JUNE 5th 2015

Review by Anka
Photos by Peter Ruttan

Photos: http://www.metaltitans.com/concertpics/liabach/

You think you know – but you have no idea: if you haven’t seen a Laibach show yet, then it should be added to your bucket list of shows to see in this lifetime. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you like, this is just one of those bands that have to be seen. Their show in Vancouver was undoubtedly one of the best this year and I am sure the quite large crowd attending would agree with me. It was interesting to see the eclectic gathering there, from industrial fans to older-generation Slovenians, each one beyond excited to see the band live in Vancouver for the first time.

After a local DJ warm-up, Laibach took the stage with a synth intro, while most of the house lights went off. When it was time to reveal the entire band, we were treated to a simple, unpretentious yet very powerful stage presence. Laibach members don’t employ ample gestures and body language, they let the images speak. The most impressive part of the show is definitely represented by the visuals. Two huge projection screens at the back of the stage and a couple small ones on the sides (these ones part of the Rickshaw Theatre setup) were the main means of communication through digital imaging. There is a lot of message and context in their carefully crafted visuals, and it takes maybe a lot of knowledge of the band’s music to completely understand them. I have the experience of a previous Laibach show about 10 years ago, but this time I was still surprised at the generous content. In a Laibach show, the projections significantly add to the message of the music, sometimes with symbolic visuals, other times with excerpts and collages from movies or their videos. From political to philosophical messages, ambiguous visual art with multiple possible meanings, they all reach your mind without any effort, if you only take a moment to open up your mind. Musical notes and rhythms almost “sound” like the colors and textures, words get new meanings, repetitions are mind-expanding.

This is not to say I didn’t enjoy seeing the band – from time to time, watching them was as spectacular. The biggest plus for me was the addition of their vocalist Mina Spiler (also contributing the third synthesizer to the mix) who is an absolutely stunning presence with a mesmerizing, expressive deep voice. As usual Laibach structured their show in two parts separated by a ten minute break. Both parts orbited around their latest release Spectre from 2014, with a few older tunes blended in. I was taken by surprise to actually not know a couple songs but I do know I enjoyed every second of what was played. From the coldness of the industrial beats to the electro sounds derives a somber atmosphere that will slowly sweep you out of the real world and absorb you into a whirlwind of sound and psychedelic visuals. Adding to the atmosphere, their overall live sound seems even heavier than what you hear on the recording and this is definitely something the heavy music fans will enjoy.

After this experience I saw many fans in awe. With such a great turnout, I am sure this show will be much talked about and hopefully when the band returns there will be even more fans waiting to watch their incredible live performance. A show that will enchant and will leave you wondering …