According to the tickets/info, doors were at 1930. No-one appeared to have bothered to told the bands, as we eventually were let in at five to nine. When the tickets have cost £14.50 each, in my mind that is taking the piss. First band were on sharpish, unsurprisingly – although I think most people in there wish they hadn’t have bothered. They were called De Model, and appeared to me to be a stylist’s idea of what an “electro-punk-rock” band should look like. Pretty-ish female lead singer flicking her hair and throwing rock-star shapes: check. Heavily tattooed/head shaven with undercut industrial guitarist: check. Keyboardist who desperately wants to be Trent Reznor: check. All style, and no substance whatsoever. All the tracks seemed to blend into each other, and were deathly boring. Avoid.
Panic DHH I had high hopes for, as the soundsystem had already proved to be really, really loud. Someone saw fit to turn them down a bit, though, so the set seemed a little subdued in the main. It was also heavily slanted towards new stuff, which seems to be heading in a slightly more…organic direction. Proof of their brutal power was still evident, though, as people were literally knocked back on their feet during U Wish, and then with the finish of Reach and Common Enemy. Not as good as last time, but still worth seeing. Robbie from the band told me to expect the new album next spring.
And so onto the main event. After yet more waiting, and more delays, KMFDM finally deign to appear at nearly 2245. Which as we had to leave at 2330, was not good. But still, we got 45 minutes of ups and downs.
Good things included opening with the best track from Hau Ruck: the title track. Proof of a punishing sound set-up, too. Some of the old stuff rolled out involved some real surprises – Son Of A Gun, an outstanding Terror, Inane (a track I have not heard in years – and had forgotten how good it was), and Adios. Other new tracks were good – New American Century is still brilliant, as is Free Your Hate.
However there were many bad points. Most damning of all, perhaps, was the band just didn’t seem all that interested – especially Sascha. There was no real emotion – or indeed that much effort from him – except on stuff like Terror. The other problem is that Lucia seems to have taken over control of the band – far too many of the songs seem to show her influence. KMFDM always was a collective, with a whole variety of input. The current set-up seems to turn them one-dimensional, shown to it’s worst effect by the Garbage-lite of Real Thing (which was just dull), and the latest cover Mini Mini Mini. And her posturing and gurning just grates after a few minutes.
It was so frustrating. Quite apart from leaving early – and I’d love to know what we missed, folks – it felt like a band that is bored with what it does. Nearly 20 years since they first appeared, perhaps it is time to call it a day? Leave the legacy intact, Sascha. We got fleeting glimpses of what has made the band so thrilling in the past, but it wasn’t enough.