Laibach at Le Cabaret SauvageSupport:
January 22, 2023 at Le Cabaret Sauvage
Promoter: Base Productions
As the band carries its ideological crusade into its fifth decade, Laibach remain steadfast in their mission to confound, disrupt and disturb. Loyal to no one, Trbovlje’s enfants terribles serve the will of none, throwing left turns and provocations to all who dare cross their path with any less than blind loyalty to their cause. Rarely has this precept been made any more transparent than on the band’s latest EP, whose radically upbeat synthpop sounds were proudly displayed to a Parisian audience gathered at Le Cabaret Sauvage, in Paris.
The band stepped to the stage with Mussolinian punctuality and set the show off with a majestic rendition of Love is Still Alive performed back-to-back. Deep-voiced vocalist Milan Fras later joined the quintet, flaunting a sparkly white suit and cowboy hat to croak a cheeky ode to intergalactic love at a room full of mixed emotions. From the band’s pastiche homage to ‘Benson, Arizona’ from John Carpenter’s Dark Star, the band kept on cruising into the musical deep-end, visibly crossing the final frontier of some people’s musical sensibilities. From the raunchy sounds of the American south, they proceeded into the EP’s space-themed Kraftwerkian electropop and Pink Floyd-infused progressive rock, accompanied by a bubbly pixel art backdrop featuring 8-bit effigies of Kim Jong-Un, Lieutenant Spock, and Adolf Hitler riding a T-Rex. The spectacle, delirious in its off-brand imagery and sound, unfolded with pristine precision nearing perfection.
Following a fifteen-minute intermission announced by an ominous countdown on the venue’s display screens, the sextet resumed the show on the dot with a second set dedicated to their back catalogue. Milan Fras returned clad with his old party uniform and do-rag for a thunderous rendition of ‘Ordnung und Disziplin’ and ‘Ich Bin der Engel Der Verzweiflung”, two numbers from last year’s daring Wir Sind Das Volk. Tonight’s honoured hymns to totalitarian brutality were largely borrowed from the collective’s most recent output. The Wagner-inspired songs from Also Sprach Zarathustra later froze audiences to the bone with their pitch-dark musings on mankind, whereas two rare tracks from the obscure recent Sketches of the Red Districts brought some moodier moments to the evening. Though as distinct as the projects they were composed for, each set of tracks stood neatly at their place in theprogrammet, transitioning seamlessly from one ambience to the next, ultimately returning to the band’s earliest songs, revamped live in their Revisited form with live instruments and solos.
With an electrifying rendition of ‘Ti, ki izzivaš’ closing the evening, the band left the stage with a solemn bow to the audience before returning for two encores. Leonard Cohen was honoured with a cover of ‘The Future’ as were the Rolling Stones with the classic ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ cover, during which the band made sure to sync the song’s refrain “Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name” with pictures of Vladimir Putin. An unknown new track and ‘The Coming Race’ from the Iron Sky : The Coming Race soundtrack made way for Marina to tear down the stage with an explosive neo-soul finale.
With a message stating “We will not be back” projected on the backdrop, Laibach left Le Cabaret Sauvage having made their case clear. Laibach’s crusade will honour no boundaries or borders and will subvert and repurpose any cultural artefact to further their agenda of musical totalitarianism. What you get may not always be what you came for, but you’ll be sure it’s delivered with frightening efficiency.