So much of Laibach's advance publicity has painted the Yugoslavian rockers as grim, regimented neo-Nazis that it wasn't surprising to find a few misguided fans throwing out stiff-armed "Seig Heil" salutes as the band took the stage Saturday night at the Scream Club. How stupid. Because for all their theorizing and their use of allegedly fascist imagery, Laibach is no more Nazi than, say, Queen--whose anthemic "We Will Rock You" brand of stadium-rock was employed by Laibach in its reductionist interpretations of songs from the Beatles' "Let It Be" album.
Milan Fras' stiff, commanding stance and Roto-Rooter growl fit the group's authoritarian image as he threateningly intoned the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" against what sounded like an industrial-rock version of the "Anvil Chorus." But one of the two bare-chested snare drummers flanking Fras broke regimental ranks, pouring water on himself, swigging beers and acting like a clown--actually having fun. Which might have diminished the sinister effect of the loud, pummeling, multimedia presentation but proved that even totalitarian visionaries can be as sloppy as decadent capitalists.