As the waiting masses snake their way around theBrixton Academy, the air buzzes with excitement asfans of a certain industrial band are about to betreated to their first slice of live action in overfour years.
Tell-tale signs of Rammstein’s grandeurare visible even outside the mammoth Academy, with noless than three generator tucks parked up to supplyextra wattage to the Germanic metallers.
Within the heaving walls, Apocalyptica aredelighting many newfound fans with their uniquerenditions of metal standards like Enter Sandman andFight Fire With Fire, played on cellos. Yes that’sright, the Swedish quartet are classically trained,and love nothing more than to slam out some old schoolMetallica upon their four-stringed orchestralinstruments.
Although at first they are grantednovelty appreciation, the sheer speed and dexterityrequired to mimic James Hetfield’s vocal lines with abow, while reproducing Kirk Hammett’s lead wizardrysoon earns them utmost respect.
Leaving a much longer than necessary interval as asecret set is constructed, some fans seem unsure ifthey were right to part with double the dosh requiredfor an album to see a band who are so consciouslyavoiding the stage. As the house lights disappear, sodo any questions of the band living up to theirlegendary live reputation. In one glorious movement,the drapes are dropped and a stage set of Robot Warsproportions is revealed, complete with flames,hydraulic lifts and more metal than a scrap yard.
It is at this point that the purpose of attending aRammstein show becomes clear. One does not come herefor musical prowess (although they play a meanguitar), and unless your translation skills are up toscratch, you ain’t here to sing along. The solepurpose for attendance tonight is for the dramatic”wow” factor that so, so many bands sorely lack.
The language barrier is soon forgotten, with anyone unable to catch on audibly indulging in some seriously awesomevisual theatre. Feuer Frei and former single Mein Teil are crowd favourites, even if the latter is an ode to cannibalism! What’s most noticeable from therear of the venue, aside from the drunken skinheadswho’ve latched onto the band in a poor attempt to besomething less than thugs, is that there’s a severelack of moshing occurring this evening. Even thejocks stop to stare awe at the enormous scale of thepyrotechnics and special effects.
Amerika pulls out all the stops on this front,with ticker tape falling from high in red, white andblue streams, gas jets blowing silver confetti intothe mix, while Till Lindemann adorns himself with aflame-throwing apparatus that’s straight out of Quake.Ich Will and Mutter are then played in quicksuccession, with the latter proving a welcome chorussing along.
The inclusion of Rammstein’s tunes in films likeXXX and The Matrix were perhaps the greatest breakthrough for the band outside of their homeland. It’ssurely for this reason that Du Hast is one ofthe thumping encores, with crowd and band singing inunison.
For anyone who missed the chance to see theatrics,heavy metal and a light show combined into a wonderful spectacle that would make Jean-MichelJarre blush, the DVD would be a wise investment.