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introChristuskirche, Bochum, Germany
6th April 2016
Laibach – The Sound of Music Tour

LAIBACH were coming to Bochum again! They played at the Christuskirche, a church that was destroyed during World War II. Today, the Christuskirche will be home to the Slovenian music group LAIBACH, and fans who come to see the “Sound of Music” tour. I am new to LAIBACH, to their music, to the venue. I am looking forward to the show which marks another first for me this year.

The music group LAIBACH origins from Trbovlje in Slovenia. During their forming in 1980, the town is still part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. LAIBACH are part of the art collective Neue Slowenische Kunst—or NSK, as it is called. LAIBACH is the German name of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. Their musical style ranges from avant-garde to industrial to dark wave and electronic, also covering pop elements. According to their Facebook page, they play “degenerate pop music”. LAIBACH have released eight studio albums from 1985 to 2014, with ‘Spectre’ being the newest, and four cover albums. During live performances, the group works with synthesizer sounds, auto tune, and often appalling video projections. They also appear in military outfits, playing martial music, provoking the audience with a mixture of Slovenian, English, and German lyrics. Follow Laibach on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/Laibach/, or visit their website http://www.laibach.org/.

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Music & Performance
What to expect from a music group you have never heard of - except for the ‘Iron Sky’ soundtrack, that is. I will tell you. The Christuskirche is a small place with a great atmosphere. There are drinks, wooden benches, and chairs. The audience, some hundred mostly male people in their mid-thirties or above, is seated just fine when LAIBACH enter the small stage at 8 o’clock sharp. The show opens with video projections by Ivan Novak, and underlying electronic music. The sound is deep, the bass vibrating. The intro is sucking the audience right in. We are caught. The intro merges into the first song, ‘Olaf Tryggvason Poem’, part of an opera. The rest of the band join the stage. Singer Mina Špiler breathes life to the song with her deep, craving voice. She sings and plays one of the synthesizers, accompanied by singer Milan Fras, and the booming drums. An impressive start to the “Sound of Music” show.

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LAIBACH play five songs - or arrangements, each ten to fifteen minutes long - during the first half of their show. I feel lured in from the start. ‘Smrt Za Smrt’ (Death for Death) from 1993 is the second song and it consumes me. The video projections are as disturbing as the disharmonic tunes: an amazing concept. The music is powerful and urgent, just like Milan Fras’ deep voice, but lightens up toward ‘The Great Divide’. “Hello Europe,” Milan Fras says after about forty minutes. It is the first time he addresses the audience. The moment doesn’t last long. After the elaborate first part of the show, LAIBACH leave for an intermezzo, a short ten-minute break. Time to hit the bar and take a deep breath.

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After the break, LAIBACH continue with some lighter tunes. Nine songs are on the set list, among them ‘Edelweiss’, the title song from the musical ‘The Sound of Music’, and ‘Favorite Things’. The latter truly messes with my head. This is madness. The audience enjoys the musical songs, and the show in general. LAIBACH get the applause and cheers they deserve. This also applies to the newer material from their last album, including ‘We Are Millions’ and ‘Whistleblowers’. The first is a great up-tempo song, while the triumphant hymn ‘Whistleblowers’ leads to the finale of the regular set list, ‘Resistance is Futile’. Which describes exactly how I feel after almost two hours of loud and energetic music and two singers with almost irresistible voices.

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Time for the encore. LAIBACH return, performing the ‘Iron Sky’ title song ‘B-Mashina’ and the OPUS cover ‘Live is Life’ - ‘Leben heißt Leben’. Then, the last song: ‘Each Man Kills.’ We feel loved, do we? A fantastic night ends, full of sounds and pictures. The audience is satisfied. As am I.

Setlist
01. Olav Tryggvason Poem
02. Smrt Za Smrt
03. Now You Will Pay
04. The Great Divide
05. Eurovision
---break---
06. Do-Re-Mi
07. Edelweiss
08. The Sound of Music
09. My Favorite Things
10. We Are Millions and Millions Are One
11. The Whistleblowers
12. No History
13. Bossanova
14. Resistance is Futile
---
15. B-Mashina
16. Opus Dei / Leben heißt Leben
---
17. Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 8
Total: 8.9 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)



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