10th August 2022
Die Krupps & Frontline Assembly - “The Machinists Reunited Tour” 2022 - Support: Tension Control
I am lucky enough to live in Wroclaw because this is the city that is always on the list when it comes to the Machinists United tours. We had a chance to see TENSION CONTROL, FRONTLINE ASSEMBLY, and DIE KRUPPS for the third time now. These are always highly energetic, incredible events loaded with brilliant music, scenic energy, and adrenaline. Wroclaw was the second city on the tour that kicked off on the 8th of August in Warsaw. Much as the bands we’re still warming up, I dare say we could see the best of them.
Zaklęte Rewiry is a cosy, cool club, however, it definitely was not prepared for the temperatures that hit on the day of the concert - with the more and more energetic shows coming one after another it soon resembled a sauna. People gathered by the stage had to handle unbearable heat and at some point, it was just too much. Didn’t stop some from mosh pitting though so I guess the music conquered everything in the end.
TENSION CONTROL is a German band from Osnabrück playing EBM. The project was founded in 2016 by Michael Schrader - he is the author of lyrics, samples, and music and performs vocals. The most recent releases of TENSION include the single ‘Form folgt Funktion’ from 2021 and ‘Ton aus Strom’ of 2022 which both stand for an amazing dose of dancy, energetic sounds.
Music & Performance
The band visited Wroclaw during the Machinist (re)United Tour for the third time. Michael Schrader teamed up with Eli van Vegas once again to provide the show to remember. The duo is renowned for bringing forth extraordinarily energetic and passionate performances and Zakęte Rewiry one was not an exception - it stood for a perfect opening of the concert night. Great lights, fantastic scenic movement, and sparkling energy of the set list chosen for the night were all the advantages of TENSION CONTROL’s performance. I may only admire the engagement and incredible vibe the guys presented on the stage. The spectacular combination of music dance energy, contact with the audience, and overall kicking effect stood for a fantastic show. Michael and Eli constitute an amazing scenic team, they get along very nicely, and I truly appreciated their appearance. Great muscle warmer and incredible charisma I can only applaud for.
01. Make EBM Great Again
02. Ahoi Herr Kommandant
03. Passion for aggression
04. It doesn’t work
05. The world is going down
06. Big black boots
07. Ton aus Strom
09. Krank Krank
10. Deutschland bleiche Mutter
12. Your voice
Total: 8.5 / 10
Legendary FRONTLINE ASSEMBLY need no special introduction. Canadian fathers of Electro-Industrial have been present within the scene for over 30 years and got themselves a faithful audience worldwide. Poland included, as I could see with my own eyes the fans were genuinely going wild to show their faves their love and devotion by almost jumping onto the stage. I’ll give voice to describe the show to Martin Sane of FIX8:SED8, who seems to be more of an expert in FLA music and who also attended the show - both in Wroclaw and in Dresden.
Music & Performance
FRONTLINE ASSEMBLY are nothing less but an institution in the genre and they have been defining and redefining it for almost 40 years now. There is no doubt about the astonishing accomplishments the band has achieved throughout their impressive career. As for their live shows, I’ve always felt like the experience was heavily dependent on Bill Leeb’s form and the sound, particularly the live guitars and how they were embedded in the overall mix. Their latest US tour featured ‘Biomechanic’, ‘Hatevol’ and ‘Arbeit’ so I was looking forward to hopefully getting to experience those tracks live in Wroclaw as well. But let's start at the beginning:
A familiar intro starts playing, Rhys Fulber enters the stage, followed by Jon Siren. Rhys plays an oriental melody over the intro before Jon’s 5/4 drums confirm the hopeful suspicions, it is indeed I.E.D.! Leeb and Skold enter the stage, and the 250 people in the crowd go mad, great start to the gig. Next up was the always awesome ‘Killing Ground’, a song that features zero guitars but if you have a Skold in your band you gotta let him do his thing, I guess. Fortunately, the mix is pleasant, the additional guitar riff doesn’t hurt and is placed nicely within the overall mix. Unfortunately, this changes with song three, ‘Unknown’. Way too loud guitar and way too low electronic playback. I don’t particularly like this song anyway, it’s boiling hot, so time to get something to drink. In the meantime, the band continues with ‘Plasticity’ and another surprise, ‘Angriff’ from 2010 ‘I.E.D.’. Spoiler: it would be the last (pleasant) surprise for the night.
