Dallas, TX, Trees, 03/15/2013
It’s hard to last even 10 years in the music business as a band nowadays, so if you’ve been around for 29 like KMFDM has, you’re definitely doing something right. Nothing shows that more than the vast amounts of KMFDM fans found at every single one of the band’s shows. KMFDM’s music has reached countless numbers and the Ultra-Heavy Beat continues to spread.
Walking into Trees in Dallas, Texas, it’s easy to notice the wide array of listeners – you have fans who are just now catching on to the greatness that is KMFDM with recent albums KUNST
, and Blitz
. Then you have those who have been with the band since the beginning and are now bringing their children to the show in order to keep good music in the bloodline. Accompanying KMFDM was Seattle based and KMFDM signed act Legion Within and Austin, Texas’ CHANT. Together, this hammering trifecta birthed a head banging, mosh pitting, and fist pumping experience.
The night began with an ephemeral but awe inducing set from CHANT. As a tribal/industrial act, CHANT immediately got jaws to drop and heads to bob with soul-pounding drums and pulsing synths. For those who are unfamiliar, CHANT is no ordinary act – founder, drummer, and front man Bradley Bills bounces between a typical drum stand and roughly nine other drums mixed with trash cans and sometimes satellite dishes. Together with his newly introduced partner, Kristopher Robin, the two could be viewed as a goth version of the Blue Man Group, but with a darker allure rather than a sense of humor. Bills slid seamlessly across standup and conventional drum kits without missing a beat. The audience officially began to rock out during the second song of the set, “Empty,” which was followed by CHANT’s revolution inducing anthem “Revolt.” The show took a sensual and romantic vibe with “Need,” which seemed to bring the female spectators into the CHANT experience. Concluding with a gloomy track titled “Blood and Peace,” the entire set embodied the sensuality of romance novels but with the intensity of horror films. Simply put, it was an intimate yet hardcore show.
Following up was Legion Within, putting on a stellar if out-of-place set. The corset clad songwriter, vocalist, and founder William Wilson had charisma and flare as opposed to the other acts who flexed their muscles in place of dancing. His sense of humor was as dry as Will Arnett’s and his dance moves seemed stolen from the film Velvet Goldmine
(both of those comments are compliments, by the way). Legion Within comes off as darkwave but goth/pop at the same time, which didn’t seem to really belong on this tour if not for the band’s rocking energy. On record, the band would be better suited for opening for a band like Joy Division, but nonetheless, the energy and the music were there. A small dedicated following sang back a few of the songs, seeming to inspire the rest of the audience to get behind the music. Legion Within got the crowd bouncing with “Try to See Me” and “Fascisti,” but the best response came during “Hand of God,” bringing some much needed intensity to sate the beat-hungry KMFDM audience. Bassist Erica “Raven” Branch-Butler was sensational on bass, laying down fat, lowdown, bluesy bass lines that would make the devil horny. Overall, it was an excellent showing from a band that definitely had to work to win some fans over.
Finally, KMFDM took the stage, greeted with uproar and an immediate fracas. As soon as “D.I.Y.” began, fans frenziedly began shoving each other and clawing at each other’s throats, literally. Not even two minutes into the set, security began escorting fans out; unfortunately, this crowd did not know how to mosh properly. Usually, these ejections would be uncalled for as security tends to be overprotective. However, in this instance, the fans were out of hand. After a few bad apples were tossed, the mosh pits continued in a more civil yet still chaotic manner. Following “D.I.Y.” was “Ave Maria,” showcasing the vocally balanced approach Lucia Cifarelli and Sascha Konietzko would share throughout the night. Classic KMFDM aficionados may have been disappointed with this set as no more than maybe two or three songs that were played were released before 1999. Obviously, the show would be filled with many tracks from KUNST
, but the vast amount of tunes from the previous two or three albums was surprising.
There doesn’t seem to be anything that could slow down the KMFDM machine this night, which was evidenced by Cifarelli’s abundant amount of energy. Between the last two albums, she apparently found her totem animal – a lion! Her hair was styled up like a mane and during “Animal Out,” her claws were protracted as she looked ready to attack. Her intensity never ceased and was visible even later in the set during “Free Your Hate.” Konietzko didn’t display as much vigor, but what his songs lacked in onstage emotion was replaced with those signature earth-shattering drumbeats and electrifying guitar riffs KMFDM is best known for. During tracks like “Amnesia” and “Hau Ruck,” there wasn’t just one particular area for moshing; the entire venue became a battleground.
After an already lengthy set, KMFDM returned for two encores, breaking into “Sucks” momentarily before shifting into “Megalomaniac.” Afterward, Legion Within’s William Wilson joined the band onstage to sing “Anarchy.” The song may not have been the fitting duet like when Tim Skold originally sang it with Konietzko, but the crowd appreciated hearing this KMFDM classic. The final song was “A Drug Against War.” Despite the exhausted band and audience, everyone mustered enough energy to bring down the house one final time.
Sore necks, bloodied faces, and a beer soaked dance floor were the symbols of a raucous yet perfect night of music. If you didn’t leave this show in pain, you weren’t there. KMFDM has been a veteran of the scene for many years now, but it looks like the scene is in good hands as they’ve obviously been a great influence on up-and-coming acts like CHANT and Legion Within. If this tour hasn’t stopped in your city yet, be sure to get tickets and go. Who knows how much longer KMFDM can keep this up, but at this rate, they show no signs of slowing down.
Grant V. Ziegler (GVZ)