Reitermania reigns thanks to an anarchic performance

Perhaps five o’clock in the afternoon is too soon to see Reiter’s keyboard player Dr. Pest jumping around at the front of the stage wearing only strips of bondage gear and brandishing a flail. Apparently not. Die Apokalyptishen Reiter have rolled into HRH like some freaky German circus, amidst a few good-natured heckles and the odd wolf-whistle. And don’t we know it.

You don’t expect the bands at this time to put on much of a show. Turning up, playing without technical problems, and then getting off is probably the highest achievement possible. That was before frontman Fuchs bursts into his performance as demented ringmaster or vaudeville entertainer surveying the masses before him. The audience is enthralled from the first blasts of their distinctive brand of melodic thrash. It’s like watching a graphic novel come to life as they tear into what Fuchs assures us translates as ‘Fight or Escape’. Reiter are one of those rare bands that sing predominantly in their native language, and nothing gets lost in the translation. Probably because they are blessed with a sharp sense of melody, tight band performance, and the charismatic presence of a frontman with an extraordinary voice.

The fun and games continue as crowd-pleaser ‘Revolution’ draws to its climax. If anyone was wondering why Fuchs was standing on what looks like a small suitcase, we’re suddenly enlightened as the top of the case starts to rise, lifting the flag-waving singer high into the air. With the performance punctuated by random appearances and whipping by Pest, it’s suddenly all change again as the band abandon their main instruments and hammer three large metal drums into submission, much to the approval of the head-nodding audience. They even have a chance to wish one of their crewmembers a happy birthday by getting the audience to sing to him (for the record, happy birthday sounds very strange when Fuchs sings it).

Reiter have turned the medium sized room into an arena with their chaotic, anarchic but inspired performance. One of the hidden gems of stage two.