Die Roten Punkte: Kunst Rock (Art Rock) | Review by Steve Bennett at the Soho Theatre

Die Roten Punkte: Kunst Rock (Art Rock)

Review by Steve Bennett at the Soho Theatre

The funniest moment in faux German rock duo Die Roten Punkte’s first ever London gig is not one their public liability insurers would ever condone. Getting caught in the moment, the formidable Astrid attempts to mount one of the monitor speakers stage front – but instead succeeds only in kicking the hefty wedge right into the laps of the front row. Luckily only drinks, and not blood, was spilled.

This unfortunate incident proved the turning point for the gig, or at least the elaborate display of clumsy slapstick Frauline Rot had hilariously pulled off immediately proceeding it, as frock, microphone, cable and stand all became impossibly entangled.

Until then she had remained dutifully behind her undersized drum-kit, exchanging a few mild rebukes with lead singer, and fictional brother, Otto: she dressed in an epic gown described as ‘punk geisha meets Snow White’; he in clown’s white face, intended to demonstrate his Enoesque intentions towards music as Art, but actually emphasising what a sad-sack lost little boy he is. For in this band, unstererotypically, the drummer is firmly in command, with the frontman a socially maladroit loner.

Yet their squabbling starts off being inconsequential, sometimes irritating, and, perhaps because of those Teutonic accents, a little wooden. Initially, at least, it’s also unclear what their comic targets are, as neither script not song lyrics are especially funny, with a mild similarity to the White Stripes in visuals and relationship not enough for a parody. And with only one song in nearly 20 minutes, their considerable talents as a band are underemployed, too.

However, once they relax, even if comes via defusing the near-catastrophe of the speaker incident, their innate funniness and spontaneity as performers emerges from behind the po-faced Germanic resolve. The in-jokes get substantially better too, and the show takes more form as the Otto falls ever short of his pretentious aims.

They also assert their status as parodists as they start playing more songs, which are so brilliantly catchy they are worthy of being electro-punk hits in their own right. With titles such as Banana Home, Burger Store Dinosaur, Ich Bin Nicht Ein Roboter (I Am A Lion), they are not laugh-out-loud hilarious, but wryly tongue-in-cheek as they use mundane, naive lyrics that contrast with the rock hyperbole of the performances. Like Spinal Tap’s tracks, they are executed with affection and sincerity, and the wit is in how close they come to the real thing. So while the banter at the start needs considerable pruning, the music speaks for itself, and it’s saying: ‘Fuck art, let’s rock.’

Review date: 4 Jun 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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