Live at Das Bunker
Los Angeles, California April 3rd, 2009
Review by Travis Baumann
Funker Vogt have been putting out dance floor shredding electro industrial music for nealry fifteen years now. I remember when their first two singles, "Words of Power" and "Take Care" first hit CD shops and dance clubs here in the States and blew us all away.
I was anticipating a large turn out at Das Bunker this evening, but the enormous line stretching around the corner and down the block still took me by surprise.
After waiting in line for over an hour we finally got let in and then fought our way through another line at the bar. We eventually moved into the main dance room where people were already pressing up to the stage area, anxious for the live band and taking over the dance floor in anticipation.
Funker Vogt went on twenty minutes after midnight. Rote-X (Gerrit Thomas) handled the keyboards and computers as well as sang back up vocals. He wore a tight black tank-top and a black SWAT cap with lights on the brim to illuminate his equipment.
Jens Kästel, the vocalist and frontman, had short spiked hair and wore a button up, striped shirt. His appearance surprised me a bit as he was different from what I imagined one of the pioneering Electro singers from Germany might look like.
Despite his more conventional dress, Jens controled the stage and the crowd, belting out some of the genre's classic tracks like "Take Care" and "Black Hole" off of their earliest album and followed those songs up with material from through out their extensive musical catalog.
They were joined on stage by a guitarist dressed all in camoflage. I am not sure who this member was as they have switched back and forth between two main guitarists over the years. He occasionally sang back up on the chorus sections of some songs.
The band sounded really good tonight. Jens' voice was spot on and the sound mix was perfect for this style of music. The guitar was mixed at just the right level to give a nice punch but never over powering the industrial beats and powerful synthesizer sounds.
At one point Jens left the stage and Gerrit and the guitarist did a really cool instrumental with the keyboards very obviously being played live, which the audience really got into.
The crowd overall was very enthusiastic, moving around and keeping their hands in the air. Jens occasionally spoke to the fans, mostly in German as well as bits of broken English, announcing many of the songs. Stand out tracks from later albums included hits like "Killing Fields", "Gunman", and "City of Darkness".
There were a number of songs that I did not immediately recognize but they all sounded really powerful live and encouraged me to go home and listen to all of their discs.
Gerrit sang back up vocals on every song and his voice blended perfectly with Jens' making them sound just as good live as on their studio tracks.
My favorite song of the night was definitely "Take Care" which I have always loved and wanted to see live, and I was not disappointed.
I wish there would have been more stage lighting as it was hard to see at times and even harder to take pictures but overall it was a really great show.
Jens and Gerrit looked as if they were having a great time on stage as well. They were quite often smiling and sharing the experience with each other and fed off of the energy of the crowd.
Since going to Europe is so ridiculously expensive right now, it was great that one of its top Electro acts came to us for a night.
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