KMFDM @ Shank Hall
March 24, 2013
was almost a challenge, a game to pass the time between bands, to find somebody
not rocking the band’s iconic
acronym, which, by the way, stands for “Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid,” a
grammatically incorrect German phrase meaning roughly “No Pity for the
Majority” (and not, as the band has jokingly claimed on occasion, “Kill
Motherfucking Depeche Mode.”) These were
clearly devout fans, singing along to every song of a set that bounded across
the band’s vast discography, while detouring heavily into the brand new Kunst, most memorably with the topical “Pussy
Riot.” Hearing material from across decades back to back, it’s easy to get the
sense KMFDM’s conceptual consistency might be a little too consistent, but
while their sound, which loudly helped to define Chicago’s legendary Wax Trax!
Records, wore a little thin over nearly two hours, it’s not without plenty of
This lineup, in place for the last decade, is at its best when it finds the right balance between the electronic dance and heavy metal influences that inform modern industrial music, melding the big rave beats and synth hooks with the noisy guitars and drum blasts instead of just swinging between the two. With the sometimes lunkheaded, combat-obsessed lyrics and cartoonish stage presence (Konietzko looked very Travis Bickle in his mohawk and shades), it’s a little hard to tell how seriously to take KMFDM, but if they’re fairly cheesy, it’s a likable, contagious cheesiness, and they certainly make the effort to put on a show, complete with some impressive lighting effects. The fans, some of whom came from hours away, were clearly into it, and the band reciprocated with an extended double encore and some pandering praise about Chicago being a suburb of Milwaukee and not the other way around. Lord only knows how many tour T-shirts were sold.