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Wrocław Industrial Festival 2011 + Clan of Xymox concert in Łódź

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I went to Łódź, a large industrial city near the Polish capital Warsaw, because of a concert of Clan of Xymox. The journey began with a train ride from my home town Ljubljana to Vienna, then through Katowice to Wrocław, where the X. Wrocław Industrial Festival was taking place, which – of course – I did not want to miss.

Few words about the X. Wrocław Industrial Festival
Although the festival lasted from November 10th to 13th, I was only able to attend the second day (fortunately on the day of the concert by the EBM legends Absolute Body Control, a band I have been listening to since I can remember).
What I did not know was that exactly on this day was not only the polish Independence Day, but also a football game (sorry, not interested in this kind of stuff), which meant the hostels were booked solid and violent drunk people were out all night on the streets. But that's another story.

The Venue
The homepage of the Industrial Festival helped us to find the venue, not far from the centre (the entrance fee for one day was 110 złoty, about 27 Euro). Upstairs was the amazing Hala Gotycka (The Gothic Hall), where the concerts took place. It really felt like being in a gothic church.

The Concerts
At our arrival to Hala Gotycka a Polish band by the name of Astrid Monroe was already playing. Throughout the concert, the blonde female singer (presumably Astrid) was standing with her back to the audience, hands bound together. Then there was a guy on the synth and the computer, who reminded me of Jeff Goldblum and a hooded guy on the drums. Massive Attack sleeping with the Thinking back Astrid Monroe was to me the best act of the evening.

The next act was Peter Hope's Exploding Mind. Peter Hope is a really angry guy, who in his lyrics seemed to complain about everything (I might be wrong, as I could not understand properly, about what he was singing). The projections behind the stage were interesting: a mean cow and a hand scratching something off of the other hand... It sounded good, nevertheless Peter Hope has no potential to become my favourite musician.

The band Skrol from the Czech Republic surprised me positively. Dynamic music with a dynamic female voice. I don't know why I had to think of Juno Reactor.

Thorofon was noise. As such they must already aim for a very specific type of listener. Some people stayed. We, however, joined the majority of the crowd for a smoke on the stairs, where we met friendly industrial-fellas from many different countries.

The band I was waiting for: Absolute Body Control. The two guys seemed to be their own roadies. After some voice checks the lights went off and they started with Melting Away, actually a ballad and/therefore an interesting choice for the opening song, which felt almost like a fade-in to the rest of the concert. Always dynamic with a touch of rock'n'roll, their new songs sound like their old songs.

The last act I saw that evening was Clock DVA. They should have played before Absolute Body Control, who brought the audience to a dancing mood which Clock DVA's music, as good as it is, could not continue.

After this we went home, as it is certainly not easy to listen to so many concerts in a row.

Łódź and Clan of Xymox

On November 12th my journey continued to the city of Łódź for a performance by a band, which I desired to see live for ages: Clan of Xymox. As it was also a long-time wish of mine to visit Łódź and check out the local scene, this was the perfect opportunity.

The Place
For 46 Złoty (about 10 Euros) I got the ticket to Łódź Kaliska, the main railway station. It is not hard to find the centre in Łódź, as the centre consists of one broad long street - Piotrkowska - where all the public life seems to take place. Directly on Piotrkowska street, was also the Music Hostel, where we stayed, a place I would recommend to every low-budget traveller.
There was, in fact, only thing I knew about Łódź, before I first saw it: it is an industrial city. That many of my Polish friends gave it bad marks just increased my interest and the desire to go there. And today I can confirm the industrial charm of this city, yes maybe even a kind of an "industrial romance" hidden in the foggy curve-less streets – a feeling I only knew before from Berlin and Bratislava. Why not make an Industrial Festival here?
All in all it seems to be a bohemian place, mostly maybe because of its film history. The tourist guide Łódź in your Pocket says that it all started in 1948, when the National Film School was founded, because after the devastation of Warsaw this was the nearest metropolis. One of the many indicators for the importance of cinematography for "Hollyłódź" is the Walk of Fame on both sides of Piotrkowska. Stars on the pavement depict the names of famous directors and artists like Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Kieślowski and Roman Polański, to name only a few.
I've also heard that the American director David Lynch, who visits the city from time to time, made it the setting of his film Inland Empire. Manufactura, the place he chose for this setting, is an old weaver factory complex, renovated and reborn as a cultural and shopping centre so it is actually pure steampunk - 19th century meets 21th century - town.

