Live at Club Respekt in Tijuana

Mexico 9/11/2005

Review by Travis Baumann

Grendel are an awesome dark electro band hailing from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It is the brainchild of Vlerk and has had a number of supporting members over the years but is predominantly his project in that he writes the music and lyrics and sings all of the vocals himself.

We have seen Grendel on several occassions in Los Angeles but decided to drive down to Tijuana for our first Mexican experience to not only catch them but to see Amduscia which has never played Stateside yet.

Club Respekt was putting on a special show with local band Paranormal starting things off, Dawn of Ashes from here in Los Angeles, Amduscia as mentioned and Grendel as headliner.

The venue was a room above the local wax museum and although not the largest or most technically decked out venue, it was definitely adequate and ridiculously cheap Mexican beer never hurts. The place was pretty well packed, mostly by locals, but quite a few others had made the trek over the border to attend.

As can be witnessed from the photos, there wasn't a whole lot going on with lighting for the club but some of the multi-exposures looked kind of cool, so I included them and while normally I hate using a flash, it was the only chance of getting a glimpse of Vlerk and his female companion on keyboards.

Grendel had just come out with the "Soilbleed" EP at the time of the show so this set-list luckily included the title track featuring samples from "Full Metal Jacket" utilizing the army/marine attitude to satyrize and draw parallels of how humanity treats one another.

Off of that same EP they also did the awesome "ZombieNation". In addition they also did material from the three previous albums, "Inhumane Amusement", "End of Ages", and "Prescription Medicide".

The title track off of the "End of Ages" MCD was my favorite song of the set followed closely by the aforementioned "ZombieNation" and everyone sang along to "Soilbleed" which was really cool.

Vlerk was a madman filled with energy flying around the small stage and was literally a blur of motion most of the time. He wore a Nitzer Ebb shirt showing respect to one of the founding bands of this genre of music and while you could definitely draw parallels, Grendel take it to a much darker extreme with heavily distorted vocals and darker atmospheres.

Since this show, Grendel have released their best album to date, "Harsh Generation". Following in the dark electro vein they started in, they have built awesomely dark yet uplifting tracks with powerful percussion and brutal vocals.

The newest album utilizes samples from one of my favorite films "Videodrome" to emphasize the era of "The New Flesh" and how this generation, brought up on rampid technology growth and little idea of the repercussions, have become less connected to their emotions and their souls and have in fact become a "Harsh Generation".

Currently "Hate This" is tearing up dance floors across the globe and is one of my favorite songs they play at Das Bunker here in Los Angeles. The song is full of anger and vulgarity and a perfect release to dance these emotions and feelings out rather than let them coalese and bring worse emotional trauma.

Grendel are an energy charged punch in the face to normality and one of my favorites of this genre. It was great to see them live again and I can't wait to see "Harsh Generation" in the flesh.

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