Rammstein – Liebe Ist Für Alle Da

Who the fuck is Rammstein, with their blatant sexual reference in their German lyrics and love for crude oil? Rammstein is industrial metal, or more accurately, industrial metal is Rammstein. They are not here to fix Germany’s image problem, but to bend and shape it into a suckerpunch and deliver it live, with a jaw-dropping set, if you are one of the privileged few who managed to obtain a ticket.

Singer Till Lindemann is a giant of a man, ugly as the night and gifted with a voice that makes Satan himself pucker up. You won’t even notice him missing a note, which admittedly, he occasionally does. Supporting him are two guitars on Norse god-like distortion, a triple bass drum and a keyboard player that challenges all written definitions of sanity.

This is Rammstein.

And what they deliver on stage, will blow you away –literally.
A blazing inferno, a war, a fireman’s nightmare that will leave the front rows sans eyebrows.

I really wanted to see the show, even turned down the showcrew job (4 extra hours pay) so I could set up camp in front of the stage rather than behind it. And I must say, my expectations were met. These men have a natural talent for the bombastic and grotesque, combined with a total disregard for their own safety- and yours.
But first things first: The support act was some band named Combichrist who play gothic electro. While certainly enjoyable, their act soon got repetitive (blame the genre). It never really comes over as very credible when the singer totally freaks out and dances his gonads off to his own music, but it was an entertaining sight when their drum tech had to fetch a tom that percussionist no.2 kicked from the stage for the seventh time.

Rammstein’s appearance was poetically appropriate. The two guitarists hammered themselves through a wall, while the lead singer had to blowtorch/kick his way through a metal sheet. And so it began.
I must admit, at first I was kind of worried about the mild enthusiasm of the band. No matter how big you are, you don’t fill a stage by standing there pounding away on your own leg. The great disappointment Muse dared to put down recently proved that.
But I was shown wrong: While Muse used fancy video gimmicks that failed to impress, Rammstein utilized a downright shocking arsenal of kerosene and metal. No one cares how excited you look if you’ve got a flamethrower strapped to your fucking face, as during the performance of “Feuer Frei”.

The sound quality was top notch and the lack of video wall allowed the fans to see the big picture rather than stare at a screen and miss the next explosion. Not that they exactly inconspicuous: the whole stage was rigged. Fire easily rose up to fifteen meters, in all directions. From the floor, from the props, from the performers’ limbs. Songs were accentuated with enough explosions to impress Fat Man, babies fell from the ceiling with green lasers strapped to their faces, fireworks were shot over the crowd across the venue,… who comes up with this.

In sharp contrast with artists such as Marilyn Manson (coming to Antwerp dec 18th), Rammstein has little concern for political correctness. Go reckon, their nationality would offend plenty of Americans, already. Pulling out sex toys, saddling and riding them during “Pussy” is peanuts for these men. My one regret is that they didn’t perform “Bück Dich”, in which the lead singer cockslaps the keyboard player a few times (with a fake, mind) and then proceeds to ejaculate for a minute and a half, all over stage, band members, audience, and himself. I swear I’m not making this up.

As you may have noticed, yes, I liked the show. I expected as much, but even I was deeply impressed. The fans are thrown from one “wow” moment into the next, several times each song. You could see their reactions, too, willingly showing their hands when politely asked, “Wir wollen eure Hände sehen” and roaring with the start of each act. Many others should take this lesson to heart: This is how it’s done. This is what defines your reputation, and in an age of digital piracy, this is your income. Embrace it.

Gig of the year, hands down. Danke.

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