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LaibachStary Klasztor, Wroclaw, Poland
24th February 2019
Laibach - “The Sound of Music” Tour 2019

LAIBACH performances are always quite the event. Every time they play, the venues are filled with people curious to see what will be presented this time, if there is a shock, a game with ideas, a scandal or other mind trick waiting - no surprise then that on 24th of February in Stary Klasztor there was barely a place to move. The venue was packed with people excited to listen to both new songs of ‘The Sound of Music’ - album released on 23rd of November 2018 - and to see Marina Mårtensson supporting Milan Fras on vocals. Some left the spectacle a bit disappointed with the absence of Mina Špiler, the others enthusiastic about the show, but no one, absolutely no one was indifferent.

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LAIBACH is the band with such a rich and diversified history that it would be impossible to summarize it briefly - formed in the early 80s in Trbovlje, Slovenia, they are not only involved in music production, but also in interrelated artistic activity that, alongside with numerous theatrical music productions, artworks (Laibach Kunst) and visuals, make them a giant when it comes to artistic representation of philosophical, political, ideological and aesthetic values. Their music style associated with pure industrial when we speak about the early albums consequently evolved towards coalescing with other genres, e.g. classical or even gothic or techno. Characteristic military symbols and imagery used in the contrary, provocative manner also closely associated with LAIBACH as well and with time they became their trademark and the way to enhance the political and social manifesto that's related to the band.

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Their newest album the tour promotes, ‘The Sound of Music’, inspired by the band’s concert in North Korea in 2015 is a mixture of LAIBACH versions of ‘The Sound of Music’, a film used by Korean children to learn English. The very idea of the Slovenian band that used to be perceived as dissident in many countries to perform on the celebration of North Korea liberation sounds like a total provocation and absurd but such was the decision of the ministry of culture in Pyongyang. Taking the background into consideration and the band's history one may easily guess what the content and its message are like. /

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Music and Performance
The concert was divided into two parts - the first one being the presentation of the newest release and the other of some previously released songs. While we were waiting for the show to begin - in the club lit dimly by huge chandeliers and filled with smoke - we could hear the “sounds of nature”, cows, pigs, chickens voices etc. For about half an hour or so. Then the lights went out and only the dark blue back lights were directed to the stage. The very first song, ‘The sound of music’, set the atmosphere omnipresent on the album - grotesque, contradictory, a bit absurd mixture of innocent musical and farce. What’s especially noticeable is the vocalic duo of Fras and Mårtensson - the first being the hoarse, dark version of a devilish quality and the other of angelic, beautiful, crystalline clear purity. Of course one cannot take the album without taking its context into consideration - same goes for the concert, the related visuals and performance. Musically one cannot but appreciate the mastery and precision of performance, theatricality and focussed effect the artists achieved. The moments Marina sang in the darkness lit only but golden lights that made her hair glow like a torch, or the duets being the finesse of musical technique were the perfect examples of LAIBACH refinement and virtuoso.

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After a ten minutes intermezzo the band returned to the stage to perform the songs known to the audience from previously released albums. Those especially spectacular were instrumental, highly violent versions of ‘Nova Akropola’ and ‘Vier Personen’. It was like the industrial storm, improvisation and violent wind that got the listeners off their feet. Strong experience. The second part of the concert was the show of instrumental variety and powerful passages for both synths and guitar, the artistic mastery and sonic unison. The band performed three songs as encore with Marina to return to the stage for the last song to play the classic guitar and sing and so the concert came to an end. It was a first-rate performance that could be appreciated by both the fans of Laibach and those who had not seen their shows before. Artistic experience, moderation and yet the omnipresent tone of travesty were the main highlights of the concert. Fine experience indeed.

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-the string intro-
01. The sound of music
02. Climb ev'ry mountain
03. DO-RE-MI
04. Edelweiss
05. My favourite things
06. The lonely goatherd
07. Sixteen going on seventeen
08. So long, Farewell
09. Maria/Korea
10. Arirang
11. Mi kujemo bodocnost
12. Smrt za smrt
13. Nova Akropola
14. Vier Personen
15. Krvava gruda – plodna zemlja
16. Ti ki Izzivas
17. Sympathy for the devil
18. The coming race
19. Surfing through the galaxy

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

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All Pictures by Karo Kratochwil

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