27th August 2011
Bank Holiday August weekend- THE festival-holiday weekend of the year! If people are not stomping to the best acts in EBM at InFest or financially recovering from one of the many overseas Summer festivals, then they’ve packed up and left the wet, wintery London Town for somewhere more exotic (probably somewhere where Summer actually involves ‘Sun’!). Usually it is the weekend to avoid clubs, as you know they’ll be absolutely dead.
Lucky for us, after their Friday performance at InFest, Tactical Sekt made a detour to Slimelight, London, delivering not only one of the best live performances of recent years there, but also boosting the energy of the entire night. I first saw Tactical Sekt in late 2004 at the Islington Academy (now the O2). I wandered into the festival, having not heard of the band, but being interested in hearing new music I was intrigued.
I still remember their performance that night as one of the best EBM live shows I’ve ever seen, despite the later big acts playing; it was the highlight of the day and it’s one of the gigs I still hear cropping up in conversations, even now. Continuous energy, the liveliest, most hyper-active drummer you’ve ever seen and a great relationship with the crowd (not forgetting, incredibly stompy tracks from beginning to end) -it was hypnotic. The only difference in 2011… (Except the slight change in line up) they had even more energy and greater tunes.
The problem with reviewing a band like Tactical Sekt is that they make the reviewer’s task of making notes during the performance nearly impossible as the beat is too addictive to stop dancing. The gig started with Rob (synths) playing out the atmospheric chords of Bring Me Violence as Jay (drums), then followed by Anthony (vocals) got the crowd pumped up with energy, posed and ready, the second the bass and drums hit, the crowd were jumping about and stomping wildly.
Anthony has said the philosophy of the band is that the crowd are a part of it (see IV Interview, September 2011) and this is really apparent throughout their performance as he conducts the dancing audience, raising his arms up at climaxal moments then dropping them to signify instrumental breaks at which the motion of the crowd seems to be commanded like the parting sea.
Mixing old classics like Soulless, Timeless Killer and Devil’s Work with tracks from the last album including Not Entertained, American Way and Chosen One, the atmosphere was electric, Jay and Anthony were stage front, hanging from the ceiling pipes or grabbing the hands of the crowd at every opportunity leaving Rob to pump out their signature dark dance beat.
Tactical Sekt are one of the few bands in which the members all have an equal stage presence, yet it’s difficult to take your eyes off Jay as he jumps around the stage, on to speakers and runs back behind the drum kit to play- any second either drum stick isn’t making a sound he’s jumping all over the stage; certainly, both one of the most talented and one of the most energetic drummers in the scene.
You can tell from the chemistry between the three guys that the power of the music and performance is fuelled by the closeness of their friendship, the aggression and force of their sound and their great relationship highlighted when holding on to each other front of stage they all screamed “Send the little bitch back to hell” during Devil’s Work. The entire set list was high energy from start to finish, every track a dance floor filler, looking into the room you’d never have realised this was the ‘quietest club’ weekend of the year!