Nitzer Ebb asks fans to “Join in the Chant” at Chicago’s Double Door (11/20)

There are songs that evoke powerful memories and bring you right back to a pinpoint in time, remembering how you felt, what you saw, and who you were with. Some have a more powerful draw into that world and if you close your eyes you can be fully encapsulated in that moment. For me, hearing “Control, I’m Here” or “Join in the Chant” from Nitzer Ebb bring me right back to the dance floor at Medusa’s in the summer of 1989. And there’s nothing like a hot, sweaty mosh pit with elbows flying to make the experience complete and authentic.

The energy in the room at the Double Door this past Saturday was palpable as the synth-saturated hard industrial sounds of Nitzer Ebb filled the room. The three member band from Essex – Doug McCarthy, Jason Payne, and Bon Harris – belted out classic songs from deep in their catalog as well as the new songs from their recent album, Industrial Complex, their first album in 15 years. Nitzer Ebb (by the way, it’s pronounced nit-zer not night-zer) is on a month long tour of the United States before heading south to Mexico and South America.

Photo by Brad Bretz

The new songs blended nicely with the old and showed their progression through the genre. McCarthy’s growling voice, accompanied by Payne and Harris on the drums behind him, brought to life tunes that showed no sign of age and were still as energetic as ever, matching the quality of recordings the band made over 23 years ago. The dressed-in-all-black crowd reflected their energy, responding to every song. At one point during the set a female fan ran up on the stage and put her arms around McCarthy’s neck before getting whisked away. McCarthy was unphased and quickly launched into the next song.

Photo by Brad Bretz

By the time they played “Control, I’m Here”, the center of the crowd evolved into a pushing, sweaty, mosh, but luckily everyone kept their anger and long-ago teen angst in check. I’d spent many nights in the Medusa’s mosh pit and was a little delighted that the same energy was recreated here and it brought it all back for me. But the band wasn’t done yet and they treated us to a double encore which included crowd favorites “Warsaw Ghetto” and “Join in the Chant”. The two hour dance party ending, everyone headed upstairs to the third floor video room, or the second floor make-out room. Oh, wait, Medusa’s is no longer there (how lame is it that it became a cleaners?), but just dust off that old 12” single you bought at Wax Traxx, turn up the volume, close your eyes, and you’re right back there, Doc Martins and all.

Photography by Brad Bretz.

Getting Closer
Down on Your Knees
Hearts and Minds
Let Your Body Learn
Once You Say
Lightening Man
Hit You Back
Blood Money
Control, I’m Here
Encore 1:
Join in the Chant
Encore 2:
Warsaw Ghetto
I Give To You

Gallery by Brad Bretz

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