Due to all kinds of issues with getting across the pennines (both Snake and Woodhead were shut on Saturday afternoon), friends staying with us weren’t at ours ’til six, and with food to eat and then the need to get ready before heading out, we almost totally missed Uberbyte.
We were there in good time, of course, for Faderhead, though. There was a little surprise when they took to the stage as just Sami and Doctor T – the drummer was ill so couldn’t make these dates. This meant a slight shift in the sound (and, perhaps, style) from their Infest show last year. The setlist was much the same, as I recall, with a good mix of material from both albums, as well as a new track – Electrosluts Extraordinaire – that appears to be destined for industrial dancefloor domination when it gets released.
Break Apart Again
Coke For My Ass
Storm Sparks Structure
Other highlights? Opener The Protagonist was again a great opening track (it’s harder than many other FH tracks), Coke For My Ass was a surprise inclusion (and worked well), and I still don’t understand why more people don’t either like or recognise Storm Sparks Structure – it’s pounding beats remind me of Icon of Coil‘s best dancefloor moments. So what was the switch in style I alluded to? It was rawer than the Infest showing, and worked pretty well. It was certainly popular with the crowd, too – a fair number of whom clearly were there for them rather than the headliners.
Talking of the headliners…Die Krupps were something of a revelation. Aside from the recent “best of”, there has been nothing in the way of new material from the band for some years, and indeed they only reconvened after a few years off for gigs in Europe a year or two back. And now the 25th anniversary of the band (which was during 2007), and a longer tour. And any concerns that they were perhaps just “going through the motions” with this look into their past were swiftly dispelled by the power of the performance.
Die Krupps setlist
Hi Tech Low Life
Fur Einen Augenblick
Volle Kraft Voraus/Goldfinger
Odyssey of the Mind
The Dawning of Doom
Metal Machine Music
To The Hilt
Machineries of Joy
For a band whose members, let’s be honest, are no longer spring chickens, vocalist Jurgen Engler at least was all over the stage, high kicking his way through opener Hi Tech Low Life before the bruising industrial-metal rhythms of Isolation and Crossfire bulldozed their way through. These two were awesome showings of why this band are so important in the development of at least a couple of strains of industrial music: let’s just say that one of the origins of Rammstein‘s sound is all too clear now after hearing these live.
The other thing about this performance was it’s reliance totally on the past – nothing new was played, and to be honest, I’m not sure anyone was too bothered about that, not with a back catalogue this strong. We went all the way back to 1982 with Fur Einen Augenblick‘s strange, alien electro – even in it’s revamped version nowadays it still sounds odd to hear EBM that is 26 years old, and a couple of years further forward with the slightly more refined Der Amboss. Probably highlight of the entire set, though, was a pummeling Germaniac complete with Jurgen bashing seven shades out of a percussion stand made from steel piping.
A number of people prior to the gig had noted that they weren’t sure they knew many – or any – songs by the band, and those of us who did know them assured that they would recognise a number of them. And sure enough, as the “hits” were rolled out at the end (To The Hilt and Fatherland particularly) there were many smiles of recognition in the crowd.
This was an astonishing performance, really – yet another industrial band from a seemingly long-distant era coming back to reclaim their crown (following similar triumphs in recent years by Front Line Assembly and Skinny Puppy in particular), and gaining a new set of fans in the process. And while it is nice to finally get a chance to see bands I missed the first time around, like these guys, what I’m hoping now is for them to influence a new swathe of bands that can bring us industrial as hard hitting and vital-sounding as this.