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Wave Gotik Treffen 2008

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Every year in Whit Season Leipzig (Germany) turns into the centre of dark independent music. Thousands of people come from different sides of the world for the biggest event of this type in Europe if not in the world. This year I had an opportunity to visit this Festival and I must say it: it´s worth comming there.

We got to the place about 11 p.m. the day before. After having fixed some formalities like an entrance ticket and tented field charges, we went to pitch a tent, full of hope that we could make it quickly, because all around us was in total darkness. From the beginning we could feel this special atmosphere and an amount of people who came there, made also an amazing impression. I´ve felt a foretaste of what was waiting for me during the following days...

Friday 9.05 a.m

After a cold night a hot morning came and set everybody on their feet. There were the rest of formalities to comply and already with the press badges we were ready to see the further area.

First, it´s worth saying a few words about a nearby pogan village. There were two stages- small and big- the phenomenon for me was placing the big one perfectly over a full moon, which accompanied the whole event. I must add the artists performed without any extra sound system but with the help of some original instuments like bagpipes or harp. In addition to that there was a predominant atmosphere from the Middle was worth visiting the village several times during the Festival.

About 4 p.m. we went to Werk II Halle A for the first concert.

At the very begining band Beati Mortui from Finland performed. It was their debut on the stage during which they presented a sequence of tracks from their first album "Modus Operanti". Unfortunately they weren´t promising as far as stage image is concerned as well as musical. The band sounds absolutely worse live than on their cd not mentioning a singer whose words were imposible to understand. At some moments it seemed she was like a lost sheep, who doesn´t know what to do on the stage. So, it finished without any admiration from my and public side, which was already waiting for the next band which was...

Ashbury Heights. Honestly, I had never met this band before. My first impression? Another industrial project which sounded like a brisk disco! Oh no, definitely, it wasn´t in my type. A handsome man and a pretty women, everything colorful and just too sweet for me. At least, I can say that at the end it wasn´t so bad and the tracks liike "Penance" or "Cry Havoc" I survived quite good walking away from the stage in the direction of desired drink- not only it was hot outside but also inside it was hard to breathe.

The third and the last band I heard in that place was Santa Hates You. The beginning showed I would be disappointed again, but further it was only better. I paid attention to the third track "Sugar And Spice" and the next "Karoshi". I felt that it was beginning to be more dynamic. Maybe if I had stayed there longer I could have liked it more but it was high time to move to another place, Agra Halle- the biggest hall in Leipzig.

Here at the beginning - Das Ich. The legend of German dark scene, which created an amazement to the public not only because of their music but also stunning apperance. Two dynamic devils, in a flash overcame the stage and fed the public with lots of energy- by the way as far as the age of the artists is concerned, I must admit they did their best. The band presented tracks from different albums beginning with "Der Schrai" through "Garten Eden" ending with a great hard-beat track- "Uterus", which ended the whole performance.

The thought that it would be only better, was spoiled by the next band - Sigue Sigue Sputnik. It seemed to be so great! The beginning in the form of cultic finale Carmin Buran "O Fortuna", the darkness and suddenly on the stage turned up the men coloured as parrots. It´s better not to comment the intro and the music that followed. Yes, yes rock´n´roll of Elvis Presley´s type with much music exaggeration and a bit of electro.

And I let myself end the subject because I can´t say anything positive about this band.

Shocked by previous concert with mixed feeling, I greeted the next project - Unheling. Maybe, because of the predecessor- it wasn´t anything that could bowl over me alike from positive as well as negative point of view. Nicely decorated stage with candles and from musical side very good mix of energy and calm in the form of tracks from the newest album "Puppenspiel". I felt the public was satisfied.:-)

There was time for Blutengel. It started innocently, a beautiful soft intro and wonderful visualisations and de facto visualisations were the one that remained wonderful till the very end. The motifs of a book and a wandering hand in labyrinth till a culminating point, well selected fragments i.e. from the movie "Queen of the Damned" to one of the best, in my opinion, track- "Bloody Pleasures". As a matter of fact it was something to feast the eyes. A lot of beautiful ladies, stylized a little bit for the anicent times, long dresess with predominated whiteness, added pyrotechnic motifs and even plays with fire. There weren´t missing some "vampires" gesture like half naked women with local traces of blood. Unfortunately, when it came to the music, ears dropped, swelled and everything else. I heard before that the band live sounds terible but here, blaming technical problems for misuse themselves to the playback was comic. Consequently, the band gave up the playback and then it was even worse. It´s not my favourite in any way but I consent to what we can hear on the cd.

