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Kesselhaus (Kulturbraurei), Berlin, Germany
10th March 2010
In Extremo

It's a great thing when a really successful band decides that they won't just work to the winning formula they already have but will stretch the creative envelope to encompass something much more basic, much more creative and ultimately much braver. Considering their near biblical success with the number one album 'Sängerkrieg', one could have been forgiven for assuming that they'd lay back on their laurels basking in their success. Ah, but far from it. Shortly after they produced the acoustic version of the album and then made the decision to take a wholly acoustic tour. This is bravery verging on madness, which is why not a lot of bands undertake something like this. Acoustic is raw, naked and unforgiving, and you really have to be ahead of your game to pull it off, which they did; in abundance.

Music & Performance

The stage set was something else, being akin to a 1930's parlour club or to some hideout of musicians in an altbau of days gone by. This pitched the flavour beautifully for the great matching costume design, which though tinged with contemporary, smacked thoroughly of the 30's seedy interesting blues bars. From the wonderful streetlamps (Narnia anyone?) to the chintzy couch that Micha Rhein lounged on for the majority of the set it was perfect in its construction. And so on to the music. There was no support band on, the set making it impossibility and also I get the feeling that would have detracted from the whole experience. So sharp on time INEXTREMO wandered affably onto the stage, greeting the audience like old friends. They began a staggering 24 songs with the evocative 'Merseburger Zaubersprüche', ethereal and very much suited to an acoustic representation. The beautiful 'Spielmann' came next with great care being taken to get the running list just right, easing those in the audience unaccustomed to acoustic shows into the feel of it before making ever more clever representations of songs which are harder to translate to an acoustic set.

One of my personal favourites 'Frei zu Sein' was next, a song which lends itself so well acoustically that I prefer it to the original heavier version Little jokes interspersed proceedings both between the band themselves and the audience as the band ran through the likes of 'Singapur', 'Ave Maria' and 'In diesem Licht'. There was a brief break for a costume change which saw front man Micha Rhein reappear minus his cap and dressed in a long black tail coat with slicked back hair to regale us with 'Vollmond' as the opener for Act II. This enabled the fabulous Dr Pymonte to really show his prowess as a harpist whilst 'Liam' gave Marco the same chance on his penny whistle. Honourable mention must go to the lovely Addi Otto who has taken over as drummer since Reiner Morgenroth and the band parted company earlier this year. He did a sterling job, is a lovely guy, and I sincerely hope he becomes a permanent “Extremo”.

The final song 'Auf's Leben' was sung uproariously by the crowd and they screamed and howled for more, to be well rewarded as the guys returned to the stage in their home city for a four song encore which comprised of ' Mein Rasend Herz' a really fun and unexpected ACDC cover of 'It's a long way to the top if ya wanna rock and roll', 'Herr Mannelig' and 'Küss Mich'. The evening was great, a perfect mix of good set and lighting design, great sound engineering by Dirk Burke of Lakeside Studios, and exemplary musicianship by the band which culminated in a wonderful atmosphere. This is IN EXTREMO's 15th year together marked later this year by their two day celebration Festival in Erfurt on July 24th and 25th. Tickets are still available for this, and if you like a great band with a dedicated and thoughtful presentation then you'd do well to try and get there. /

01. Merseburger Zaubersprüche (1)
02. Spielmann
03. Frei Zu Sein
04. Mein Sehnen
05. Lebensbeichte
06. Singapur
07. Ave Maria
08. In Diesem Licht
09. Merseburger (2)
10. Nymphenzeit
11. Vollmond
12. Die Gier
13. En Este Noche
14. Nur Ihr Allein
15. Poc Vecem
16. Liam
17. Unter Dem Meer
18. Flaschenpost
19. Sieben Köche
20. Aufs Leben
21. Mein Rasend Herz
22. AC/DC
23. Herr Mannelig
24. Küss Mich

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 10
Light: 9
Total: 9.8 / 10

All pictures by Maddi Isaacs

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