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KMFDM at Irving Plaza- New York, NY

KMFDM logo

Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid loosely translates to “no pity for the majority.” For a time, the joke was that KMFDM actually stood for “Kill Motherfucking Depeche Mode.” This was even referenced in one of their songs. The true translation is a far greater connection with their music. Since 1984, Sascha Konietzko and various band members have been a consistent force of industrial music. This year saw the release of their 20th studio album Hell Yeah. A new album comes nearly once per year and is typically followed by a tour.

I first saw them in 1997 at Roseland Ballroom in NYC (RIP) after the Symbols album came out and have seen them a few times since. The shows have been similar but seem calmer as the fans age with the band.  The lineup may change but the power is there. Essential elements are the drums, deep solid-state distorted guitar, a female singer, and Sascha himself singing and running a sampler. 

kmfdm irving plaza
This show was announced months ago. I traded a ticket with Red Dread for one to The Pixies. I also got one for two friends I rarely see. One of whom was with me when I found KMFDM. He broke his nose in the pit at that Symbols show. Tonight his headache took him out early in the night. The other, who we’ll call Griffin. is a new friend who shares my tastes in music and humor. They both have prominent positions so I can’t say much more about them save to mention that Griffin and I will be attending a Ministry show soon. Red Dread couldn’t make it last minute. Her extra ticket went to Nonmomo a KMFDM fan from back in the day who has been friends with us since the early 90s. With the crew in place and all gathered near Union Square, we made our way east to Irving Plaza.

We glanced at the merch and settled in near the VIP risers on the far side of the venue. We all forgot that an opening band was on the way out. Three songs in Griffin asks, “They’re trying really hard to sound like Skinny Puppy.” I agreed and started researching. Happily distracted from the music, I learned we were listening to OhGr the new band from Skinny Puppy founder Nivek Ogre. Ogre left Skinny Puppy in 1995 and if tonight was an example of how well a band can work together, well, hug your drummer and thank your bassist. OhGr left much to be desired. I would love to write volumes of why the band didn’t work but am not sure where to even start. The only thought at the time was they would make KMFDM sound even better.

Erasing that experience from my mind and regretting the time spent listening proved easy soon as the screen went up. Irving Plaza hosts a slideshow of upcoming gigs before and during set breaks. When the screen retracts, the show is about to start. Many of the highlighted acts were foreign to me and some looked worth seeing. The unknown ones even managed to sell out some of their gigs. Amazing. I have more digging to do. Tonight though was about celebrating the vast catalog of KMFDM. I don’t love every song, I’m forgiving with their English (a tough second language), and I feel some tracks are hastily written. In the past, we’ve asked if our love for the band came from mere exposure or talent. For me, they will always be deeply rooted in powerful rhythms, great guitar, inspiring anti-establishment lyrics, and some fun. Many of my hippie friends know KMFDM as one of the acts I’d play on the long drive home to help me stay awake.

They played 18 songs spanning decades of hits. Many were from the new album but some went way back. The crowd nodded along and if there was a pit, it was small and out of view. We enjoyed the time and loved the energy. Some were there for their first time and were jaw dropped. Others were there to refuel the energy a show like this delivers.

  1. D.I.Y.
  2. Freak Flag
  3. Hell Yeah
  4. Amnesia
  5. Light
  6. Rebels in Kontrol
  7. Total State Machine
  8. Animal Out
  9. Burning Brain
  10. Bumaye
  11. Glam Glitz Guts & Gore
  12. Shock
  13. Virus
  14. Murder My Heart
  15. A Drug Against War

    Encore:

  16. WWIII
  17. Hau Ruck
  18. Godlike
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