Deichkind: where theater and techno meet | Music | DW | 09.03.2012
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Deichkind: where theater and techno meet

For years, they have been cult for their unique live performances. Now, Deichkind have finally reached second spot on the German charts with their latest album. DW's André Leslie went along to a concert in Düsseldorf.

Sarah has been waiting two hours in almost sub-zero temperatures for this. She's wearing pink sunglasses and a hat made out of neon glow sticks.

"We have throw-away sweaters on. In there it's going to be really hot and very full. So, once it warms up, we'll throw them off and underneath we have great costumes", she boasts.

Sarah is one of 5000 fans waiting in line outside of the Mitsubishi Electric Halle venue in Düsseldorf tonight. Like most people here, this isn't her first Deichkind concert.

Crazy costumes

Backstage I pick my way through inflatable jumping castles, motorised ride-on scooters and pyramid shaped headwear, as I search out the band's lead singer, Philipp Grütering.

Deichkind 2009

Fancy headwear is standard issue these days for Deichkind

"I would describe our music as a type of techno theater - by that I mean, electronic beats with German language spoken-word and singing."

The Hamburg singer says that the band's decision to focus on live performances was partially a pragmatic one. "We just realised that record sales were going down, everywhere. You don't sell as many albums these days as 10 or 20 years ago. So we just adapted. People come to our shows because it is an experience, as well as for the music."

Party time

But even if the band's members are all heading into their late 30's, Grütering assures me that they do still love the on-stage partying.

In tonight's performance, after a contemplative film starts off proceedings, the three Deichkind MCs burst out on with their faces painted and wearing outfits made completely of plastic garbage bags and neon tape. They start rapping in unison, the electro is grinding out of the huge speakers.

Deichkind 2009

Philipp's partner in crime, Ferris MC, on the mic

Before long the whole venue is bouncing to the band's current top hit "Bück dich hoch" (meaning "Bend yourself up"). Soon after, Philipp sets out across the mosh pit on an inflatable boat.

Several costume changes and syncopated dance routines later, the high point of the evening comes when a huge beer barrel, filled with vodka, appears on stage. Those in the mosh pit have alcohol poured straight into their mouths from a garden hose.

The band's final song, "Remmidemmi", ends with feathers falling from the ceiling. The audience isn't perturbed by it though, and simply keep on dancing. The best way to describe it all to a first-timer like me? Organised anarchy.

Not stopping

After the death of one of the band's members back in 2009, Sebastian Hackert, some thought that Deichkind might go their separate ways. But after some uncertainty, the band continued on and the gamble paid off.


When the band started in 1997, the focus was hip-hop, not electro

Their fifth album, entitled "Command from below", is enjoying the most success of any of their releases so far. The current tour is selling out big venues across the country and in Austria and Switzerland.

"It's just too much fun right now to stop and worry about it," Grütering says. "Of course I notice too that my beard is getting grey, and I am getting older. But it is simply too successful as well right now to stop."

The band hopes that by 2014 or so they will manage to make some tours outside of the German-language area. If they do, Grütering says they'll keep on singing in German.

After all, their on-stage performances certainly do speak for themselves.

Author: André Leslie

Editor: Rick Fulker

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