Einstürzende Neubauten – Forum, London, 16 October 2010

They don’t look like rock stars. “They’ve been going 30 years? They must be really old,” as my friend so delicately put it. Alex Hacke looks like he should be working in the local chip shop, with his knackered old vest and hair all over the place. Blixa, a sweet eccentric in a three-piece suit, is prowling the stage barefoot and making theremin noises with his mouth. You will find him if you want him in the garden, unless it’s pouring down with rain. Do Neubauten entertain me? Yes. Do they move me? Yes. Then who cares if they’re scruffy barefooted old men in vests banging on bits of metal?

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Ah yes, bits of metal. Two percussion kits with all sorts of home-made contraptions attached to them dominate the stage, and band members move around, occasionally swapping more traditional instrumentation for metal pipes and planks of metal. That song that sounds like a drawer of cutlery being thrown around? Oh, that is a drawer of cutlery being thrown around.

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I won’t pretend to have recognised more than about three of the songs played tonight – despite it being something of a “greatest hits” tour – because people with 30-year careers tend to make a lot of music. The rumour mill reckons this is Neubauten’s last ever tour, which made it all the more important to see them tonight, but from the looks of things (and upcoming release of Strategies Against Architecture Vol IV) they’re going to be around for another 20 years at least.

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Despite not having a support act, Neubauten finally take to the stage nearly two hours after the doors open, cutting things very fine for those of us who have to get the last train home. The band are entertaining, with Blixa cracking jokes between songs with characteristic eccentricity, and the songs are well-played with passion and energy.

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Setlist.fm have helpfully uploaded the setlist from the previous night’s Netherlands gig. They must have played a shorter set tonight because Redukt is the second encore.

Since we have to leave the minute Redukt finishes, I won’t know what they ended with – unlikely to have been my favourite, Ende Neu. Still, Neubauten live was something definitely worth experiencing that I’m glad I got to see. After all these years, Einstürzende Neubauten really are all that and a bag of chips.

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3 comments on “Einstürzende Neubauten – Forum, London, 16 October 2010

  1. at the end they exited stage and then did a second encore – silence is sexy, complete with blixa smoking into the mic! shame you had to leave.

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