the loud bassoon concert scene

Duran Duran

Einstürzende Neubauten @ Metro, Chicago, USA
30 April 2004

The "percussionist" plays steel bricks, hubcaps, and a high tension wire. The "drummer" has sheet metal where his toms should be. His cymbals are made of thick, finely cut steel. The entire band plays a song using only air compressors on huge, tuned plastic tubes. The lyrics are sometimes whispered, sometimes screamed, and sometimes sung in the style of a torch singer. The words are in German, English, and sometimes French while constantly switching between surrealist imagery and Existential philosophy.

In the world of rock and pop music, there is nothing like an Einstürzende Neubauten concert.

Blixa Bargeld opened the evening's two-and-a-half hour set by stating that while he always enjoys playing at the Metro, this would be the last American tour for Neubauten. The US is the only country where touring COSTS them money, so it is unlikely they would ever return. He told us to please enjoy the concert and that they would try their hardest to make it enjoyable.

After this unexpectedly personable introduction, the band performed a concert that no one in the audience would ever forget. From the epic 10-minute-plus versions of "Redukt" and "Perpetuum Mobile," through several near-ambient improvisations, and finally ending with mind bendingly violent versions of "Ende Neu" and "Alles," the concert was more akin to avant-garde performance art than rock music. Though I have included a setlist below, it is impossible to pick out any highlights. The entire concert was a single, powerful experience. It was brilliant.

After the show, people who support the band through their website were offered the opportunity to purchase a discounted CD of that night's concert, followed by the opportunity to meet the band. Yes, believe it or not, they recorded the entire concert and burned it during the final encore so that you could take it home with you that night. Being a supporter (which costs $35 euro and entitles you to a very limited "supporter-only" CD), I was allowed backstage. With only about twenty-five others, we were made carrot juice by the band, and were allowed to hang out with them and chat for nearly an hour. They were all surprisingly warm. It really felt like being with a bunch of eccentric friends. I have been to a few of these "meet the band" events in the past and have never felt genuinely welcome, especially the time Klaus Meine from the Scorpions masturbated cruelly on my Negro mistress. Neubauten were so friendly and so much fun to talk to, I was simply stunned.

If you cannot catch them somewhere on the remainder of this US tour, you will be missing the finest, most innovative group of musicians to grace the scene. There is quite simply no other group of musicians performing in the rock world that match the class and technique of Einstürzende Neubauten. They are what music should be.

Setlist: (courtesy

Ich gehe jetzt
Good Morning Everybody (Rampe)
Selbsportrait mit Kater
Dead Friends (Around the Corner)
Perpetuum Mobile
Youme & Meyou
Neun Arme/Die Nacht
Die Befindlichkeit des Landes
Haus der Lüge/Armenia
Seltener Vogel

Ein leichtes leises Säuseln
November (Rampe)

Ende Neu

Review by Dr. Martin Absinthe