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M'era Luna 2009

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Music is no longer about the sound. The visual form is deafening. Listening the emotional way is becoming extinct. Now it’s about identifying with a band. Once you’re a fan, you gotta prove it with your outfit or likes, not always genuine. So what’s the connection with the music as such? Music festivals are the essence of the phenomenon. Each participant of such events should first ask themselves why they are going to participate, is there a purpose at all?
Mera Luna, one of the greatest dark independent music festivals can be regarded as the pride of Hildesheim. Perfect organization, numerous acres of land adapted to the event’s purposes the German way and refinement are just some of the pluses that can be attributed to this year’s annual event, which we’ve been witnessing ever since the year 2000 by following reports or, if you got lucky, by your own participation. Thousands of fans gather at the campsite, which actually used to be an airport. It’s here that the adventure begins. Hustle and bustle as well as beer pallets brought in on small trolleys could be an unusual view for a foreigner, but nothing special for a German. Every now and then you can see the first oddly dressed people, especially on the asphalt path, where you can freely display your charms. And it’s here that you can buy all kinds of food, from Chinese cuisine to the traditional Turkish kebab. The first night is most meaningful when it comes to the way you perceive the rest of the event. Surely, you can’t get bored here! It’s now, on the night that is the harbinger of the festival, that everything becomes alive.
The morning is the time for preparations. Sleepy faces emerge from the tents ready to embark on many-hour ritual of putting on make-up, brushing the hair and creating an image. You can already hear the music of the bands that are the first to perform. The long awaited moment has come: it’s time to move towards the stage.

When the beautiful Korean appears on the stage, his space is only hers. You could argue that by contrast, Ji-In Cho casts a spell with her delicacy, which doesn’t actually match the "dark" climate. Her gentle voice only underlines it. Even though pleasant to the ear, it doesn’t fully display the vocalist’s talent. Undoubtedly however, she’s very talented when it comes to moving on the stage. The petite girl knows exactly how to tune in with guitars’ rhythm, how to fill the stage with her presence. The fans abounded. Perhaps interested in the music and perhaps in the Korean’s attractions. I wouldn’t say Krypteria isn’t pleasant to listen to, however undemanding the listener can be. There were some pearls though, such as "My Fatal Kiss" played correctly and energetically. We also heard "Scream" and "Somebody Save Me". There is something about Krypteria that makes their music attractive even if you’ve hard it a number of times. Especially in concerts their music sparkle.

The band’s popularity seems absurd. When listening to their CD’s you have a positive feeling as the pieces are catchy, which makes them well-suited for the dancing floor. But when going to the concert I had no idea that the band can play entirely differently. The pathetic roaring with no sense or rhythm and additionally, the virtually transparent presence of the vocalist, that what the band offers when performing live. Thomas Helm vanishes on stage, visually, nothing special happens, let alone the music itself. Apparently, the fans, who’d gathered in large numbers, didn’t mind. Perhaps they only want to see Nachtmahr’s "good" side, the one artificially created in the privacy of their homes, in the loudspeakers or headphones? Or perhaps the audience no longer mind lack of music? In my opinion this was the worst concert I had the pleasure to hear during the festival. I would even suggest that the project should decidedly avoid performing live since as its name implies, they are a real Night Mare.

Peter Heppner:
The first dusk that had coloured the sky already before Heppner’s concert have now turned into even a gloomier shade. Soon, the performance will be accompanied by a gentle shower of rain, which seemed to appeared especially for Heppner. But it’s the music that ideally completes the melancholy climate. Everybody the audience seemed to be enchanted by the gentle instrumental background and the vocalist unique voice. Even though Wolfsheim’s ex-vocalist’s project is not commerically-oriented, and what’s more, plays ambitious music, there are still a lot of fans fascinated by what Heppner does. In this concert, Heppner once again proved that he deserves admiration. The German vocalist is part of the artistic elite as he’s one of those vocalists who never use artificial effects to excite the audience, music is all that counts. Looking both simple and enchanting with no make-up or fancy clothes, Heppner is a personification of concentration. The masterpiece of electronic music "I Feel You", beautifully combined with rain drops and a gentle breeze. Perhaps the one thing that would have completed the experience and made the performance look exactly like in the video clip would have been the distinctive bicycle. We also heard "Kein weg zuruck" and "Once in a Life Time", which got the audience clap to the rhythm and some even danced. Actually, one could be under the impression that the set list only included Wolfshame pieces. But you couldn’t be more wrong: "Vorbei" from the artist’s solo CD showed that while still loyal to the old climates, he’s as good on his own, which he clearly proved with "Das geht vorbei". "A firs-class performance" is the only way you can sum up this concert..

The Times when Nightwish was the god of symphonic metal are probably gone. The band is however trying to do its best to catch up with the old fame, this time featuring a new vocalist. I’m not negating Anette Olzon. On the contrary. She has proven she knows how to sing, which she also showed in this concert. The pieces were performed in a correct manner. But there will always remain an unsatisfied feeling after Tarja Turunen. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people thought the opposite, though. Now, when it comes the front man Tuomas Holopainen, one must admit that he still knows how to make a good show by just being present on the stage. The keyboard player’s unquestionable charisma is one of the band’s greatest assets. And it must be added that Anette has a radiant smile, which sparkled that night. Nightwish is still attracting countless numbers of listeners. Those by the stage were virtually brimming with joy and enthusiasm while passionately singing along with the band to the tunes of "Everdream" or "Amaranth". But it was "Dark Chest of Wonders" that was the best piece of the concert, full of energy and with the vocalist’s voice perfectly fitting in. Everything went smoothly and the fans were delighted, until all of the sudden a technical breakdown disrupted the concert. However, Marc and Anette managed to handle the situation and play it cool. Not only didn’t they leave the stage, but they even succeeded in making the audience laugh until the fault was repaired, after which they finished the night’s performance in a spectacular way.

