You can read a lot into the title of “Tricks,” Nivek Ogre’s bracing new political treatise from his Skinny Puppy side project ohGr. Tricks were what helped elect a game show host to the highest office in the U.S. They also were played on an unsuspecting America by alleged Russian manipulation of social media, where the nation’s narcissistic people posture and preen. “I’m just amazed by these smokescreens, and a lot of the album deals with logical fallacies,” says the Calgary-born iconoclast. “But now there are two parallel lines of truth that will probably never intersect again. And I’m the biggest conspiracy nut in the world, but we’ve crossed a threshold.”
You’re also referring to real sleight of hand, too, right?
I was obsessed with magic as a child, and I recently got into it again. I started looking on eBay, and I discovered the very first tricks I bought, from a company called Tenyo, that are super cool — they gave normal tricks a little Japanese edge that made them quite wonderful. Our neighbor’s kid was the first unwilling subject for my new magic, and I just found that I had a lot of showmanship that had developed over all my years onstage. I could really misdirect well.
Remember Marshall Brodien? “They’re ALL the ace of spades!”
TV Magic Cards! The famous Svengali deck! You were lucky down here in the states, because the prices were a lot cheaper. I had to save up from my paper route and buy magic from catalogs, at Canadian prices. But magic was the first stage of where I’ve ended up. It intrigues our imagination, it inspires us, and it also adds a little bit of color to what’s becoming a more and more drab world.
Then you started doing it yourself in Skinny Puppy.
A lot of those things that I couldn’t do when I was young somehow developed naturally for me onstage. With Skinny Puppy, I initially thought I was a ham-fisted hack. But I recently watched a concert video of me cutting a smile into my face during “Assimilate,” and I was creating tension even though I didn’t know I was doing it. It all came from my love of magic.
What legerdemain is in store for the ohGr show?
Well, the show is a side project, and I didn’t make any money from the last two ohGr tours. So it’s a labor of love, basically. But I’m going to some magic. I’ve got an appearing cane, a vanishing candle, and a box to put your arm in that you simultaneously stick blades in. And I’m going to do some card manipulation, if that works with these new rubber gloves I’m
IF YOU GO
Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Aug. 15
Tickets: $27.50 to $30
Contact: (415) 233-0333, www.eventbrite.com