The 19th of April marked the first ever performance of the old Slovenian band Laibach (meaning Ljubljana in German) in Hannover. Faust was not crowded, but considering it was a Thursday, maybe that is understandable. One thing should be stated from the start: this kind of performance is the one that, in a way, separates crowds – or you really like it or you find it somehow boring (and there were some people feeling a bit uneasy).
I had always heard of Laibach’s shows being very active, with a lot of ‘military’ movement on stage and so on, but that was not how the first part of the concert would be. The band started the show performing their last album, “Volk”, from top to bottom (only leaving out Vaticanae, a classic song with operatic vocals).
This opus of theirs is, as always, a statement and a very strong political one. The two screens constantly projecting on the back totally complete the music (so many details) and help bringing forth a deeper tone to the whole concept. As their reinterpretation of national anthems followed, it kept on occurring to me how intellectual that performance really was, a factor that might not have pleased some fans who went there more for the up-beat dance rhythm of Laibach.
The album was a collaboration between Laibach and the two elements who of the Slovenian band Silence, Boris Benko and Primo Hladnik. Hladnik is doing the whole tour with them, but Benko only some gigs and this was not one of them. However, though it would have been great to hear Benko singing the songs from “Volk”, Mina Špiler (Melodrom, remix of Rammstein’s Ohne Dich) is also covering this tour and lending her amazing vocals to the band. I admit once in a while I was not really sure whether or not she was doing playback, but, if she did not do it, then she had an impeccable performance. She fits the job perfectly. Her posture was very serious and systematic, as would be expected from a Laibach concert, and her face looked concentrated, cold and distant while she sang, but the voice of Milan Fras (singer) and hers do work out pretty well and make tracks like Yisrā’el have a lot more impact when they scream together “My Country, My Land, My Ancestors…”
There were not many people, but they were indeed loud every time it came to applaud. One of the songs that is stuck in my head is America and Nippon would be for me one of the highlights. Mina shone brilliantly accompanied by the lovely piano.
After singing about their homeland, Slovenia, the band left the stage and the anthem of their own created Neue Slowenische Kunst, NSK, was heard. The second part of the show would now start and the typical, not so calm and melancholic, Laibach were back on stage, without Mina, but with two other girls, moving energetically, doing those typical army movements and also singing along. What better way to start then with Tanz mit Laibach? The dance floor was on, for who wanted to join. Alle gegen Alle, Du bist unser, Hell: Symmetry, Achtung! and Das Spiel ist aus, all from their 2003 effort “Wat”, were the
‘classics’ and final songs. Straight away the intro of Life is Life was heard, while the band had gone outside for a bit, but when they come back they were not going to perform it, because it was actually a very nice Laibach medley gathering most of their most popular songs. They came back to bow, thank and say goodbye to the audience, while in the back the screens were being projected with the ‘final credits’. Yes, it is true! They have credits for this tour, with references for everyone involved in a way or another, the set list and corresponding credits and so on. Still, they present themselves as Eber, Saliger, Keller and Dachauer, for according to their philosophy, they conceal in itself an arbitrary number of sub-objects and should allow the flexibility and anonymity of the members.
- Tanz mit Laibach
- Alle gegen Alle
- Du bist unser
- Hell: Symmetry
- Das Spiel ist aus