Atari Teenage Riot Reunite in London

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Atari Teenage Riot's Alec Empire / Photo by Alan Davies
WRITTEN BY
Nick Duerden

There are at least two things you should never take to an Atari Teenage Riot show. The first is a sensitive disposition, because ATR are to subtlety what Rage Against The Machine are to anger management, and the second is a headache. The headache can only get worse.

Formed in Berlin in 1992 around the nucleus of future Beastie Boyscollaborator Alec Empire, Atari Teenage Riot were early pioneers of the kind of soundclashthat would influence everything from Riot Grrrl (their twosingers were both female, an anomaly in techno back then) to M.I.A.'sdistorted beats. They released three albums in eight years,before ending acrimoniously; founding member Hanin Elias walked out onthe band moments before they were due on a London stage in 2000.

Now, ten years later, the anarchist German techno act returned for, by all accounts, one night only in England, to celebrate old times and to launch a new single called "Activate."

They still boast two original members, Empire and Nic Endo, along with one newcomer, the mohawk-topped American MC CX Kidtronik.

For much of the set, the three bandmembers stormed around the small stage of London's Electric Ballroom while a couple of samplers poured out a barrage of white noise and 1,000 or so fans danced apoplectically to the result.

The trio were asfiery as a bucketful of wasabi. At one point, Empire tore off of his shirt and carried on as if it were the year 2000 all over again and all that mattered was pure energy and sonic assault. At times the songs ran together, one sounding much like the next.

The show was plainly terrifying. It's rare in a world now ruled by Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber to hear music that is so angry with itself and with everything else around it.

But ATR's overwhelming energy is difficult to deny, and difficult not to admire -- preferably from a safe distance.

SETLIST:
Activate
Into The Death
No Remorse
Destroy 2000 Years of Culture
Sick To Death
Deutschland Has Gotta Die!
Fuck All
No Success
Midijunkies
Get Up While You Can
Too Dead For Me
US Fade Out
Speed
Not Your Business
Ghostchase
Revolution Action
Start The Riot
Noise Finale

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