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Wave Gotik Treffen 2011

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Leipzig. Central Railway Station. In a large hall, where normally there’s only much space for the passengers, now there are hangers with clothes. Gothic dresses, latex outfits, some attributes like belts and chains. Lots of people dressed in black everywhere. Some of them fill the hall, others occupy McDonald's (this view is priceless). In a shop called Saturn (all at the Station), as never, there are records with hard and dark music brought into prominence, at a good price, mobile radios, badges that are an eyesore, and many other black gadgets. Yes, you can feel this atmosphere everywhere. This is Wave Gothic Treffen. This time it’s the 20th., jubilee edition.

To highlight this edition’s importance the organizers decided to begin the fest one day earlier, with no mean line-up. The history has made a circle and on Thursday the fans were pleased by the first bands who had played at the very first year of the festival. In Agra, an enormous covered market hall there played i. a. Das Ich, Sweet William, Age of Heaven, The Eternal Afflict and Love Like Blood. But we have only been preparing for our journey on that day.
On the remaining days, that is from Friday to Monday (included) we could expect another attractions and shows of the whole mass of various bands. The ones surely impressive were multimedia experimenters from The Anti Group Communication, whose reactivation few years ago made the whole group of people delighted. They played their set inside the specialty designed cube, with strange visualizations displayed on its walls. Adi Newton and Co. were serving us mostly the newer material, but the persistent fans finally waited till the older tracks, too. However, this was only an aperitif before the hit of the Friday evening – the show of Clock DVA. After a long, several-years time of silence, the band decided to come out of hiding and perform in front of the public. The old-timers of the electronic scene, again hidden in the 3D construction, this time also played mainly the material which is only about to be placed on a record. They were equally hypnotizing all the gathered with sounds specific of this project, as well as with brilliantly chosen films to fit the climate.
The show of Owls surely won recognition. Whoever had put Tony Wakeford into the category of neofolk merely, was pleasantly surprised. This time the founder of Sol Invictus desided to collaborate with Eraldo Bernocchim of Sigillum S. If there were still ballads what they played played then this time they were accompanied with distortions, noisy and dark, one could say industrial. One more time the music fit perfectly with the image.
We were pleased with a remarkable ritual by the Russian project Moon Far Away. Hidden behind the masks, the artists from the faraway Arkhangelsk created on stage a mystical atmosphere that lasted from the very beginning to the end of their performance. Mystic singing, folk melodies, magical symbols. Here in all the compositions one could hear the spirit of the distant north of Russia and I guess there’s no point In beating the air In search of such atmosheric bands from the Western Europe, at least among the wide-cut circle of projects marked as neofolk, where Ash and his company are reckoned in. Here I must also mention that the acoustics in Felsenkeller possibly belongs to the worst we have ever experienced, but in this case even this fact couldn’t have a negative impact on our impression of the concert. Unfortunately, it was probably the acoustics that influence the quality of the show of Spiritual Front – the Italian guys sounded much below their usual level.

When it comes to the performance of Raison d’Etre, one could have been sure of a solid dose of dark ambient. Dark drones and characteristic rumble of the metal plates were reverberating in the whole Schaubühne – an old theatre with balconies and piled up rows of chairs, which were taken by the connoisseurs of the genre. Yet all the time we’ve been wondering if a paint peeling off the walls was in such condition before the Cold Meat Industry label’s star, or was it due to the destructive influence of Peter Andersson’s music itself.
We were charmed by the pogan village as usual. It was full of people whirling around the stalls. Some of them spent practically the whole festival in there, others were dropping by for a moment to take a breath of fresh air and ventilate their clothes soaked with perfume of a smell of fustiness (sold as the official gadget at the brand stand of WGT). Here the ears of the ones who arrived in front of the stage were pleased by Catalonian Narsilion together with guests (i. a. Cecilia Bjärgö from Arcana). Drums, violin, female and male vocals and keyboards are main "instruments" used by the band who played their tracks with great energy and unusual frankness one by one. The atmosphere of the village, the outfits, and, of course, the music itself, made us feel as if we all moved back in time a couple of centuries. Poetry… sung poetry.

This year we could also see a dark face of Mrs Bjärgö who at her husband’s side as Sophia challenged the freaks from Finland, Karjalan Sissit. We can be sure of one thing. Regarding the amount of drunk and spilled pints of beer, it was a top 1concert of the festival. Apart from that, it’s just pompous-military cacophony. The music player on drums, metal plates, accompanied with screams and sampled choirs. Both of the bands, as well as relevant audience were delighted with this post-industrial feast.
There wasn’t much disillusion, but we were surprised with monotonous, drowsy and completely lacking the climate set of Visions. It was an almost steady hum, with rarely changing frequency together with a nearly static visualization, which was tiring and stupefying, probably not necessarily intentionally (we know the artist in person and he certainly doesn’t have sadistic tendencies). We managed to stay to the end only to check if the final part will be at least to some degree more dynamic. Unfortunately, we were wrong once more. The concert ended as it began…
On the contrary, the dark ambient scene old-timer legend, Brian Williams aka Lustmord, confirmed his standing as a true class. Mighty drones and protracted sound masses combined with "burning" visualisations had an effect upon our imagination and they were highly impressive. The infernal music, but what else could we expect of the composer of the musical setting to the 40th anniversary of Church of Satan. I bet for many attendants it was the show of the day.
A sonic wave that smashed everything within a radius of several hundred of metres. It’s wonder that the organizers could line up the musical menu with a duo from Leipzig, Inade, after such an artist. Knut and Rene always, but always, transmit trance sounds which hypnotize the audience. Slowly unwinding, looping hums which steadily resound around the whole room. Indeed, it was a very good concert, nevertheless, comparing to the preceding one, it went weakly.

The festival organization was on a high level as usual. Of course, we didn’t attend all possible events (which isn’t, and won’t ever be possible bearing in mind the festival’s development), but what we noticed always awe-inspiring. Security, punctuality, logistic solutions. Regarding such a large scale of venture, those are very import ant things which make us want to come back to this place every year. We warmly encourage all the undecided ones to take a chance and see many interesting projects all in "one" place. The next edition will take place by the end of May 2012!

Translator: Ankara
Add date: 2012-04-29 / Live reports

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