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Einstürzende Neubauten

The threat of KMFDM T-shirts at an Einstürzende Neubauten show is bad enough. But nearly 25 years on, one might now worry about just how that Cold War clamor of 1981’s Kollaps has evolved. To contemplate Neubauten a year from the group’s silver anniversary is to acknowledge a band in the throes of both reflective middle-agedom and forward-looking renewal. Its approach has recently involved audience participation for the latest disc, Perpetuum Mobile. For 35 euros, fans could log on to Neubauten.org and watch the yearlong studio project unfold, engaging in post-session bulletin-board critiques. This virtual fishbowl in which Neubauten chose to rebirth itself produced a subdued, retracted mood—as well as the needed energy to forge ahead artistically. Perpetuum still offers up its share of the group’s trademark homemade instruments. Some are in the traditional clanging mode; others, such as opener “Ich Gehe Jetzt,” with air compressors underpinning its creeping rhythm, are more pensive. Singer Blixa Bargeld’s seen it all—”Das déjà vu ist historisch,” he intones; such is life for an ex-Berliner. But don’t mistake ennui for complacency: The ironic comparison of a Starbucks with “yet another Guggenheim” on “Youme & Meyou” reveals the old tensions to be alive and well. Einstürzende Neubauten plays at 9 p.m. Friday, April 23, at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25. (202) 432-7328. (Mark Williams)