And then came a time for the evening’s star – Paradise Lost. The amount of people coming in and in filling up the hall to the brim only confirmed I was not the only one waiting for what Nick and the rest will show us. And that concert did not disappoint anyone. The band came onto the stage and with the first song ‘The Enemy’ they already managed to carry us away. I must admit that was a true concert on a scale of hardrock star. Without any additional effects, dressing up – the leeway was enough, jeans, T-shirts – and the attention was payed totally to the stage anyway. Over 10 songs from the older and newer albums as: ‘Ash and Debris’, ‘True Belief’, ‘Requiem’, ‘Gothic’. As long as they could, they played. And as we say – they rocked!

Asuming all, the day’s best point was the finish, and unfortunately my expectation was rising worrying about the next day. And as it soon appeared – unnecessarily.

Saturday, 10.05.

What a luck that from the camping field to Agra Hall there was just 5 minutes on foot. That day it was there where we watched and listened to all concerts.

The first one to play – Jager 90. OK. It started with power, energetic, the audience moved. But all in all the whole show was like one long neverending song to me, all too similar to each other. Casting furtive glances through the crowd I spotted the vocalist’s cute orange shoes. Maybe they were meant to focus our attention? And they did, thanks to them I’ll remember that band.

Next to go – Cyborg Attack. Not much to say, I liked that day for more dynamics, electronic beats and so on. And that’s what I got from the Punisher and the other three bandmembers. They presented the tracks from all three records, two songs are on my memory – ‘Psycho X’ and ‘Trauma’. Nothing special but in some way I liked it and they warmed me up in waiting for the next show.

And that was Reaper. One of these I most waited for in the festival. Perhaps that’s why I hoping for something remarkable that in the end did not fulfil my expectations. It was just good. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy, I stamped my feet happily to such songs as ‘Memento Mori’, ‘Rebuste Maschine’ or one of the best, ‘X-Junkie’. The vocalist himself was bursting with energy, jumping from one side side of the stage to another, in that way making some more and more gathered people jumping to the beat. I must notice their interesting forest visuals. For goodbye my favourite song from the band’s newest album ‘She is a Devil and a Whore’ made nearly most of the people almost gone crazy. Speaking of it, I expected some more people attending...

After strong dose of beats, the calm flower arose – Spectra Paris – musical project of Elena Alice Fossi’s known as one of the legendary Italian Kirlian Camera’s leaders. The male part of the audience was particularly enchanted. No wonder because the singer on stage looks exactly as beautiful as she does on photos. It was generally sweetness in itself and the whole performance was nicely composed, well-considered. Good visuals showing inter alia various Manga cartoons that fitted brilliantly in the opening song ‘Spectra Murder Show’. And really, I haven’t heard such a good live female voice for a long time! Delicate, spirited, yet still strong voice. I melted away during the cover of ‘Mad World’, and then I lingered entranced while ‘Falsos Suenos’. Everyone stared at the great show. Unfortunately we also experienced how the German precision works – if you start punctually, you finish on the dot, and if not - power generators off...

Signal Aout 42 – was the next and to be honest the music was nothing special or outstanding to me. The show was average. Nothing more than a frontman moving from one side to another yelling to the microphone,from time to time letting strange sounds out of his throat. I drew more attention to the visualizations, especially during ‘Dead is Calling’ when I got interested by a cartoon skeleton – something simple but with a little bit of finesse.

