Die Apokalyptischen Reiter - LIVE: The Underworld, London 2012

The Greatest of The Best Tour
April 25
Capacity 500

One has to give Die Apokalyptischen Reiter credit – despite the odds stacked up against them in the UK, the band continue to perform here even if it is to the most smallest of audiences. Sales for tonight's show are not good, and given the stage-set the band bring – arguably one of the grandest looking the Underworld is likely to see – that has to be costing the band something. The band have a huge reputation as a live extravaganza and their music is hardly unpopular either, so why is nobody interested? Does a band have to fit comfortably into a certain niche for the British metal scene to take notice? If that is the case it would be a horrible shame; with the music industry in the state it is in, it would be a shame if true innovators were being further taxed for not conforming.

It doesn't help that the two bands picked to support them are neither particularly good nor particularly suitable. Both metalcore bands, Malrun at least have some personality and are tolerable even if they aren't particularly good. Emil Bulls, on the other hand, are utterly atrocious and embody everything wrong with the fringe-haired metalcore of the current day. Neither are anywhere close to being fit to support a band like Reiter.

Regardless, the quintet from Germany have set their stage well. Complete with bright lights embedded into their stage, a dojo mat on the floor and various other devices littering the stage (Do we even need to mention the gimp swing?), a small crowd is all the band get when Charlie Chaplin's infamous speech from the Great Dictator starts playing. It is worth mentioning that said speech is one of the greatest in cinema history; some people in the audience have the audacity to talk loudly over it. These people are clearly uncultured philistines and shouldn't be allowed outside, let alone to gigs.

Perhaps said people wouldn't appreciate the subtleties of the band's set either. Unlike previous appearances in the UK which have roughly followed the same set, tonight's set is drawn heavily across the band's career, to compliment the band's latest compilation release. This means not only do the band bring out rarities like opener ... vom Ende der Welt, but old props and stage routines reappear too - enter a confetti cannon straight after the first song, spraying the front row with paper flowers. There's still time for some new songs such as Wahnsinn though, and regular favourites such as Riders on the Storm, Es Wird Schelimmer and Reitermania still appear as expected.

Despite the low turnout, what is impressive is not only the high production values (not easy in such a small venue), but the high professionalism of the performance. The band's team of highly trained roadies race around the stage setting up each new prop, Fuchs manages to change costume several times (including a pretty stylish looking trenchcoat at one point), and the infamous inflatable raft appears for Seemann. Fuchs's wicked sense of humour is fully on display (he threatens to send a male audience member to Dr Pest for a private session at one point), and absolutely every word and action is delivered as if they were performing the gig of their lives. Reiter are immaculate and flawless performers – from their expert musicianship, down to their stage show (where credit must also be given to their crew, who keep things going constantly).

Tonight's show really seemed like one that wasn't to be missed, and it is such a shame so few showed. The set boasted an impressive set list covering just about every album in the band's career, including a rather unique version of Friede Sei Mit Der, and it just seemed like the band would be unlikely to deliver such a comprehensive performance in this country again. It was most certainly one of the more interesting and entertaining sets the band have played in this country; hopefully the rest of the UK's metal scene will wake up and realise what a great live band they are before they give up on the UK entirely.

“ immaculate and flawless performers ”

Setlist: ... vom Ende der Welt / Wahnsinn / Unter der Asche / Riders on the Storm / Es wird schlimmer / Revolution / Der Adler / Der Weg / Wir reiten / Die Boten / Die Schönheit der Sklaverei / Vier Reiter stehen bereit / The Fire / Nach der Ebbe / Komm / Seemann / Iron Fist / Reitermania // Das Paradies / Elfriede / Roll my Heart

Written by James Donovan
More: 2012, Gigs, Thrash Metal,

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