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Laibach (live at the Festival of Central European Culture)

The Festival of Central European Culture Queen Elizabeth Hall,The South Bank Centre, London 10th July 1998

Across between political rally, religious service and Thrash Metal gig, tonight’s appearance in the centre of High Art’s temple of culture simultaneously enthralls and overpowers with meta-kitsch imagery and extreme volume. From the mechanistic coupling of video projections with the thunderous music, via the part-Rock, part- militaristic poses thrown by the band, to the choice of covers of Europop and Seventies Rock anthems, Laibach are decidedly worrying. What causes the nervousness is the sheer force of the devices involved. Black banners with silver insignia, smoke machines, strobes and Thrash solos; bare chests, computer graphics and Industrial beats; knife- edge irony and uncompromising, straight-faced confrontation with the very soul (or lack thereof) of post-Cold War, post-religious, consumerist culture.

Whether Laibach’s performance would have drawn the unwary into the trap of mass participation in fascistic communion

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