Live review: Rammstein, Coventry Building Society Arena
Rammstein bring one of the greatest shows on the planet to Coventry…
Fire, flames and unfettered filth. That’s what Rammstein have given us over the course of their 25-year existence.
Oh, there have been the stomping good tunes and strong artistic statements as well, of course. But for many, it’s the explosive shows and X-rated shenanigans that really leave their raised red marks. Ironically, the German band’s cameo appearance in a film called xXx probably marks one of their most PG performances.
From arrests for lewd and lascivious behaviour to giant cock cannons and videos released via actual porn sites, Rammstein have not so much pushed the envelope of acceptability as incinerated it with one of their home-made incendiary devices.
Here, then, are Rammstein’s 10 most X-rated moments. Needless to say, some of them are most definitely NSFW…
Featuring the likes of Korn and Limp Bizkit, 1998’s Family Values Tour was nu-metal’s biggest ticket. It also saw Rammstein introducing themselves to a wider international audience in unforgettable fashion. During Bück Dich (translation ‘Bend Down/Bend Over’) vocalist Till Lindemann would simulate anal sex with the leashed and struggling keyboardist Christian ‘Flake’ Lorenz. At the, uh, climax of the section Till pulled out a dildo that squirted fluid (actually a mix of water and aniseed liqueur) over Flake’s back, the audience and into his own mouth. This didn’t go down too well in Worcester, Massachusetts and the duo were arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious behaviour.
Pussy, as you might imagine, is all about sex (and sex tourism, if you want to add a slightly political angle). The accompanying video starts off comically risqué, with the band members portraying cliched porn characters and ends in hardcore filth. It’s been reported that the band used body doubles for the more explicit parts, although rumours persist that at least some of it is real. The vid was initially released on the Visit-X site, and if you click on the link below you'll probably see why. But be warned, you do so at your own risk…
So, how do the band choose to represent the above song live? By bringing out the big guns, of course, in the shape of a penis cannon. There have been at least two versions, one larger and more realistic, complete with veiny scrotum and another that looked more like a Transformer’s cock crossed with a cement mixer. Both shot foamy jizz all over the audience while confetti rained from the ceiling, which you just don’t get at a Coldplay concert.
The lead single from 2004’s Mein Teil had the German mainstream press frothing at the mouth due to its references to the infamous Armin Meiwes cannibalism case. The accompanying video didn’t exactly hold back, either. There are scenes featuring Till tearing the wings from an angel that’s fellating him, guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe fighting his doppelganger, and Christophe ‘Doom’ Schneider dressed as Armin Meiwes’ mother. At the BDSM-heavy end, Doom leads the rest of the band from a subway station on dog leads. MTV Germany restricted the airing of the video to after 11pm, with all the media controversy helping propel the song to Number Two in the German charts.
Rammstein returned to cannibalistic themes in 2019's Deutschland. The band claw through Germania’s entrails (as portrayed by actress Ruby Commey), but it was a scene that appeared to use concentration camp imagery that sparked the most controversy. Charlotte Knobloch, former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told German newspaper Bild (translated via Reuters): “With this video, the band has crossed a line. The instrumentalisation and trivialisation of the Holocaust, as shown in the images, is irresponsible.” It’s worth mentioning that the initial criticism was based on a teaser. The full nine-minute-plus video adds some more context and portrays various events from Germany’s history, while the lyrics seem to suggest a love/hate relationship with their homeland.
Mann Gegen Mann (translation: ‘Man Against Man’) deals with repressed homosexuality, and there are acres of well-oiled man-flesh on display in the video. This includes the band, who all play naked apart from Till – who instead wears a lustrous wig, high heeled boots and black latex briefs. There’s also a pile of naked, muscular men writhing and wrestling in the pouring rain. How their instruments didn’t short out, we’ll never know.
Pussy wasn't the only controversial bit of 2009's Liebe Ist Für Alle Da. The whole album was added to German's index of Media Harmful to Young Persons, meaning it couldn't be bought by minors or even displayed in stores that they had access to. The problem wasn't Pussy's sexually-charged lyrics or even the front cover artwork, which featured yet more cannibalism. The offending elements were an inner sleeve picture of Richard spanking a naked woman and the track Ich Tu Dir Weh (translation: ‘I Hurt You', or literally ‘I Do You Woe') and its sadomasochistic lyrics. Oh, and Till had a real lighting cable RUN THROUGH HIS FUCKING CHEEK for the video. Just to add to the fun, a special edition of the album came complete with six pink latex replicas of the band members’ penises.
On the same Family Values Tour that saw Till and Flake arrested, the band decided to dress down for Halloween. This largely involved some strategically placed gaffa tape applied over buttcracks and genitals. Till's appendage was so well-wrapped that it looked like a large black dildo, Flake wore a nappy and Richard had a wedding dress on. The result was that the band only played three songs before being dragged offstage one by one by armed police. It all made Limp Bizkit's Father Ted-style ‘ages of Elvis’ and Korn's hair-metal turn look rather tame.
When they play it live, this is the song with those jaw-dropping pyrotechnic angel wings. But the video drips with dark eroticism. It borrows from the Quentin Tarantino-written vampire flick From Dusk Till Dawn, which saw Salma Hayek perform a sexually-charged dance routine with a large snake. Rammstein are essentially the vamp club house band as well as members of the audience, with Flake getting to indulge in a touch of foot fetishism before the group bust out the flamethrowers.
Sonne was initially written as an entrance song for boxer Vitali Klitschko and the band considered a number of video treatments – including one with a boxing theme and another, rather more outré one about the atomic bomb falling on Hiroshima. Instead and in typical Rammstein fashion, they took a kinkier route, with a giant sexy and gold-addicted Snow White who ends up giving the tooled-up six Dwarves, as played by the band members, a jolly good spanking. Strangely, this doesn't make any of them Grumpy…
Rammstein bring one of the greatest shows on the planet to Coventry…
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