WAVE GOTIK TREFFEN REVIEW!!

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Panorama Tower

 

”I arrived in Leipzig on a hot and sunny Thursday to get my wristband from the Agra Messpark and meet up with a few friends in the Bayerischer Bahnhoff for a few beers and a bite to eat.”

 

”To be honest i was feeling quite subdued in mood for some reason and also in the back of my mind i had thoughts of the terror attack in Manchester at the end of May. From the time i got off the Flixbus outside the central station i was looking around for suspicious activity and continued after the London Bridge attack on the Saturday. But  there was a visible police presence in Leipzig that was not there last year. After finishing with my photography/gig duties i’d sit outside the Haupfbahnhoff by the taxi rank for a few moments of rest and reflection and i lost count of the armed police i saw walking about or patrolling in their vans!!  I did not really start to relax and enjoy  myself until the Sunday, i loosened up and dropped out of meerkat mode! The Thursday and the Friday were both very hot days (29/30 degrees) and for the life of me i have no idea how most of these goths got through the day  caked in layers of make up, petticoats, corsets and  pvc boots!!  No! in fact i do because i used to spend hours and hours refining my look before i went out and i was prepared to tolerate extreme temperature as long as i looked good. Not any more though, i have less tolerance for that kind of thing and my time could best utilised elsewhere!! Having said that minimalist cotton was still not good enough to stay comfortable but i coped, i had too!!”

”The first act i saw on the Friday was Jarboe at Shauspiel in Bosestrase , a grand venue with red carpeted stairs and a long entrance hall/foyer, if one wanted to be seen here then you would be seen quite clearly. This venue would not be out of place in an episode of ”Once Upon A Time” I have visions of Lana Parilla in her wicked queen finery decending the stairs complete with full on scowl!! The  sound was great, Jarboe had a great voice that  was  expressive and full of emotion. The feel was pensive and thoughtful. Every note was precise and with an economy in delivery, i  thought that added to the performance rather than making it overbearing with pointless vocal gymnastics, i mean why show your full range unless it it is pertinent to the art?? The vocal has a passing resemblance to Diamanda Galas too but with a warmer bluesy tone, less strident i would say!! Also there was no talking between songs, which i liked. I get bored with pointless waffle, it does not add to the experience and i just end up saying ”yeah yeah just get on with it will you!!?” This was the first time i’ve seen Jarboe live and i must admit that her output is something i have not researched in a long time, since the 1980’s in fact when i was into the band Swans but as i say the voice is still great!!

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Devilment featuring Dani Filth

 

”After Jarboe finished i had a glass of wine before getting a tram down to see Devilment at the Agra Messpark. Devilment are a metal band formed in 2011 by Daniel Finch and who had problems finding a stable vocalist until  Dani Filth of Cradle Of Filth joined. The sound was good for this venue, i know a lot of people have issues with the sound, last year i listened to people who had issues with it but i thought everything was ok with Pete Murphy and Nouveau Vague etc and there were no issues tonight! The mix was just about a perfect as you could get and Dani’s vocal screeching were a joy to witness in the flesh, the quick changes from screeches to clean vocals to death growls had me mesmerised!! Yeah i’ve heard many vocalists who paint aural pictures like this but this was on a different level, i’ve tried to vocalise like this and all i end up doing is retching!!”

”Saturday  in Leipzig was sunny until around 5pm when the weather turned on a sixpence to dark, hot and humid with thunderstorms! The Altes Landratsampt where i spent all of my evening was warm and steamy, it was like a greenhouse inside. Fill it up with legions of people and the temperature for me was uncomfortable!! Lebanon Hanover were playing at Leipziger Stadbad and Rotting Christ were playing the Kohlrabiszirkus but due to scheduling issues and the weather i thought i’s stay put in one venue, the trams/buses would have been packed and most likely i’d have ended up hot, wet and extremely irritable!!  One of those great bands was Paris outfit Saigon Blue Rain. They are a band of reverie, dreams and  flights of fancy and have been in existence since 2012, if you know what The Chameleons and The Cocteau Twins sound like then you have a good gauge of SBR output. It is music that is easy on the ear but at the same time it sends a chill down the spine whilst recharging the batteries! They played a great set that went down well with the crowd and the sound was perfect. I think it is about time they were playing venues the size of the Altes Landratsampt more often, no bigger than this i think because the impact would be lost otherwise!!”

