The L.A. Coliseum marks its centennial anniversary with “Coliseum Forever,” a series of events celebrating its 100th birthday, beginning this year and running into next. From USC Trojans home football games (the game against Notre Dame in November is a hot ticket) to East LA High School Football Games this month to mega-EDM events with Kaskade and deadmau5 in December, there’s a lot going on there. Next year there will be big NASCAR and SuperMotocross events at the Exposition Park venue which has an incredible 77,500 capacity and was designated a National Historic Monument in 1984. Of course, there’s also the 2028 Summer Olympics (it’s hosted two Olympic Games prior) to look forward to.

If you haven’t been in a while, you’ll notice some changes, too. After a renovation in 2019, the stadium added a seven-story suite and press tower which includes loge boxes, club seats, a new press box, and rooftop club with a 360-degree view of the Los Angeles. There’s also new seating and concession stands.

By all accounts, the epic venue was well-highlighted when German metal industrial powerhouses Rammstein performed there two weeks ago. Full of fire and ominous production, that show had an unlikely opening act: French classical duo Jatekok. Adélaïde Panaget and Naïri Badal formed the project (Jatekok is Hungarian for “game”) specifically with genre-blending music in mind, so opening up for the ‘Stein at the Coliseum was an experience they relished. We talked to them about it when they were in town.

L.A. Coliseum

Rammstein at the L.A. Coliseum (Photo by Paul Harries)

LA WEEKLY: How did you come to work with Rammstein?

JATEKOK: In 2017, The french producer of Rammstein was looking for a different opening act for their their shows in Nimes. He wanted something with a piano. We were living there, so through a person we know, he contacted us to ask if we would like to open for them. And we accepted this crazy challenge without knowing Rammstein’s music.

How have audiences reacted to classical music at an industrial/metal show?

The public is surprised but very benevolent. They still recognize their favorite songs on the piano. It could have gone very badly but in the end people sing with us to communicate their motivation to be there and are curious. The metal audience is an audience that also loves instrumental virtuosity. They appreciate the challenge we have taken up.

What do you think of Rammstein’s production and the show they put on?

Rammstein’s show is an exceptional and incredible show that is put on by a whole team of professionals. It’s impressive to be part of this machine. It is an exceptional experience to live. What is interesting about their group is that each member is highlighted in his own way, even if of course the singer carries a lot at the vocal level, in their stage presentation everyone is highlighted.

Paul Harries

JATEKOK (Photo by Paul Harries)

What was it like playing L.A.’s Coliseum?

It was extraordinary for us to come and play for the first time in the United States and to discover the American public, which is very warm and encouraging. To be in a stadium of this scale in one of the most important cities in the United States is not nothing, it is very exciting and motivating. We hope to return in a perhaps more classic setting to introduce the American public to our work and our artistic personality.

What’s next for Jatekok?

We will go home of course, find our daily activities and prepare our next projects and our upcoming classical concerts. We still have a concert in Paris on December 14 where we present our Rammstein set interspersed with classical pieces. This is going to be a big first for us but we already have requests from some festivals or concert venues who are interested in this hybrid mix between classical and metal. And this is very interesting for us because one of our desires is to open up and broaden the classical music audience and to create bridges between styles of music.

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