Live at The Regent Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
October 5th, 2019
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
At the dawn of industrial music where EBM met the dance floor, there was Nitzer Ebb. Founded in 1982 by Bon Harris and Douglas McCarthy the English power house defined the sound that has carried industrial dance clubs for the last three and half decades.
2019 marks the thirtieth anniversary of their sophomore album "Belief", which played a center-piece role in tonight's set list with a third of the song selections taken from this release. While not as bombastic as their seminal debut, "That Total Age", it showed a refined style that also lent to a more subtle addressing of their world views.
They kicked off the set with "Blood Money" from "Belief" and continued with three more from this album to set off the night. "For Fun" led into "Captivate" and then culminated in the awesome "Hearts and Minds".
Joining Bon and Douglas on stage were David Gooday and Simon Granger to either side, operating synthesizers that recreated the age old favorites in deep resounding tones that you could feel through your body. Bon pounded out rhythms on a digital pad but also sang a lot more than previous tours.
For "Getting Closer" Bon came down off of his riser and joined Douglas in singing the back and forth verse of one of my all time favorite Nitzer Ebb tracks.
Having moved on to the "Showtime" release, they continued there with two smash club hits from 1990 with "Lightning Man" followed by "Fun to Be Had". The entire audience was singing along and dancing to these favorites.
The venue was absolutely packed, wall to wall as the song goes. It seems that it was beyond capacity as I have been to a number of sold out shows here and it has never been this crowded. Fans ranged from people old enough to be my parents to those who could be my children, it was an impressive diversity.
Continuing through their song catalog they did the moving "Come Alive" from the "As Is" EP, which starts out as a love song ballad and builds momentum to the excellent crescendo of Douglas belting out "Wake up, Wake up, Wake up your Heart... and Come to Life!"
Moving chronologically from there they hit the "Ebbhead" release with "Ascend". Douglas was decked out in a full suit with slicked back hair and really played the part of a gentleman mobster shimmying to the music.
I really expected them to break out "Family Man" at this point but they turned back on time, revisiting "Belief" for "Shame" before finally treading their debut material. As soon as the signature beats resounded the crowd went wild for their industrial anthem, "Join in the Chant".
They followed this up with the biggest club hit from the "Belief" album, "Control I'm Here" which kept the crowd's energy at peak levels.
"Down on Your Knees" was the sole song coming from 2010's amazing "Industrial Complex" album, which represented their reunion after a fifteen year hiatus. I would have loved to hear more of this album live but I appreciate getting to hear all the hits that put them on the map so many years ago on this tour.
They returned to "That Total Age" for the final songs of the set with the other two major hits that have been playing in clubs since the album dropped in 1987; "Let Your Body Learn" and "Murderous".
The band left the stage to continuous cheering from the audience which they let go for some time. David Gooday, Bon, and Simon Granger returned to the stage with David taking the mic. They did the aggressive industrial track "Alarm" with harsh, hollered vocals and heavy metallic percussion that defined this early era of industrial music.
After another respite from the stage with stomping , whistling, and more chanting, the crowd called them back out for one final encore performance. They closed out the night with "Godhead" from the "Ebbhead" release.
Douglas addressed everybody after the finale and introduced all the band members. He thanked everybody and said it was so good to be back here in Los Angeles and that they really love it here. With a final collective bow they exited the stage.
It was a great show, moving through all of their most influential club hits while giving a showcase presentation of the "Belief" album. Interestingly enough, they skipped over the "Big Hit" album entirely... I would have loved to see "In Decline" or "Floodwater" live but I cannot complain about the awesome set list that they did choose.
Hard to believe I have been listening to these guys since I was in high school when "That Total Age" came out. Seeing them tonight made me feel old and strangely young at the same time. As the song goes, "You are young until you get old".
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