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laibach14Volksbühne am Rudolfplatz, Cologne, Germany
19th April 2017
Laibach

In the summer of 2015, LAIBACH was the first western band to play a concert in North Korea. No one really knows whether it was an act of subversion or if the band from Slovenia became the hand of a totalitarian regime. Last Wednesday, the 19th of April, LAIBACH played at the symposium “The Extreme Center” at the Volksbühne in Cologne. The event focused on the resilience of the extreme right in Europe.

Their performance fitted well because of the attention that the band has generated around the theme. Doubts are the breeding ground of LAIBACH. In the 1980s the pop avant-garde artists became known when they translated QUEEN’s ‘One Vision’ into German. “A mission statement” was then suddenly presented, with a Teutonic voice. Along came the uniforms. “Were they fascists?”, “Well, at least totalitarian!” are reproaches that accompanied the musicians for a long time. Others regard this as nonsense and see LAIBACH as a total art work, a parody on mass media, the cultural industry and the sarcasm of the national state. They are an interesting phenomenon indeed. After 20 years no one yet knows what they actually want. But they are still there. http://www.laibach.org / https://www.facebook.com/Laibach

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Music & Performance
It was a great night at The Volksbühne, a 402 sit theatre built in 1905. It is quite unusual to have bands like LAIBACH playing in venues like this one. In fact they were the closing of “The Extreme Center” symposium. The lobby was full of attendees interested in the subject of the symposium, artists and the fans, of course. All reunited to have a beer before watching this fascinating phenomenon that is LAIBACH. The show started at 20:45 and finished at 21:55. It was a shorter version of the shows they have played in their latest tour but everything was there: The full line-up, the video screens projecting their controversial aesthetic and messages, so as their full wonderful sound and performance. I was sitting on the first row. Maybe too close. There were songs which I had to hear with closed eyes since lights were hurting my sight. There was no break and no encore and, as usual, no contact with the public. It was a close encounter with a unique band in a quite borderline event.

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Setlist
01. Smrt za Smrt
02. Ti, Ki Izzivaš
03. Now You Will Pay
04. The Great Divide
05. Eurovision
06. Walk With Me
07. Resistance is Futile
08. Favorite Things
09. Whistleblowers
10. No History
11. Bossanova
12. Life is Life

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7.8 / 10

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All pictures by Cécile Hautefeuille


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