The Venue
The club Dekompresja is situated outside the city centre, on Limanowskiego street 200. A friend of mine picked us up to go there by car. The entrance fee for the concert was 70 Złoty (about 16 Euro), which I find quite cheap.

Entering Dekompresja we stood in a hall, its walls painted dark orange and black, leather sofas everywhere, in the centre a bar, a dance floor in front of it. I noticed the merchandise stand and bought a Clan of Xymox T-shirt, then we sat down for a beer.
The stage on the second floor was huge, but I found the place for the front crowd strangely small, as there was a fence behind which people were sitting.

The anti-smoking-law was not respected much. Although there was a smoking area - a small gap behind a curtain – people were smoking everywhere and the stairs were again, as in Wroclaw, the gathering place.

The Concert
Then some sounds emanating from the stage reached our ears, so we went upstairs to see the support band Deathcamp Project. As it is a local band, quickly the crowd grew bigger to support them with their heads and hands. They did have an interesting sound, some kind of mixture between death rock and death metal, but at the time I was much too excited to finally see Xymox live to perceive Deathcamp Project concert properly. I later searched for their music on youtube and they are definitely worth a listen.

After Deathcamp Project finished their concert, we went for a smoke to the stairs to speak to some local people. They were quite communicative and were amazed that we travelled such a long way just to see Xymox. They told me that the dark scene in Łódź is not very big, that there are not too many nice concerts, and that Dekompresja usually isn't the best place to socialize for goths, because of the "many big brutal guys hanging around, searching for trouble". This night, however was joy- and peaceful.

Soon we heard screams, which indicated that Xymox had entered the stage. A few moments later we were diving in the middle of the front crowd. The light effects and the artificial fog combined with Moorings's vocals and synth melodies that went under the skin, it seemed almost like a mass of sorts. The audience was frozen one moment, but started to move again with the rhythm shortly after. All around me were goth girls dressed in sexy self-made clothes and in front of me – the tall guy who seems to follow me to every concert (maybe you know him?).

Moorings was in best shape, I could hardly believe, how young and agile he looked. A very sympathetic person, impressing the crowd with music, but also with stories. One could feel Moorings is the star and the head of the "founding fathers of Goth Rock" (he is Xymox, as it is also written on their homepage). Actually, it is hard to define their sound, as their music spans over several different genres, like darkwave, post-punk, goth rock, synthpop and electronica.

As well the communication between the band and the crowd, as the communication between the musicians themselves was functioning and visible. Experienced musicians, who care about their fans!

They didn't only play the songs of the new album Darkest Hour, but also their older hits (and they really have a lot of those!), like "Louise", "A Day", "Back Door", and "Jasmine & Rose". The crowd called them back on stage with the words "Xy-mox! Xy-mox! Xy-mox!" four (!) times. Usually this would have become boring, but not this time. The band gave their best, and so did the audience. Everyone felt sorry, when they finally really left the stage. Who knows, if Moorings wasn't tempted to return once more and play "A Million Things"?

Picture from the Official Xymox fanpage on facebook

The After-show
With the pleasant feeling you get after just witnessing a great concert, we went to the bar for another beer. There was a DJ sitting behind a window above the doors to the entrance hall and we soon joined the people who decided to dance. Shortly after, the whole entrance hall was full of dancers. I have no idea how usual this is in the club Dekompresja, but it was great. The DJ played wave, goth rock, EBM, synthpop and indie rock. At the end of this day, everybody was happy.

I checked out the Facebook Clan of Xymox' fan group, which is managed by Moorings himself. He doesn't have many star allures, posts also private pictures and reacts on comments by fans. With the concert in Łódź he seemed to be very satisfied as he mentioned it in his last four posts.

Translator: morrigan
Add date: 2012-01-27 / Live reports

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