Nitzer Ebb Murders the Mod Club
Think of EBM as the bastard child of Kraftwerk and Nine Inch Nails. It's raw intensity makes for a great soundtrack to your toughest workout. And it's really fun to dance to. The physical and severe dance sound that the band embodies is a cathartic experience to witness in live performance. Nitzer Ebb contemporaries Front 242 once called this music "Electro Disco Terrorist Music" and it's easy to see why.
Lead singer Douglas McCarthy was front-and-centre all night, pacing back and forth across the stage like a wind-up toy that was just let loose. His energy and stamina held up throughout the show.
McCarthy looked slim in a black suit and tie. His crisp, white shirt soaked up more and more sweat as the night progressed.
His two bandmates were relegated to the rear of the stage, often standing up at their drum kits throughout the show.
There were no keyboards or bass guitar visible; just an open laptop computer that provided the electronic synthesizer and sequencers. Not that it was lacking, visually or otherwise. It just wasn't that kind of show.
I was surprised how long it took before the suit jacket came off. McCarthy must've lost at least five pounds' worth of sweat up there. And the crowd was loving it.
Once 1990's Lightning Man started, the crowd kicked into action and started to really get hyped.
The songs that got the biggest reaction from the Toronto audience were the ones that broke the band into the industrial dance movement: Murderous, Let Your Body Learn and Join In the Chant, which had everyone shouting out the title by the end of the song.
It's hard to believe that That Total Age was released over 20 years ago, for which Nitzer Ebb toured with Depeche Mode on their Music For the Masses album. It didn't seem to matter an iota that Nitzer Ebb's last album Big Hit came out in 1995. On Tuesday night it was as if the full moon transported us into a time warp back a decade and a half.
I Give To You got a few more bodies moving. But no one could match McCarthy up on stage, except for maybe this one little blonde woman who thrashed about, maybe five feet from the front of the stage throughout the entire show. I wish I still had that much energy.
Just over halfway through the show, the white shirt was saturated and had to come off, much to the delight of many in the crowd.
Photos by Roger Cullman.
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