Rammstein thrills with tongue-in-cheek brutality at T-Mobile Arena

Updated July 3, 2017 - 12:32 am

The scent of sulfur hung heavily in the air, the room cologned in the acrid tang of spent explosives.

Before the stage curtain even fell at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, the first pyro blasts were detonated.

Shortly thereafter, a refrigerator-sized German fellow issued a somewhat ominous command to the packed house: “Bück dich, America,” Rammstein frontman Till Lindeman sang in his native tongue, his words translating to “Bend over.”

“Gott weiß, ich will kein Engel sein,” (“God knows I don’t want to be an angel”), he added shortly thereafter.

Well, that last part wasn’t entirely true (he did sport a pair of fire-spewing cherub wings later in the show), but you get the gist: Like fellow hard-hitting, industrial-tinged acts such as Nine Inch Nails and Skinny Puppy, Rammstein’s catalog is frequently posited on themes of dominance and submission, pleasure and pain, and the thin line that separates them all.

The difference with Rammstein is they do so with a pronounced, knowing wink. Their sense of humor is as robust as Lindeman himself, whose stout physical bearing is akin to a couple of flesh-covered beer kegs stacked atop one another and whose lumbering, yet slapstick stage moves seem inspired by repeated viewings of “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.”

Everything about this bunch is meant to overwhelm: sonically, they’re loud even by the cochlea-shriveling standards of the most over-amped of metal bands. Guitarists Richard Z. Kruspe and Paul Landers enable Rammstein to plow through any language barriers with battering-ram riffs, while Lindeman’s basso profoundo bellow and tongue-rolling lasciviousness add still more aplomb to songs that are simultaneously carnal and concussive.

Visually, the band is just as ostentatious, their stage show powered by a phalanx of lighting rigs and increasingly inventive ways to test local fire codes. Guitars equipped with flame throwers? Check. Fire-spewing masks that looked as if they were purchased at an S&M shop catering to arsonists? Check. An explosives-laden vest that Lindeman detonated on his chest? OK, time to stop with the rhetorical questions already.

All this being said, Rammstein’s stage show was actually a bit toned down from some past tours. Maybe they wanted the capacity crowd to focus on the songs more. Fair enough: Rammstein’s repertoire packs plenty of bombast, but isn’t wholly defined by it. Keyboardist Christian “Flake” Lorenz leavens the band’s turgid crunch with synth pop flourishes and electronic accents, murmurs and squiggles, adding a bright palette of colors to Rammstein’s dark, churning rhythms.

As such, songs like “Ich Will” and “Sonne” bore an almost-danceable digital pulse, while “Hallelujah,” with its churchly organ fills, registered as one of the more rousing numbers you’re likely to hear about sexual abuse at the hands of clergymen.

On the topic of abuse, albeit that of the more tongue-in-cheek variety, one of the running gags at Rammstein gigs over the years has been Lindeman having his way with Lorenz. This time, he dragged Lorenz by the leash to a rusty bathtub where he dumped a bucket full of sparks on him.

This is the duality of Rammstein: Even at their heaviest, even when they’re addressing in song the most brutal of debasements, there’s a levity there lurking in the shadows.

It’s a way of processing the harshness of the world that surrounds them, by internalizing the ugliness and then stripping it of its power through relentless sonic and thematic desensitization, all done with a self-aware smirk.

Speaking of which, at the end of Saturday’s show, some fans seemed mildly disappointed that it wasn’t more over-the-top.

In a way, perhaps this was Rammstein’s goal all along: To so desensitize the masses to all manner of musical provocations, that one day, this would eventually come to include themselves.

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Entertainment
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like