Last night’s Gothminister and Das Ich gig was pretty strange. The turnout wasn’t too bad, although as always the small room at Corp got uncomfortably warm over the course of the gig.
Despite the way the gig had been billed, it turned out that following KIK (who I missed due to a need to go for food first), it was Das Ich first on stage of the co-headliners. The surprises didn’t stop there – despite reports from elsewhere of the reputation Das Ich have for highly visual and ostentatious live shows, this was a very stripped down affair – just Bruno on keyboards and effects and Stefan on vocals. Although when you see the full stage show [Youtube link], it’s not hard to see why they may not be able to bring the whole thing on a small-scale tour like this.
Even so, they hardly look like a normal band, though. Bruno’s flamboyant hair and general look makes him stand out (to me he resembled Captain Spaulding somewhat, particularly when glowering out over the top of his keyboard), while even conservatively dressed Stefan looks really quite creepy, or maybe it’s just his stage mannerisms. Their stagecraft helped to maintain interest in what could otherwise have been a set that ended up a little flat. Clearly a fair proportion of the crowd were entirely unfamiliar with all but a couple of tracks, and I’ll admit that I was only familar with about half of it. For me particular highlights were an early, stomping take on Der Schrei, the still-bizarre lyrical imagery of Unschuld Erde (I’ve never been able to translate this properly, so I’m clearly missing something), and then Destillat, with a band clearly well-aware that this could well be the only song that many of the crowd knew, and they took this in good humour. The track is – and has been for nearly ten years now – a dancefloor staple in the form of it’s legendary VNV Nation remix, and so it was no surprise that the live version was somewhat quicker paced than the sluggish original, but thankfully they didn’t just play the remix.
And so following that, there was just one song to come – Gottes Tod, unsurprisingly – that saw all three members of Gothminister join Das Ich onstage to perform an awesome version of the track together – and Gothminister vocalist Björn Alexander Brem made one hell of an entrance, literally stepping out of a cloud of smoke to stand centre stage.
As the song came to a close, one very clever switch of bands happened – with Das Ich’s minimal equipment on stage, they were able to move their stuff aside, leave the stage and allow Gothminister to pick up the baton there and then – perhaps the smoothest and fastest transition I’ve ever seen onstage. With Das Ich running a little late by this stage, of course this also had the added benefit of ensuring that Gothminister lost no time. There was no real surprise in the opening track being recent album opener Dusk Till Dawn, which got the enthusiastic crowd going immediately (complete with a number of hardcore fans with matching facepaint going mental down the front), although their choice of front loading the set with a couple of old classics too (Angel and Gothic Anthem) didn’t hurt either.
Like Das Ich, however, things felt a little stripped down, with just Björn and then the drummer and guitarist, all the effects being left to a backing track (although it must be said that the sound balance was great for the most part, for once). In some respects, though, this just meant that Björn had more space to roam the stage, but in others it did result in things not being as full-on as they were last time.
Dusk Till Dawn
We Die In Dreams
March of the Dead
Beauty After Midnight
Happiness In Darkness
The balance of the set was pretty good, too, both allowing all the old classics to be aired as well as some of the newer material, although I’m still not convinced that the newer stuff is as good – although Sideshow was a notable exception, as it sounded absolutely immense. It was the old stuff that really ignited the crowd, though – in particular the chugging Hatred and then a marvellous March of the Dead.
No encore in the end – maybe it was the curfew, I wasn’t sure – but either way I was a little surprised that their gloriously throwaway cover of Thriller wasn’t aired. Although I’m sure that others are relieved that it wasn’t touched! Either way, this was a fun gig, that just about delivered what was expected but felt somewhat, er, cut down from what it should be. Another to blame on the credit crunch, i.e. in terms of saving costs, perhaps? Certainly CDs from either band were £15, with Gothminister T-shirts an eye-watering £25 – but then, presumably with converting prices from Euros this is only to be expected with the shitty exchange rate at present. And yes, I’ll go see Gothminister again, of course I will. They are great entertainment, clearly don’t take themselves particularly seriously, and in a “scene” often as po-faced as the Goth scene, this is only something to be encouraged, in my view.