LAIBACH – live at USF Verftet (Bergen) –
The musical pioneers that are Laibach gifted the cold and windswept city of Bergen with an absolutely brilliant performance at USF Verftet on a bleak Wednesday night and it turned out to be one of the best shows that yours truly has ever witnessed. With a visually stunning stage set revolving around last year’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” masterpiece creating the perfect backdrop to the gig, it should come as no surprise that the entire affair turned out to be a highly atmospheric experience. There is a heavy, bombastic, and somewhat oppressive vibe and mood to certain parts of the band’s discography and so the first half of the concert was very much centered on the utterly dark, morose, and desolate aspects of the catalogue while the latter half was slightly more accessible and easy to digest, or slightly more musical, if you will.
Everything flowed together organically and nothing was out of place or lacking substance at all. As utterly impressive and mesmerizing as the show was, what I find intriguing is the fact that the songs move seamlessly between the cold and cynical and the warm and organic. Nobody but Laibach could pull that kind of thing off in style. There is an introspective yet claustrophobic quality to some of the material that was aired last night that was just undeniable; you could feel it in your bones. The set list was varied and contained such evocative compositions as “Olav Trygvason Poem 1. Del”, “Die Unschuld II”, “Das Glück”, “Resistance is Futile”, “Ein Verkündiger”, and “Ti, Ki Izzivas”, just to list a few examples. One of the encores was the Opus cover “Leben heißt Leben”, but listing all the songs that were performed is pointless; you simply had to be there in order to grasp the magnitude of the cursed thing. The live renditions of the tunes lacked neither depth nor texture, the vocals were superb, the musicianship was stellar, and the way in which the visuals corresponded to the music was out of this world and magnificent to behold.
The show lasted for roughly 90 minutes, which was perfect really when considering the fact that the performance was so emotionally intense and that each and every fiber in our bodies were somehow tickled or stirred. It is incredibly difficult to sum up or put into words what a Laibach concert does to you and how it feels both during and after the gig. It is one of those things that is impossible to shake; the thick and pulsating soundscapes are just too overwhelming for that. Then again, that is merely testament to just how wonderful the Laibach live experience truly is. The performance at USF was a glorious display of musical excellence and innovation. I dare say that none of those who attended went home feeling even remotely disappointed. Hats off to Bergen Live for organizing this powerful concert.