Amphi Festival 2011 – 16&17-Jul, 2011 – Viva Music Review

July 20, 2011 in Amphi Festival,International Events (Reviews)

 

Day One | Day Two | The Aftermath


Amphi Festival: Day One, Saturday, July-16: General Review | Mainstage | Staatenhaus

General Review

The fact that this year’s Amphi was going to be a success was obvious from the very beginning: people teemed in large numbers, and arrived to the venue earlier that last year. This meant that the first act, [X]-RX had an impressive audience for a first act on the main stage. A breathtaking experience, the 2011 edition of Amphi Festival made us yearn for next year’s festival already! And, as a side-note, given the enthusiasm and size of the audience, Cologne’s Tanzbrunnen may prove pretty soon to be too small a venue for such an excellent event.

Compared to 2010, the number of 2011 participants was significantly higher – a reason to the point might be the diverse lineup – from electronica to gothic, and from noise to darkwave – add to that the excellent entertainment offered in-between, the 100%-giving, outgoing performances of all acts, and needless to say, the tireless, party-oriented audience – all contributed to the overall success of the 2011 edition of Amphi Festival.

Participants at Amphi Festival 2011 (Day One) – photo gallery

The already perfect facilities of the festival were outscored by a new disco built especially for the gothic audience; a dancing venue that can easily accommodate thousands of people. Organizers told Viva Music crew that it is the largest gothic/industrial disco in Europe – hence our curiosity was aroused, and we went to see it after Covenant’s Sunday performance in Staatenhaus. From the very entrance, we were taken aback by the hi fidelity of sound and the lighting systems; and we didn’t even bother to put our bags down on the floor before we were dancing already.  Rivetheads, electroheads, band members and festivaleers were in thousands – and dancing as if the day was young and they had just come into the festival grounds! We were extremely happy to witness the ensuing celebration – although we had to skip most of it; but not before dancing to And One’s “Military Fashion Show” and one of the new “Personal Jesus” remixes was playing as we left.

Participants at Amphi Festival 2011 (Day Two) – photo gallery

If this was not enough attention to customers, Staatenhaus was extended with a new and large left wing area, with sitting areas, as well as bars and shops. This recreation space was a wonderful touch of genius from the organizers; and a much needed, and affluent spot on the festival’s map.

We take this opportunity to thank all the Amphi Festival crew for their support, wonderful organization skills and party spirit – it’s because of them parties go on year-round, and we will be gladly be back to Amphi Festival for the 2012 edition (read below). back to top

Mainstage: [X]-RX | Staubkind | Melotron | Zeraphine

[X]-RX

[X]-RX on Myspace | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

[X]-RX at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Add dark rave to heavy rhythms. And two very atmosphere-inducing lads, who lit up the main stage in front of an enviable audience for a first act. That was the first performance form [X]-RX, an act who knowledgeably use their creativity to keep people dancing, performed among others, “Virus Infect” and “The Update”, giving their blessing to an entire festival! With the venue almost tipping over, their carousel-like performance of their finest, from the 2007 album “Unmoeglich Erregend” to their latest 2010 “Update 3.0”. back to top

Staubkind

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Staubkind at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Ethereal and refined, the presence of Staubkind on stage strikes as a straightforward oddity in broad daylight – their music, seeping with melancholy and depression, the Unheilig and Eisbrecher tour act Staubkind showed us the thin line between emotion and unchallenging environment, and between terrestrial and spiritual love. With their acclaimed “Koenigin”, “Dein Engel schweigt”, “Mein Herz” and “Viel Mehr”, Staubkind made us yearn for new material – which hopefully will be out soon, since despite their zealous stage activity, their latest album release dates back from 2007. back to top

Melotron

Official Website | on Facebook| Discography on Discogs

Other Melotron news by Viva Music: Melotron live in Bucharest – Viva Music event | Melotron live in Bucharest – photo gallery

Melotron at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Melotron’s magnetism is no surprise to anyone, and it is one of the reasons Viva Music chose them as a first act for our electronik.ro events in 2009; their sexy, poetic nature, which enchants, carries away and brings back to romantic realities we all feel entangled in is a key factor in the band’s long-term success. Add to that a globetrotter-like concert activity, and you know that a high-demand band such as Melotron is going to perform at their best! “Brueder”, “Vaterland”, “Kindertraum” and “Der Anfang” were positively received by their audience, but also marked a shift in the band’s stage experience as we know it: Melotron did not lose their passion, but evince a more pronounced coolness, which we assume it’s their maturity showing, and, needless to say, something we’re willing to witness once their much awaited new material. back to top

Zeraphine

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Zeraphine at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Zeraphine provided new Viva Music with a new favorite artist for lifetime playlists! A really charismatic lead singer, with a unique voice, who knows how to manipulate sound from aggressive rock sounds to dark goth ambient. “Lieber Allein” was a truly emotional rendition, as was “Be My Rain”, which in an almost cosmic manner set the rain pouring when it started! Of course, you can claim that with the weather report of rain they must have sensed it was time for “Be My Rain”, but this did not in any way diminish the effect carried on by their song. back to top

Staatenhaus: Klangstabil | Frozen Plasma | Grendel | In Strict Confidence | mind.in.a.box | Leaetherstrip | Suicide Commando | Hocico

