Amphi Festival 2010 review: Day 2

August 11, 2010 in International Events (Reviews)

Day 2 – July 25, 2010

Photo gallery – participants, venue


EXT!ZE (Mainstage)

Since 2007, CYB3ERELLA, CYB3RSLUT, IONIC MATRIX, CYB3ERCORE have released 3 albums and their music is very popular with cosmopolitan clubheads. It is very danceable and includes classical pieces such as samples from Carmina Burana. According to side-line.com: “This band can be the next sensation from the dark cyber electro scene!”.

EXT!ZE was the act closest to the hearts of the cyber-goth audience. They stirred the spirits of young cyber fans, and made them dance frantically to electro beats like no other although it was still early afternoon. Their soundscape is redolent of techno, trance, electro and some industrial as well – what’s there not to like?. The cyberaudience was ecstatic with this single 100% cyber band at AMPHI FESTIVAL. More info on: http://www.myspace.com/ext1ze and http://www.extize.com.

EXT!ZE at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


MONO INC. (Mainstage)

MONO INC.: Martin Engler, Carl Fornia, Manuel Antoni and Katha Mia, have released 2 albums and 5 E.P.’s since 2000. They have been on tour with UNHEILIG. For personal reasons I chose to mention here Martin Engler’s top 5 albums: THE CURE – “Disintegration”, DEPECHE MODE – “Music For The Masses”, MONO INC. – “Voices Of Doom”, SISTERS OF MERCY – “Floodland”, BROKEDOWN PALACE – “Soundtrack”.

MONO INC. gave an electric and rejuvenating concert and, as you can see from the photos, they were enjoying every second on stage. The alternative rock pop band offered a classic perfectionist show in which the vocals and instruments blended professionally, while the band members were having the time of their lives! Wonderful show! For more info, check http://www.mono-inc.com/ or http://www.myspace.com/monoincmusic.

MONO INC. at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


RABIA SORDA (Mainstage)

The aggrotech/electro-industrial band RABIA SORDA was founded in 2003, and it is the side project of Erk Aicrag, lead singer of the Mexican aggrotech band HOCICO. On July 15, Erk Aicrag appeared on German TV (channel aimed at a younger audience) and tried to explain what gothic music and the gothic scene are.

I saw both RABIA SORDA (at ABATON FESTIVAL in Prague) and HOCICO (at E-TROPOLIS FESTIVAL), so I was sure that the performance would be no different. The same in-cre-di-ble energy literally pounding through Erk’s voice, veins, eyes and body. Erk is a mean machine trapped in a spasmed human body, an aggrohead with so much dedication for his music that you can almost physically feel the vibes coming from stage during amazing tracks such as “Heart eating crows” or “Out of Control”. It is very easy to enjoy a RABIA SORDA show, as Erk is a very enthusiastic communicator who never fails to make the audience feel important. More info on the band on: http://www.rabiasorda.com/ and http://www.myspace.com/rabiasorda.

RABIA SORDA at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


LEAVES’ EYES (Mainstage)

LEAVES’ EYES is a German-Norwegian gothic metal band started by Liv Kristine, former lead singer of THEATER OF TRAGEDY. Liv Kristine thought of the band name, which is a homophone for her first name. LEAVES’ is connected to nature, which has always been the biggest inspiration for her. She writes all of the lyrics for the band. LEAVES’ EYES are: Liv Kristine, Alexander Krull, Thorsten Bauer, Sander van der Meer, Alla Fedynitch and Seven Antonopoulos.

LEAVES’ EYES was the only genuinely grandiose Gothic/symphonic metal band I saw at AMPHI. The ample sounds calling the spirits of the earth and Mother Nature to life, the screaming guitars stirring the air in wild vortexes, the stormy lead singers, the astounding medieval beauty of the female vocals (Liv) leave little to add. I won’t compare their music to any other band’s music, but I will describe it as heavy, deep, uplifting and cerebral. More info about the project on http://www.leaveseyes.de/ and http://www.myspace.com/leaveseyespage.

LEAVES’ EYES at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


MESH (Mainstage)

Since 1991, the British synthpop band has changed members, and now MESH is: Mark Hockings, Richard Silverthorn, with Geoff Pinckney and Sean Suleman.

MESH have created a number of remixes, including a remix of the APOPOTYGMA BERZERK song “Mourn” for that group’s 2006 cover album “Sonic Diary” (which later appeared on APOP‘s album “7”).

