Last Night: Nitzer Ebb at the Granada Theater

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Nitzer Ebb, //TENSE//
Granada Theater
November 23, 2010

Better Than: stomping the night away at the Lizard Lounge.

With the strobe light pulsing around him and his bandmates furiously pounding the drums behind him, Nitzer Ebb's lead vocalist Douglas McCarthy's body convulsed like a man being electrocuted. The crowd danced, cheered and pumped their fists in approval. In fact, that warm, enthusiastic energy from the crowd seemed to be the theme of the night.

The crowd cheered in recognition at the opening beats of almost every song, pumping fists and nodding heads in time as Nitzer Ebb barreled through its set. And though the nearly 20-song set relied heavily on selections from Industrial Complex (released November 9 - it's the band's first full-length studio release in fifteen years), the set list consisted of a good mix of hard-hitting tracks from the band's back catalogue.

So, the whole night, a vast chunk of the crowd was dancing, stomping and singing - or, more appropriately - screaming and chanting along to every word.

Whether it was a new song off of Industrial Complex or one of the band's well-known tracks like opener "Getting Closer" off Showtime or the encore closer "I Give To You" off Ebbhead. You could hear every chorus, grunt, "Ooh!!" and "Ahh!!" that McCarthy or founding member Vaughan "Bon" Harris screamed in the mic echoed by the crowd. [Check out the complete list below. If I'm wrong, correct me in the comments. I may have missed one near the end.]

Throughout the show, McCarthy and Harris strutted and danced around the stage, while Jason Payne hammered away on drums. By today's standards it was a very basic stage show, just the run-of-the-mill lights and smoke machines, and, thankfully, the band's energy was enough to carry the show.

Honestly, from the show as a whole was one of the best bills I've caught in some time.

Denton-based Corporate Park sounded phenomenal pumping through the Granada's system - which totally beats the hell out of a borrowed PA at a house show in Denton. With the band's hypnotic samples and ferocious beats on tracks like "Intimate Precision" the band did an excellent job of priming the crowd for Houston-based //TENSE//.

//TENSE// proved to be the perfect opening act for Nitzer Ebb, who, by the way, handpicked //Tense// to open after the band had opened for them some months back in Houston. (//TENSE// opens for Nitzer Ebb in San Antonio tonight, and Houston later this week.)

And Bobby from //Tense// picked Corporate Park to open the night. "Best band in Dallas," he called them from the stage.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: In my adolescence, Showtime, Belief and, yeah, even Ebbhead were among my favorite cassettes. (I'd buy That Total Age years later on CD.)

Random Note: Plenty of black clothes and sleeveless shirts in the crowd, with only a few guys in camouflage and army boots.

By the way: Before the show, I sat down with the band for a nearly 30-minute chat about everything from early influences and equipment to the current state of EBM to the recent "returning to the band's roots" to the roots of Nitzer Ebb's relationship with the guys from Depeche Mode to Bon's studying of Franz Waxman's score for Bride of Frankenstein. (I totally geeked out on them with that last one.) We'll post the Q-and-A on Friday, along with a few more photos from the show.

Getting Closer
On Your Knees
Hearts & Minds
Let Your Body Learn
Once You Say
Lightening Man
Hit You Back
Blood Money
I Am Undone
On The Road

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I Give To You

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