Talking Heads, Southampton

Die Krupps

I seem to be on a Goth/Industrial kick at the moment, and tonight helped satiate that.

With an atmospheric opening, almost abstract and ethereal with the words “be still” spoken. Followed by a sample stating “I note a victim” as a heavy beat slowly beats out. it was safe to say that the crowds attention is fixed on the stage.

Quite simply put, this was performance art with the first track coming in at 10 minutes.

For something so different it was good to see they had a fair amount of attention from the audience. And certainly if you like your soundscapes dark and provocative, these guys nailed it. I have not heard anything this abstract or compelling since I saw Coil a number of years ago. I did not appreciate prior to the gig that it was Simon I chatted to, and we ended up discussing Sopor Aeturnus and Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV. It is clear to see their influences, although I felt that while the intentions are TG/P.TV, the execution was closer to Coil as their sound was of a much darker nature.

Tracks are different every time they play live, with Simon carefully pouring over his synths as if he was the mad wizard in a laboratory. Closing with a track whose rhythm echoed that of clocks ticks; overlaid with heavy breathing, you are left with a sense of foreboding.

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Next up were Southampton’s very own Dreams Divide. Again I managed to catch a couple of minutes with frontman David, as he was getting ready for the evenings performance. Tonight’s performance got the crowd more than ready for Die Krupps as the beats pumped out in total opposition to the opening act this evening. The crowd lapped up the EBM sound as Gem worked her magic on the keyboards, altohough at times I think her vocals were a little too under stated – perhaps a technical issue?

Throughout the set they continually called out for audience participation, and they had no reluctance from anyone. This was clearly indicated as the temperature in the venue rose! Not only that, David had no problems getting into the crowd. As each track came the tempo increased; as well as the audience to ask uncompromisingly, “who are you?”.

As they played tracks from “Puppet Love” the fans knew the lyrics and cheered as their favourite tracks were performed. The track “Puppet Love” kicked in towards the end of the set, and the beats hit home hard and as the lyric “Don’t ever change my mind” was sung out there was some vicious bass drops aimed to destroy the speakers and ear drums.

With the personal tragedy the band were going through this was a raw and heartfelt performance. And no doubt a difficult performance for them, but it was a sterling performance; and our hearts went out to them.

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And so to the evenings main attraction. We have a band who have been in the EBM/industrial in Europe for what seems forever! For this reviewer, the first introduction to Die Krupps was on a compilation called ìTerror – An Industrial Compilationî for the track ìDawning of Doomî. All the way back in 1993, and now they are having a resurgence with their latest release ìMachinists Of Joyî.

This is a band that the reviewer has wanted to see for around 10 years but has never gotten around to it (lazy?). Was the wait worth it?

Hell yeah.

At 21:40 the lights dim as they take to the stage with the full attention of the crowd-they opened up with no intention of taking prisoners.

Opening with that old classic “The Dawning of Doom”, reworked with guitar cutting through the synths; it felt like the track hadn’t aged.

With the smoke machine dulling the flashing lights, they stated this was their first Southampton gig and they wanted to make it a memorable one. I am sure there was not doubt about that! As the beats from both drummer and drum machine are heard, the attitude was thick as the audience pulsated in time to the rhythms.

While “The Anvil” saw Jurgen strike the pipe work on stage, harking back to a time when industrial musicians made do with any metalwork!

The title track from the latest album maintained the pace and beats. And although this is the sound you would get on dancefloors, these guys lower the tone making it more powerful. Harder hitting and solid! If only Euro-Pop had this edge and hard nature? This energy was maintained for another classic; “Metal Machine Music”, not to mention the attitude inducing “To The Hilt”.

Some nifty work on the Korg from Ralf gave an almost Kraftwerk vibe to some tracks. Perhaps ensuring the tag as Krautrock can be applied?

As another classic form “The Final Option” started the lyrics “I see houses burning” indicating “Fatherland” was about to burst forth. Just what the crowd wanted and when it was down, as with all the tracks; it left the crowd wanting more.

For an encore the band returned appreciatively and smiling, re-iterating their thanks; stating they felt that it was unlikely that London could match the experience they had had tonight. As the crowd demanded more from the band, it was duly delivered. Sending the crowd into a frenzy, especially from “Crossfire”.

Die Krupps
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As they closed their set no one was left disappointed. Very sweaty and damp from the heat – but not disappointed. Over the years their sound is still distinctly theirs, though it has also evolved harder edged, and faster paced. But still “Metal Machine Music”.

Another great night at Talking Heads.


Words by Jon “with a strange sense of re-affirmation in the world”.

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