”And then came Italian band klimt 1918 who i have never heard of before, i was not that interested in them to be honest, they are a bit shoe gaze and i like shoe gaze but for some reason i was not that enamoured by the set or the sound so i went walkabout around the venue politely applauding now and again  Sylvaine were good i thought, i’ve not heard before either but there was something in the sound that perked up my interest!! From Norway and Paris, i would describe them as sounding like All About Eve, ethereal, dreamy, Pre Raphaelite, images of pained dead bodies in water surrounded by flowers fill my head,  Interspersed with the dreamy vocals are screams and screeches that i don’t think Julianne Reagan would have indulged in!! Think of Dani Filth like vocal contortions!!  The track ”Earthbound” is an interesting listen!! So is ”A Ghost Trapped In Limbo”

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Esben & The Witch

”Finally i  got to see Esben And The Witch!! There is a Doors/Ani Di Franco/Savages feel to this band, which consists of  Daniel, Thomas and Rachel. The venue was by this time quite full and really steamy!! The band got appreciation throughout  their set, the sound was somewhat darker than Sylvaine, thicker and more spicy with an eastern sprinkling  in places like a dark chocolate laced with Aleppo Chilli flakes, the  sludginess complimented the steamy humidity of the venue i think but the  bass was a bit distorted. Apart from that the sound in the venue was pretty good!!”

”Gene loves Jezebel on Sunday at the Agra Messpark was a great set!!! The band came on late afternoon in a very light arena. The area around the front of the stage was busy all the way to the back where the mixing desks were but the areas outside of the Speaker positions were virtually empty. Jay Aston’s voice was very strong, another voice that is gymnastic and elastic and used to add tone colour to an aural painting with flourishes and accents etc. Arcturus, the band i saw afterwards at The Felsenkeller were just as good but in a different way! Again the vocals were tight but elastic with an expressive range!! If you have not heard any of Arcturus output before then the best way to describe them is spacey cosmic and astral. Just like the Gene Loves Jezebel show before there was a good crowd of appreciative die hards in the venue but it was not full

 

The Final Day!! Monday’s weather was warm and bearable!! After sleeping in late, showering and then packing my bags i made my way from Bad Lausick 15 miles south of Leipzig into the centre of the city where i left my luggage at the Absintheria Sixtina before making my way down to the Pagan Village which is located amongst the trees near Torhaus Dolitz  and not far from the Agra Messpark. The weather took at turn for the worst and for the rest of the time i was there it was raining.There was a German band that played at set times throughout the day called Nachtwindheim but i was here to see  Forndom even though i had to wait until 9pm. I was looking forward to this since arriving in Germany and the 50 minute set started out really well until the Tagelharp experienced  tuning issues brought on by humidity/temperature changes. This caused many drawn out pauses to rectify the problem, Ludvig Sward was patient and did not show any signs of frustration with this predicament and the crowd were patient too for the most part. some people moaned and many left but the bulk of the people in the audience stayed and allowed the performance to conclude although in an abreviated form. I bet Ludvig was seething when backstage though? Maybe?

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Anyway this was not the smoothest ending to my festival experience but hey ho!! I got a tram back to the Absintheria Sixtina, had wheat beer, took a photo of some goth girls still up for a party and then i headed over to the Haupfbahnhoff to get an early morning Flixbus back to Berlin.

To conclude, it took me a while to get into this years proceedings and i shall be back next year for round three!!

RANDOM APPLES:-

https://play.google.com/music/playlist/AMaBXylYwzoMxShyMjoyWiasQJISk5C-BE6TL1qlLy6tHyoUShWTnzTMwNXgkO_ZSAaTbFFlWHaVCqgv8G1PDsN9HbV764cM9w%3D%3D

LINKS:-

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Forndom/about/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/devilmentcorps/about/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Klimt1918/about/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/sylvainemusic/about/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/NicoleSabouneOfficial/about/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/SBRofficial/about

https://www.facebook.com/pg/esbenandthewitch/about/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/arcturusnorway/about

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialGeneLovesJezebel/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheLivingJarboe/about/

 

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SOLSTAFIR LIVE IN DUBLIN

 

 

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Solstafir

”I was having a short break in Belfast with a friend at the end of August which included a road trip around County Donegal and when i got back to Belfast it was suggested that i go to Dublin to attend this festival. I was reticent at first but after a short bout of coaxing i relented and bought a ticket. So 3 days after getting back from Donegal i was off again to the Irish Republic for an afternoon and evening of heavy psych!!”

”The Voodoo Lounge is a club/music venue situated on the north bank of the river Liffey with 2 bars, 2 stages and a woman selling flip flops and chuppa chups in the loo, my first port of call when i am feeling hungry!! And the sound system was very good, manned by attentive engineers!!”