‘Deadened’ has got to be my least favourite track off ‘Echogenetic’, for some reason it’s been a part of every FLA set since 2013. Where the US tour featured ‘Hatevol’, ‘Arbeit’, and ‘Biomechanic’ we got treated to the FALCO cover ‘Amadeus’, sung by Skold, followed by a metal version of ‘Resist’, the unavoidable Pop anthem ‘Mindphaser’ and the equally worn out ‘Millennium’. And that was it. 10 songs vs 14 by DIE KRUPPS. Come on guys, if you announce and advertise this as a double headliner tour, have two headliners! Bill seemed rather tired and exhausted. The vocal performance was good, but there was no energy coming from the frontman. This became even more evident, once DIE KRUPPS put on a performance like they were still in their 20ies, setting the stage on fire. Skold and Siren on the other hand definitely add to the band’s performance, whereas Rhys was hiding behind his synths for the most part of the show.
All in all, a strong start and the first half with a rapid decline in the second half. The wonderful electronics that define FLA were barely audible for the most part, the set was a bag of mixed feelings and too short and Bill was not at his best if I may say so. Silver lining: the tropical heat at the venue easily replaced one if not two trips to the sauna.
02. Killing Grounds
07. Rock Me Amadeus (Falco cover)
Total: 5.8 / 10
DIE KRUPPS have been one of my favourite bands for years; the happier I was to see them back in Wroclaw - and in such an excellent shape. Introducing DIE KRUPPS is probably not necessary here, founded in 1980 (which feels like 20 years ago, but is actually more than 40 years ago), DIE KRUPPS created what we really can call Industrial music, inspired by workers, fabrics, industry, the entrepreneur family Krupp and steel. DIE KRUPPS showed how to make music out of steel and left their mark on generations of bands and music genres.
Music & Performance
When the artists entered the stage, it was clear it would not be a park walk. They started with vivid, energetic pieces that made the -already-warmed-up audience reach the point of boiling. Fast, hard-hitting, razor-sharp sounds intertwined with hellish hot guitars set the stage on fire. I particularly appreciate the great contact the musicians establish with their audience; the stage seems like a totally natural environment for them, and they prove great music has no age. Whenever I hear ‘Der Amboss’ or ‘Schmutzfabrik’, it’s an imperative - dance girl, no point resisting. Looking at the audience’s reactions I am not the only one reacting like this. I must say I am impressed by the energy Jurgen Engler leads his show with, it's just infectious, and it's hard not to follow his scenic charisma and the visible joy of the act of performing. I highly appreciate it!
Nils Finkeisen and Marcel Zurcher kept the pace excellently, and I must say it is always a great pleasure to see the band performing with such engagement, devotion, and simple joy of what they do. Each and every one of them represent their own scenic manner - be it cool and distant, cold and aggressive or absolutely crazy, wild and uncontrollable - all these elements stand for DIE KRUPPS and coalesce in a way that offers a truly explosive mix. When it comes to the setlist, we were offered a full crossover - the pieces from ‘Songs from the Dark Side of Heaven’ of 2021, ‘Vision 2020 Vision’, but also the golden classics of ‘The Machinists of Joy’ from 2013. Music wise I cannot but praise their individual way of mixing the dancy, energetic, electronic and full force metal elements that make one’s heart burn. Actually, it was a bit like an anthem; hearing Jurgen chanting with the entire audience during ‘Nazis Auf Speed’ was just a bit unreal; the applause was deafening!
They always make me think of a perfectly working, aggressive, precise machine that just rolls over you and leaves your muscles strained and begging for mercy. In what they offer are both visionaries and commentators of reality, they combine metal and electronics in a way that is absolutely one of a kind, and they leave their unique, individual trace to every note they produce. Great show, fire! Bravo!
01. Blick zurück im Zorn
04. Der Amboss (Visage cover)
05. To Hell With Poverty (Gang of Four cover)
06. Kaltes Herz
08. Metal Machine Music
09. Nazis Auf Speed
10. Vision 2020 Vision
11. Robo Sapien
12. Machineries of Joy
13. To the Hilt
Written by Karo Kratochwil & Martin Sane (FLA Part)
All pictures by Karo Kratochwil