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Palladium, Cologne, Germany
20th December 2008
Christmas concert: New Model Army & The (International) Noise Conspiracy

This year, Christmas time is New Model Army time once again: I got the chance to be part of one of the treasured Christmas concerts of the troop from the North of England (my first Army concert by the way). Due to the pre-Christmas traffic jam and because of the fact that nearly every parking lot in the area was already taken Marcus (photographer and a friend of mine as well) and I missed the supporting act VOIST.

The (International) Noise Conspiracy

When we arrived the tickets were already out of stock and a clustered crowd cavorted inside waiting for THE (INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY from Sweden to let their show begin. Punctually at 8.00 in the evening Dennis Lyxzén and his band entered the stage that was bathed in red light and spherical background music. A carpet with the charme of the seventies and the insence of joss sticks as well as the guy’s retrospective kind of styling reminded us of a time when Uschi Obermaier has been in her prime. After the first song Dennis invited everyone “let’s put on our dancing shoes and get this get this fucking Christmas party started” and a sixty minutes lasting show bursting with energy and full of politically motivation began.

Among ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ and ‘Let’s Make History’, they played a set of further songs filled with the soul of the sixties and the rock of the seventies accompanied by various juicy musical instruments (harmonica, vibrating bells…) and acrobatically moves including a lot of crotch grabbing (not everybody liked THAT part but the bulk of  fans apparently did).

New Model Army

Justin Sullivan who had followed the former show from a side tribune above disappeared to flash into action himself a few minutes later. The moment NEW MODEL ARMY arouse the hall was on the verge of bursting and thousands of hands were clapping without intermission. The air seemed to vibrate and it was hard to find a place without reams of fans obstructing my view even before the gig had started. “Köln!” Justin shouted out aloud before performing ‘War’, ‘Island’ and ‘No Mirror No Shadow’ among some other songs.

A first and also very emotional highlight of the twenty songs NEW MODEL ARMY would play this evening was ‘High’ with its catchy chorus. Justin had encouraged the audience before not to give up hope and to climb up high on a hill in case of worrying about the future. All around me everyone was singing even louder than before and some people lay into each others arms while doing that. Afterwards some pushy tracks like ‘One Of The Chosen’ or ‘Wired’ but also a couple of softer songs followed each other whereas the bunch of fans danced more and more ecstatically…some of them even seem to have their own kind of “choreography”.

The rapture culminated in ultimate ecstasy when the first sounds of ‘Vagabonds’ began: Stomping followed the clapping and the whistling sounds and the hall was trembling. It was really fascinating to see how Justin’s charisma and the entire atmosphere came across all and sundry. Everyone’s hands where in the air to cheer each other and the band on. Including many an encore like ‘Green And Grey’ or ‘White Coats’, NEW MODEL ARMY filled two hours time with twenty enchanting pieces of music they had created the last decades and most of the visitors left the Palladium smiling or humming one song after another… Unfortunately several people let their enthusiasm out in the form of aggression but all things considered it was an amazing and intoxicating quite something this Christmas Concert. In the beginning of 2009, NEW MODEL ARMY are planning to record and release some new songs. Probably it will be these songs we will sing along next year’s Christmas concert in Cologne...

All pictures by Marcus Nathofer

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