KMFDM worked the crowd with their subversive presence and sexy performers. Photo: Jacques Sehy
I have been a fan of industrial music pioneers KMFDM for quite some time, and I had never seen them live before. I could hardly contain my excitement. I was not going to miss this show for anything. I picked up my friend and headed up the canyon to Park City Live. CHANT was their special guest. I had not heard their music before, but my music friends informed me they put on a great show. I was stoked to see a line stretching nearly half a block, and I thought to myself, “Finally, a great turnout.”
I was a bit shocked when I found out they had no coat check, as this is in mid-October in Park City, Utah, but the lovely Carita helped me out by allowing me to keep my stuff behind the bar so I could enjoy the show and write. I was delighted at the amount of people at this show—over 100 people at an industrial music show ranks as a plus for me. I also factored in the drive, and the fact that KMFDM had played here about a year ago. I pondered the possibility of Park City being the place to play for these shows, and what their turnout would have been like if it were in Salt Lake City. The faces were not familiar—I had not seen any of these people at my local haunts. I asked myself, “Where did all of the people come from?” I realized my scene was not dead—I just had to find out where the people are and what their wants are. I noticed that it was the typical industrial crowd, a complete sausage fest. Less than 10 percent of the crowd was women, and that was including the bar staff.
The room filled with fog and three racks of pulsating red light started hypnotizing me and pulling my eyes toward the stage. I focused in and saw the usual microphone and keyboard stands. Something stood out to me—an extraordinary amount of drums. The only thing I imagined missing, would be a huge metal sheet. CHANT took the stage. It was loud, but not in a painful way, for the best listening experience industrial music needs is to be played loudly. It not only needs to be heard but felt. My clothes began to vibrate and my body started to take a beating from the crash of the cymbals and pounding bass drums. I just wanted to set everything down and flow with the sound instead of having it bounce off of me like I was a brick wall. I wanted to become one with it. I had to pull myself away from the urge to dance and concentrate on what was happening onstage.
I was pleased to hear that Bradley B. Chant had no pitch shifter effect on his vocals. His voice was clear, which allowed me to fully understand his messages about the observations he has made in his world. He sounded like a crossbreed of the Nitzer Ebb and Front 242 vocalists and had the stage presence of a smaller version of Till Lindemann. He connected with his audience. At one point, Chant grabbed a garbage can, took it out to stage left and begun beating on it, which reminded me of a scene from the musical, Stomp. With ease, Kristopher Robbin swung the keyboard out of the way so he could join Chant in the beating of the drums. They were in perfect synchronicity. The reflection of light off of their sticks had me seeing tracers. I was amazed at how fast their hands were moving. They finished their powerful set, and I headed over to the merchandise table where I picked up not one, but three of their CDs. I am looking forward to sharing this music when I am spinning tracks on the decks.
I noticed that after Chants’ equipment had been cleared away, there was still a full band setup on the stage. A full drum set remained as well as two guitar stands. There were two podium racks, which I assumed held keyboards and effect processors. I was pleased to see all of these instruments, as the majority of the shows I have been to lately have lacked guitars and have only had keys and drums machines.
KMFDM opened with Kunst a song that lists the names of every track they have composed. I was drawn to Lucia Cifarelli first. She has a pronounced jawline and high cheekbones, and her facial structure is powerful looking, yet beautiful. She commanded attention in her gorgeous black corset, tight shiny black pants and her dominant stare into the audience. She lurked around the stage, and I honestly believe she made eye contact with every person in the room, pulling them into her grasp. Her vocal styles varied from a soft, beautiful, harmonious voice to screaming and barking orders—leading me to believe that she probably needs a hot tea and honey after every show to soothe her vocal cords. Sascha Konietzko, on the other hand, rarely ventured away from his podium. I wondered if this was due to the effects that needed to be done or he was just letting the hot Cifarelli work the crowd. He was still quite sexy with his strong, German vocals and industrial attire. He allowed his noncompliance with law to show through while smoking his E-cigarette onstage. It is the little things we do to defy the government, I suppose.
Due to where I was standing, the guitarists captured my attention next. Steve White noticed we were taking pictures and gladly came up and posed. Jules Hodgson performed guitar solos and exhibited quick, magical fingers, hitting every note, and his nasty, grungy riffs only added to the performance. I focused deeper into the stage on Andy Selway and his drumming abilities. Selway was beating the drums very aggressively, and by the amount of sweat glistening on him, you could tell that he was giving them his all. I noticed that he had popped a snare head. He showed his professionalism and finished the track with little difficulty. Though there was a bit of silence in between songs, I do not think many realized what had happened.
Unfortunately, the name was all I got to hear of my favorite song, “Help Us, Save Us, Take Us Away.” I understand, though, as it is a slower paced track. I waited in anticipation for a track I had a new appreciation for, “A Drug Against War,” as it has become one of the ABCs of industrial music for me now. Seeing it performed live and putting my newfound knowledge of it together for the first time was amazing. This song had been dissected and laid out for me, and I had been enlightened. I had read about it and how the beats resemble the fire of a machine gun, and the timing of the bomb drops in Assimilate: The Critical History Of Industrial Music by S. Alexander Reed.
My faith in my scene had been restored. People had not forgotten about the music I so dearly loved. I had great company and truly enjoyed the show. I will be seeing KMFDM and CHANT every time they make their way through our valley, and I suggest that you do as well.