One of my dreams came true last night at Star Theater: for the first time I reveled in the furious live sound of industrial rock/electronic/pop/punk/funk legends KMFDM. My fascination with the band began way back in high school when new music came from either BMG Music Club or the kid at school selling burned CDs complete with scanned color copy inserts of the front and back covers. There were a lot of random genres I was listening to those days because I picked stuff out by the appeal of the album art. Aidan Hughe’s iconic artwork on 1997’s Symbols caught my eye and I have no regrets using this maneuver. It just so happened that I ended up being seduced by this abrasive, loud music that would be great for punching walls to.
Falling into this musical category implies strong grinding riffs coming from the guitars and bass, badass lyrics, hypnotizing refrains and singers that are actually putting on a show. The crowd gave a very warm thank you-for-being-here welcome and I was impressed with the demure, pretty goth attire and entirely black wardrobe on almost everyone. I was absolutely mesmerized by Lucia Cifarelli’s amazing get up in short red shorts and a black corset. Her crimped hair reminded me of a Helena Bonham Carter character. The rest of the band brought the heat on bass, guitar, drums, a couple of keyboards, snyths and other unknown gadgets. Lucia’s husband and other half of the vocal team, Sascha, proved that the 50’s are the new 30’s. Honestly, I was jealous of how much energy the whole band had. Timid to hear how the music was going to be live, I was relieved when it sounded almost perfect. There were a few microphone glitches that only took my attention for a split second, but no big deal. Then it’s quickly back to thinking about how Lucia puts Alice Glass and Beyonce (at the Superbowl) to shame. They played lots of classics like “Son of a Gun” and some guest vocalist showed up for “Anarchy.” The majority of the setlist is from the newest album Kunst, just released in February (and partially recorded in Seattle.)
The encore began sounding like a goddamn knee slapping, ho-down complete with a clapping-in-unison crowd then it abruptly turned into a loud ass, bass dropping musical clusterfuck that could best be described visually by an over the top gory, zombie mass murder scene in some B movie. Never forget: KMFDM is the drug against war. Fans, do a non-fan a favor and expose them to this collective genre band that has stood the test of time. The worst case scenario: new music for their workout playlist (or hearing damage.) Both worth it.
Words by Kelly Kovl.
Photos by Aaron Mills.