Take Your Stein, and Ramm It
Rammstein, Soulfly and Skunk Anansie
at The Docks in Toronto, Ontario, on June 8th 1999

by: Adam Wasylyk
I just recently came upon Rammstein's latest disk, 1997's _Sehnsucht_, and became completely enthralled by their meshing of industrial and metal music. Gaining a reputation from its live show from the "Family Values" tour (Korn, Limp Bizkit) and coupled with the quality of music they've created, I knew I had to be there to witness them in person. It would be a show I'd never forget.

Openers Skunk Anansie and Soulfly could be referred cruelly to as "momentary distractions from complete boredom", as most in attendance couldn't care less who was playing on this night other than the German headliner. Both bands, however, did turn in good sets, although unmemorable compared to what was to come.

What's great about Rammstein in concert is that it's a spectacle to behold. Not only do you get to hear some great music (staying true to their recorded material) but the pyrotechnics and band theatrics keep things lively and energetic.

With around 1500 in attendance, the band started off with "Spiel Mit Mir". As all six members rose from the pit (hell?) below the stage, singer Till Lindemann appeared last by emerging through the bass drum with a Borg-like laser eye-piece in place. What a way to start off a show! Lots of fire and explosions were scattered throughout the hour-and-a-half set, with tracks like "Tier", "Bestrafe Mich", the title track and a couple of older tracks that I assume were off the band's prior album. Of course a Rammstein set wouldn't be complete without the fan favourite "Du Haust", which is currently getting a lot of radio play. And as seen on the "Family Values" tour video, Rammstein re-enacted their performance during the song "Buck Dich", which involved the singer taking out a prosthetic penis (which was connected to a water pump) and stroking it until a stream with the power of a fire house came out, all while aimed at the ass of a willing gimp. Classic!

There's a couple of points worthy of note revolving around Rammstein during their Toronto show. The first point concerns keyboardist Flake Lorenz. I must comment that he is the worst dancer I've ever seen. Doing what resembled a shimmy, he would run around the stage in a maniacal sort of way for reasons unknown (it ain't dancing!). What most in attendance will never forget is during one of their songs Lorenz threw a inflatable rubber dingy onto the crowd and had them carry him from the stage to the back of the venue and finally back to the stage again. However, what he didn't plan on was a barricade on the way back to the stage, resulting in the crowd loosing their grip on the dingy and him falling about eight feet to the floor. He must have been feeling it for the rest of the night, as I was close enough to feel the thud. Ouch!

Secondly, the band have been accused of being racist. It's unknown as to whether it's true, but why would a supposedly racist band allow a black female fronted band (Skunk Anansie) and a band from Brazil (Soulfly) to open up for them? With this in mind, while at least 400 kids sang along with Rammstein in German, I couldn't help but feel I was in attendance at a Nazi youth pep rally. Eerie, to say the least.

Ending off the night with "Engel", it capped off a terrific set that serves as the best live show I've seen thus far this year. If Rammstein visit near your parts, don't hesitate to go check 'em out, especially those who like their industrial music heavy and uncompromising. You'll thank me later.

(article submitted 12/8/1999)


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