Rockharz - 2011

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

So many German bands and so little time; there was one we had a slight idea about what they were about and based on this we didn’t want to miss them. I am speaking of the pink metalheads of J.B.O. (or James Blast Orchester as it stands for).

Before this evening, I have been around twice as this band has played at other festivals some several years ago, but at the time I didn’t know them and didn’t really pay attention. The only things I truly recall are that they are pink, use a lot of humour in their music, and that they sing and speak in German which means I don’t understand a word of it.
But as this summer seemed to be the summer of German speeches, we figured one more band doing this wouldn’t hurt, and so we headed for the Rock Stage where the Rosa Armee Fraktion was about to unleash a lethal dose of metal mixed with German humour.
Much like with for instance Saltatio Mortis, it felt like the entire population of the festival had crawled out of their beer-smelling camps or taken time away from the trinket shopping in the metal market to come up and see this spectacle of a band.

And a spectacle it was! As you can see from the photos next to this text, J.B.O. is not a band which one should take too seriously and they’re not afraid to show it. Or, in a way they should be taken seriously I suppose; humour can be a very serious business, and as this band has survived for almost 25 years so far (and are still going strong) in it they must have some sense of what they’re doing.
For those of you who don’t know them, J.B.O. both compose their own witty music, but also (and this is probably what the instant attraction is about) make funny versions of other bands and artists music. As the newcomer to the band that I was, these latter compositions were what really took me in and gave me a good time at the show – medleys like Kuschelmetal and the Afghan Trilogy melted my heart, as well as being highly amusing trivia games where I could stand and try and pick out the slightly disguised famous tracks, but when Slayer’s Raining Blood (which actually is The Weather Girls’ hit song It’s Raining Men, with the men word changed of course) was played and the bands background figure (they had a man who occasionally sang backing vocals, but mostly just did weird tricks) came on stage with an umbrella and a blood-splattered yellow raincoat on it all fell into place for me, and the song ended up being the theme song for the rest of the summer for us here at Metalmoments! Not bad considering our limited knowledge of the band…

Given that limited knowledge, in combination with the only spoken language being German, I was pretty much left to enjoy their covers; thankfully there were plenty to choose from, I’m sure more than even I knew!
I can tell you what the medleys were made up of; Kuschelmetal is made out of several songs, Sailing (Rod Stewart), Let It Be (The Beatles), Yellow Submarine (The Beatles), Singin’ In The Rain (Arthur Freed, Nacio Herb Brown), Dust In The Wind (Kansas), My Bonnie (trad.), What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor (trad.) and finally Take Me Home, Country Roads (John Denver). The Afghan Trilogy (that’s what it was called on stage, but I haven’t been able to locate it on a specific album) was comprised of three songs only (funnily enough); Guantanamera (José Fernández Diaz) which was now Guantanamo, Poker Face (Lady Gaga) now known as Burka Face and finally Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan) as Mr. Taliban Man.
You can see where I’m going with this of course? It’s all silly, and yet very, very funny!
There are a few more titles I’d like to decipher for while I’m at it; I Don’t Like Metal (10CC – Dreadlock Holiday), Rammstein Reggae (Laid Back – Sunshine Reggae), Geh Mer Halt Zu Slayer (Righeira – Vamos A La Playa) and finally Ein Fest (Village People – Go West)

During the Country Roads part of Kuschelmetal, the background guy ran around with a big sign with the word Autobahn, and during Ein Fest he had changed to another sign reading simply “ein fest”; during this song they also inflated a giant J.B.O. balloon on the stage.
Ein Fest translates to A Party, and a party was exactly what this show was; the audience loved it, there was constant crowd surfing, and the general sing-along and shouting was louder than ever. There’s no disguising this bands popularity, that’ for damn sure!

As I mentioned in the beginning, I had a preconceived idea that this would be a funny band, but I was taken aback at how funny they actually were! Most of the time while Germans try to be funny, especially in German, it sort of falls flat to the ground for me, but here I actually had a really good time, and I wouldn’t hesitate to see J.B.O. again at another time.

Setlist (incomplete):

I Don’t Like Metal
Geh Mer Halt Zu Slayer
Rammstein Reggae
Raining Blood
Ein Guter Tag Zum Sterben
Ein Fest

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