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German techno marching band MEUTE played one of many shows of their American tour debut at the Orange Peel on Oct. 17. This was the second time the band played in the US after a show at South by Southwest two years ago.
“I thought it would be really cool if you incorporated techno music with acoustic instruments,” said Thomas Burhorn, one of the two trumpet players of the group. “Because I’m a trumpet player and I love marching band as well, I thought it’d be really great with marching band.”
The Thursday night show began with a slow build up of purely acoustic sound from xylophones, a tuba and a drum. Gradually the rest of the band came to join the other members on stage, intoning each individual instrument and escalating into a fast paced jam.
“I’m not a fan of techno in concert usually. Not the heavy trance-y stuff. I think that with the band aspect, it’s a little more exciting,” said Jake Haynes, a freshman at UNC Asheville.
Burhorn said he founded the band, envisioning an explosive combination of the techno music he enjoys with his extensive experience as a trumpet player. He said, in simple terms, MEUTE is a marching band that plays techno music.
“Personally, I’m very influenced by jazz but also by pop music and classical music. The members of our band come from different directions, from classical music, from jazz music, from pop music or from hard rock,” Burhorn said.
According to Burhorn, many members of MEUTE also play in various bands and ensembles in their homeland of Germany. He said together, the band is a broad combination of influences.
As the performance progressed and the band got into their groove, individual band members came forward on the stage to play their own riff in the spotlight. The rest of the group cheered them on, hyped up the audience or jammed along with the soloist.
Andrew Summer, another concert goer, said he first found MEUTE’s music online but hadn’t seen them perform before. He said he enjoyed the new and different style brought by the group.
“It’s a unique take on traditional instruments with new styles,” Summer said. “Fun and interesting.”
Summer said the marching band aspect appeals to him more than the techno. He said he grew up playing in a marching band himself.
“I like weird music,” Summer said. “It’s not something you see in adult life too much. It’s a unique opportunity.”
From an audience perspective, Haynes said MEUTE incorporates all levels of the electronic music spectrum from indie music to hip hop. He said this was his first time seeing MEUTE in concert but it reminded him of the indie electronic duo ODESZA.
“They manage to combine pop, electronic and orchestral stuff all in one piece,” Haynes said, comparing MEUTE and ODESZA. “Their music is a production but it’s also a massive composition at the same time.”
Burhorn said the name MEUTE is a German word inspired in part by the Rat Pack, an informal group of musicians whose members included Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.
“MEUTE is a pack of dogs. A pack of hunting dogs,” Burhorn said. “It’s also used to say just a group of people.”
Burhorn said a typical show is very wild. He said the people dance and smile on account of the explosive energy the band brings for each performance.
“You feel the tune energy. But still you have very hypnotic techno music,” Burhorn said.
As an audience member, the energy brought to the show can only be described as explosive. From the enthusiasm and liveliness of the musicians to the colorful and flashy lights to the modernized bright red marching band uniforms, MEUTE shook the Orange Peel stage as hard as any rock n’ roll band.
MEUTE recently released their first live album, recorded in Paris. They plan on releasing another full length album in February. Their music is available for streaming on all platforms including Spotify, iTunes and YouTube.
“Of course, the best thing is when they join us live,” Burhorn said.