Picture Book & Live Review: KMFDM with Chant & Legion Within @ The State Theater March 18th

Photos & Review by: Tommy Dingus

The evening started on the heaviest note it possibly could have. From Austin, Texas comes Chant—A two-piece combo of thunder and lightning whose sound was as sharp as the spikes on the back of singer Bradley Bills. The other edge of the sword is Kristopher Robin, who manned the keyboard when he wasn’t co-drumming on the triple wide kit that spanned the stage, complete with buckets and a giant trash can. Chant’s combination of LED flashes and war drums set the dark and industrial pace for the rest of the night in the same way the musical Stomp would if Tim Burton directed it.

You could call it the darkest glam rock, or the glammest darkwave, but Seattle’s Legion Within sounds something like David Bowie if he was mad at his father. The fivesome is led by singer and stage wanderer William Wilson, but is propelled by incredibly talented drummer, Aaron Nicholes. The beats provided seem to drive Wilson all over the place, from the edge of the stage where he would go forehead to forehead with the ladies in the front row to the back of the stage where he would spray his throat with his “secret ingredient.” Somehow, throughout all of this madness, bassist Erica Butler-Branch seemed entirely nonplussed and content to jam. Her zen-like aura added a calming element to the fever dream going on around her.

Enter the industrial heavyweights, KMFDM. Though not all of the current members have been a part of the project since it’s launch in Hamburg, Germany in 1984, “Kapt’n” Sascha Konietzko has, and he has kept the same attitude infallibly in place. He hit the stage in his trademark sunglasses, camouflage and body armor, accompanied by his now wife, singer Lucia Cifarelli, the only American in the group. She takes a different approach in her latex, fishnets and spikes, looking more like a doll from the darkside. Konietzko and Cifarelli take turns growling through songs from their 29 years worth of material, with the Kapt’n weaving in and out of German along the way. The two guitarists, who both hail from the UK, attempt to stay our of Cifarelli’s way as she prowls the stage with her expressionless gaze. With their two synths going non-stop, flanked by the shredding guitars, KMFDM makes sure you don’t rest for a second during their onslaught of pounding rebellion.

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