Finally the time came for, in my opinion, the most important artist. I can even risk the statement, the best concert of the whole festival. The Mexican duo – HOCICO. Incredible! The atmosphere just before the show already suggested how high the expectation was. In a flash the hall started to become full by new people coming in, it was hard to move anywhere (just to remind, the Agra Halle is the biggest place in the festival!). Here I can say without hesitation, that was unique experience! Every single detail was taken care of, there was something to hear and to watch. The first sound already made me shivered, and the tension rose when the great performance began. The intro presented a kind of historical show, reminding some Aztec ritual. The drums, fire, plumes, dance, and in the background images presenting first skulls and then Aztec symbols. Counting down, the drums speed up, culmination and finally the main characters appeared on stage. I didn’t expect such a show, emotions reached the top point! Energy, energy, energy once more... The whole thing was marvellous and the visuals with Aztec motives were flashed throughout the concert, they did great together with ‘Bloodshed’. For the end we were also witnesses of the ritual same as the one we were welcomed with. Unforgettable feeling, I would love to watch this concert again!

Well, I knew it will be hard to fulfil the task now for the next band and I wasn’ t wrong. The next band, Covenant disappointed me. They wanted to warm up the audience, or rather impress them, so they started with ‘20Hz’. The boys focused strictly on the music, there were no special effects except some colourful lights flashing together with the rhythm. It all looked quite modern, stylish, with no exaggeration, colourful and nice. But as it comes to the music, I think there much more to be shown... I had an impression that they just came in, played, and were gone. As for the repertory, we could hear such songs as: ‘Come’, ‘Stalker’, ‘Invisible and Silent’ or ‘Dead Stars’, ‘One World One Sky’. It was all good but not enough to impress me, not enough to outshine their predecessors.

Tha last performing band of the evening according to the plan was Northern Lite. Completely incomprehensible order of placing this project at that time. Watching the dispersing people I’m sure I was not the only one thinking this way. To make it clear.. . first sounds of ‘Go With The Flow’ and as for the time (about 1 pm) not really impulsively... Track number 2 ‘In control’ made me start to yoll and I kept doing it while the next sounds of ‘I’m So Glad’. So there was the time to go back to the camp and to regenerate for the next day, which I really couldn’t wait for.

Sunday, 05/11

On the schedule was visiting both Werk II Halle and Agra Halle. As it was very early, we started with the latter. Atomic Neon was the first to perform on stage. Unfortunately, we were fed up after three songs – not the right time for his kind of climate. The band must have been disappointed by the fact that only as few as 50 people came to their performance. But it could have been due to – as I’ve already mentioned - the early hour and another inconvenience was the intense heat especially outdoors as it was afternoon.

Heading for the exit, we went to a neighboring hall, where all sorts of fetish gothic stores were displaying their merchandize. Clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry and even custom-made vampire teeth! A mini-mall with incredible attractions for the fans of the climate. Next, we proceeded to Werk II Halle. It was shaping up well, I was excitedly looking forward to the performances.

The first thing we heard was rhythm-noise by the Geyhound duo. Quite an interesting beginning and a foretaste of what was in prospect that night. The audience were just beginning to gather, refreshing themselves with cold beverages, flocking towards the stage, attracted by the hypnotizing sounds of "earthstomp" and "autoerotic". Stage effects, such as lights, clouds of smoke or streboscopes abounded. The gentlemen got off on the right foot and kept it up till the end.

Finally, everybody in the hall started to pick up steam, things started to swing and encourage us to dance more and more insanely. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse, i.e., Noisuf –X, unfolded before the eyes of the audience. The guys had no difficulty perking things up and getting the party going. It couldn’t do without the old hits, such as "Toccata del Terrore", "My Time", "Orgasm" and new ones, such as the magnificent "Hit Me Hard", which made the audience hop and sing along with the band. The performance was decidedly successful and undoubtedly unforgettable!

After all the energy we’d been given, it was time for some relax, which we were presented with by Nullvektor. The intro was full of industrial sounds, which soothed and calmed down our senses, although some people still had the uncontrollable energy to beat time with their feet, hop and dance through all the performances, which I admire.

