A Night of Confusion

flyer - a night of confusion
28 September 2004 / LVC, Leiden (NL)

Novo Homo
Predella Avant
Der Blutharsch

This event was entitled ‘A night of confusion’. An appropriate title, because there was quite some confusion in the days preceding the concerts. Antifascist organisations demanded that the event would be cancelled. In their eyes, Albin Julius’ project Der Blutharsch went too far with their militaristic image and use of controversial (nazi) imagery.

The local politicians of Leiden got involved. Finally the mayor judged that there were not enough reasons to forbid the concert. In his view Der Blutharsch cannot be condemned as extreme right-wing, but he called the band ‘tasteless’. The LVC was also put under pressure, but the manager came to a similar conclusion as the mayor: Der Blutharsch? use of controversial symbols is mainly esthetic, the music does not have clear political messages, and the audience consists mainly of ?harmless goths?.

All this commotion generated a lot of free publicity. I wonder if otherwise also 300 people would have showed up on a Tuesday night. Even national TV-station RTL4 was presentwith a camera crew. To the question why he used this type of provocation, Albin Julius smartly responded: Because it works. Why else are you here?

The title of the event was actually not chosen for political reasons. Recordstore La La Land from The Hague organized the evening as a benefit for Confusion, a cafe/concert venue in The Hague, which I’m not familiar with. Apparently this place is threatened with closure. When we arrived at the LVC, nothing reminded of the preceding commotion, except perhaps for the rather strict searching at the entrance.

The opening act was Volksweerbaarheid, a Dutch act which released a record on Julius’ Hau Ruck! label. As usual the three guys delivered a solid show. They seem to grow more confident with each performance. They played a couple of new songs, which were interesting music- and lyricwise. An entertaining surprise was a rendition of Brels rant ‘De burgerij’ (Les bourgeois). The musical foundation of Volksweerbaarheid is rather minimal: heavy drumming and staccato vocals with Dutch lyrics, often with acoustic guitar added. The new elements they used this time on a few songs, a noisy backing track and electrical bass, were a welcome variation which gave the music more depth.

Volksweerbaarheid Volksweerbaarheid Volksweerbaarheid Volksweerbaarheid

Next in the line-up was a true cult act: Novo Homo from Australia. Alone on stage, Bain Wolfkind was dressed in a smart black suit, hidden behind big sunglasses. Inspired by bottles of beer and wodka and cigarettes, Novo Homo sang his way through the twisted rock ‘n roll songs about sex and love, betrayal and revenge. When Bain was crooning in the slower songs, I really had to think of Nick Cave. Certainly an entertaining performance, though not for too long. No one has a problem when this guy sings about fistfucking, while wearing a wrong cross can cause storms of protests…

Novo Homo Novo Homo Novo Homo Novo Homo

I had seen Predella Avant just two months ago at the Summer Darkness festival, so no real surprises here. We were again treated to their powerful and bombastic martial material. An orchestral background, military drumming (taken caren of by the Volksweerbaarheid guys) and commanding male and female vocals. Again they played some promising new compositions. War is still a main theme, considering the song about Vietnam and another new track probably inspired by recent political events (?Let?s kill kill kill for the stars & the stripes?).

Predella Avant Predella Avant Predella Avant Predella Avant

Last but not least was Der Blutharsch. After a nostalgic intro, Albin and Marthyana entered the stage in their slick historical uniforms, shouting through handheld loudspeakers (?Patrias et Libertas!?). They were enforced by Bain Wolfkind on drums and a guitarist. On most of their albums 2 or 3 tracks stand out (usually the more bombastic ones), it seemed if tonight they played all of them in a row. To my surprise they also performed two Death in June tracks: ‘Despair’ and ‘Frost Flowers’, of the Take care and control album on which Albin Julius participated. It was certainly a powerful concert. Weakest point were probably the vocals, especially the voice of Albin could not be heard very well. Bain had a lot more power when he sang some songs at the end (?In the hands of the master?). I had not seen Der Blutharsch before, except for a short surprise performance in Switzerland a few years ago. More experienced visitors told me that their show looked more professional than in the past. They had some gimmicks to make the show visually more interesting, like the loudspeakers, a text sheet which was burned and a strange mechanical tool. Der Blutharsch certainly knew how to entertain the people.

Der Blutharsch Der Blutharsch Der Blutharsch Der Blutharsch Der Blutharsch Der Blutharsch

Despite the martial music on stage, the night evolved in a peaceful manner. Local newspaper Leidsch Dagblad concluded: ?Tumult about band is a storm in a teacup…?