Mina Špiler, vocals/synths (click to enlarge)

LAIBACH: We Had a Great Time and We Wanted Our Nation to Break Down – Live Review/Photo Gallery

Mina Špiler, vocals/synths (click to enlarge)

Mina Špiler, vocals/synths

Ostensibly, it’s not only “Europe [that] is falling apart,” as the song “Eurovision” declares on Laibach‘s latest release, Spectre: mass shootings and riots are increasingly common in American cities, and California’s impending water crisis threatens to disrupt food economies throughout North America; with the trappings of popular culture and the manufactured desires of mass consumption so deeply entrenched as a somatic form of population control, it takes the Slovenian group’s brand of dissident anti-pop to provoke a little cognitive dissonance.

Although “Eurovision” was notably absent from their set at Vancouver’s Rickshaw Theatre on Wednesday, the band played several new songs along with crowd-pleasing classics like encores “Tanz Mit Laibach” and “Leben Heisst Leben”. Compensating for the largely stationary positions of the performers (a noteworthy exception: Mina Spiler’s thrilling performance of Spectre track “Bossanova”), a dynamic visual backdrop juxtaposed evocative still images and video throughout the show, including dramatic footage from director Timo Vuorensola’s satirical sci-fi film Iron Sky.

(Also noteworthy: The opening mix by DJ Pandemonium yielded an informed selection of industrial and darkwave, including a track by upstart L.A. agitators 3Teeth.)

In an era when we are conditioned to expect entertainment through empty spectacle as the paradigm of individual rights and freedoms in the West, Laibach reminds us that what we really want is dissent.