Review: “Rammstein – Paris” at Hackney Picturehouse (23 March 2017)

Thursday night saw the worldwide cinema screening of Jonas Åkerlund’s Rammstein:Paris concert film. An overly-excited Katie headed along to Hackney Picturehouse to check it out.

I was hoping that there would be some sort of Rammstein theme going on in local bars & restaurants, but sadly not (I guess Hackney isn’t really famed for its metal community) and there was not even so much as a poster of the film on display in the cinema! That being said, Screen One of Hackney Picturehouse was close to being full and there was a huge cheer from the crowd as the words “Rammstein-Paris” appeared on the cinema screen.

The opening sequence saw the band ceremoniously walking to the stage, led by bassist Oliver Riedel wielding a flaming torch, before opening their set with “Sonne”. After performing a selection of tracks on the main stage, drummer Christoph Schneider revisited his “Frau Schneider” character from the “Mein Teil” video and led the rest of the band on leashes via a metal walkway to a tiny stage in the middle of the crowd where they went on to play “Büch Dich”. A particular highlight of the evening for me was the great cheer that erupted in the cinema as Till Lindemann gleefully waved his ejaculating prosthetic penis in the air! Whilst still on the tiny stage the band played “Mann Gegen Mann” followed by “Ohne Dich” – only Rammstein can follow a heavy-as-fuck homo-erotic anthem with a beautiful emotional ballad!

The concert/film features a brilliant selection of tracks from the band’s 20-year back-catalogue, plus all of the classic spectacle you would expect from a Rammstein live show; face-mounted flame-throwers during “Feuer Frei!”, Flake in a huge cooking pot being roasted by Till with an enormous flame-thrower during “Mein Teil”, the huge bow of sparks during “Du Riechts So Gut”, the crowd chanting along to “Du Hast”, the huge flaming wings of “Engel” and, of course, Till riding an enormous penis-shaped canon whilst showering the crowd with foam during “Pussy”.

Unlike many other bands’ concerts, there is no filler in a Rammstein show; no “good evening Paris” and no unnecessary talking to the crowd in-between songs; just a intense non-stop visual and sonic performance, with the band graciously bowing to the adoring crowd at the end of the show.

As the credits rolled a few people began leaving their seats to head home, but the show wasn’t quite over as the guitar intro to “Frühling In Paris” started playing, revealing one final song; a beautiful ode to the city in which the concert had taken place.

Rammstein-Paris is quite different to the band’s 2015 live DVD In Amerika (filmed at Madison Square Garden in New York). Whilst In Amerika is a brilliantly filmed concert DVD, Rammstein-Paris is more like an extended music video; with the array of camera angles providing wonderful depth and variety to the performance. Slow-motion cameras capture some of the usually unseen emotions of the band members, and footage recorded from within the 17,000-strong Parisian crowd really captures the atmosphere, making you feel like you are right there with them.

Swedish director Åkerlund gathered footage from two nights of Rammstein’s shows at Bercy Arena in Paris back in 2012 during the band’s Made In Germany tour; allegedly using 26 carefully-placed cameras, plus additional close-up footage recorded during the dress-rehearsal so as not to interrupt the audience’s view during the show. It is clear that the film has been created by someone who has a long-running relationship with and admiration for the band and it really is a beautiful piece of work!

Tom Brumpton from Partisan PR and I were chatting after the film and he summarized Rammstein-Paris brilliantly when he said: “Åkerlund turned what could have been a tumultuous and boring affair into a sumptuous visual experience that will leave fans satisfied and newcomers curious for the real deal.”

Rammstein-Paris is due to be released on 19 May in a variety of formats, which can be pre-ordered from the band’s online store. The live audio album is available to pre-order now via iTunes  and [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B06XQ7NCMZ] [sponsored link].

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