O2 Academy Islington

Also Sprach Zarathustra Tour 2017

London - November 23rd 2017

Review by D. Campbell


Photo by Dave Pettit

No Scottish or any other UK dates so it was a long trip to London for the sole UK concert of the tour, at least the weather was good for a day wandering around the city. It was a bit tricky finding the venue, which was inside a shopping mall. My first attempt turned out to be a cinema however I was soon directed to the right place. There was already a big queue, however one of the security staff soon announced that there was no support band and Laibach would be on stage at 9pm. A big chunk of the queue walked off, most likely to a pub. Inside, the merchandise stall was mainly t-shirts and badges. I was hoping they would have the recent Bossanova single, now out on CD and vinyl via a small German label but it wasn't on sale. The only option to buy them is via a bank transfer which puts a lot of people off.

The warm-up music was something on a very short loop, quite ambient at first, after an hour it got a little bit louder, a little more intense then in last few minutes before the show it fused into start of the first track. Luka Jamnik walked onto the stage first and cranked up the volume and began the show, the other members soon followed. Two of them were new, Bojan Krhlanko as Laibach's new drummer and the guitarist Vitja Balzalorsky who instantly caught attention with his long dreadlocks. It has been a long time since Laibach last used a guitarist onstage though the guitar was mostly played unconventionally, often with violin stick which I've seen many times with Sigur Ros, a little hammer was also used and again something I've seen with Sigur Ros. Milan and Mina weren't needed yet so stayed off. When it was time for Milan he entered onto the stage wearing a full length leather coat in a bright shiny red colour along with matching trousers. It contrasted with the rest of the band who wore dark or black clothes. The background footage was nearly all in black and white, if there was any colour it was usually blood red. The stage was on the narrow side and not ideal for some of the projective visuals. There was a ban on photos at the venue and was rigorously enforced by one of security staff. Quite a few times he was diving over me to push down any phones he thought might be filming or snapping, a couple of times it was sudden and unexpected so it was a bit of an occasional shock. There was one official photographer so there will be some record of the show and there was also someone filming on behalf of the band though it was on a fairly small and basic looking video camera so it definitely won't be released on DVD. Milan wasn't too busy, he didn't feature on some tracks that were essentially instrumentals and was off stage for those and Mina just featured on one track on the new album. However she featured on both of the new tracks, both cover versions, which followed straight after the Also Sprach Zarathustra material. Milan was much more theatrical than usual, if he wasn't sharpening knives, he was stomping around on stage and staring into the audience intensely. Interestingly Anti-Semitism was played, did wonder if it was anything to do with their recent visit to Israel. It's certainly a good track to play live.

The concert was a good bit different from the usual Laibach concerts, very thematic rather than a collection of songs. Also very little material from their more recent work and leaving out the big anthems Laibach were famous for. Brave choice given that there was probably a few new fans attending. Wirtshaft ist tot had been fully revisited Kraftwerk style with robotic voices, it was really good though I doubt it will be on the planned revisited album due next year. There were flyers around the venue promoting the Revisited album and they performed two tracks that night that should feature on it. The encore gave us Bossanova the only track from their last album and rounded off the night with See That My Grave Is Kept Clean. It was a very interesting concert, particularly for their core fans so hopefully they will bring the show back to the UK once more before they change the program.

Tracks Performed

Von den drei Verwandlungen      Ein Untergang      Ein Verkündiger      Von Gipfel zu Gipfel
Das Glück     Die Unschuld II      Das Nachtlied II      Das Nachtlied I
Als Geist      Vor Sonnen-Aufgang

Parnassus      Cold Song      Anti-Semitism      Brat Moj      Hell: Symmetry      Le Privilege Des Morts      Ti, ki izzivaš      Wirtschaft ist tot     

Bossanova      See That My Grave Is Kept Clean

Live Reviews       Home       E-mail: dhc3945@hotmail.com