MESH offered a powerful performance at AMPHI FESTIVAL. After seeing them in 2009 at BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL, I was pleasantly surprised by the new breeze of dancing beats and stronger sounds hammering from the stage. More info on http://www.mesh.co.uk/ and

http://www.myspace.com/mesh_a_perfect_solution.

MESH at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


COMBICHRIST (Mainstage)

Norwegian Andy LaPlegua (founder of the band ICON OF COIL) started COMBICHRIST as an aggrotech project in 2003. COMBICHRIST’s song “Shut Up and Bleed” featuring W.A.S.T.E was featured in the horror movie “The Collector”.

I saw them at E-TROPOLIS FESTIVAL a few weeks ago, but the second COMBICHRIST show was more surprising than the first one. The rain and special natural light, the huge crowd and the preceding frenzy before the show made me look even more forward to COMBICHRIST.

First and foremost, what stroke me immediately was the a la BROS haircut Mr. LaPlegua recently acquired, a new image that helps him look even more devious than before.

COMBICHRIST held the audience in the palm of their hands, roared in anger and blasted in violent emotions that some of the participants could not bottle up! The show is so intense and Mr. LaPlegua is so charismatic that the metallic chains and engines grinding the industrial sounds insinuate themselves into your brain, heavily supported by the high volume during COMBICHRIST shows. On their Myspace we read about their latest release: “The new album is raw, visceral, and seething with uncompromising urgency. In pushing forward, COMBICHRIST’s playfully sinister facade is torn away. What is exposed underneath is an uncompromising expression of lust, anger, pain, and hate personified… With “Making Monsters”, COMBICHRIST evolves beyond the demon it was, into an unrelenting, malevolent force in music.”

More info on http://combichrist.ning.com/ and http://www.myspace.com/combichrist.

COMBICHRIST at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


VNV NATION (Mainstage)

VNV NATION is a British/Irish electronic music band originally from Wexford, Ireland and London, United Kingdom and now based in Hamburg, Germany. They fuse elements of industrial music, trance, synthpop and electronic body music (EBM). Earlier works also include some electro-industrial influences.

VNV NATION is another legend of the scene. I have seen them live a few times, and I have always noticed the ecstatic audience dancing and singing along with Ronan Harris. The jolly Irishman knows how to entertain the masses so well and he is so caring and tender, that to me he looks like a Romanian pediatrician who uses the plural while talking to children: “Let us see, dear, what is ailing us?”. Ronan looks like this Romanian doctor, frequently talking and joking with the crowd, leading them with his mirthful gestures (so characteristic gestures), and always fanning like a ventilator on stage. Just another perfect headlining show from a well known band. VNV NATION: Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson. More info on http://www.vnvnation.com/ and http://www.myspace.com/vnvnation.

VNV NATION at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


ESCAPE WITH ROMEO (Staatenhaus)

1989 marks the beginning of ESCAPE WITH ROMEO, band founded by guitarist and singer Thomas Elbern after leaving PINK TURNS BLUE. So far they have released 9 albums.

ESCAPE WITH ROMEO reminded me (apart from Mr. Martin L. Gore) of another great music phenomenon I like: TRAVIS. They are wonderfully delicate and romantic on CD’s, and wildly energetic and much more of a genuine rock stage act while performing. ESCAPE WITH ROMEO put forward a similar experience: except for the heavy, penetrating guitar, their albums are transcendentally delicate and very musical, whilst on stage they displayed so much zest and pleasure, communicated so well and inspired so much love for what they are doing, that I literally felt I was taken up in the air by their music. The end of “Somebody” brought some tears behind my camera, and I sincerely regretted not being able to see their entire performance, as all bands had overlapping shows and I was a woman on a mission to shoot all of them. You can find more info about the self-described as “post-punk meets modern electronica” band on http://www.escapewithromeo.de/ and http://www.myspace.com/escapewithromeo.

ESCAPE WITH ROMEO at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


FRANK THE BAPTIST (Staatenhaus)

FRANK THE BAPTIST members are: Frank, Benn Ra, Fez Wrecker and Phantomas. The American gothic/death rock band was founded in San Diego, California in 2003, by frontman Frank Vollmann. Frank relocated to Berlin in 2006. When the band isn’t storming into cities like Paris, Frankfurt or Vilnius to enchant international audiences, they can most likely be found plotting their next adventures from FTB headquarters, a little out of the way bar run by Frank and Fez called “The Speakeasy Berlin”.

