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Wave Gotik Treffen 2010

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The time around Whitsun is surprisingly a very important date for the fans of dark music. The reason for that is the biggest festival in the world, namely Wafe Gotik Treffen taking place every year in Leipzig. Anyway, it is a great feast, which in this year is taking place at the end of May. Unfortunately, Diamanda Gallas who had been earlier billed, did not appear, but the choice of performances was nevertheless considerable. Yet, taking into consideration the fact that many concerts were given at the same time as well as their rather distant locations, the snide ones would probably say that it was rather a choice of what to resign from.


I’ve come here for ten years thinking that I know Leipzig like the back of my hand. And surprise, already on the first day of the festival we find a new place (Felsenkeller). A big stage and a lot of space for audience (even a little bit too much). Enormous community centre, not so far from Agra Halle and the campsite. They say this location was marked on the festival map last year, but for people listening to neofolk it becomes attractive from this moment. Taking down a tent and setting up a camp took us a while so we didn’t manage to come in time for Damiano Mercuri’s set and his Rose Rovine e Amanti. As a matter of fact we came to Felsenkeller to hear the last chord of the band, so the only thing I can comment on is a great number of people there and a warm good-bye for the artists. It happens that the band performing as a first is more famous than following artists and this is exactly what was taking place this evening. Since those were the musicians from Hide & Seek who appeared on the stage after Italians. Embedded in neofolk, the quartet wasn’t seductive enough for the audience to make them rush blindly to buy the band’s albums. There was nothing special about the gig which can be classified as only one of many and rather not held in memory for long. The sound reinforcement system left a great deal to be desired and perhaps this is the reason for their defeat. The bass was foregrounded and it drowned out the vocal. Practically it was impossible to hear the flute. When it comes to the next artists, who just as Damiano came to Leipzig from Italy, it was much different. Argine, for it is about them now, played a very energetic set. It was possible to hear in their music imaginativeness, Italian finesse as well as strong power. Anyway, the band has post-punk roots. The first instrument which comes to mind when you think about this band is obviously violin and everything during the concert revolved around it. Alfredo Notarloberti sounds marvellously, not only on studio albums. Everybody who has seen him during live shows knows that he is close to virtuosity. Gentle, catchy melodies, a little bit provocative and aggressive solos. Everything played professionally. Simply excellently. There was also an extra attraction, namely the song with female vocal during which Alfredo played the piano. Just unexpected rotation, but still very successful. It is hard to describe in one sentence the performance of the successive band. Decadence doesn’t belong to the leading edge of the genre but it’s hard to remain indifferent to them. For not every project can boast of albums released by Hau Ruck or Swedish Cold Meat Industry. Obviously it is not the appearance of the musicians we judge but it’s worth mentioning how the band looked on stage. The guitarist and the bass player looked like experienced, long-haired metal musicians, female vocalist dressed in a beautiful dress surely could perform in opera, the man operating synthesizer most probably identified himself with gothic community, while the male vocalist was very eccentric and in his white cardigan, white trousers and sneakers visibly stood out from the rest.Such a team guaranteed diversity. There was something for the fans of heavenly voices music ("Cold Winter Sun"), although mostly those were the songs with very characteristic male vocal. Simultaneously gloomy and warm. With classical guitar and piano. Something like Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio ("Just for tonight," "Sin"). Very interesting and successful performance. Greeks proved that they have great potential. The last band performing in that evening was Joy of Life coming from England. They played here two years ago and as you can see, everybody wanted them in Leipzig again. Emerging from the post punk era, the musicians are true veterans. As a matter of fact they are less popular than Current 93 or Death in June but it is exactly the same guard and school. This year Gary C, Dev and the rest presented their apocalyptic songs, as usual with strong drum beats, which created military impression of the whole. At the end of the concert Rudiger from Apoptose and drummers from Fanfarenzug joined the band. Involving so many artists resulted in phenomenal effect. The sounds of beaters striking membranes of few dozen of instruments caused electrifying thrill. It was like gun shots attacking listeners all the time. The ears could rest at most split second. Despite late hour guys from the band managed to successfully get adrenaline of already a little bit sleepy audience rush. The perfect finale of the concert and of the whole day.


I’m pretty sure that comparing the organization of the concerts in Volspalast to Iron Man race is not an exaggeration. This is because this year they’ve decided to set into action one more stage, besides the main one, in the next door room (Kantine). It would be great (even wonderful if you don’t have to move too much) if not the breaks between concerts, or to be more precise the lack of them. One concert ended, the second began. The second ended, the third began. And so on, without any break. Andrew Liles and Colin Potter played their sets one by one. Actually, they’re friends from one bunch. Both of them, barricaded by loads of equipment, served 40-minute electronic sets. After that the musicians from Ashram appeared on the stage. The mastermind and the main composer of this group is Luigi Rubino assisted by already mentioned Alfredo Notarloberti from Argine. There is also a vocalist and this trio created a stunning show this evening. The songs were overfilled, pouring with emotions, though mostly maintained in calm and melancholy tone. Each of the artists knew his place on the stage. The piano and the violin perfectly complemented each other creating an atmosphere intensified by painfully blunt vocal. The whole concert was like this, to the last but one song. At the end of the concert, they proved that it is possible to look at things differently as well. There is time for reflection but there is also time for fun. They all sat behind the keyboard and played a six-hands version of extremely lively and fast song "The first was a death woman" from Alfredo’s solo album. The musicians themselves enjoyed playing this song very much and it was clear that they have a great fun playing together. The audience almost exploded when expressing their sympathy and respect for the band entertaining them and themselves as well. There were many more events that evening. One of the most important representative of neofolk, Sonne Hagel played among others. With dignity and guitars. They deserve to be called like that after the years of playing. The magical powers of 6 COMM and Freya Aswynn were clashed on the stage. Real shamanic madness. Magic and sorcery. Freya is a real witch, it’s undoubted. After the performance of Patrick Leagas, Tony Wakeford and his Sol Invictus appeared on the second stage. It’s amazing that these two men, Patrick and Tony played once together In Death In June. But those are old days and they’ll never come back. The concert of Sol Invictus turned out to be one of the best ones not only of that day but also of the whole festival. Wakeford assisted by his buddies (including Andrew King) sang and played like in good old days. Calm ballads played in four-person staff sitting, now are replaced by full of expression songs with powerful drums, the flute and the violin. Plus extraordinarily light and dynamic guitar chords and this characteristic, distinguishable vocal. Everybody really needed it. Fresh energy radiated from the stage and positively affected the audience. This is exactly what makes it worthwhile to appear in Leipzig.


