Einstürzende Neubauten

Palast der Republik

BY Sara SaljoughiPublished Apr 20, 2007

How appropriate for a DVD to come out of acclaimed German avant-garde industrialists Einstürzende Neubauten playing in the now-defunct Palast der Republik building in the former East Berlin. Primarily home to the East German parliament, the building was also used as a sort of Communist-minded "people’s palace” replete with art galleries, a bowling alley, restaurants and two large auditoriums. Architecturally, it is a fine example of the mid-’70s Soviet-influenced East German style. Its demolition is said to be due to asbestos contamination, though protesters wanting to mark the building as heritage property argue that the current German government is attempting to erase visual markers of the Communist past. Neubauten had the opportunity to play there in 2004, to an excited Berlin crowd, right before the building was demolished. The live show doesn’t offer much in terms of flashy entertainment or interaction with the crowd — that’s just not Neubauten — but it affords great views of their creative process through clear, interesting shots of the scraps of metal, air compressors and other arcane objects used by the band to create their unique blend of punk, industrial avant-garde drones. There are some highlights, such as the appearance of a 100-person choir on "Was Ist Ist” and a good portion of some of their quieter material, such as "Sabrina.” The concert clocks in pretty short at 80 minutes, and the bonus material doesn’t do much to add to this lack. There is band commentary, which is offered in both English and German, that provides some insights into the actual night and the band’s performance process. However, given the unique, too good to be true factor of Neubauten playing in such a historic setting, and the fact that the band likely won’t be coming to this continent any time soon, this DVD is a must-see for fans.

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