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Wave Gotik Treffen 2011

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This year, due to a substantial number of bands presented in the line up of WGT, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the event's existence, the festival commenced a day earlier. Unfortunately, our participation in the event began on Friday and we missed the chance to see i.a. Das Ich. In order to make it possible for so many bands to perform, the festival occupied a vast area and the concerts took place in an umpteen different places in the whole town. WGT distinguishes itself as an event which forces an attendee to face a wide array of fascinating performances and choose only one of them: with so many splendid live acts one has to pick his/her choice specifically as a majority of concerts is held at different places simultaneously.

We decided to spend Friday at Agra Halle, where the concerts of the greatest were to take place.

The festival commenced with a performance of a band called 18 Summer, which played on occasion of the above-mentioned 20th anniversary. The group had been not giving live shows for a while and somewhat a stage fright could be sensed in the air. The perfomance itself could not be also classified as an explosion-inducing one, it was rather calm and subdued. Nevertheless, the most important was the fact that it did manage to attract the attention of a great number of people.

Gothiminster came on stage after a short technical break, starting their show in a truly fiendish fashion. Candles, fireworks and fire blasters were exploding every moment, only emphasizing ever growing power of music. The audience was frenzy, still slightly less than the performers themselves, yet a general astonishment and relishment were clearly discernible. We had oppportunity to listen such classics as "Happiness in Darkness", "Devil", or "Forgotten". The concert must have immensly impressed the Hell as finally The Devil himself joined the band and even did a little dance to the last track of their set!

Is Mozart and his Umbra Et Imago getting old? Hard to state. I had such an impression for the best part of their show, still having in mind those obscene shows, full of lewd and indecent acts, that group used to treat us with. This time the performance was rather correct and proper, at least the most of it, as so-called "stage porn" occured only during the very last, culminating piece "Amadeus". Putting aside this petty detail, the band turned out pretty well. Mozart's contact with the crowd was exemplary, the audience was constantly going crazier. All in all I regard this performance as a successful one, despite its less impressive scenography and its elements.

"We make ritual noise" - this is how a performance of Swedish Covenant can be described. It can be honestly said that Eskil, along with Daniel Mayers and their new keyboardist were at their best during the concert. There was a full-capacity crowd and not even a person was standing still on the dance floor - at some points the audience was literally making the concert hall resonate! No wonder, Eskil treated us with a set of well-known and beloved songs - "Bullet" and "Ritual Noise", additionally enriching the whole with a new composition from their forthcoming record. For the very end of their set, the band played "Call ships to the port". The icing on the cake was put by a piece entitled "Dead Stars", performed as an encore in a new, never-before-presented version. I dare to say that it was the best Covenant's show I have seen so far.

The crowning of the evning was constituted by Alexander Veljanov and his project, Deine Lakaien. Agra Halle was bursting at seams due to a large number of people gathered there, while the other part of the audience, consisting of equally big crowd, was waiting outside with hope to get inside. Pathos and pride were leaking from the stage by hectolitres. "Over and Done" and other tracks had satisfied even the most fussy fans. Daine Lakaien were applauded many times, which was the thing they definitely deserved.

Traditionally, just like every year, it had to start raining. It was alternately raining and shining all Saturday, or even both at the same time!

We've also spent that day at Agra Halle. Destroid, a project of Daniel Mayers, opened the day. Due to the mentioned adverse weather conditions, the spectators were entering the venue throughout the whole concert, which was worth attending, as the sound was very ear-pleasing. Destroid is probably the most successful act of Meyers. We had opportunity to jump to the rhythym of the songs they played. The performance was so splendid, that we could turn a blind eye to some technical problems in the form of a distortion of a microhpne during one of the pieces - Meyers quickly changed the microphones in such a way that only a small bit of a song remained 'mute'. Still the audience was immensly pleased and Destroid got a loud applause.

Agrezzior is a typical representative of an EBM scene. Unfortunately, while compared to other bands of the genre, Agrezzior turns out to be below average. Vocals are not bad, nonetheless as far as music is concerned - the sound seems rather mediocre - at least during live performances, as it was clearly audible that the drummer was not keeping up with the tempo. In confrontation with the crowd's reaction, I could frankly say that it was not only my impression.

