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Dark Circus Festival in Zielona Góra

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The Dark Circus festival concert that took place in the beginning of December was the only one in Poland. Traveling tent arrived to Zielona Góra on the fifth of December 2014 and spread out in Rock Out concert pub, a place with a little space but making up with coziness and somewhat homely atmosphere. Quite a big interest in the event caused some worries that the club would not host the total number of participants but - as it usually happens - the audience appeared in a number roughly equal to half of the expected. Pity, because it was a real treat for the fans of climatic sounds.

Before this, however, as the first and after a delay, Demoncast presented themselves, an Israeli band aiming for industrial rock but in fact playing a poor mix of flat riffs and unsophisticated electro. I can’t tell you anything good about the performance, except that they played short, not torturing the public too long with works of as unrefined titles as "Bitch". Perhaps there were people who had fun but the applause at the end of the dubious show came mainly (which I confirmed in a chat with other participants) from gratitude that it was over. Well, the worst bits have to be swallowed first to focus on pleasure later on. Fortunately, none of the other bands intended to repeat the feat of Demoncast.
For some reasons, the order of concerts has changed on the day of the festival, unusually pushing the "stars" - Stoneman and Otto Dix - before Substaat and Kissin' Black.
We waited four years for the re-appearance of Russians in Poland. A lot of things happened since Castle Party 2010 – change of staff, release of three (not including side projects) excellent albums, fully deserving to be called avant-garde. And on that day, the dream the band’s fans, who made up the greater part of the audience, come true at last.
Despite the recognition of two new members in 2013, Otto Dix performed as a duo. It's a decision that filled me with optimism from the first moment - in my opinion, the new guitarist focuses too much on his ego during concerts, creating confusion and unnecessary kind of vulgarity, taking away the music’s charm. The tour celebrating a decade proved to be the return to the tradition, return to the keys plus countertenor schema.
In the darkness, with madly flickering, sharp white light (a miracle there were no seizures), demonically disguised Michael Draw, with Marie Slip in the background, began the show with "Antichrist". From the first moments the images from the memorable performances with the singer, thanks to unprecedented coordination of mechanical moves with music transforming into a cyborg straight from Sterling’s prose. "Clay", a composition with distinctive guitar heaviness, published recently on the EP "X", was played as the second - live it came out even more powerful, with all the stage theatricals.
Expanded theater, but characterized by a deep authenticity, required diversify the resources and opening to the audience (among others, it manifested in singing parts of choruses in English). Indeed, in this, the show of Otto Dix stood up above others. Interaction, ease in solving all encountered problems coming with the small size of the stage, and, at the same time, the sense of humor proved the  stage experience and professionalism of Draw.
From "Pandemonium" (with blessing the audience with fake blood), the misanthropy of "Disease", alluring, cat imitation in "The Beast", up to the masochistic self-destruction in "Beloved German" (which was performed in accompaniment with rhythmic beating of the whip) - the audience went on a journey through each of these faces to finally focus on the sensitivity and poetry of the desperate "Dream of Spring". Facial expressions, gestures made an actor out of Draw, playing a whole array of emotions. Performing the delicate "Little Prince" from the album "Wonderful Days" was a surprise (here the performance with paper airplanes) – an unexpected choice, and very satisfying; the keys solo in place of the original violin part by Peter Voronov sounded intriguing. For the final we were rewarded with the song "Utopia" including the obligatory show with the USSR flag, with which Michael was doing great despite the limited space.
And then a great surprise - Otto Dix members were forced to finish their performance faster: the time was short. The audience had to feel a deep disappointment, fascinated, focusing on the singer's every gesture, listening to every sound. And even though nothing was played from "Anima" or "Mortem" - it would be hard not to note that this concert was one of the most rewarding events in my life. The performance not possible to be repeated by any other band - the creature into which Drew transformed onstage, possesses all gathered, and in terms of sensitivity the band seems to be on the top above other groups, left downhill. Maybe that's why they were the only ones that were rewarded with  loud chanting of their name in the atmosphere of deification at the end of their show.
Successful, although for different reasons, was the performance of Stoneman. The headliner had a completely different approach to the way in which they celebrated their anniversary. In the tenth year of creating, passing under the wing of Danse Macabre, the Swiss released "Goldmarie" - an album that shows a qualitative progress compared to their previous achievements. And which that evening, as we were to experience, to the extraordinary joy of the audience, they played whole.
A stand with massive cross, rock’n’roll shady idols image. They left no doubt as to what was about to begin. Hedonistic, almost unbridled show from the first sounds aroused euphoria and enthusiasm, and excitement in the female part of the audience. The incredible power of melodic metal riffs and vocals flowed out of the club, with the result that even random people on the street stopped wondering if they should buy tickets (sounds impossible, but I took part in such a talk). Self-confidence, lack of curb in combination with such musical bombs like "Liebeslied" or "Mord ist Kunst", falling relentlessly from the speakers onto the stage and exploding in elemental spasms overflowing the audience – hell created on Earth for a moment. The commitment and hard physical work of band members was impressing, especially the guitarist, also responsible for the vocals.
The longest concert that evening almost wiped Rock Out from the surface of the planet and I hope that the Swiss will have the opportunity to present their work in Poland once again.
It's hard not to feel fondness for the Substaat duo. Norwegians assured lots of fun to the audience, presenting songs from their second album, "Macht". And even though part of the audience treated their performance with a grain of salt, it’d be hard not to admit that they can rock the crowd. Without forcing the darkness through, without the typical cool Scandinavian melancholy, making a king of the dance floor out of everyone. Catchy, warm sounds of electro warmed up many that evening.
The last show was the Swiss Kissin' Black. The project recently released their first album and they describe their music as "dark acoustic rock". Definition accurate, but it does not take into account the spontaneity and heaviness during performances, built solely by a single acoustic guitar in standard rock environment. Acoustics on amphetamines! The result is something like a "heavy rockabilly". The advantage of Kissin 'Black is also the hypnotic, trance bass, often taking the major role.

Special thanks to the Rock Out staff - for organizing the after party, for the initiative in organizing the original music events, for performance despite emerging problems, and above all - for openness and a friendly, family atmosphere. Good luck in the future!
Translator: kantellis
Add date: 2015-01-23 / Live reports

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