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Laibach liven up Gdansk Shipyard

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Gdansk Shipyard Centre is one of the venues which are not particularly famous for their excellent acoustic properties. Most people coming to the concerts here do not regret anything except the buzzing speakers and sound dissipating between the walls of this factory building. Constant echoing and railway tracks protruding from the doors add an extraordinary atmosphere of the past era of socialism. It fits perfectly to Laibach and their tour, no doubts. Crude walls, quite industrial space – all of this only emphasizes the music created by the Slovenian artists, which is equally raw and original. Therefore, the Gdansk Shipyard Centre and Laibach became a unity for several evening hours – almost palpable, and slowly entering the audience into the state of euphoria.

Laibach has always aroused controversy. From their costumes presumably taken from the Gestapo barracks, to their unbridled music, which despite being classified as typical industrial, sometimes gathers inspiration from other genres and does not allow listeners to categorize it accurately. However, lyrics and the way of presenting them has become a subject of discussion and debate – also with regard to political views. Over many years of their stage activity, the band became an inspiration for other artists who were trying to surpass the original even slightly. The most famous of these is Rammsein – probably the most often cited as an instance by the fans and connoisseurs of music, but that point is not quite right. Bothe bands differ in music style, though they derived from the same genre.

Laibach as the host of the evening immediately attracted the audience, which was quite innumerous and timidly watching the performance. The air was full of the frustration directed towards the organizers of the event. Opening hour was dramatically delayed, and among the annoyed crowd there were people so stoked that they barely maintained contact with the ground. The concentration of anger reached a peak during impatient waiting for the concert, in the interiors of CSG. The music preceeding such a spectacular event reminded a really cheesy rhythms of Latino disco, too distant from the Laibach climate. It has to be clarified though that no matter how much stylistic and music elements are combined by the Slovenians, they still manage to obtain a very plausible and coherent mixture. The atmosphere of the event was build step by step, starting with more mild songs supplemented with psychedelic animations that appeared on the back of the stage (industrial machinery, snatches of propaganda films), through the typical ‘marching’ beats driven by a characteristic rhythm section of drums, to the explosion of energetic and powerful compositions, with the flagship "Tanz Mit Laibach" on the fore. The more the event was moving towards the end, the the more fiercely it attacked the listeners - at first motionless, but eventually fell into dance convulsions. It is worth mentioning that some of the presented tracks, although very well known, were almost unrecognizable in the new arrangement. It is also a pity that the setlist contained exactly the same song as in the performances a few years back.

At this point it should be openly stated that the concert was planned with a slightly different assumption than most of such events, as the musicians decided not only to play the songs, but also to create a ‘happening’ in which other forms of communication played an important role. One could not miss the magical atmosphere created by the aforementioned animations, harsh and gloomy voice of Milan Fras, and almost operatic vocals of Mina Spiler supplemented by poignant messages through a megaphone. Not without significance were the elements of totalitarian symbolism as an artistic inspiration for the musicians – but despite the fact that it was scarce, some of the concert participants apparently misunderstood the idea which beacons the band. Many pseudo-fans of Laibach make up their own erroneous theory that has nothing to do with reality. The band is known from contradictory signals sent towards the audience, and the aesthetics of German troops is just another platform of communication. All of these elements, although seemingly contradictory, turned out to form an event which affects all the senses so intensely, that it cannot be denied that the Slovenians are capable of skillfully giving a show which not only is pleasant both for eye and ear, but also induces to dance – together with Laibach.
Translator: rhapthorne
Add date: 2011-03-22 / Live reports

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