09 September 2017

Gig Review – KMFDM with support from Ventenner, Lords of the Lost and Inertia. Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, 8th September 2017

KMFDM are a heck of a productive band, over three decades of albums and frequent touring and tonight finds them back in Wolverhampton promoting their new album ‘Hell Yeah’. This time they have brought quite a rabble along with them.

VENTENNER are a band I have shared the stage with previously, albeit a few years back now. Things have changed quite a bit for the band, with three increasingly bruising albums under their belts and a different line up to back then. They deliver a muscular set reflecting perhaps the heavier side to the band, with electronics taking a step back while the guitars take a size 12 step into the limelight. Their heavy brand of industrial tinged noise rock sounds good tonight, assuredly hammered home. Their brooding simmering material might best be described as a ‘Fragile’ era Nine Inch Nails delivered by a band like Will Haven, lots of dynamic variation, nuance and ferocity. Their most recent release ‘Invidia’ comes highly recommended too.

LORD OF THE LOST appear to have gained quite a following judging from the crowd tonight he seem as eager for them as they are for the headliner, and with the line up sharing a few common members with KMFDM V2017 this perhaps make sense. They are certainly a visual band, shimmering yet grimy silver and while face paints, LED adorned guitars and mini podiums for the band members to stand even prouder on stage. Musically they occupy similar territory to Gothminister, Deathstars, Rammstein and so on, deep vocals, down tuned guitars and accessible riffs that along with their admirable stage presence went down a treat with the audience tonight.

INERTIA are another band I have shared the stage with a number of times over their lengthy career. It is hard to believe they have been plying their trade for more than two decades given the enthusiasm on display tonight. In the last few years I sense that Inertia have become a leaner and meaner machine, especially live. Reza prowls the stage like a caged animal, giving himself over to shamanic looking moments when the music so emotes. The rest of the band give him the space he commands while delivering the musical goods. The set initially punches hard, lifting cuts from their most recent album ‘Existential’ before allowing their pop sensibilities to breathe a little including their version of Peter Gabriel’s ‘Games Without Frontiers’ and their own rather catchy ‘Distant Mind’. A strong set from one of the hardest working bands I know.

Which leaves KMFDM to show what they are made of in 2017. Sascha has lead KMFDM on a journey spanning over three decades and twenty studio albums, and despite trends coming and going they have always managed to sound exciting. On the basis of their set tonight this is still the case. Perhaps bravely the set starts (and continues) by heavily plundering the new album ‘Hell Yeah’. This is fine by me as I am rather enjoying the newest material. As mentioned earlier, KMFDM 2017 features on guitars two members of Lord of the Lost. They seem to have assimilated themselves well into the KMFDM machine as they throw themselves into the performance, holding their own with stalwarts Sascha and Lucia. The sound however was suffering as the drum kit was very forward in the mix at the expense of the synthesizer parts and electronic elements. The energetic performance however kept the good ship KMFDM afloat and those pining for some earlier material were soon treated to classics such as ‘Virus’, ‘A Drug Against War’, and for the encore, ‘WWIII’, ‘Hau Rock’ and ‘Godlike’. Despite a less than perfect mix, KMFDM delivered, and the fact that they can include pretty much the whole new album in their set only goes further to state that KMFDM are as confident in their new material as they are proud of their legacy.