The first thing that I noticed about FTB and that automatically got me into their music, was that Carsten Klatte of PROJECT PITCHFORK joined them on stage at AMPHI FESTIVAL. He is one of my favorite artists in the scene, so I was so pleased to see the wonderful addition to a band whose fame preceded them.

Frank is a charismatic lead singer and a leader by birth. He orchestrates a sensitive yet strong Gothic act that attracts fans of all ages and brings them together in an atmosphere “scarred forever” by their talent and dedication. Frank’s voice is soothing and revolutionary at the same time, and, a personal note, his American accent is a stunning addition to their Gothic songs. More info on http://frank-vollmann.blogspot.com/ and http://www.myspace.com/frankthebaptistmusic.

FRANK THE BAPTIST at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


BLITZKID (Staatenhaus)

BLITZKID is an American horrorpunk/rock band from Bluefield, Virginia. A “Blitzkid” is someone who cannot bear it any longer and goes crazy, like Stephen King’s “Carrie”.

BLITZKID were probably the fastest and wildly up-and-coming band at AMPHI FESTIVAL, so good name choice! Their guitarist literally swirled and twirled in the air not unlike a dervish, banged his head and played the guitar in any unimaginable position! The entire band’s appearance strikes quite a different note, with a well built tattooed regular American dude on the left side of the stage who kept speaking and encouraging the crowd. “We are Americans, we like it stupid” was the phrase that caught everyone’s attention. Fresh rock from the US as a breather between the German acts performing on the Staatenhaus stage. BLITZKID members are: TB Monstrosity, Argyle Goolsby and RickO Ricko. More info on http://www.blitzkid.com/ and http://www.myspace.com/blitzkid.

BLITZKID at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


COPPELIUS (Staatenhaus)

Since 1997 COPPELIUS have released 2 studio albums. Their music is metal on drums, double bass, cello and clarinet. Their name is taken from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “Der Sandmann”. Their logo is a top hat and they wear formal, old-fashioned clothes onstage giving a tableau-like set and in addition to their gentlemanly manners.

The roles of the band members, according to their Facebook page are: COMTE CASPAR (Clarinet, Vocals), MAX COPPELLA (Vocals, Clarinet), GRAF LINDORF (Vocals, Cello), NOBUSAMA (Drums), SISSY VOSS (Double Bass), BASTILLE (butler, vocals, drums, refreshments, correspondence, duties of daily life), while their music genre is Kammer-Core. The only listed influence is IRON MAIDEN. “These courteous gentlemen create an atmosphere known only in Berlin in the early 1920ies. Normally the romantic look of top hats and frock coats would be for suicides, but: COPPELIUS HELPS!” states the same source.

I had the same feeling watching COPPELIUS as watching a beginning of the century play in Romania. The actors had the same courteous attitude and gestures, moved elegantly but somehow quicker, tiptoeing from side to side. The music is vibrant due to the classic instruments and the unimaginable effort the 6 picturesque characters put into the performance. Their official website: http://www.coppelius.eu/ is, strangely enough, the first bilingual German-Japanese band site I’ve seen.

COPPELIUS at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY (Staatenhaus)

FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY (FLA) is a Canadian electro-industrial band formed by Bill Leeb in 1986 after leaving SKINNY PUPPY. The project was influenced by early industrial acts such as CABARET VOLTAIRE, PORTION CONTROL, D.A.F., TEST DEPT, SPK, and SEVERED HEADS. Associated acts are: CONJURE ONE and DELERIUM. FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY is Bill Leeb, Chris Peterson, Jeremy Inkel and Jared Slingerland.

I did not see or hear much of the FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY show. I have only taken a few photos, and I barely had a glimpse of them. I promised myself to try and see them in the near future, and maybe then be able to write more about this legendary band. For very comprehensive info about the band, check http://www.mindphaser.com/ and http://www.myspace.com/thefrontlineassembly.

FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


DIARY OF DREAMS (Staatenhaus)

DIARY OF DREAMS is a German electronic band with a Gothic attitude. Their music is best described as darkwave. On their official Facebook page, DOD mention as sources of inspiration: “literature, movies, art, noise, silence and dreams and anything else that is strong enough to leave an impact on us.” DOD members are: Adrian Hates, Gaun:A, D.N.S., Torben Wendt and Flex. The lead singer and founding member Adrian Hates has produced most of the albums by himself or with minimal help from others. He rarely uses a full band, except when he is on tour. Their ninth album entitled “(if)” was released on March 13, 2009. On February 17, 2010, Adrian announced he is back in the studio recording a new album, and on March 26, 2010 he released “A Collection Of…” which is a much-awaited best-of compilation album.

