Einsturzende Neubauten @ The Tivoli
When sound becomes a visceral experience you know you can safely say it is sublime. When the sound is produced using a pair of shiny blue and silver vibrators (yes, actual sex toys) seductively rubbing across a set of what looks like a steel skeleton once belonging to an angel, you also know only one band in the world could be producing it. Einsturzende Neubauten bought their soundscape to Brisbane and the Tivoli on Saturday night and yes, made silence truly sexy.
Given they were up against Metallica at Soundwave barely five hundred metres up the lane, they drew an appreciative audience ready to be drawn into a world where pieces of falling, shredded steel, stretched springs, tuned spinning bells and that smoky, dark voice of Blixa Bargeld lulled them, before smashing through with an explosion of sound.
To call him a master of interpretive sound does both Bargeld and his band an injustice. His stint with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds may have bought him wider public attention, but the guitarist, author, actor and composer has never been interested in that. As his seminal ‘You Can Find Me In The Garden If You Want To’ opened the show and rolled around the room, his audience let themselves go and a night of wonder began. In his trademark three-piece suit Bargeld generously fronted an extraordinary group of musicians who work as a team, with both percussionists regularly becoming the focal point of a group that is so tight the audience doesn’t even notice the movement on the stage.
Threatening all night was an imposing, stainless steel giant of a drum that the audience knew was just waiting to beat them into oblivion, and beat them it did. In the apocalyptic ‘Die Interimsliebenden’, we were reminded that Neubauten means ‘buildings falling down’ and the band clearly was ready to take us down with them.
The juxtaposition of Bargeld’s blood-curdling screams, dapper suit and feminine gestures was enough to make anyone unsettled. Add the steel drums, working drills, shards of glass and steel, bare feet, cigarettes and saws and we had ourselves a full-blown apocalypse that I’d be more than happy to merge into the Einsturzende Neubauten Underworld with.
Earlier in the day at Soundwave, Slayer‘s guitarist had a length of industrial strength chain dangling from his belt for visual effect. No one does anything for visual effect in Einsturzende Neubauten. It is all about the sound. Dangerous, threatening, extraordinary… a night with this band is worth waiting fourteen years for.