Neubauten and myself have been missing each other by days for years. They don’t play in the States that often and every time they played in a European city I was visiting it would be either the week before or the week after my visit. This time finally the stars aligned! I happened to be in Italy on tour with Zorn the same week Neubauten were coming through and their only italian concert(s) were at the Estragon in Bologna so I got tickets for the first night and went. Oh boy what a show!
Being this Neubauten’s 30 year anniversary tour they really went all out and played for a staggering 3 hours! The current line up includes 2 percussionist (N.U. Unruh being one of them), a keyboard/sampler player, a guitarist (Jochen Arbeit) and of course Hacke on bass and Blixa on vocals. The six of them played songs from their entire discography to a packed audience of about 2000 souls. Needless to say the classics made the crowd go wild and the visual impact of what was happening on stage was overwhelming. You just simply can’t find another band today that has the type of sound they do and that does it all live. Their research for weird sounds and objects is amazingly creative and unique: who else would think of using a vinyl record mounted on the screw gun and amplified with a paper cup? or the tight and extended spring that when hit sounds like an electronic kick drum? or a bucket full of nails and scrap metal that is slowly emptied from a height of more than 6 feet creating a rain of metallic objects? To think that they’ve been doing this since 1980 is just mind-boggling!
Unfortunately I couldn’t go to the second show the following night but I’ve heard from people who went that it consisted in a shorter Neubauten set followed by a few sets of side projects by some EN members. Dulcis in fundus, the band then distributed about 200 drum sticks to the crowd and rolled out moving drum stations so that all attendees could participate in a noise-making hitting fest. Pretty amazing idea and great ending. Too bad I missed that.
Einsturzende Neubauten is still touring so I highly recommend that you go see them if you can. They should be in the States right about now in fact and I know they will be playing two gigs (one already sold out) in New York City on Dec 14 and 15.
Here’s some more pictures by a local photographer Elena Sartorari.
There’s also plenty of videos of the concert on YouTube.