Where to start? Are we talking music? Theatre? Art? Does it matter? Just who (what?) are (is?) Deichkind? I’ve already used up my quota of question marks for the year, and I’m not sure I will have any answers in my review of the band at Kunst!Rasen this week. Maybe you should just look at the pictures. But that’s taking the easy way out. Let’s take a walk on the wild side of something that grew out of Hamburg and called itself rather seriously, ‘Hip-Hop Electropunk’.
As a reminder that what’s coming is Theatre as much as Music there is a curtain over the stage-front. Promptly at 8.30pm silhouetted figures appear on the curtain eerily reminding me of the bloodthirsty starting graphics to Francis Ford Coppola’s film of Dracula but thankfully without the stakes. The music builds until suddenly the curtain crashes down, and we’re off! A figure standing directly in front of my camera lens looking like an extra from ‘Life of Brian’ – a somewhat comic Norman Conquest meets Roman Empire creation. The lighting is changing faster than at the local disco, and by the time my mere two songs no flash are over I’m actually glad to be out of the pit. How do the guys onstage survive this almost constant strobe lighting effect? Suddenly I can see the value of those pyramid hats drawn down deep over their eyes.
Men of mystery to be sure. My pre-gig research (yes I do make the effort!) told me that there were musicians in Deichkind and they may well be onstage. Their names, for the record, are Kryptic Joe alias Philipp Grütering, Ferris Hilton alias Ferris MC, and Porky alias Sebastian Dürre. They were well hidden amongst three ‚performance Artists‘ and I quickly decided that shouting out „Porky!“ from the photopit in the hope of establishing who was who would be a bad idea. Lots of rushing around onstage, changing of costumes (they must be sponsored by a binliner Company) and menacing pointing of fingers and later even giant water pistols – but not a Strat, Gibson or even a Yamaha in sight. Strange, considering my earlobes were being pinned back by the force of a musical thunderstorm that was coming from somewhere.
If you dug in deep and listened there were some very cutting lyrics in there though. An employer in Rüdinghausen certainly thought so as he discovered an employee had linked to their Anti-work song ‚Bück dich hoch‘ and promptly fired him on the spot.
Digging in deep wasn’t what the fans wanted though, they were there, all 6,500 of them it seemed, to join in. specially those clad in bin-bag trousers and pyramid hats made of dayglow straws. Looking down on the masses stage front from the VIP balcony after 9pm was like looking at the runway at Heathrow Airport with tiny lights blazing in rows.
Indeed, for a moment I thought a 757 was actually coming in to land from stage left. It turned out to be a giant barrel containing two ‚Deichkinder‘ inside singing and another (performance ‚Deichkinder‘?) sitting on top and waving a flag.
You really couldn’t fault the guys for effort and fitness. Jumping on trampolines and flying from bungey ropes are all part of life in the Deichkind band. Would have been nice to see someone attempt playing a guitar whilst doing a somersault – but I guess Nils Lofgren took out a trademark on that one.
So, would I go and see ‚Deichkind‘ again? You bet. But don’t tell my employer.