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The Christmas Ball Festival 2010

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The Christmass Ball is a cyclical event which takes place annualy in a couple of German cities. This year, as somewhat a novum, The Christmass Ball arrived in Berlin. The lineup of the Berlin edition consisted of 5 bands.
Bearing in mind though road conditions, we set off on our journey from Poland with quite a supply of the spare time. To our (mis)fortune, we did not encounter any obstacles on the road and arrived at the club Huxley's Neue Welt a way earlier, hence we decided to do a bit of sightseeing to kill time in an enjoyable manner. All in all, after having finished the sightseeing part, we came back just in time to witness the opening of the club's gates and stand in line consisting of quite an amount of people, which had meanwhile gathered, awaiting the beginning of the show. In 1,5 hour, which left to the commencement of the festival, the dance floor of the Huxley's was quickly filled up to the limit with a crowd of 1500 people.

Punctually at 7 PM, the first project appeared onstage. Faderhead - a German duo, originating from Hamburg, presented us to a blend of their tracks from the last three releases. Frankly speaking, the band, much as it tried, did not manage to move the audiance; every here and there one could have noticed a few hands, raised and waving to the rhythym of the music, yet it seemed rather deplorable... Despite this disadvantage, another discernible drawback was the fact that the performance took place with the inclusion of only two members, without the support of Daniel and Joe Meyer of S.A.M., which rendered the concert less dynamic and left the people impassive and dispassionate.

During a short techincal break complemented by the unusually irritating music (which may have been associated with some sort of a circus) in the background, a hanging is being set up in front of the stage, only to be torn off - it turnes out that a vocalist of another group - Agonoize - was hung up on the chains a couple of meters above the ground. And that is how the performance of this Berlin-based aggrotech group actually begins. A very heavy and dynamic sound of subsequent and cult pieces animated the best part of the crowd. Obviously, the show did not lack psychedelicly luminous scenic decoration and many different 'spicy' additions, which Chris (the frontman of the band) enriches their shows with. Hence at some pint of the concert, some part of the photographs, completely unaware of the overall situation, as well as the audiance was treated to a stream of fake blood from the artificially slit veins of the vocalist; additionally the stage was entirely shrouded in smoke, and so on and so forth...

After such a hot concert a small rotation of the public occured - some of them went out to get a breath of freash air, the other part of the audiance purposedly got closer to the stage so as to be able to see a performance of another star of the festival - a Slovenian group Laibach. The music of the Slovenes, when compared to the earlier-mentioned Agonoize, was much more subdued, hence one was given a moment of relaxation and a sigh, listening to the admirable pathos which succesive tracks were emanting with. To avoid boring the audiance, the band was gradually increasing the tempo of each track - after such pieces as Anglia, America, Alle Gegen Alle, the time came for a hit of many idnustrial dance floor, that is Tanz mit laibach or Du Bist Unser. The concert was very well-received by the audiance and it is little wonder for they have been giving shows for 30 years now and have already reached the level of perfection in what they do. The audiance thanked Laibach for their performance with loud applause, then yet another technical break began. At this point it is highly appropriate to mention that the temperature in the hall rose to indecent values and people quickly started to pour innumerable amounts of every sort of beverage down their throats.

The penultimate band - Project Pitchfork - took the stage after yet another short break, setting every single limb of the audiance in motion. This performance was indeed a concert of wishes for we heard all of the greatest hits of the group - Steelrose, Carnival, Timekiller and Existence among them, topped off with my persoanl favorite - Rescue - which was played at the very end of the show. What else can I add apart from the statement that it was truly a fantastic concert?

After an immensly long break and a huge rotation of people gathered in front of the stage, finally the concert of the evening, being the show of Fields of the Nephilim, commenced. One can do nothig but praise Carl McCoy and his music. This time, unfortunately, the fabulous event was spoiled by one detail - it was too loud and the impeccable music of FOTN turned into a noise, which is not the point, after all. Hence, instead of fully savoring the music I was forced to leaving the hall, half way through the show, so as not to get deaf. Nontheless, the crowd was bravely accompanying every track, even despite the terrible noise. The performance ended with an encore in the form of Psychonaut and that is how The Christmass Ball actually terminated. The people left the club beaming with utter joy, humming their favorite bits of songs, which they had the pleasure of listening just a moment ago. We, in turn, quickly got into the coach and set off on a journey back home. I know where I myself will be next year...

It is my firm belief that this event is definitely worth being on your schedule of the festivals you crave to see. The organizers should be applauded for having chosen the bands in such a way that everyone was able to find something to their liking in the lineup. The only thing I may grumble about is the level of volume - next time I am most probably going to ask for free ear plugs.

Translator: murd
Add date: 2011-02-02 / Live reports

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