WORDS: GARY BRABIN
German language industrial metallers Rammstein may well be the greatest live band on the planet.
In years past, their tours have featured band members simulating anal sex on each other, wearing flaming codpieces and riding giant pink cannons ejaculating foam And fire. So much fire.
- READ MORE: Rammstein – ‘Untitled’ review
This weekend, the band returned to the UK for a sold-out show at the MK Arena in Milton Keynes, bringing with them their new live spectacle. We don’t want to spoil it for you – they’re back in 2020 – and so we haven’t shared all the secrets below. But we thought it’d be useful to know some of the best bits.
EINS! They repeatedly try to kill their keyboard player
The highlight of any Rammstein show remains the sequence where, during the ode to cannibalism that is ‘Mein Teil’, singer Till Lindemann puts on a chef’s hat, places keyboard player Christian ‘Flake’ Lorenz in a giant metal cauldron, then repeatedly attempts to set it and Flake on fire with a flamethrower. Eventually Flake emerges from the cauldron and waves a white flag in surrender. Then Till leaves the stage for a breath, only to return driving a small tank, blasting fire. The song – as you may not wish to know – concerns the Rotenberg Cannibal, Armin Meiwes, who in 2001 cut off and ate a man’s penis. The song title translates as ‘My Part’.
ZWEI! Wherever you are, you’re not safe from pyro
Lots of bands have pyro onstage. Many bands have big pyro onstage. But how many bands have pyro all around the arena? Whether you’re in the front row, somewhere in the middle of the crowd, or stood nursing your pint at the very back, at this Rammstein show you’ll never be more than a metre or two from huge bursts of fire. There are moments tonight where NME genuinely felt our face fry. Mmm, crackling! It’s little exaggeration to say that this show makes Muse’s current show look like that of a beardy folk artist down at The Water Rats.
DREI! There are fireworks. Fucking loads of them
Before the band’s signature song ‘Du Hast’, fireworks squeal from stage, to the pylons erected around the arena, back to the stage, where twenty-foot flames engulf the band and all their equipment. Rumours has it that many residents of Milton Keynes believed that World War III was kicking off in their backyard. In terms of grabbing your attention, it’s much more effective a method than walking gingerly towards the mic, tapping it, and declaring “this is a song about feelings…” (The German for that is ‘Dies ist ein lied über gefühle’, FYI).
VIER! They set fire to a baby
Look away now, Esther Rantzen. Taken from the band’s excellent, new, self-titled seventh album, ‘Puppe’ might just be the most disturbing Rammstein song yet. When they play it, they bring a screaming baby out onstage in a pram. Then set fire to it. Then black ash is spewed all over the arena. Of course they do. If you’re looking for affordable childcare, don’t go with Till Lindemann Childcare Enterprises, no matter how reasonable their rates might appear. (NB: Not a ‘real’ baby).
FUNF! And they set fire to themselves too
Not quite content with the ‘bow’ that Till has twirled onstage for years now, sparks spitting from it as it spins, on this tour he’s got himself a backpack that – during ‘Mein Herz Brennt’ – spurts nine gigantic flames. It is an astonishing sight. If you’re worried about the singer or any of his bandmates catching fire, don’t. Not too much anyway. The guy is literally a professional. After an incident at Berlin Arena in 1996 saw fireworks fall from roof of the stage, Till trained as a qualified pyrotechnician!