Legend has it that Grendel was a monster that haunted a Danish king. The unfortunate in this case name of the musical project makes a reference even at present. The word "listener" is here the key word. Apparently, all the Grendel fans had a great time at the concert. After all, being a fan is binding. However, a listener is an independent recipient, or at least should be. As for their music as such, one cannot detect a complete lack of talent as far as the vocalist is concerned, not could one be under the impression that the musical matter has been composed typically for CDs. But a live performance emphasizes all of its downsides. However catchy and nice to dance to, that cannot be denied when it comes to Grendel’s music, it is also cliched and even a bit trashy. Such sounds spread and echoed in the hangar and got lost in its own echo. Had those drawbacks been made up for with visual effects, haunting the audience with musical kitsch would have been bearable. Unfortunately, [VLRK] was hardly visible on the stage, grotesquely running from one end of the stage to the other, evidently not knowing, which way to go next. It’s hard to believe that the same Grendel, so pleasant for the ear when played from a CD, is so different live. But this critique should be counterbalanced with some pluses, one of which was "Zombienation", a piece which concealed [VLRK]’s vocal flaws, or the famous "Soilbleed". But one thing is certain: music is good only if it sounds good live.

Welle: Erdball:
His pleasant project lured a swarm of people with their delightful and catchy tunes. One had a feeling that all those dark looking guys had left their gothic pose somewhere before the entrance and now replaced it with a merry beat-pop mood. The band must be complemented putting their heart and soul into each performance. Everything was refined to the last detail and a slip-up was out of the question. What you can hear from their CDs is fully reflected on stage. You won’t hear a classical instrument, but the electronic composition of the pieces is prepared in detail and there are no loose ends. Vocal-wise also correctly, clearly and with good rhythm, with no element of surprise neither positive nor negative. The performance could have been perceived as monotonous but the crowds gathered in the hangar clearly contradicted that. The project had seen to both the music itself and the visual side. Plastique and Frl Venus were both wearing colourful folk costumes, which they displayed by turning round on wooden wheels. This plus instruments that looked like gaming machines didn’t allow monotony. Let alone energetic pieces such as "Ich bin aus Plastic" or "Wir sind die Maschinen". Welle:Erdball has a unique climate of its own, for which they deserve to be complemented. It’s most important to know what you want to achieve and be consistent in doing so, which also applies to music.

His short man with a big voice doesn’t need an introduction. A master of adjusting and altering tones as well as scale variations. Surprisingly, despite these assets, he didn’t not attract great numbers of fans. Right next to the stage, you could see three rows of people, waving their arms, while the others were standing as if slightly bored, some had even engaged in conversations. This may have resulted from the sublime climate, which is so characteristic of Veljanov’s creations and which diverges from the festival’s style. Undoubtedly the concert was well worth attention. Just like with Heppner, there was nothing unnecessary, nothing that would have manipulated the audience. Just the instruments and the vocalist’s fantastic voice. The atmosphere was calm when they were playing "Man with a Silver Gun" and energetic when we got to hear "His Vita". However, one must understand the audience in admitting that every now and then the music was a bit monotonous and even the sublime aura couldn’t help it.

The energy roaring In four crazy Finns spread on to the audience. It’s unbelievable how aggressive a cello can sound, in instrument usually associated with the delicacy of classical music. The line-up scheduled Apocalyptica’s performance for after dusk, the time of day which ideally combined with their diabolical/symphonic style. You had a feeling that the bows had caught invisible fire, which lit the entire stage. Moreover, the guy are capable of entirely switching from harsh and violent sound to the melancholy "Bittersweet". The audience did not fail to raise and wave cigarette lighters. The infernal repertory was illustrated with Metallica’s cover "Fight Fire with Fire", energetic, with a big dose of the drums and lights going crazy round the stage, or "Grace", which instantly encouraged the fans to applaud. The passion that accompanies the band’s performances, their energy and total commitment, all that meant only one thing: the best concert of the Festival. A vocal was not needed – a success was guaranteed by the three cellos and the drums.

The Prodigy:
Finalny, the long-awaited moment Has come! The unquestionable star shone that night. The Prodigy showed how a true music show is done. They kicked off with "Worlds on Fire" and they kept the pace until the very end. There was nobody who could help but dancing to the tunes of "Smack my Bitch up", while Flint and Maxim encouraged the audience to crouch. At first the people didn’t seem to understand, probably because of a communication breakdown (English vs German). But then it worked and it worked real fine! All of the sudden everybody jumped up. The earth and the air were literally trembling with energy, which was exploding in everyone individually, both on the stage and among the audience. It was this concert that had the best displays of light, smoke and fire. It was amazing! This year’s line-up was closed in grand style. Full of emotions you could now go back to your tent or back home.

There is no way one could objectively and exhaustively recount the musicians, better or worse. Nor could one mention every band respectively. But there’s a way to tell true artists from kitschy fakes. Mera Luna is a perfect opportunity to make such a selection, a perfect opportunity to learn what your own taste is. It takes live concerts to reveal the whole truth. The curtain’s up, it’s show time!

Translator: Thalia
Add date: 2010-01-10 / Live reports

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