Thursday, April 26, 2007
Support: Damo Suzuki
Venue:Tramway, Glasgow, 25th April 2007
German industrialists Einstürzende Neubauten celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. In all those years they have never played Scotland till now. Playing a limited, mostly UK tour, in the midst of recording a new album, Einstürzende Neubauten come to Glasgow as part of the annual Triptych festival - even if by doing so they break the rules of the festival which encourages bands to play Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen over the course of a long weekend, we were glad to have them.
The gig was held in the Tramway, Glasgow's old tram depot, out towards the south side of the city. Doors opened at 7.30, and by strange quirk I found myself being the first person to enter. We headed to the bar; hanging out there I caught up with old friends while local DJs JD Twitch performed a warm upset. Just before 9pm the support band went on - Damo Suzuki - the singer of kraut-rockers Can, with a full band. The gig was in Tramway One, the hall I most often find myself in for theatre of dance productions here, though those are normally fully seated - as was the last gig I was at here Touch's Biosphere, Fennesz and Hazard tour a number of years ago. The seating had been removed however, transforming the hall so that it felt like a pretty decent sized concert venue - though the upstairs balcony was still available to those that preferred that option. The hall was busy, but not so packed that I couldn't walk right down to the front and stand and watch Suzuki. His set was long and repetitive, lots of guitars, drums, saxophone and seemingly Suzuki repeating the same two lines of lyrics for the entire set. No doubt of some interest to kraut-rock-psych-fans, but not of a lot of interest to me.
Einstürzende Neubauten have been consistently active over the years, and while I am quite familiar with the first half dozen or so albums, I am only familiar with random albums from more recent times. As such the set didn't seem to feature any material that I was actually familiar with, though the six piece band seemed to be playing a lot of new material - either from the forthcoming album or from releases for the fan base "Supporters" organisation. Regardless of familiarity of particular material, when Einstürzende Neubauten came on stage with two percussionists drumming on sheet metal and Blixa Bargeld's definitive German vocals we knew what we could expect to some degree.
Through the set Bargeld switched from German to English and back again, so that at times we were particularly aware with an obsession with airports, airport security, baggage security, and lost baggage - there seemed to be at least three pieces dealing with this topic, a dryly amusing insight into modern culture, and drolely amusing. The band Blixa Bargeld singing, Alexander Hacke on bass, N.U. Unruh with his home made percussion accompanied by drummer Rudi Moser, guitarist Jochen Arbeit, and Australian keyboard player Ash Wednesday, played a range of styles and instruments. Ranging from melodic/soundtracky pieces, to the full on chugging bass and lashing metal sheet percussion. To a degree along with Bargeld's vocals, it is the percussion that make Neubauten, and while Bargeld kept up a charismatic line of patter with the audience, it was the various pieces that Unruh and Moser produced that were the most fun - great metal circles for cymbals, metal bars, bags stuffed with polystyrene, plastic containers, jugs, boxes swung from strings, and plastic pipes balanced on a stool which created the most wonderful sounds of the evening.
Einstürzende Neubauten went on stage about 10, and played till about 12, and I stood one or two people away from the stage the whole time and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
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