Funker Vogt / Revolution by Night

Underworld, London - 30 June, 2001

[Gig flyer] "Funker Vogt were dangerously close to parody"

Revolution by Night

After walking on stage, Revolution by Night introduced themselves as, and I quote, "VMP Nation". One of them set about copying VNV Nation's intro posturing before laughing too much to keep it up. They were even wearing T-shirts with mock 'VNV' torch logos on them! They obviously weren't going to take themselves too seriously and probably hoped that VNV Nation would see the funny side too. I guess they must have done since Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson (aka VNV Nation) were, by chance, in the audience but appeared to take it well. But after this nonsense, what would Revolution by Night actually sound like? The name conjured up Gothic images to say the least but the music, whilst not 'straight' goth, was more goth rock with more groovy beats and synthy bleeps to keep you on your toes. The rockier opening tracks swiftly put my expectations in order, but as the set developed and the beats, synths and samples took control a slow but discernable reappraisal was underway. Despite their embarassingly dreadful hairstyles (images of Gary Moore drifted unpleasantly into my mind), Revolution by Night were proficient - the lead vocalist in particular. They badly lacked stage prescence despite the chatty singer, still tracks like Empires of Dance stood out enough to warrant keeping an open mind for their future.

Funker Vogt

[Funker Vogt get hot] With their formula for 'classic' industrial that harks back to the stomping EBM of mid-career Front 242, Germany's Funker Vogt are a lean machine for delivering pounding dance floor filling beats and rhythms if little in the way of groundbreaking creativity. Having listened to Funker Vogt on a number of compilations and read about them in the genre press, I was curious but never tempted enough to actually shell out for one of their releases - not even a single. After watching them perform here I'm sure I'd made the right decision. The problem with relying upon a formula is that it constrains experimentation. Now, I realise (at least I hope) that Funker Vogt are not about pushing the avant garde boundaries into uncharted territory and are all about providing heavy music for people to dance to. And dance they surely did.

As Funker Vogt took to the stage (in their cheesy orange jump suits) there was a noticeable, sudden shift of bodies away from the bar area down onto the Underworld's modest dance floor. It was like watching a human tide go out in 10 seconds flat. It had been a while since I'd seen the entire floor of the Underworld crammed with dancing bodies, and I have to say it was a pretty scary sight. I attempted to push my way into the hordes to snatch a couple of photos for this review, but it was like walking against a humongous wave of religious fanatics - all of whom are totally oblivious to your prescence. This, combined with the intense heat that so many pogoing, sweating bodies quickly generated, made me rank my safety over the desire for a quality shot of the band in action. I gave up and took some photographs from the balcony instead. Like most anyone else, I like my fair share of mindless beats whose one objective is to make you move, but Funker Vogt did nothing except bore me. The aforementioned jump suits combined with equally cheesy stage antics - lots of mock rock posing (with a sad 'flying V' guitar) and lots of that needless pointing so favoured by European bands, all added up to something dangerously close to parody.

Rob Dyer