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Amphi Festival 2013

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It’s 19th July 2013, 6 o’clock in the morning – it’s ridiculous time to wake up in the middle of a summer, but! When you’ve got a good reason, which is going to Amphi Festival, the motivation grows. What’s more, this year’s edition will be opened by a new event, which, I hope, will become a tradition. Let’s start from the beginning...

The long road behind us, litres of beverages drunk, litres sweated, heat is hard to endure, it’s going to be hot festival. We go quickly to the hotel and even quicker to take a shower and then straight to Call the Ship to Port.  It’s an exclusive cruise with a party on the board of one of the biggest cruise liner in Europe "MS RheinEnergie". The line-up includes concerts of Classic & Depeche, Welle: Erdball, Covenant, after party and sightseeing of Koln from the perspective of Rhein.
The enormous size of the ship impresses, the effect of enormity is magnified by the glass walls of the lower deck, where the stage is located. After  all the guests had already found their place eating and drinking, the ship set sail. If it wasn’t the landscape changing behind the windows, I wouldn’t have noticed that we are moving. We went to upper deck, where we found lots of chairs and tables and dressed in black people all around – fantastic view! The views were beautiful and the breeze really pleasant. And then unexpected surprise – suddenly we heard a familiar voice, I turned around and saw Eskil Simonsson! Apparently he was also relaxed smiling and posing for a photo. Time to go back downstairs, the concerts are about to start.
Classic & Depeche Mode is simply Depeche Mode played in the piano in a classic way by German musician Lars Arnold. In a few words it was a chamber concert, pleasurable, ideal for the beginning of the evening. Amazing performance of the tracks which seem to be so well-known in so many versions that it is really surprising to hear something completely new. The artist was smiling all the time which is quite obvious when we take into consideration the applause after each song and constantly growing number of people listening and enchanted by the new sound of their favourite songs. The next artist changed the growing crowd into a volcano of energy dancing along with the vocalist. If it hadn’t been the organizers’ meticulously restricted schedule, who knows how long Welle: Erdball would have been playing.


In three words it was a crazy, hot and busy day. Tanzbrunnen Park was gradually becoming more and more crowded. There were quite a lot of fans this year since all the tickets had been sold out. That’s why moving from main stage to the other one in the hall (the distance of about 150 metres) required wheeling and dealing to get everywhere on time and have a good place to see the stage. It was extremely hot, typical summer weather so it was really great idea of the organizer to make sure there is an access to cold water to drink and in a form of a shower. It would be really hard to survive without it.
A Life [Divided] played as the first band to start concerts on the main stage. It is a German band mixing rock with electro and elements of synth rock plus a characteristic vocal. Unfortunately they were allowed to play only six songs. Very nice to listen, I recommend "Heart on Fire" and "The Last Dance". There was also a surprise – cover "Perpetual" VNV Nation.
Not taking into consideration the moments when both stages were empty, we can surely say that for the whole festival there were fans in front of both stages all the time. The positive thing about it is that all artists had their audience and that’s the best motivation to play the best they can. The bad side was the ubiquitous queues and the crowd everywhere making it hard to get to your destination. There was no option to listen to all concerts from the beginning till the end but I tried to get at least two songs from each.
In this way I managed to listen to "Ewig" Xotox. There was no big difference between the studio version and live one but who cares, the effect of live version is priceless.

Meanwhile the main stage had been already occupied by Stahlmann. Those who like Rammstein should enjoy this concert. The mixture of industrial and something harder in melodious version. Plus for stage image – musicians’ bodies were painted in silver, there was a lot of smoke and lights play.
Still talking about the main stage, after the break the time for Solitary Experiments came. German future pop/industrial trio served well-known tracks such as "Delight" and fresh, new ones which were also well received because most of the fans had already known the lyrics by heart. Unfortunately the surprise in the form of models pretending to be the real band during the first track "Stars" was not successful.
In the hall nearby Faderhead taking care of the audience. Ok, their lyrics are not the best ones and the vocal is somewhere among rap, singing and roaring, but I was curious of their live performance. The result? Typical party set including four guys jumping around the stage making the audience do the same. The biggest enthusiasm was evoked by "Dirtygrrrls/Dirtybois" which  I actually wanted to hear. Summing up it was energetic, pretty good performance, and let’s go outside.