DIARY OF DREAMS headlined the FIRST ROMANIAN DARKFEST on February 14, 2009, and offered an incredible show to their Romanian fans. At AMPHI FESTIVAL they rocked the Staatenhaus and amazed the audience with a novel and penetrating sound. We are looking forward to their new material. More info about the band on http://www.diaryofdreams.de/ and http://www.myspace.com/diaryofdreams.

DIARY OF DREAMS at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


LETZTE INSTANZ (Staatenhaus)

LETZTE INSTANZ, founded in Dresden, Germany in 1996, is a German Neue Deutsche Härte/medieval metal band particularly noted for their use of the violin and cello. The band hit a snag in March 2004 when three integral members (vocalist Robin Sohn, founding guitarist Tin Whistle, and bassist FX) decided to leave the band simultaneously for personal reasons. Many of the band’s fans feared that they had heard the last of LETZTE INSTANZ. The remaining members decided not to abandon their eight-year project and actively sought to rebuild their lineup. Now the band members are: Holly, Holly D., M. Stolz, Benni Cellini, Michael Ende and Specki T.D.

I had the pleasure to see the entire show of LETZTE INSTANZ, and I still have the vivid memory of their dancing, jumping, smiling and singing at the same time in my mind. Unlike other bands that need to work out their dark arts, so to speak, LETZTE INSTANZ take on the stage as their playground, exerting no effort while doing what they are best at. Their show is about well done work, they make a lot of physical effort, but the smiles never leave their faces. The pleasure of playing with/without the audience was so obvious and ardent, that there was no surprise to anyone when the members took turns to dive into the audience and spent some time there before they were delicately taken back on stage. The bare feet, the cello player doing breathtaking headspins, the violin player who seemed to be the center of attention for many ladies, the high armchair and the metal sword on stage, all these details made LETZTE INSTANZ a delightful sight. I had the chance to congratulate Holly after the show and he gave me the same wonderful smile that charmed the Staatenhaus audience on July 25, 2010. More info on http://www.letzte-instanz.de/ and http://www.myspace.com/letzteinstanz.

LETZTE INSTANZ at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


EISBRECHER (Staatenhaus)

EISBRECHER is an industrial metal/New German Hardness band founded in 2003. The members are: Alexx Wesselsky, Noel Pix, Jürgen Plangger, Max “Maximator” Schuar, René Greil and Olli Pohl.

The band’s name translates from German to “Icebreaker”. The band’s lyrics and slogans often include terms of ice and sailing, such as “Ahoi” and “Es wird kalt” (“It’s getting cold”). Vocalist Alexander Wesselsky often wears naval and military clothing in performances.

Aside from his musical career, Alexx also presents a TV show on the German men’s lifestyle channel DMAX where he acts as a used car broker for an applicant. His screen nickname for the show is Der Checker (The Checker). Once he has found a suitable vehicle within the applicant’s budget, the car is repaired and tuned at co-presenter’s Lina van de Mars’s workshop and is then handed over to the new owner.

EISBRECHER were the final act of AMPHI FESTIVAL. Everyone was tired, but pleased with the performances, still in the dancing mood, but a little sad because the last act of this festival was performing in front of us. Alexx spoke a lot and his voice sounded like thunder! He got the crowd cheering and jumping to the heavy rhythms. The entire show reminded me of a military camp with very determined young soldiers, ready to give their life or scare their enemies to death. EISBRECHER did not scare the audience, but enchanted them with newer and older songs, with jokes and comments of all sorts, just like Ronan Harris and Holly before them. EISBRECHER’s music is closer to UNHEILIG’s than to any other band I have ever listened to. The lyrics in German are delightful, and together with Alexx’s deep and penetrating voice, they put forward an incredible experience. More info on: http://www.eis-brecher.com/ and http://www.myspace.com/eisbrecherkommando.

EISBRECHER at AMPHI FESTIVAL 2010 photos – Viva Music


Thank you Amphi Festival for a wonderful 2-day music immersion in Cologne, Germany! See you next year!

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