Weird Band On Weird Tour

Avant-garde Slovenian group Laibach is set to be the first foreign rock band to ever tour North Korea. 
Liberation Day Pyongyang Tour flier

The group has announced two concerts at Pyongyang’s Kim Won Gyun Music Conservatory Aug. 19-20, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Korean peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule after World War II.

The concerts will also be filmed for a documentary. Time magazine, for one, speculated that Laibach is an odd band to score such an historic first.

The weekly describes their music as consisting of “dark, brooding covers of popular songs” such as “The Final Countdown,” Queen’s “One Vision” and even Let It Be (the entire album, not just the song).

The beats are martial and the vocals are monotonous and “growling.”

And while the members wear military uniforms on stage, which will help them fit right in with the sartorial aesthetic of a military dictatorship, many in Europe have labeled them a “fascist” group, though fans say their style is “an ironic critique of authoritarianism.”

As to whether Kim Jong Un is in on the joke, no one knows. Laibach has been around since 1980, when Slovenia was still part of Yugoslavia.

The name is the German word for the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, and the band is part of a collective called New Slovenian Art. According to Vice, the concerts were arranged by the man who directs their music videos and who has already coordinated several foreign performances in the Hermit Kingdom.

He told the BBC, “North Korea is portrayed in the West as the world’s most closed country, but in fact it is more open to the outside world than the prevailing media narrative suggests. Both the country and the band have been portrayed by some as fascist outcasts. The truth is that both are misunderstood.”