First things first: on what planet is 6pm a good time to start a gig? Yup, no planet. Poor Spawn of Psychosis – unlucky winners of the evening’s opening slot and in serious competition with the only warm evening of twenty thirteen – struggle to rouse enthusiasm from a spindly crowd. Deary dear. Blame the dumbasses who rolled y’all out in the middle of the day – virtually.
Rock band Explode The TV is able to muster some more excitement as post-opener openers – thank goodness for 7:30, right?! Seemingly out of place amidst the company of electro-industrial companions Sheep On Drugs and KMFDM, ETTV manage to convert listeners with catchy chorus riffs and impassioned vocals. Experience works well for this band, which incites unashamed head bobs with songs including “This is the Drug”, “Narcopolitic” and “Pure Water”. “London Prayer” and “Riot of Desire” (a song written in response to last year’s riots) are appreciated by a London audience inspired to enthusiasm by a reminder that musical differences aside we are all denizens of the same temperamental city – totally worth a WoopWoop or two.
And who can’t appreciate a band that was kicked of a SkyTV documentary show for “TV smashing antics and outspoken comments on the media’s shortfalls”? – Metal in attitude if not quite in song.
Sheep On Drugs is like a slap in the face after the pleasant positivity exuded by ETTV. Kind of the point. Purveyors of pop-culture performance art that conjures a musical satire that would have the likes of Brett Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk applauding with as much vigour as cool literary types afford themselves. Once you’ve stopped ‘wtf-ing’ and have managed to tone down the strange duos’ grating vocals to a background annoyance, it’s easy to appreciate their presence. The plastic body parts, fake blood, Indian headdress, nakedness, blasphemy and religious anarchism that punctuate a set including well-known tracks “15 Minutes of Fame” and “Life’s a Bitch” allude to the idea that if we’re going to be a bunch of conformists, we may as well be high while we’re doing it. It’s more fun that way. Especially when you’re using Guitar Hero equipment to make a point.
On the topic of exaggeration and excess…
Excessively German. Excessively awesome. No exaggeration.
The Islington Academy, jam-packed in the name of the headliner, is ready to party. And party it does. Fans revel in the familiar site of frontman Sascha Konietzko and his cooler-than-cool-whoever-doesn’t-love-the-80s-must-die pilot shades, which true to form, never move an inch for the duration of the 17-song set. Lucia Cifarelli exudes envy-inducing cleavage and bondage swagger as she screeches, scratches, prowls and prances her way around the stage. The band is tight, the riffs are raw and the beat is heavy. An unlikely coalescence of industro-metal mosh-raving bizarrity inflicts its frenzied character on the claustrophobic club air in response to thirty years’ worth of Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid. The likes of “DIY”, “ATnesia”, “Kunst”, “Ave Maria”, “Quake”, “Free Your Hate”, “Son of a Gun”, “Rebels in Kontrol”, “Potz Blitz”, “Pussy Riot”, “Krank”, “Animal Out”, “Tohuvabonhu”, “Hau Ruck”, “Sucks Interlude”, “WWIII” and “Megalomaniac” assault the senses with mayhemic glory.
Only a band with super street cred can get away with mentioning its own name… a hundred times, in its own song. Hail KMFDM.