I have always had that problem with Faderhead beacuse, personally, I regard them as a not-that-good band, which, oddly enough, many people consider likeable and hold them in high esteem. Watching a concert, during which the music is played mainly thanks to laptops, while a triple of men is engrossed in running around the stage rather than being occupied with the appliances, I can only have a negative opinion. The band played a majority of their hits, "Dirty Girls, "TZDV" or "Destroy, Improve, Rebuild" among them, which were obviously received with a yell of content and an applause. For that group only a few thousands of people arrived at Agra to have incredibly good fun. Kitsch is still in vogue among certain individuals.

Everyone is surely familiar with Feindflug. Each fan of electro-industrial sounds knows and/or respects that six-member project. I can only use positive phrases while describing the concert as Feindflug performs in an ineffably good way, giving a wonderful show and, despite the lack of lyrics in their tracks and a particular frontman, the band's interaction with the audience is exemplary. During the concert we heard "Ak-47", "Truppenshau", with their set finished with "Stukas im Visier", which terminated those not-so-numerous representatives of the crowd, who had left some bits of strength after having raged to the rhythm of the earlier compositions. Nontheless, one who has ever seen Feindflug performing live, surely knows what I am describing. The ones who have not had such a chance need to make up for it as soon as possible!

During a break inbetween the shows of particular bands, an enormous rotation of people occured. The hall, which was capable of storing large numbers of people, got almost empty for a moment. After few minutes of anticipation, the stage was taken over by The Great of EBM. Front 242 gave a marvellous show and proved that its members, despite their age, still have that EMB anger and revolt and are doing their best. Unfortunately,such a splendid concert had to be interrupted in a truly prosaic manner... technical problems, which the band had been dealing with since the very beginning of their show, finnaly got the better of everything and at some point the group was forced to switch their appliances off and go of the stage. However, after 20 minutes Front 242 came back to continue their show. The other part of it went smoothly, without hinders, and the fans finally recieved their awaited dose of EBM hits.

Alfred Hitchcock once said that a good thriller should start with an earthquake and then the tension should gradually rise. The same statement may be compared to the way our stay at Werk II was starting from Saturday's afternoon.

The evening concert begun with Moctan, a group I had never heard of before, and which turned out to be the above-mentioned shock. A wonderful, forty-minute live-act managed to move the whole audience. Purely industrial sound, powerful bass, heavy and dynamic rhythm, penetrating the body and sending shivers down your spine. Simply a fantastic commencement of the evening!

The tension was rising! Two gents forming a band named 13th Monkey appeared on stage, continuing the issue of heavy, industrial rhythm on the spot, the issue started by Moctan while ago. It is much heavier, better, harsher. After such 40 minutes of total madness a majority of people was simply dripping with sweat... Little wonder, basically...

The tension kept on rising! Power noise 100blumen increased the tempo even more, to such an extent that a part of the audience needed to leave the hall in order to take a breath of fresh air and cool down; the tempo imposed on by the band was virtually unbearable for a human being. It does not change the fact that the group turned out ot be equally good, bearing every comparison to the two previous ones with regard to the concert's quality; their performance might be even considered as better one due to the presence of a live guitar in two last pieces - played not in entirely standard way (which can be seen on the pictures), still it worked to the band's advantage, one way or the other.

Noisex needed a hell of the time to hot up, hence the first part of their concert was rather calm and mellow in comparison to the shows of the previous bands; nontheless, the ending was really powerful. Heavy powernoise heated up the atmosphere, both on stage and among the audience, which had difficulty keeping up with the crazy pace set by the group.

If one were to combine an exemplary powernoise with schizophrenic visuals and the whole scenic show, what would be the result? It can be described in two words: Marita Schreck. Perfectly realized live-act was integrated with a splendid scenery, which resulted in an ineffable concert of rarely great quality. The band met with a loud applause; I pity they could not encore: such a violent extraction from a musical trance was way too brutal.

As I have already mentioned, a good thriller should start with an earthquake, to allow the tenison to rise till it reaches the boiling point. And that is what actually happened. Alter der Ruine ruined the condition of the present people, as well as their own, commiting an act of destruction on their equpiment, simply by throwing it against the stage's floor. I shall not overuse an epithet 'crazy' for someone might think that such music and concerts are aimed at abnormal people. The thing is actually contrary - the sheer beauty and power of this music lies in such madness. Alter der Ruine showed it in the best way possible. By using the music, interacting with the crowd, without resigning from the forms of scenic expression. Simply a wonderful concert in every inch.

