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Laibach - Tanz mit Laibach!
In the Tivoli, Utrecht, there was a special concert on the eight of December: industrial band Laibach marched there that night. These Slovenians started in 1980 when Slovenia was still part of the communist Yugoslavia. From the beginning they were the centre of controversy; they were forbidden to be active in Yugoslavia and the international press accused them of both far left and far right political stances due to their use of uniforms and totalitarian-style aesthetics. Laibach's method is very simple, effective and open to misinterpretation; they exaggerate the manners of the enemy to the edge of parody and use this to rise attention to issues like the power games of the EU and the analogies between Western democracy and totalitarianism. I was curious whether they would still be shocking these days…
There was no opening act tonight so we where entertained with some atmospheric music until Laibach came on stage. When they finally showed up the Dutch anthem was playing; it was totally in the style of their recently released CD Volk. On this CD each of the 14 songs are inspired by national anthems and each song is an interpretation by Laibach of the conflicts and issues of these countries, like ‘Francia’ is inspired by the civil unrest in Paris last year and Anglia deals with the colonial history of England. The band existed out of the singer, drummer, a female singer, keyboardist and a guy doing the electronic beats and samples. First of all they played the major part of the Volk album, which offers a lot of light material. Combined with two huge screens behind the musicians, on which we could see all kind of nationalistic symbols and spacey visuals like forests and fabrics, this really worked out well. The female singer did a lot of high melodic lines, which is very logic with all these anthems and in the song ‘Nippon’ she sounded very beautiful while she was assisted by a piano, but this wasn’t exactly what we all came here for…
After a good 30 minutes Laibach went offstage and came back with two extra drumkits existing out of just a snare drum and two cymbals. The female singer was replaced by two other ladies in uniform playing these drums. Well, not exactly playing ‘cause you could only hear the cymbals and the snare drum was produced electronically. What followed were the older songs which are much heavier with an awesome marching rhythm. The audience was caught by a dark vibe while the two ladies, one of them being extremely hot by the way, where bashing on their drum kits while making marching movements. They were mainly there for the visual aspect, which I’m not really a fan of normally, but they really added to the vibe. This vibe was really good, because this was really what we all came here for: the hard pounding beats with a dark vibe and the deep, low German vocals shouting ‘Achtung!’. In this second part of the concert you could obviously see where Rammstein got their inspiration from. Also a song like ‘Tanz mit Laibach’ was received very well of course and it was like the whole audience was in a euphoric trance. They finished it with Leben Heißt Leben’, where after the total group of musicians made a deep bow and didn’t return anymore.
This second part of the concert was just as long as the first part and in total the concert was a really nice variation of light and heavy music. The first part was beautiful but mainly functioned as building up to the tension for the absolute fantastic second part where it all came to a huge kickass climax. Laibach sure managed to shock me, not politically or something, but they gave a surprisingly good, professional and interesting show. It was a really unique experience, be sure to go see them if you like some dark industrial vibes!
Details Written on Wednesday Dec 20th, 2006
Writer @Sledgehammer Messiah

Tags: #Laibach