Einsturzende Neubauten




live review



London University Union

WHAT THRILLED me most about Non's set was watching one man's valiant struggle and eventual victory over an ugly and decidedly antagonistic mob. The audience bayed and yelled and chucked a thing or two as Boyd Rice (for he is Non) sought to overcome his unfortunately protracted technical problems. At one point it seemed he'd given up and a desultory farewell was mumbled. But ...

A rapid paced surge of bleak and uncompromising rhythmic tones were exuded, pulses of light matched the noise. The impact was powerful and imposing. It deadened the detractors, it fired up the sympathisers.

In the flickering stabs of illumination his entire body would sometimes disappear and reappear with an eerie now you see him now you don't tempo.

Einsturzende Neubauten entered and played a song. A gen u ine song. It sounded like a mid '60s beat group propelled by dustbin lid percussion – a big beatgroup! It was oddly infectious and jolly and a remarkable kick in the teeth, by the ensemble, to public expectations.

In the past I've found their live sets either a compulsive, electrifying experience or else a single empty clatter. Tonight guitars were more to the fore than the customary drills and saws.

As Blixa growled and contorted around the mike stand, tearing agonised convulsions of blues from his instrument, it grew apparent that his Nick Cave sabbatical has resulted in a handful of bad seediness being scattered hereabouts. Einsturzende Neubauten presented themselves in a new guise, exponents of treacherous, torturous rack and roll.

Beneath it all still chimed the resplendent ka-thud! ka-thwack! as metal bowed to the mighty blows but somehow there was a pervading subduedness. None of the usual ear shattering wattage, and toe tingling peaks of intensity were seldom sustained. One song evolved impressively from a murmur to a whisper to a shout to a scream and quite definitely there was a calculated method to their madness. But ...

Something wasn't quite honed. A strange incident occurred when a saw was applied to a large cylindrical piece of metal. No audible sound emerged, just a very pretty fountain of sparks. As the exits were being stampeded, I wondered wickedly whether this had been the Neubauten quest for commercial success.


© mick sinclair

any use of the text on this page is subject to permission

If you enjoyed reading this article, or even if you didn't but appreciate the effort that went into making it available for free viewing, please make a donation (via the button below) to help pay for upkeep of this large and unique archive.