I must admit that at some point, I was stunned. Bahntier, the most fascinating and the weirdest concert I had a chance to see during the whole festival. It seems to me that most of the audience shared my bewilderment as they were focused on what the band was presenting rather than following the rhythm of the dance music, which was at times both hypnotizing and narcotizing. I find it difficult to be either in favour or against. I choose to stay impartial. Let’s have a closer look… So there is the front man on the stage, as if on a ship tossed by high winds, balancing one way or the other. At times, you had the impression that he was going to fall off the stage, luckily, he decided to hold on to it, however, occasionally, he would lie down or toss about. Every once in a while, he was accompanied by rather strange props, be it an interestingly bandaged arm, with the bandage somehow unfolding along the way, let alone continuing strange movements or acts, such as spitting in his palm. What did he have in mind? If his aim was to shock and stir up controversy, it was obviously partially achieved. It must be added that the "performance" was accompanied by colourful visualizations, such as the dance of masked, half naked overweight women. I must admit that all the images that we saw in the back of that band attracted attention. It seemed that it would take the audience a while to get over the experience. The break was filled with a strange silence.

Nevertheless, we had no difficulty focusing our attention on the subsequent line-up, which was Northborne. They must be complimented on the unbelievable charisma that those two people have, let alone the front man’s biting sense of humor. He had quite a chat with the audience at the very start. You bet, he had a true rapport with everybody flocking around the stage up until the very end. And I’m not sure whether it was my own spirit or the band’s behavior that made both me and the others go into a dancing trance, which continued up to the very last chords. Everybody was filled with an incredible dose of energy, which seemed to be about to go off at any time. "Baby Needs Coke" and "Watt" made the audience hop to the beats, and you could say that we were literally dancing to the tune. Listening to the show live and taking part in it is decidedly much more than listening to the gentlemen’s CD.

The dancing trance would not let off, which was impossible as the next to step into the breach was the powerful and energetic Xotox. Beats, beats and once again beats… Music full ahead! We heard the old hits, such as "eisenkiller" as well as brand new ones like "ewig" along with all the other gems from "In den zehn morgen". The audience were driven mad, the excitement reached the zenith, every minute it was more and more crowded, hotter and hotter, you could see sweat on all the foreheads, and it was so stuffy it was difficult to breathe. Naturally, nobody minded such details and everybody was carried away by the crazy wave of industrial sounds.

This performance was the last one in this place, just right after the show we ran back do Agra Halle to make it for the end, namely for the last two bands - London After Midnight and Fields of The Nephilim.

Thus, we have ended the day accompanied with gothic-rock sounds of bands of a rather cult status. I was dissapointed by London After Midnight, though. It was the first time I have been seeing them live, and I must admit I like their vocal-music stunts od a CD a lot more. The vocalist’s voice was not convincing at all (due to problems with sound/exposure?) Unfortunately, I cannot say more, because I merely made it for the end. However, judging by the audience’s reaction, I claim that people liked it, even though noone has shown it frantically.

Nevertheless, the crowd became pepped up again when the men with hats and coats appeared on the stage, just as if they were cut from the Wild, Wild West - Fields of The Nephilim. Equally good as they were 20 years ago. Despite the age of the members, they gave an astonishing performance on a highly profficient and proffesional level! I have really fond memories from this concert, vocal and music were incredible, and everything put together constituted a great, sui genesis show.

Final concerts in Agra Halle are excellent choice and they are really worth the odds and ends of one’s energy. Unfortunaltely, our abilities were limited, and we had to go sleep, just in the very middle of the show.
The most painful thing, though, was to leave the festiwal which still carried on the day after. The problems with transport made our sooner evacuation.
Nevertheless, the emotions and memories persisted and will remain, with a touch of thrist for more, until the next edition of Wave Gotik Treffen. All we can do is wait…

Translation: Ankara, Darkpiurity, Nariko

Translator: Kirke
Add date: 2008-05-30 / Live reports

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