May 20, 2019
Review by: Bobby Caughron
When I heard that Nitzer Ebb was doing a U.S. Tour in 2019, I was determined to catch one of their live dates and see the band in action. Nitzer Ebb, are performing as a duo on this tour with founding members Douglas McCarthy and Bon Harris. Personally, I have always thought of these two guys as Nitzer Ebb anyway, and I think most fans recognize them as the core of the band. Nitzer Ebb was the first band that really caught my attention that was outside of the traditional rock scene. The band released their album “That Total Age” back in 1987. I was simply blown away by the uniqueness of their sound. Nitzer Ebb has a genuine place in music history alongside bands like Ministry, Skinny Puppy, and Front 242 that started what many refer to as the Industrial rock movement or sometimes called EBM or Electronic Body Music. Bands like Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein, Marilyn Manson and so many more have referenced these bands as crucial influences on their sound.
When I’m asked about Nitzer’s Ebb sound by those that haven’t heard them, I usually describe it as electro-punk, at least the earlier material seems to fit that description. They have songs composed by Bon Harris that is filled with samples and sounds of pipes banging, metal being smashed, and aggressive noise mixed with electronic rhythms that you can also dance to. Vocalist Douglas McCarthy‘s voice has a sinister sounding edge to it. At times his vocals are loud and aggressive sounding, while at other times it appears darkly menacing with the smoothness of the devil himself, convincing you to come along for the ride.
The band hit the stage around 9 pm at the Orpheum in Tampa and the club was packed with fans who were eagerly awaiting the band’s performance. Nitzer Ebb did not disappoint. The band performed a wide range of material from most of their albums for nearly an hour an 1/2. The band is nearing the end of a thirteen live date run. I spoke with Bon Harris backstage prior to the show and he stated: “The response to this tour has been amazing. We’re very happy to be performing these songs for a live audience. At this point, we have a lot of great material to choose from.”
Harris couldn’t be more on point. The audience reaction to songs like “Join In The Chant”, “Murderous”, “Blood Money”, “Lightning Man” and “Shame” were incredible. The band played what essentially amounted to a greatest hits live show with the bulk of the songs coming from the albums “That Total Age”, “Belief” and “Showtime”. Both members of the band were energetic and seemed fully engaged with the audience. McCarthy walked the stage like a catwalk with incredible grace, not unlike a predator stalking its prey. For those of us who are longtime fans of the band, it was an incredible trip down memory lane. The band ripped through one great song after another that has been echoed throughout dance clubs all over the world. Nitzer Ebb finished their 90-minute performance with an electrifying encore featuring the song “Godhead”. The band will do only seven more U.S. tour dates on the second leg of this 2019 tour. If you’re a fan of the band, I urge you to take this opportunity to catch them live. There is plenty of opportunity for “Fun To Be Had” when it’s Showtime at a Nitzer Ebb concert.
Upcoming Tour Dates are listed here.