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Columbia Club, Berlin, Germany
9th November 2008
Oomph!, All Ends, Mina Harker

The Columbia Club in Berlin has a long and somewhat chequered history as a music venue being first a dance hall for American servicemen in the 50’s. It had come a long way from that yet still retains a certain retro feel to it, being neither affected cool nor very luxurious in its appearance. It is, however, a venue with great acoustics, pleasant staff and all the facilities that you would want to see a really good gig, and that’s exactly what I did when I went to see the legendary OOMPH in Berlin on November 9th. I was pleased that there were to be two support bands, MINA HARKER whom I’d never seen live but liked and ALL ENDS who were totally new to me.

Mina Harker

The show opened with a riveting set by MINA HARKER. Looking something like Emilie Autumn’s younger, darker sister, she held the audience spellbound as she powered out impressively incisive lyrics to tunes that kept you singing them in your head long after she’d left the stage. At once innocent and plaintive then dark and commanding her vocal range would impress the mostly harsh of judges and complimented beautifully the driving nagging guitar work of Alexander Gorodezki, which holds the whole sound together.

She once remixed RAMMSTEIN’s ‘Ohne Dich’ to stupendous effect with LAIBACH and that same talent shone through in their performance that night. Her new album ‘Tiefer’ was released on October 31st and many of the tracks from that were present in their set and were a welcome invitation to buy the CD. She made an impressive reappearance with Dero of OOMPH! to duet with him later in the evening, but more of that later. Their set was clear, clean and professionally delivered but not at the expense of passion and emotion which they had in abundance. Dark they certainly are, but they shine a beacon in terms of individuality and sheer presence. A band not to be missed if at all possible!

All Ends
ALL ENDS, fronted by two very different, yet equally good, female vocalists (Emma Gelotte and Tinna Karlsdotter), surprised me with their ability as they ploughed through a very solid set which had the audience revving up for the main act nicely. Following MINA HARKER was no mean feat but these guys from Gothenburg, Sweden managed it superbly, with a more traditional driving rock that had a contemporary edge owing to the beautiful compliment of voices between the two singers and the indie, yet still hardcore, feel to the band.

This is not surprising as in their native Sweden fellow band members, Fredrik Johansson, Peter "Texas" Mårdklint and Joseph "Joey" Skansås have a long and illustrious pedigree of being involved with top class metal and hardcore bands for many years. Be sure to check out their self titled album which will be full of pleasant surprises, as their set was enjoyable and raw in it’s enthusiasm yet sophisticatedly constructed and musically clever.


With that over and some rather strange interlude music including ‘Always look on the bright side of life’, which had the audience amusedly singing along, the lights suddenly dimmed and a whisper of expectation arose in the assembled. This exploded into a wall of sound which drowned the ensuing applause as Dero, Crap and Flux hit the stage and opened with ‘Beim ersten Mal tut’s immer weh’. That over to tumultuous applause they launched straight into ‘Träumst du’, a favourite track of mine and by now the audience was singing word for word along with Dero as he seduced them further and further into his own dark world where psychosis is somehow sexy. The sound was excellent and by now the lighting, which had been averagely good for the support acts, began to take on new and interesting aspects with strange pixelated towers of light appearing at the sides of the stage.

Old songs and new songs followed, including my pick of the gig ‘Das letzte Streichholz’, all delivered with the same sinister energy and hypnotic, twisted charm which, coupled with the band’s notoriously tight framework made for a great spectacle as well as a great musical experience. These guys have been together since 1989 and it shows in the way that they work seamlessly together, the group energy effortlessly projected into the audience so that room positively buzzed with it. Twenty songs in all including ‘Sex’, ‘Mein Schatz’ and ‘Labyrinth’ comprised the main set and it’s no exaggeration to say that the audience was going wild. They ranged in age from teenagers to those in their mid fifties, and with Dero throwing himself from the stage and crowd surfing, not once but twice during the show, the generally pleasant and affable security guards had their work cut out.

‘Labyrinth’ heralded the end of the main set, but was the audience ready to go home? No, they certainly weren’t and tumultuous applause, whistles, stamping and yelling finally brought the band back to regale us with another three songs. Not content with an awesome reappearance, after the band exited the stage for the second time the crowd persisted and some five minutes later the guys returned for their second encore finishing the whole gig with ‘Die Leiter’. Well not quite... the audience were still having too good a time to let them leave and finally Dero reappeared and just smiled at the audience before signing a soft and unaccompanied version of their cover of ‘The Power of Love’.

The audience joined in. Lighters were lit, arms were waved and a general feeling of relaxed exuberance permeated the hall, and with that, some final yells and cheers of appreciation, OOMPH! finally managed to exit the stage for a well earned rest. It was an excellent gig from beginning to end, showing why these guys are still at the top of their game nearly twenty years after their formation. They have evolved musically through countless incarnations, have never been afraid to show that they don’t want to remain true to a winning formula just for the sake of it despite their success and it was a rare treat to be able to see such influential and groundbreaking artists at work and patently enjoying every minute of it. If you never see another band, make sure you see these guys live someday.

01. Beim ersten Mal tut’s immer weh
02. Träumst Du
03. Unsere Rettung
04. Fieber
05. Wer Schon Sein Will Muss Leiden
06. Du Willst Es Doch Auch
07. Wach Auf
08. Das Letzte Streichholz
09. Das Weiße Licht
10. Sex
11. Mitten Ins Herz
12. Bis Zum Schluss
13. Revolution
14. Sex Hat Keine Macht
15. Mein Schatz
16. Las Mich Raus
17. Die Schlinge
18. Niemand
19. Gekreuzigt
20. Labyrinth
21. Gott Ist Ein Popstar
22. Augen Auf
23. Menschsein
24. Die Leiter
25. Power Of Love

Music: 9
Performance: 10
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8.8 / 10

All pictures by Maddi Isaacs


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