All in all, the stage was taken over by the legend of power noise - Esplendor Geometrico. This set of uncompromising and brutal music was a wonderful ending to our adventure at Werk II.

Almost an hour after the last concert, the second of two concerts from "Midnight Special" series commenced (just for the record - the first one was the concert of Deine Lakaien on Friday). Now Recoil was due to take the stage over. I was surprised at the fact that - as long as Deine Lakaien's show is concerned, the hall was literally bursting at seams with people -in this case one could easily approach the scene, without much elbowing. Fundamentally, no wonder. Alan Wilder's Recoil is surely a great studio project, the music is wonderful, with the videos bearing every comparison to it. With regard to playing live, despite an excellent quality of the above-mentioned material, acclaimed names, with the exception of the fact that tracks are played in concert remixes, it leaves you unsatisfied. The music played by means of two laptops, with visuals in the background is decidedly the worst way of introducing Recoil to a wider audience. Pity, for the project has quite a potential. A small point in favor of the band was a certain piece with a guest appearance of Douglas McCarthy. I do not mean to criticize Recoil, because the concert was good, I am just emphasizig that they can do much better than that...

We spent Monday savoring the rhythms of electro and EBM at Alte Messe/Halle 15.

A young German project named Nordarr gave an opening show of the night. Unluckily, the band was average, surely searching for its sound, originality. At this moment I would not tell any difference between them and other bands of the sort.

Inertia is a specific band. It has quite a stage experience, a few released albums, stil unfortunately it lacks somewhat of a vibe which would attract listeners. That concert did not distinguish itself among the others of this group. Musically, it is rather good, but it did not appeal entirely to many people of not-that-numerous audience that gathered at the concert. was one of those concerts I had been waiting for. I was not the one who felt that way, after all, as the number of spectators increased drastically inbetween the concerts. Unfortunately, a good concert lost some substantial elements of its quality due to a damaged vocoder, causing intervals in some tracks or resulting in the lack of vocals in certain parts. A plus for the band was the fact that despite such problems they carried on with their concert duties, trying their best to the end it in the best way possible. The audience did appreciate such efforts with a series of applauses. Still, some signs of discontentement were visible on the band's members' faces.

I can't say much about Absurds Minds- dangerous level of german kitsch was reached and this project really made me tired. They have some flashes of good music, but vocal is at least poor, which leaves not very positive impression of the band. Their cover of "Hurt", originally performed by Nine Inch Nails, crushed me most- in their interpretation was absurdly feeble.

In order to somewhat recover from kitsch, we headed for a nearby Pantheon in order to see phenomenal Lustmord. The master of dark ambient treated us with an hour-long set, which was being admired with full concentration by a few hundreds of people, filling up the opera's interior. Who is familiar with Lustmord's music knows that it is indescribable; the ones whom the works of Lustmord does not ring the bell, should quickly acquaint themselves with them. At the opera, the music part was enriched by visuals, prepared by Lustmord, excellently illustrating a range of sounds and emotions permeating the spectators.

After the Lustmord's show we returned to Alte Messe where, meanwhile, a concert of EBM Dive commenced. Simply the band of one man, running around the stage and screaming to a microphone, with all music flowing from the stage thanks to playback - at least they were not pretending they were actually playing, as the majority of such bands has the habit of doing this.

At last, after a longer break, Hocico appeared on stage. A storm of electryfing sounds interwined with a splendid vocal of Erk was sweeping across the scene for an hour. This Mexican project has been providing us with a great quality of entertainment for a couple of years now. That concert was no different - the audience could not pause for breath for even a single minute. The band gave the most of itself and pass its energy on to the audience in an exemplary way. Simply an outstandingly good concert!

The last band which we were lucky enough to see at this year's edition of Wave Gottik Treffen was the legend of EBM scene - Nitzer Ebb. Similarily as in the case of the earlier-mentioned Hocico, Nitzer Ebb is one of those projects which present their works at the highest level of quality, regardless of their concert experience. Douglas McCarthy was teeming whith such an amount of charisma, that he could just as well lend it to the rest part of all EBM groups, that had performed earlier that evening.

Translator: murd
Add date: 2012-02-20 / Live reports

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