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Wave Gotik Treffen 2009

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We all know the dash of German festivals. Good organization, order and most of all, high standards are characteristic of this kind of events. Wave Gotic Treffen can be rated among the biggest dark independent events in Europe, and its 18th edition confirms the above argument.

Also the music wasn’t short of panache. Performers such as Feindflug, Combichrist, Fabric C, or VNV Nation needn’t be introduced. Every single day of the festival gave us a great rush of musical adrenaline.

Day 1 - Friday:

It’s begun. We direct our first steps towards Agra halle. At first it start calmly.

L'ame Immortelle:
Austrian music with a gothic-electronic sound combined with poetic lyrics, well performed music played the way the "Immortal Soul" should sound. Sonja’s theatrical movements plus some of the best known pieces guaranteed a positive reception of the concert. And even though the fans did not abound, one could see that those present were satisfied with the concert. Unfortunately, the stage was not well-lit. I’d actually refer to it as lack of light, but in the case of this band one could argue that it was an intended effect as it created atmospheric darkness, which perfectly fit into L’ame Immortalle’s loftiness.

The crowd usually responds in a way suggestive of something worthy of attention, but most often for commercial reasons. Such a crowd was now headed for Agra, immediately after L’ame Immortalle’s concert. The band which was about to perform is known to everybody and liked by almost everybody. In all modesty, I think that it has gained its unquestionable fame thanks to the audience, and more precisely, thanks to the phenomenon known as the psychology of the crowd, which nowadays creates new stars. Ladies and gentlemen! Here is:

Approaching the stage is an unfeasible thing. Watching the concert from a distance – next to unfeasible. If you were late, you had a wonderful place far from the stage, almost by the exit. At first glance it’s clear the German go round the twist about Combiac and, although you could rarely see dancing people in concerts, here dancing fans were swarming by the stage. Regrettably, the visual part of the concert didn’t seem to be well thought out. The lighting was no better than in the case of L’ame Immortalle. The only difference were the stroboscopes. The rest left a lot to be desired, but luckily the band made up for the shortcomings with something that probably drew most of the audience’s attention – Andy was covered in an undetermined sticky substance. Also the interaction with the fans did not fail, though actually it was rather initiated by the fans. We heard most of the best-known pieces, such as "Elektrohead" or "Get Your Body Beat". It’s just a shame that Combichrist is more focused on the visual effects and Andy’s screaming rather that music itself.

Day 2 - Saturday:

The morning on the camping site seems surprisingly calm. The usual night calls of tipsy Germans, reminiscent of mating sounds, are over. Every now and then the twang of beer bottles can be heard or you can see people getting ready for the new day, which is going to be an extraordinary fashion parade. Fanciful hairstyles, scanty clothing in comparison with sumptuous long dresses, bizarre shoes, umbrellas, accessories and artificial smiles stuck on powdered faces – this is what Agra- Gelände, the main alley outside the concert hall, full of oddly dressed people ready to pose for herds of photographers, looks like. This commercial aspect of the festival has little to do with the music as such, albeit delights the eye and attracts with its unique power of colours and infantile plastic style.

At last, it’s time for the music. Just like in the case of Combichrist, crowds begin to gather in front of Agra. Everybody wants to already be inside, to get right next to the stage. It’s about to begin. It’s getting more and more stuffy inside the hall, everything’s buttoned up, it’s show time.

The German band has not changed its originality. Music hasn’t died - this is what the German band showed. They had great if not professional contact with the audience. The only bond between the band and the fans was the music. One could see a group of guys more interested in dancing than in the concert itself, but there was also quite a number of fans whose faces radiated with euphoria. We could hear the best-known pieces like "Truppenschau", "Stukas im Visier", "Ak 47". Undoubtedly, one of the best concerts in this year’s WGT.

Two reputable bands on the same night, meaning two excellent concerts. The organizers proved it possible. Feindflug was followed by another pearl, a band whose fans can be found not only in Germany, but also in the US and all over Europe.

VNV Nation:
If you see a crowd singing the lyrics with their eyes fixed on the future-pop performers, it has to be the VNV Nation. And so it was this time, too. Ronan and Mark know how to warm up the audience and appeal to their hearts with lyrics. What has been said exhausts the subject.

Day 3 - Sunday:

This time we are headed for Werk Halle II. It’s here that a an extraordinary demonstration of the art of arranging industrial sounds will take place. The first to perform was:

If you were close to the stage you could feel vibrations permeating your entire body. Pieces like "Der zweite Tod" and "Chinese Food" literally shook up the room. Fabrik C’s big beat was met with enthusiasm, perhaps too ardent, as all of the sudden we could see underpants on the stage, not to mention their big size. The leader accepted the gift with a sense of humour, which was an interesting touch to the end of the show.

Daniel and Joe know how to give a kick. Genuine musical adrenaline! Exemplary rapport with the fans: while one was performing on the stage, the other actually threw himself into the audience. The boys seemed to have taken an overdose of caffeine. It was their energy that everybody had been awaiting! Splendid DJ’s live action. And the best-known pieces, "24 Stunden", "Bull Fucking Shit" or "World of Shit" guaranteed absolute success. One of the best concerts in this festival’s edition, in my opinion.

The unforgettable industrial sensations were followed by a change of climate. In haste, almost running, we return to Agra for another memorable concert.

Umbra et Imago:
Mozart likes women. People like being shocked. Two naked representatives of the female sex, playing an erotic game is the kind of thing that’ll please every one, let alone men. Madeleine Le Roy, one of the two girls undoubtedly spiced up the concert. Not to mention the unique climate always created by Umbra et Imago. Mozart’s robust style combined with his expressive voice once again enchanted the audience, in other words euphoria plus everybody humming along to the tune of "Liber Gott" or "Amadeus". Interestingly, the fans’ age bracket was highly varied, which proves that any kind belonging to a subculture does not have to be a mere madness of youth.

Day 4 - Monday:

We break the tent and set off for Kohlrabzirkus, where the festival’s last concerts will take place. A few hours of waiting and finally, one the festival’s last German dark independent stars.

You could tell that lots of fans had been waiting for this concert. The number of the people in the hall was as impressive as in the case of the Combichrist concert. Ever since the first piece, the number of those dancing was only growing. A visually impeccable show with fake blood gushing out of the leader’s veins. Great music, too. Agonize is one of those projects whose music sounds as good in concerts as it does on a CD. We heard the well-known pieces, including "Koprolalie" and "Femme Fatale". The audience went mad. Undoubtedly, Aganoize couldn’t have asked for a reward better than the amazingly spontaneous response from the crowd of delighted fans as well as the applause coming from all over the Kohlrabzircus.

To nobody’s surprise, the concert was followed by a change of audience. The best and the most extravagantly dressed band decided it was time to return to their shakedowns, while the hall started to fill up with guys dressed more casually. Another concert and another long-awaited star – KMFDM. Everybody extected a decent performance. Unfortunately, what the band showed was far from my expectations. I regret to say that we have to get used to the thought that the good old KMFDM is gone.

All good things finally end. It was now time to go back home. Exhausted but happy, I got in the car to return home, richer in new musical experiences and unforgettable memories. Cherishing those, I have to finish this account, hoping that next year too I’ll get to participate in another Wave Gotik Treffen, another memorable musical journey.

Translator: Thalia
Add date: 2009-09-09 / Live reports

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