Assoc. Opinion Editor
Friday, November 1 marked the very first time industrial rock bands KMFDM and Chant performed at the Chameleon Club in downtown Lancaster. Their second North American tour in 2013, “We Are KMFDM” featured Chant from Austin, Texas as KMFDM’s sole opening act. The Chameleon Club was packed with punks, goths, rivet heads, and other various KMFDM fans alike. College students walked along the streets to get in line for the show; excitement buzzed in the air around fans who knew that this was KMFDM’s first time performing in Lancaster, PA.
KMFDM began in 1984 by front man Sascha Konietzko, creating their signature industrial sound by fusing elements of heavy metal and electronic music. Since their debut, KMFDM has released 18 studio albums along with several remix and compilation albums.
Going through many lineup changes and experimenting with a plethora of guest musicians, KMFDM has endured almost three decades, celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2014. Providing fans with their anarchic, intense fervor throughout their second North American tour this year, KMFDM landed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to bring the Ultra-Heavy Beat to the Chameleon Club.
Opening for KMFDM was Chant, the tribal-industrial, percussion-based act led by front man Bradley Bills from Austin, Texas. Lining the stage with various drum kits, percussion ensembles, and even utilizing a garbage can and a battered satellite dish, the Chameleon Club was treated to a blistering performance of throbbing drum beats performed by Bills.
Backed by keyboardist Kristopher Robin, Chant began the night performing their song “Hope,” which got the crowd bouncing their heads as Bills pounded out the beat on a stage covered in drums. Switching between a sitting drum kit and standing, all while delivering vocals, Bills hammered out the industrial anthem “Empty,” occasionally thrashing a metal garbage can during the performance.
The crowd became even more engaged when the militant march of “Revolt” began, a tune with a punk feel to it, urging the crowd to tramp along with the beat of the drums. What better way to start a revolution than stomping out the rhythm while Bills bashes, beats, and bruises an assemblage of drums while belting anarchic vocals?
Slowing the pace with the song “Need,” Chant gave the audience a pulsating, steady performance, using their percussion assembly to capture the song’s raw energy. Bills’ dexterity over a stage full of drums gradually won the crowd over, as heads bopped to the beat and bodies packed around the stage.
Bursting into their next track, “Crash Me,” a driving, energetic tune that displayed Chant’s industrial power, as the use of distorted guitar riffs backed their throbbing drumming skills. New tracks “Low” and “Universal” created an infectious grasp over the crowd; at one point Bills jumped off stage to interact with the audience.
Chant closed out their set with the songs “Point and Click” followed by “Blood + Peace,” both songs annihilated the Chameleon Club with contagious industrial rhythms and an explosion of fast-paced percussion work. It is easy to see why KMFDM picked Chant as their opening act—their vicious, industrial sound won the crowd over with every pound on a drum. Bills’ musical command and mastery over a legion of drums got the audience excited for more.
The lights dimmed as KMFDM prepared to go onstage; fans began to cheer and shriek as the intro to their song “Sucks” played. Starting off their performance with the electro-industrial fury of their new anthem “Kunst,” Konietzko greeted the Chameleon Club with a barrage of powerful vocals as the main floor filled with excitement. Guitarists Jules Hodgson and Steve White contributed to the mayhem with solid guitar work, and Andy Selway accompanied the beat on drums.
Singer Lucia Cifarelli moved stealthily around the stage, as she sang the lyrics to “Amnesia,” switching from soft, sensual vocals to powerful screams at the bat of an eye. She interacted and sang to members of the audience, as KMFDM fans belted out the chorus with her. Konietzko joined in vocally on the next song, “Ave Maria;” the tune having a steady, driving, industrial mood to it.
Next came their classic single, “Light,” which was well-received by the crowd as fists pumped in the air to the energetic rock sound. One of their newer songs, the political anthem “Pussy Riot” was belted out by Cifarelli, performing the vocals with a vicious brilliance as the audience sang along with approval.
Combining one of their fresher tunes with one of their first singles from 1988, KMFDM played “I <3 Not” along with “Don’t Blow Your Top,” giving both old and new fans a sonic thrill. Excellent guitar riffs and a ferocious electronic beat are fused in their next presentations of the songs “Tohuvabohu,” “Free Your Hate,” and “Potz Blitz!,” giving each rhythm a vigorous industrial metal feel.
Cifarelli hammered out her commanding, powerful vocals to the lyrics of “Rebels In Kontrol,” a punk-electronic tune urging the crowd to scream along with the political message of the song. Konietzko gives the next hits, “Son Of A Gun,” “Hau Ruck,” and “Krank” an electronic frenzy as the beat pulses through the floor, Hodgson and White strum out metal chords, and Selway strikes the drums with a matching rhythm.
Moving gracefully around the stage, Cifarelli performed “Animal Out” with sultry, wild vocals. After the craze and fervor of their industrial metal barrage of “A Drug Against War,” KMFDM left the stage with a roaring applause from the audience. The crowd knew, however, that there was more of the Ultra-Heavy Beat to come.
Fans began to shout as KMFDM returned to the stage, Konietzko stating that their fans’ excitement and passion “felt good.” Opening up their encore with the crowd-pleaser “DIY,” KMFDM continued to pound out energetic rhythms, the Ultra-Heavy Beat definitely didn’t stop for Lancaster PA.
The electronic fury continued with their hit, “Megalomaniac,” a danceable tune that got the audience jumping to their feet. Two guitars and a live drum set gave the song an industrial rock tone as the club surged with energy.
KMFDM’s final song of the night, “Anarchy,” was performed with intensity as Bradley Bills from Chant joined Cifarelli and Konietzko on vocals. A definite crowd-pleaser, KMFDM finished off the night with a political frenzy of lyrics, hard-hitting electronic throbs, and wailing guitar riffs.
KMFDM and Chant delivered their performances excellently, with each act leaving the crowd with applause and cries of enjoyment. Their North American tour continues until November 16, Seattle WA being their last stop. For Lancaster PA, KMFDM brought and delivered the Ultra-Heavy Beat to their eager fans. 2014 will mark their 30th anniversary as a band. As their first show in Lancaster PA, KMFDM and Chant were received with satisfaction, joy, and content by fans and new listeners alike.