficult to play."

"When you do it in Combichrist, do you try to add to it or do you tend to play with the sequences?," I asked him.

"You know," he said, "you've got to make the fans happy. It is not about what I want; it is about making the fans enjoy the music." His other music can be heard at Eric 13 (dot com).

Lords of Acid take control

After that, Lords of Acid exploded onto the stage! Their siren singer told me after the show as she snuggled with a member of Christian Death (who along with Sasha's XKMFDM project were missed due to time, sadly) that this was only her fourth show with the band! Many expected Lindsey, former Nocturne singer, to still be in the post.

Devon Disaster has a much different voice than past LOA singers. During "Rough Sex" (where perhaps a monitor too went out and Icelandic bassist Dietrich covered the issue nicely), the change was more noticeable than the others, like "Drink My Honey," which was powerful enough to rival the CD.

As for missing Khan, to utter even a mumble about his live replacement, who calls himself "only Roland," would be to diminish his greatness. He locked in wonderfully with Galen, the drummer, and the whole LOA experience.

While not Mozart, LOA certainly are very busy on the keyboards and to learn everything as rapidly as Roland did (sound changes as well a the musical parts) is astounding.

"Take Control," "Crablouse," and "Voodoo U" were excellent fits for Devon Disaster and the band. The song Young Boys" is MUCH heavier and was changed the most in some ways.

As for how LOA guitarist Joe Haze (also of Pig) handles adding axe to techno, he said, "Wow, that's a good question that I don't get asked. First of all, what key is it in? The older music used deeper octaves. Later, they moved to the second register and a bit up. That is how I approach it."

The pleasantly bubbly Devon Disaster stayed and talked even in a skimpy black dress outside while covered in water. She took the time to talk in depth to every fan no matter how much burr Lake Erie hurled at her.

As we walked away, we could not help but to think of just much steam this band still has left.