After stepping inside of The Cabooze and glancing towards the stage it was hard not to notice the large elaborate drum kit that had some pieces rising up towards the ceiling. The opener for the night was CHANT, a tribal-industrial-art-rock project by Bradley Bills. They are currently out on tour in support of their fourth album from 2020, Hydra.
Bills was encircled with various percussive instruments as well as a keyboard. It’s always an enjoyable experience to watch someone at a drum kit, especially when it’s up at the front of the stage. It was astounding to watch how quickly he would spin up from one side to the other without missing a beat all while providing the vocals to the songs as well. There were three vocal mics scattered across his space so that no matter where he was pounding out the rhythms there was one close to sing into. Along with Bills was a guitarist that also dabbled on an electric cello for a few songs. The duo was flanked by two illuminated gong drums that the pair could sync up and play together or alone as an added embellishment while the other carried on.
They put on a highly energetic performance and captivating 50 minute set. Bills certainly is at home behind the kit and no wonder he is sought out by so many to provide his skills to. There was a moment where he was seated on the left side of his kit and then went into a tom roll and spun over and stood up to continue on the timbales. It was an impressive bit of skill that really stood out. This duo made use off every inch of stage allotted to them and the sound they made was massive. For nearly 20 years this Austin based DIY project has been out on the road mesmerizing audiences with percussion based song writing. Well worth taking a closer look at them performing live or getting swept up in the drum driven recordings.
The lights came back on for the changeover at The Cabooze and couldn’t help but notice the place was really filling in quite well. Haven’t seen this place packed like this in a while as folks were filling in every nook and cranny. Even the upper section off to the side where the vantage point feels a bit behind the stage. It’s been long overdue for KMFDM to return to the Twin Cities and the fans were eager for their return.
The crowd roared as the four musicians took to the stage as the grandiose orchestral opening to “D.I.Y.” rang out. The ultra heavy beat kicked in to the delight of the bouncing fans and the pummeling began.
Sascha Konietzko and his wife, Lucia Cifarelli, took center stage behind their podiums of electronic gear. The alternating vocal delivery adds an extra depth to lyrics with Cifarelli’s dynamic and fierce style along with Konietzko’s gruff approach.
Andee Blacksugar’s guitar riffs are heavy and lush. There are memorable moments in his playing that keeps up with the ever expanding style of KMFDM while keeping it familiar. Blaksugar’s return is a welcomed one after the performance on 2019’s Paradise. As always, Andy Selway delivers an intense barrage of beats behind the kit, laying down the backbone to the songs.
As the outro to Paradise played out Konietzko called out to the adoring fans, “we love you and always will” as Cifarelli blew a kiss and they walked off. It was a wonderful song selection to end the evening as the music and lights faded out on the empty stage.
KMFDM are pioneers in the industrial music scene; they have endured through decades of albums, tours and lineup changes. They still have an abrasive bite as their new album, Hyëna, attests. This new batch of songs has a wide variety of sounds and influences which manages to slot in perfectly with their extensive back catalog while standing well on its own as a unique album and different chapter of KMFDM.
After 22 albums one may ponder how long they can keep churning out quality relevant music. Take a hint from their lyrics, “KMFDM will never stop” as they continue to evolve as they do it again and again and again.