Live Review

Rammstein, Cubinate and Hansel Und Grettle
5/6/98, The Roxy, NYC

By Dan Century

Monday I'm over my friend George's apartment watching WWF wrestling (wait, don't stop reading yet). George, after 15 years of vegetarianism, wants to start eating meat and train to become a professional wrestler. I know what you're thinking: "doesn't George only weigh 130 pounds, soaking wet, holding a brick?" "Isn't his spine supported by a metal rod and doesn't he have more piercings than a dart board?" Sure. Once George gets an idea in his head there's no stopping him, until, of course, he gets a new crazy idea. Fortunately, the wresting idea came along just in time to distract him from his self-trepanation project.

So, it's Monday night, I've got six Budweisers in me and I'm watching a 300 pound bald man, with skin the color of bologna, wearing black Speedos, bludgeon a 400 pound man who looks like Jerry Garcia with a steel folding chair. Fun, but not as much fun as a Rammstein concert…

Wednesday night, around 9:30pm, 18th street, Manhattan. George has finagled us VIP passes through his pals at Nothing records. VIP guest passes or not, we still had to wait on line for a half an hour to pass single file through a metal detector, which includes a complimentary "sack grope" from one of the bouncers. After having the airspace around my privates violated by the over zealous security guard I didn't feel Very Important. I felt dirty and used.

Back in the early 90's VIP meant free booze, a copy of the CD and some kind of buffet with an ice swan in the middle. Tonight the beers were $6.50, unless you had drink passes. Even Hansel Und Grettle didn't have drink passes. It's 10pm and all the VIP people are crammed into this jungle-hot, glass encased booth called "the Fishbowl" which overlooks the stage and concert floor. It turns out that we've missed Hansel Und Grettle and Cubinate. I remember when an 8:00pm show in Manhattan meant the show didn't start until 10pm. Nowadays it means the first two acts are done by nine. I blame mayor Guliani.

Since I didn't witness the first two bands perform, the best I can do is describe their physical appearance. Hansel Und Grettle are essentially the Ace of Base of hardcore techno. The one singer is stealing Lady Miss Kier's look: baby doll shirt, red pony tails, raver backpack. Cubinate's crew look like what you'd expect: lots of black, army clothes, "tribal" tattoos, haircuts their mothers don't like, etc…

It took Rammstein a good hour to set up. By now George and I had staked out a place on a large, extremely fake leopard skin couch between some cute redhead Interscope interns and a bald industry dude speaking German into a cellular phone.

Someone hit play on a DAT machine and the show began…

Rammstein sound like the guys from Laibach and KMFDM got together to form a Ministry cover band. Rammstein look like German pro wrestlers. Pro wrestling is "sports entertainment." Rammstein is "music entertainment."

Pro wrestling has 200 pound plus, shirtless, bald men who scream a lot. Rammstein has a 200 pound plus, shirtless, bald singer who screams a lot. Pro wresting uses fireworks to drive fans into a frenzy. Rammstein uses fireworks to drive fans into a frenzy. Pro wrestlers catch fire to impress the crowd. Rammstein catches on fire to impress the crowd. Pro wrestling fans bring inflatable balls to toss around the arena. Rammstein fans bring inflatable boats to "ride the wave" above the crowd. Pro wrestlers frequently tell fans and other wrestlers to "Suck It!" Rammstein's singer wears a prosthetic penis and sprays the audience with a gusher of semen-like fluid (by the way, does anyone remember when the singer from the Skatenigs did this same stunt on the Revolting Cocks tour in 1990?).

Like rap groups and the aforementioned KMFDM, Rammstein mentions their name at least once per song. They have one song where the singer sings (groans, belches) nothing but "Rammstein" over and over again. Over and over and over…

My favorite gimmick was when the guitar players would cross their arms during the keyboard parts. Angst-tastic!

Around 10pm, in the midst of all this entertainment, the craft services crew started setting up a buffet. Me and George were first on line for sushi, cheese, tortelini salad, fresh vegetables and fruit. Oh yeah, free food, a big comfortable couch full of foxy redheads and a bunch of Germans setting stuff on fire…now that's a great concert (or Poland in 1939).

Aside from the unsolicited grope from the bouncer, the over priced beers, the fact that I missed Cubinate and the half inch of urine on the bathroom floor, I had an awesome time. I ate, I drank, I laughed, I sang, I reclined…and on the way home, when we were stuck in traffic on route one, I got out of the car I pissed on the road while waving to the oncoming traffic. Awesome.