Show Review: KMFDM, Chant at The Independent, 11/14/13

by Amber Gregory on November 20, 2013

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“KMFDM SUCKS!”

How could it have begun any other way?

Last Thursday, November 17th, I went to The Independent to see German industrial legends KMFDM perform for the first time. It did not disappoint, right down to the fan’s rallying cry just before they took the stage.

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Maybe I’m outing myself as “old” when I say how happy I was that this weeknight show had only one opener. But regardless of what time my alarm block goes off in the morning, Chant, a two-piece from Austin, Texas (yes, you read that right: an industrial band from Austin), was a worthy lone opener. Chant describes themselves as “tribal apocalyptic rock,” which, now that I read it, makes me understand their music so much better. Led by Bradley Bills, with his drum set front and center, Chant’s music is genre-bending, passionate, emotional and intense.

After a nearly hour long set, it was time for KMFDM to take the stage.

Here, I must pause and mention that this show was not sold out. Why? Well, whether it was because this was KMFDM’s second trip to the bay area this year, or because there were at least four other exciting shows going on last Thursday night, it’s tough to say. But it was too bad this was the case, because KMFDM puts on the kind of show which benefits greatly from a packed house.

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That’s not to say KMFDM were bad – nothing of the sort. Sascha Konietzko and Lucia Cifarelli make a great vocal pair, and the guitar work of Steve White and Jules Hodgson was bananas! What makes KMFDM really fun to see live is really the masterful way they weave together nearly thirty years of music and a genre-bending style. KMFDM might be known as “industrial,” but that doesn’t even begin to describe them – as the 1.5 hour long set progressed, we also heard rock, metal, punk, and dance influences. While some were danceable, most were more suited to simply absorbing, beautiful and sometimes brutal in their sonic complexity.

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It was a great set, earplugs were totally required, and yet – it was over by 11pm. The band promised they’d be back soon (so many bands have a love affair with San Francisco!). Next time, I hope San Francisco can give them the sold out venue their stage show deserves.

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