Fans of Rammstein and Till Lindemann have been treated to a hefty dose of drama this year. Just as the band’s stadium tour of 2023 was kicking off back in may, allegations of sexual misconduct were leveled against Rammstein in general and their singer Till Lindemann in particular. The accusations lead to an investigation that lasted the entire summer until on 29th of August, the case was dropped due to lack of evidence. Soon after this acquittal, Lindemann began rolling out singles from his solo album “Zunge”, which was released back in early November. The album does not belong in the same continuum as “Skills in Pills” and “F&M”, which were the products of Lindemann’s collaboration with Peter Tägtgren. Said collaboration came to an end in late 2020, after which Till Lindemann moved on as a solo artist with a new live band.
Upon arriving at the Helsinki Ice Hall last sunday my first destination was the restroom. There I encountered several printouts detailing safer space principles, which were placed there by the organizers. To what degree these pieces of paper helped make the venue a safer space that day is anyone’s guess, but they definitely served as a reminder of the controversy surrounding the evening’s main act.
Besides the main event, Finnish fans were treated to supporting acts Phantom Vision and Aesthetic Perfection. Phantom Vision hailed from Portugal, whereas Aesthetic Perfection is originally from North America. Both bands played a compact 20-minute set with only a 10-minute interim between them. I quite enjoyed these appetizers, even though neither of them are likely to make my playlist at home. Phantom Vision appealed to the crowd with atmospheric synth-soaked goth rock, and Aesthetic Perfection’s industrial sound was musically much closer to Till Lindemann.
The intermission between Aesthetic Perfection and Till Lindemann was conducted in secrecy with minimal lighting to maximize the element of surprise. At 21.20 p.m. Till Lindemann and his band began the show with “Zunge“, the opening track of the album bearing the same name. The viewer was immediately struck my the red motif permeating the entire spectacle, all the way from the band’s outfits to their instruments, the red was everywhere. Choosing a single color to represent the outlook of the whole presentation was not so surprising, considering that a few years ago during the Lindemann tour, the color of choice was white.
Despite the lackluster promotion of the concert the ice hall was well populated, with the standing floor being completely sold out. Red was the chosen color for many in the audience as well, for the season of pre-christmas parties is upon us, and some had come to the building sporting either a partial or a complete santa claus get-up.
The pre-christmas party provided by Till Lindemann and his band was a 90-minute affair of mostly generic industrial metal coupled with the sort of obscene humour the artist has been known for. Lindemann’s live band consisted of Constance Antoinette on keyboards, Jes Paige and Emily Ruvidich on guitars, Danny Lohner on bass and Joe Letz on drums. Together they performed 18 songs, twelve of which were from the albums Lindemann produced with Tägtgren and the rest were his solo work.
As Lindemann did not address the crowd at all until the end, the show relied on the music, background videos and a few stunts performed through the night. The most dominant feature of the show was the giant screen in the background showing material from the music video of whatever song was played. Thus the audience were treated to a gallery of grotesque, ranging from vaginal close-ups to Lindemann frolicking with females in various settings. During “Allesfresser” the crowd was force-fed cakes, and “Fish On” had the band flinging fish into the audience. “Platz Eins” saw the main man paraded and performing throughout the standing floor, and during “Knebel” an acoustic guitar featuring heavily on the song was trashed.
All of these tricks are carried over from the stage antics of Lindemann, the joint effort between Till Lindemann and Peter Tägtgren. And try as Till might to keep the flame from that project going without Tägtgren, there’s no denying that the vibe during a Till Lindemann show is entirely different from that of Lindemann, and not in favor of the former. The magical chemistry between Lindemann and Tägtgren that birthed two albums worth of exciting music was nowhere to be seen last sunday night. Perhaps this is in part due to the new band having played together for a relatively short time, but I’ll be truly surprised if the new Till Lindemann & co. will ever reach the bar set by the previous iteration, musically or otherwise. Until then, fans must contend with watching their favorite German singer kicking microphone stands on stage and performing live his music videos.
Ich weiß es nicht
Ich hasse Kinder
Skills in Pills
Pictures: AJ Johansson Photo and Video