Friday, March 22, 2013

KMDFM at Irving Plaza, NY March 21 2013


Support: Legion Within, Chant
Date: March 21st 2013
Venue: Irving Plaza. New York, New York

My prior knowledge of the bands:
 I had never heard of Chant or Legion Within prior to the show. I was able to listen to two Chant tracks via their facebook page but Legion Within's player was not working on my computer. I am a long-time supporter of KMFDM. Although their songs on the "Mortal Kombat 1 & 2" soundtracks seem to be the gateway songs for KMDM fans of my age-bracket, I first heard them on the "Hellraiser III" soundtrack sometime around 2000. The band name was familiar to me prior, absorbed from sources unremembered. The song "Ooh La La" did not impress me much at the time. Around then a close friend beginning to talk about the band very frequently. Eventually I found a used copy of the "Retro" album around late 2003- early 2004 and the rest is history. I will add that I have heard the majority of KMFDM's releases (18 full-lengths!), having, at this time, missed "Blitz" and "WTF?." I am familiar with most of the singles, splits, live, and remix releases.

I was very excited to see KMFDM as their newest album "Kunst" is incredible with excellent guitar hooks that can hold their own with any of KMFDM's previous work. The synths were wet, simple, driving, and bass-heavy. Overall a very direct album. Included is the song "Kunst" celebrating '30 years of conceptual continuity' (surprisingly NOT spelled with 'k's') which is to say KMFDM's many idiosyncrasies. It feels very much like "Sucks" in idea. The song dedicated to Pussy Riot was a big plus in my opinion. On the subject of topical content, Brute! delivered an incredibly memorable album cover (even moreso than usual) featuring a naked woman smashing a cross. In light of Ratzinger 'stepping down' as Pope (the day after receiving info he would be tried in World Court, coincidence?), this was especially appropriate.

SHOW: Chant was interesting and I would like to hear them develop their sound more. A laptop provided some simple synth lines while one band member alternated between a keyboard and acoustic drums. The other member played drums (including a trash can!) and sang. His outfit was nifty too, looked a bit like he could have been in Mad Max somwhere... however, the spikes on his back reminded me a bit of Bowser in size and distribution. Basically a percussion driven band with simple electronics, they reminded me of 16 volt mixed with Babyland to give you an idea of the style (both of which I like). The arrangements got a bit sloppy on occasion and some slight adjustments to tempo or transitions could have made the songs more powerful and memorable.
Legion Within did not make me a fan. They played some modern goth rock, which is fine but the hooks just weren't there for me. The bassists had some nice lines that were simple-to-moderately complex but interesting. 2 guitarists (one basically using effects to make background sounds and also playing electronic drums and managing some synths, the other's guitar kept messing up and the show had to stop twice for him). 1 acoustic drummer, his timing was on but the style didn't move me any, could have easily been an drum machine. In fact a drum machine with some effects on it would have been an improvement in the overall sound I think. 1 singer who started off with a weak voice but about 3 songs into the set sounded a bit like Peter Murphy so that was acceptable. Unfortunately, he lost his voice shortly thereafter. This did not help when he came out during KMFDM's set to sing 'Anarchy.' The band was confident on stage despite the equipment failings and jeers from the crowd, for which I give them credit, but overall not memorable.
KMFDM delivered on all fronts. Essentially all songs I wanted to hear where played, though they teased the audience by holding many of the heavier songs until the encore(s). They started with DIY and the crowd went wild. The pit opened up immediately but was fairly tame until some heavier songs a bit later. I cannot remember the exact playlist but here's what I recall: Kunst, Sucks (partially played to start encore), A Drug Against War (2nd encore and concert closer), World War III (during 1st or 2nd encore), Attak/Relaod, I 'heart' Not, Megalomaniac (2nd encore), Anarchy. They played for 90+ minutes.

VENUE: Nice venue, I've been here many times before. Location near Union Square makes transit easy for me and street parking is usually available in the evening. Security was pleasant and didn't interfere with the pit. My only complaints with the venue are minor and as follows: no bathroom on the stage floor (upon entrance there is a bar to the right with small bathrooms ahead, stairs also on immediate right leading up to the merch area separated from the stage and standing area by large doors, 2nd bar in rear of standing area) and extreme cost of beverages ($10+ for a bud???), not that I would have had more than 1-2 beers anyway. I like to be relatively sober for shows.


*Review copyright The Samnambulist, 2013*

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