”All of the bands on the bill sounded very Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelinesque  except for Vulpynes, a female duo that were very L7 sounding with a hip thrusting and lip sneering attitude. Just drums and lead guitar with plenty of reverb and fuzz. In fact, apart from Solstafir i’d heard of none of the bands on the bill so this festival was in a sense a blind punt! A punt that turned out well!! The aforementioned Vulpynes were worth the listen along with Crowhammer and Lord Vicar, Gorilla Pulp and Witch Sorrow. If you like your music sludgy and the consistency of  blackened treacle then check out the bands i have mentioned!!”

”And then there was Solstafir:- Very earthy and peaty in sound, with undertones of sulphur. It’s a sound that conjures up images of a sparse landscape scarred by millions of years of geological activity, i see geysers and sulphur clouds and windswept beaches overlooked by snow topped volcanoes. This is a sound that cannot be mistaken for anything else, no other band sounds like Solstafir, this sound is unique in flavour except perhaps for a hint of  Fields Of The Nephilim in the bass sound , just a subtle hint though!! They are another band that conjure up images of open landscapes, feelings of desolation, isolation and introspective thought. When you watch a Solstafir video one gets the rawness and honesty of the landscape, the stripping away of pretence, you are in the moment where you can live and breath without restriction from without or within, there is a focus in my view, everything superfluous evaporates because it is exposed for what it is!! Superfluous!!! I think the track they opened with was ”Silfur – Refur” from the new album ”Berdreyminn” or ”Dreamer of Forthcoming Events”, which i have listened to a few times, it gets better and better with each listen though it’s not ”Otta” so don’t expect it to be!!”

”Solstafir played for around 60 minutes, an enjoyable 60 minutes i must say, the set felt like they had played for a lot longer, an hour and a half would’ve been great but i won’t grumble!!”

”As i said, this was a punt that paid off, i thoroughly enjoyed the festival and it’s offerings and i think i’ll pay a visit again in the future!! ”

 

LINKS:-

https://www.facebook.com/pg/solstafirice/about/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/crowhammerdublin/about/

https://www.facebook.com/lordvicar/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/vulpynes/about

WACKEN OPEN AIR 2017

The Festival:-

”One of the festivals on the European metal/alternative circuit that i have always wanted to go to is the Wacken Open Air festival which is 50km north of Hamburg in the state of Schleswig Holstein. Over 3 days in August over 130 bands from various different metal subgenres will play on numerous stages to thousands of dedicated metal pilgrims, many of whom will be making their annual pilgrimage from all over the globe. It will be a time to party, to catch up will old friends,meet new ones and listen to some of the finest music created by some of the most influential acts from all over world, established acts and also new ones too!! All sub genres are catered for, from Hair Metal to Nu Metal all the way through to Black, Death, Thrash, Industrial etc etc! The average age of attendees is around 27 years old and 84, 000 tickets roughly are sold every year and for the past few years all the tickets have been sold out within 24/48 hours of them going on sale which is usually the day after the current festival ends. A nice touch is that  approximately 1800 residents  of the village of Wacken get free passes which is only fair considering that the village has to cater to thousands of people for 3 days, acting as guides, offering accommodation, catering/beer etc and of course putting up with a disruption to their peace and tranquillity!! In 2011 expansion to the festival was halted so as to not abuse the hospitality of the village and also for safely and logistical purposes. I personally think that was a good idea, obviously you want your event to be popular and grow but there comes a point at which the bigger you get the more problems you  encounter and the unique vibe that makes an event what it is can end up being watered down and being totally ruined!!”

The History:-

”The Seminal Wacken commenced on the 24th August 1990 with a band called Skyline and finished the following day with 5th Avenue, Ax’n Sex, Motoslug, Sacred Season and Wizzard (I assume this was not Roy Woods Wizzard but Wizzard from Sweden who were formed in 1985) The 26th Edition in 2016 commenced on Thursday 4th August and finished on Saturday 6th August and bands that played that year included Iron Maiden, Henry Rollins, Ministry, Borknagar and Twisted Sister Amongst others. In the intervening years there have been many bands that i have never heard of playing on the bill with plenty of familiar faces that have included the likes of Dimmu Borgir, Black Dahlia Murder, Motorhead, Cradle Of Filth, Therion, Saxon, Iced Earth, Celtic Frost, Gorgoroth, Mayhem and Amon Armath. This years iteration will include Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Lacuna Coil and the Cavalaera Brothers to name but a few. So, in 26 years we’ve gone from humble beginnings with a handful of bands to the pulsing behemoth we have today with hundreds of artists who are part of the global metal family. May this years  festival be a roaring success  and for many years to come.”

LINKS:-

All travel and accommodation information can be found here. Please do your research carefully and thoroughly, i shall not be held responsible for your mistakes!!:-

http://www.wacken.com/en/

https://www.facebook.com/events/165108507250281/