THE NEW CHRISTS
Stuttgart, Zwölfzehn, Germany
Saturday, July 2, 2011

Words and Pictures: ANDREAS GEBHARDT

Share Thirty-one years after the New Christs started, I finally get to see them live on stage in my home country, Germany. Actually it's kinda weird because they have been touring all over Europe - three times in the last five years - and of course in the late '80s. But the best comes at the end, as you know!

Stuttgart is known for good rock 'n' roll shows and Saturday night was perfect for going out and enjoying a two-hour drive to the venue. I arrived about 8.30pm and had a quick look inside. Rob and Jim were having a drink and the rest of the band was backstage behind a curtain next to the stage. Doors were at 9pm and the show was starting at 10. Plenty of time to have one of Stuttgart's best Döners in town. When I came back to the venue, the crowd was building.

Everybody seems to be very exited about the New Christs and so am I. Inside, I had a talk to their record label head, Jeb, and bought the live CD ("Live 2011") to complete my collection. The crowd came in and packed the venue. I would say about 130 showed up. The band came on stage. And the first applause began. Now we were Ready to Rumble.

With the opener "Sombrero" the band wanted to get in touch with the fans and get accustomed to the whole scenario – it was a warm-up song. Rob introduces the next song with the words: "We are glad to be here – we have landed" . And that was the beginning of the high energy rock 'n' roll rodeo for the rest of the show. Always pushing forward: bang bang bang with no stop sign ahead! "Coming Apart" is hammered out through the PA. Everybody is happy to be here and to be a part of it.

Now came a new song called "The Ledge", a new studio recording only just being released on vinyl (on French label Pitshark.) It's curious listening (ha! I don't know that one) – but it fits in as if it was an old song. (It's very exciting looking forward to the new album's eventual release).

Five "Gloria" songs follow, interrupted by "We Got tThis". They finished with "I Swear" and played it like it was the last thing they would do in their lives. Hardly pausing for breath and getting into the moment. Brent joins with the keys. Jim gets lost in his bass-playing. He looks like he's playing like in trance (we call it "ganz grosses Kino" – "very big cinema"), Dave smashes the solo, stand-in drummer Paul Larsen (Celibate Rifles) keeps the pace impeccably and Rob gives it all his unique touch with his outstanding voice, which typifies underground Oz Rock'n'Roll.

The crowd cheers for more and they don`t have to wait long. With a standing ovation (not very hard to get, because everybody was on their feet!) they come up on stage and start with the classic "The Burning of Rome" followed by an evenl older one, "Like a Curse". Yeah, they were great. I still have a shiver when I think of them. With "Party Time" they rock once more before closing their show with the obligatory "Bonsoir a Vous". Waving hands, shaking bodies and satisfied and happy people all over. Standing ovations again for a really rocking' performance.

The after show section started with a local DJ and a new crowd of people coming in. The band has to get their equipment out, all by themselves, but take time to sign CDs and posters, engage in small talk and have a beer. It's business as usual for the guys. I had to talk with all of them after the gig and it was nice to see that they are "still here" (Jim's slogan) and sill around.

PS. The show is rated with five bottles of Rolling Rock, no doubt about it, but as it was the first time I've seen them I wished they would have chosen different songs for the gig. Jimi Hendrix's "Fire" was missing, as were any cover versions. (and the New Christs' take on other people's song are always a blast.) But also the classics "No Next Time", "No Way On Earth", "Sun God", "Circus of Sour", "Born Out of Time", "I Come Cheap" or "Pedestal". I understand that there's a need to promote"Gloria" (released in 2009) in Europe but I wish they asked me what songs to play (I am just kidding!) Nevertheless, it was a great show and nice to meet the guys. I come cheap but there will be a next time!

SETLIST
Sombrero (We got this!)
We have landed (Lower yourself)
Coming apart (Distemper)
The Ledge (new song)
These Reasons (Gloria)
My Existence (Gloria)
The Posse (Gloria)
Impossible now (Gloria)
We got this (We got this!)
Daddys calling (Gloria)
From on high (Lower yourself)
Woe betide (Woe betide)
On top of me (We got this!)
I swear (Dropping like flies 7")
The burning of Rome (Distemper)
Like a Curse (Like a curse 7")
Party time (Lower yourself)
Bonsoir a vous (Gloria)

 

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