The next band from my Saturday schedule was the side project of Corvus Corax, namely rock-industrial Tanzwut. The name of the band originating from the common psychosis with the signs of uncontrolled movements resembling dancing is perfect to reflect what was happening during the concert. Great contact with the audience and never ending applause – medieval atmosphere is great for festivals.
The stage was somehow hidden while preparing for the next concert, though I managed to take a look of what was going on out there. It was all because of Agonize. Fans in the first rows probably knew what to expect, the rest were surprised by enormous amount of red liquid performing as a blood. Chris was lowered to the stage by means of ropes, then he was bleeding along with his companion puncturing her face. The concert was almost theatrical and blood was everywhere. I feel sorry for the security guards, photographers who didn’t know about the attractions and those who had to clean this mess after that. In terms of music it was really good, including "Bis das Blut gefriert" so nothing to complain about.
A small change in atmosphere – I got to Staatenhaus to see the end of De/Vision concert which was equally spontaneous as the previous one. The crowd was enchanted and the band did their best having in mind that it was a part of their anniversary tour. It was worth to see the last track from a setlist "Flavour of the week".
Despite the terrible heat inside I decided to stay and get closer as a lot of people around me to see Suicide Commando. I expected as good concert as the one from Wave Gotik Treffen. I was mistaken... They played shorter but how! Johan Van Roy is a volcano of energy, jumping around with the visualisations in the background plus his amazing contact with the audience made the concert brilliant. After such tracks as "Cause of Death: Suicide", "Die Motherfucker Die" or "Attention Whore" they played "Hellraiser". There’s nothing more to wish for.

A moment of break is necessary now because VNV Nation is to play in the main stage. Never mind that I’ve seen Ronan twice this year already, I’ll see him once again with pleasure. Never mind that the setlist was almost the same as the one from WGT and Castle Party. VNV Nation concerts are always extremely positive!


On that day my priority included two concerts: Icon of Coil and Beauty of Gemina. Having that in mind I went to Staatenhaus to warm myself up listening to [X]-RX. Most of the bands playing electro, techno or rave have the same problem – there is no much difference between their live sound and studio one. Generally speaking it is not that much disturbing taking into consideration this kind of music, however, a little bit of diversity during the concerts would be nice. Anyway it was ideal to wake up and start a new day full of excitement.
Waiting for my stars I literally survived the concert of Ben Ivory. What is he doing here? Where do they get him from? When will he finish? I was asking myself all the time. It’s even hard to call it pop, but something around it plus extremely boring so let’s just skip it.
Three steps more and I’m right in front of the stage! Mission completed, only a moment of technical check-up and Beauty of Gemina start their concert. There was no surprise. The concert was exactly the same as in Bolków but I was happy to see them again. Two disadvantages of the concert: technical problems, nothing serious but disturbing and again I didn’t manage to catch the band’s T-shirt thrown by Michael.

It’s even more crowded before the concert of Andy and Sebastian. As a matter of fact similarly to the previous band, the performance was very successful but almost the same as the one during Castle Party. Anyway, I was enjoying the concert very much, the guys took care about their fans almost after each song telling stories. Everybody was smiling all the time, totally successful concert. Only security guards were terrified when spontaneous and crazy Andy decided to almost lie on the people in the first row and the go into the dancing crowd. Amazing!
Ufff... strangely there’s something more here than concerts only – time for shopping! Amphi offers a wide range of possibilities in this matter, extremely seductive is Xtrax’s shop placed on a separate island. It’s easy to guess that it was very time-consuming to see all of it. Still we had to also see the ‘gothic’ beach. Stunning view: the beach full of dark shadows on white deckchairs in the sun. But seriously it was beautiful, especially when the sun was going down and you managed to find a free piece of furniture resembling a bed with canopy. The lucky ones could also talk to musicians relaxing there.

Meanwhile, the stage belonged to Oomph! In terms of music it was pretty nice but I admit that I was waiting only for "Augen auf" which was played and was great. The best part of the concert was the show which musicians prepared. They had several outfits which were being changed on stage with the accompaniment of "You can leave your hat on". And as the icing on the cake the cover from Monty Python "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life".
To cool down the emotions I went again to Staatenhaus to see Peter Heppner. It was very nice, calm and relaxing concert, I was even moved in some moments. Of course "I feel you" was played and it was the last track played live during Amphi 2013.

Summing up: Great line-up, rich variety of genres, high level of organization and lots of memories to come to!

Translator: morrigan
Add date: 2013-10-02 / Live reports

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