Does It Offend You, Yeah? Molotow, Hamburg - Live Review
17/1/08 by Vincent Fandango
Does It Offend You, Yeah? Molotow, Hamburg, 13/01/2008
They are Rockstars, at least according to one of their songs. Are they really?
I checked out their songs on Myspace and Youtube before the show. There are two different kind of files: the studio recordings and some videos recorded live. The studio recordings are good, but they seem to be very clean, almost antiseptic. I also found a lot of references to bands I never heard of, except Daft Punk and Digitalism – „file under: house, electronica“. The local newspaper described it as „robo-rock“.
The videos I watched had terrible distorted sound tracks and sounded very much like noisy noise.
There was definitely a difference between the two kinds of recordings, and this made me curious.
The Molotow club is a small dark hole under the Reeperbahn red light district. They have beer in bottles - Jever, which I like - and some kind of teenage emonerd population. I prefer oldschool nerds, but can live with that. Had a nice chat with the drummer, who looked a lot like Protein's avatar, while the rest of the band was trying out the local drug, Ahoj Brause.
With almost german punctuality the band approached the stage at 2130 hours. The not only entered the stage, they started to play immediately - and it was amazing! It wasn't like the studio recordings at all. It was such a powerful, very hard and tight sound I understood why the poor camera microphones couldn't record it properly. It was miles away from the quite clean and well defined studio sound. The heavily distorted instruments created a pounding metasound, like machines in a foundry. Drums and keyboards built the base, like drums and bass in classic rock music. The guitar and bass guitar added accents and effects. Amazingly the sound never lost its power during the whole concert.
Guitar and bass also added a lot of random elements to the sound which made the sound very human. In fact the guitar didn't sound like a guitar, but more like some sci-fi instrument, which looked accidentally like a common Stratocaster. The guitar player even allowed one of the emonerds to operate some controllers of his FX boards.
Now, are they rockstars?
I'd say: YES! This was sure rock. It must have been like this in the early 60s listening to „My Generation“ or „You Really Got Me“, Keyboard and bass played some powerful riffs, the singer was very charismatic – and sometimes even playing a guitar. The drummer, who still looked a lot like Protein's avatar, even smashed the drum kit at the end of the show (quite carefully though). This was the spirit of early rock music translated into a contemporary context. This was what futuristic rock music should have been in 80s sci-fi movies, when the term „cyberpunk“ was invented. Reduced songs with raw power and without spending a lot of effort on baroque details. There was also a lot of „Spielfreude“, that's like „Fahrvergnügen“ in music.
I really enjoyed the show and I have to admit I was a little stunned by all the power. There were a few annoying things: the show was over after 40 minutes (including a great encore, a cover of „Whip It“) and the audience was very lame – I think they spent too much time on thinking how to get even more depressed or how to get a few more dioptres ...
It will be hard to capture all this on an album, probably it will sound like the studio recordings. I will buy it anyway, but a live album would be great, but I guess the hard part is finding proper microphones to record it ...