OOMPH!’s first UK date in their nearly 30 year career is a triumphant occasion!10/10
Words and photos by Rebecca Bush
Tonight, Neue Deutsche Härte band OOMPH! brings their industrial metal mix to the UK for the first time in their near-30 year career and the room is filled with excited anticipation. Its clear these fans are more than ready to experience this band first hand and you’d be forgiven for mistaking this for a Friday night given the electricity in the air.
Whilst waiting and watching the venue fill up I’m approached by a fan and his girlfriend who ask if I’m with the band – they have travelled all the way from Italy and are beyond excited to be seeing the band for the first time live having been fans for several years. Oomph! rarely travel outside Germany to perform so this extensive tour promoting new album ‘RITUAL‘ is stirring quite the reaction from excited fans.
First up and straight off the back of their own 12 date tour in Germany where they were supported by Hemesath, are tonight’s support Heldmaschine, also making their UK debut. Taking to the stage in post apocalyptic style robotic masks and LED lit vests they instantly have the crowd going wild! And as singer Rene Anlauff makes his entrance – seemingly levitating into position, they create quite the atmosphere, there’s a pause – a pulsing heart beat – and you know you’re in for a good time.
There is such an energy emitting from the entire band that you can feel even before the first song ‘Luxus‘ (Luxury) explodes into action. This track is the first from their recent EP ‘Volles Brett‘ released on February 7th and it really packs a gothic industrial punch and it comes to an end with Rene throwing handfuls of Heldmaschine ‘dollar bills’ to a fully worked up, excited crowd. The mood is set. All fists, and a few flags sporting the bands logo, are in the air for second song ‘Kein Zurück‘ (No Turning Back) from their 2016 album ‘Himmelskörper’ (Heavenly Body) and Rene is fully engaged with the audience who are singing and chanting along . Next up is second track from the EP ‘Springt‘(Jump) and jump they do! There is so much power all round , drummer Dirk Oechsle spinning his drumsticks like batons and standing to get the room pumped. Fourth song ‘Radioaktive‘ sees another costume addition complete with lasers for a full on heavy industrial accent.
Its a mood that does not shift and its awesome to be a part of. Speaking to the crowd Rene comments that it is their first time in the UK “…and hopefully its not the last. If you want we will come back year after year” met by more screams of agreement “thank you so much, enjoy!” Dirk gets the crowd all riled up again with intro to fourth track from the EP to be played tonight ‘Ich, Ich, Ich’ (I,I,I) an anthemic song showcasing their heavier side.
During final song of the evening ‘Weiter‘ (Further) Rene takes to the crowd and as he’s carried on the wave of the fans he calls for a beer which he casually grabs from a willing fan’s hand en route back to the stage – ROCK AND ROLL!
Speaking to the band I asked if they had any message for their UK fans, they were overwhelmed by how they were received saying ,
“We can only thank them for the incredibly warm welcome! It was our first show in UK and it had quite an emotional impact on us due to the amazing vibe. What a great crowd! And yes: We’d love to come back as soon as possible!!“
A total triumph of a performance and a brilliant introduction to the UK of what they are capable of bringing to the table and I think everyone in the room will agree – they cant come back soon enough!!
HELDMASCHINE FULL SET LIST
- Kein Zuruck
- Ich ich ich
Taking the stage for their long awaited first UK appearance are OOMPH! Armed with an immense set list cherry picked from the entirety of their vast catalogue of music and showcasing new album ‘Ritual’ they come to well and truly rock London to its core!!
The low ominous tones of the theme to Bram Stokers ‘Dracula’ drift into the room, stirring the already buzzing atmosphere and as they take the stage everyone’s hands are in the air. Kicking off proceedings with their first track from ‘Ritual’ – ‘TRRR-FCKN-HTLR‘ a punchy heavily industrial number that instantly makes you want to get your bounce on, the party has well and truly arrived in London, and it’s only Tuesday! Next up is equally bounce worthy track ‘Labyrinth‘ from their 2010 release ‘Truth or Dare‘. Their first to be recorded in English which showcased their greatest hits and gave their music a new level of accessibility.
Next track ‘Träumst Du‘ (Do You Dream) takes us even further back to 2006 album ‘Delikatessen‘ with more of a heavy rock feel and not so industrial , singer Dero‘s voice adapts perfectly to each change of pace with deep gravelly tones right through to melodic tuneful notes – truly versatile and mesmerising.
Dero himself is a very energetic performer, marching in circles and interacting with the crowd encouraging them to clap, to jump and reaching out constantly which creates a fully immersive experience for everyone. We are on quite the journey tonight as we go right back to their first ever written song from 1989 which makes them – in Deros words – “old as fuck!” however ‘Mein Herz‘ (My Heart) easily stands the test of time fitting perfectly into the set.
Dero asks us to join with him in the chorus of the next song – Tausend Mann und ein Befehl (A Thousand Men And One Command) – another from Ritual – saying “…it’s pretty easy , it’s three German words which mean – No more war! And it goes like that – NIE WIEDER KRIEG!!! Lets do some rehearsal on this … 1,2,3,4″ At which the crowd shout back “NIE WIEDER KRIEG” Satisfied with our response they power into the song all guns blazing so to speak!
The audience are well and truly welcoming and you can see how happy the band are to be here – talking to the crowd Dero says – “I must tell you something! YOU’RE UNBELIEVABLE!” before breaking into a short rendition of EMF‘s ‘Unbelievable‘ with everyone singing in unison – there’s a lot of love in the room.
He goes on – “Do you know that we love you? I ask Do you really know that we love you?” To which the crowd reply with roars of confirmation .“Never the less , you must be very brave and strong now because – ‘Kein Liebeslied‘ (No Lovesong)!”Another track from Ritual which is shaping up to be a much heavier darker feel to previous albums and we are all here for it.
There is a change of pace now as all but Dero leave the stage accompanied by Felix on the keyboard for melodic track ‘Fieber/Das letzte Streichholz’ (Fever/The Last March) another example of Dero’s vocal flexibility and the more beautiful aspects of his voice, very haunting to listen to.
Welcoming the band back to the stage and bringing the energy right back up is third track from Delikatessen – ‘Gott ist ein Popstar‘ (God is a Popstar) and the bounce is back on.
Powering through seven more songs spanning across their whole history including Kleinstadt Boy (Small Town Boy) from 2012 Album Des Wahnsinns fette Beute (Madness of Prey) and two encores Mein Schatz (My Sweetheart) from 1995’s GlaubeLiebeTod (Believe Love Death) a heavy track that has a Mansonesque vibe to it they finish with Als wär’s das letzte Mal (As if it was the last time) from XXV – an emotive and melodic round up to the evening.
Tonight is a truly triumphant occasion, the room is full of joy – OOMPH!’S first UK appearance was anything but an anti- climax!!
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