Sunday, just as a year before was spent on relaxing and resting. There weren’t any interesting concerts in the lineup and this meant meetings with friends and discovering other interesting places in Leipzig.
Monday is a totally different thing. Despite the fact that it is practically the last day of the festival, nobody really thinks about departure. The gloomy fiesta continues and nothing can spoil the atmosphere here. Even the weather, which every year plays a trick on participants. At least one day with severe storm is a standard every year. Whatever the weather. Sun, light cloud covering, bad weather during all days of the festival. Suddenly the clouds appear and everybody is rushing through puddles to protect tents or to gather the leftovers of pavilions, deckchairs and grill accessories. But it is not the weather I write about. Monday is another visit in Volkspalast. And similarly to Saturday, the concerts were given practically without any break on two stages. Fjernlys was the first project which played that day. Behind this name there are achievements of Knut who is one of the two pillars of Inade and Ex.Order. And if Inade is gloomy dark ambient and Ex.Order harsh post-industrial music, here we have to do with lighter and more appealing sounds. Leipzig is probably a field for projects playing in such a style. In one gulp I should mention next to Fjernlys also Llovespell and Antlers Mulm. Half-light and highly static visualizations created perfect atmosphere for the set served by those three musicians. Electronic music was played, which despite a few more gloomy moments, was rather warm and soothing. The violin, the guitar and the small harmonica, for which there was a place on stage as well, contributed to the special character of this music. The sounds flowed out of the loudspeakers calmly and floated over the listeners for all of the time. It was a real feast for a soul and another proof of Knut and his company’s class.After them, it was time for the project ruled absolutely by the darkness, namely Satori. What makes it more appealing is the fact that co-founder of the band is Justin Mitchell, the owner of English label Cold Spring. The duet is completed by Neil Chaney from the industrial band Pessary, active at the beginning of the nineties. Both of them from the very beginning decided to treat the audience ruthlessly by generating unbearable for an ordinary listener sounds. Gloomy sounds were accompanied by ominous video images which caused additional side-effects such as fears and difficulties with breathing. What’s worth to be underlined is the consistency and obstinacy of the tandem who torpedoed the audience till the end of the set. There’s no point in writing anything more. This part was won by Satan.Taking part in the next concert required a certain sacrifice, namely covering the distance of a few kilometres to get to the dungeon. Moritzbastei is a complex underground constituting a part of fortification built in Leipzig over 400 years ago. Amazing atmosphere and Genevieve Pasquier in one of the rooms. She herself with the band and the crowd of the fascinated. Unfortunately, there were so many people that it was hardly possible to see anything. With hearing it was a little bit better so we managed to hear some fragments of the album "Le Cabaret Moi." The factory Ant-Zen knows its stuff. But who had planned this concert in such a small room? Simply a cellar. Hot. Extremely hot because the wave of heat is coming from the stage. Crashed industrial sounds from apparatus plus rhythmical hum. Additionally the guitar. And the vocal. Songs in French and in English. Industrial cabaret. Interesting combination and successful idea because the audience swings rhythmically and when there is no rhythm they just swing but still swing from the beginning to the end. Fast evacuation and after a short walk we’re going back to Volkspalast. I’ve seen Job Karma at least a dozen or so times (or maybe even over 20 times) but you can watch their performances over and over again because so many things happen. This time there was no difference. The equipment displayed on the stage impressed from the beginning. Next to the laptop with bitten apple and synthesizers wreathed by cables you could easily notice some retro equipment with lots of potentiometers, knobs and controls. They looked amazingly, in a sense captivating in the light of spotlights. You could expect a lot from such an equipment and surely nobody was disappointed after this concert. Post-industrial sounds, steady rhythms and gloomy melodies are the characteristics of this band to which we are already accustomed. In the foreground Maciek with Aureliusz, in the background obviously films and animations by Arek Bagiński. Among the instruments there was also the electric guitar which was used by Aurel in one of the songs. It was really impressive. Standing very close to the stage I proudly turned back to see astonished crowd. It is undoubted that Job Karma is our first class export band. Steven Stapleton with his buddies played at the extreme end of the festival for the most persistent and simultaneously the most courageous ones. Nurse With Wound is surely uncommon music. Sound experiments are standard for them and the main themes of the concerts seem to depend only on the condition of minds and bodies of the great improvisers. It was a really big thing and such an enormous dose of energy that after the concert you could go on foot a few kilometres to the campsite with no problems. It was the last concert of the festival. Next one is going to be next year. And traditionally I can’t wait...

Translator: morrigan
Add date: 2011-04-28 / Live reports

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