Klangstabil

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Other Klangstabil news by Viva Music: Klangstabil at Nordstern Festival – review | Klangstabil at Nordstern Festival – photo gallery

Klangstabil at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

An exhilarating and breathtaking show of utmost energy, Klangstabil was another Viva Music favorite act from the 2011 Amphi Festival lineup. One of the main reasons for our favoring Klangstabil live performances in the fact that although sung in German, their songs pass emotions and move to tears even the German non-speaker. Klangstabil is the equivalent of a music revolution on stage, a riot that goes straight to the heart of the audience. The quest for inner self and larger understanding of the meaning of human existence and social issues, the strive to assimilate and, at the same time, stay far when needed from false values and human hysteria are ideas and concepts that simply jump at the throat of the audience leaving them no other option than to share the depth of communion in music rather than accept the world as it is, or rather than trying to change something that is already bound to never change, given a big picture of a barefoot, humble man who can only understand himself if he is lucky. Klangstabil sing about the lack of emotion in our world, and address directly to senses and feelings. Lead singer Boris May is 100% on stage for the audience, and is in constant connection to his inner demons and revolts against the hardships of human existence. Seconding him, Maurizio Blanco delivered with a definite edge his “Perdere per vincere”. Just one week away from their Nordstern Festival performance, Klangstabil were able to deliver even to non German speakers the emotions of an individual on a quest for the meaning of change, evolution and discrepancies our society is so keen on pointing out. A truly fabulous show, Klangstabil, thank you! back to top

Frozen Plasma

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Other Frozen Plasma news by Viva Music: Frozen Plasma at Blackfield Festival – review | Frozen Plasma at Blackfield Festival – photo gallery | Frozen Plasma at Nordstern Festival – review| Frozen Plasma at Nordstern Festival – photo gallery

Frozen Plasma at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Another Nordstern Festival comeback, Frozen Plasma got everyone dancing even during their sound check – and laughing, too, thanks to the graceful remarks from Frozen Plasma’s Felix Marc. An already animated Staatenhaus act, Frozen Plasma delivered a tour de force of their best, and their rate of success was further enhanced by the rhythm imposed by Vasi Vallis and Felix Marc in their joint effort to keep the party going. With a great rendition of “Murderous Trap”, as well as their “Warmongers” and of course, “Tanz die Revolution”, Frozen Plasma were up to the challenge of keeping things alert and at full tilt. back to top

Grendel

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Grendel at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Grendel are usually depicted as a key band for any festival, and their presence at Amphi Festival was no exception. With machine-generated like names, the members of Dutch group Grendel take their name from the Anglo-Saxon lore of Beowulf – and there is no contradiction between the progressiveness of their names and the classical lore of their group name. Fashioning electro and industrial fibers into their music, Grendel stay afloat on the scene ever since their debut in 1997. Feindflug, Arzt+Pfusch, Leaetherstrip are just a few of the acts that collaborated with Grendel. In a mixture of styles that is more prone to generate ideas, their collaborations were often a trampoline for the band’s creative impetus. A stomping and engaged sound kept them going for the entire duration of their show, which, however not diverse, was a very good addition to the festival, and one appreciated by their fan base, as well as by first timers. back to top

In Strict Confidence

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Other In Strict Confidence news by Viva Music: In Strict Confidence at Darkwave.ro Fest – a Viva Music event | In Strict Confidence at Darkwave.ro Fest – a Viva Music event – photo gallery

In Strict Confidence at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Despite running some technical difficulties before their show, In Strict Confidence were up to the challenge of keeping things rolling at a very attractive pace, delimited by a multitude of their career highlights. From “Zauberschloss” to “Silver Bullets”, they regaled their audience with “Set Me Free”, “Seven Lives”, “Approacher” as well as “My Despair” and “Promised Land”, frontman Dennis Ostermann’s voice did not fail him one bit, while the really visual show, enhanced by the presence of Nina de Lianin and HayDee Sparks literally sent off sparks as their attire, choreography, and last but not least, their communication strategy with the audience got even the most reluctant spectator engaged into their show. In Strict Confidence is a priori a band Viva Music recommends as one of the best live acts in the scene, and Amphi 2011 was just another confirmation that the beauty of the female singers and the depth and cavernous inflexions of Dennis’s voice are just unique and never forgotten. Nina de Lianin dances like a goddess, although her outfit would normally not allow for breathing! An In Strict Confidence show is a total experience, giving one the feeling that much preparation and planning lies behind every public appearance of this band that has tirelessly traveled and performed live all over the world, from tiniest venues to the main festivals in the Gothic world. Thank you In Strict Confidence, you set us free! back to top

mind.in.a.box

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

mind.in.a.box at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

A very groovy act, mind.in.a.box are a recent addition to the scene, if compared to other big names, but their music induces the sensation they have been around for a longer while. Very emotional beats, a creed in not repeating sequences until saturation, and instead surprising with each musical detour, as well as a very sound mind frame for their philosophy are the defining traits of mind.in.a.box. Although not favored by the greatest sound condition, it is also true that mind.in.a.box’s performance is a complex arrangement, more easily rendered on disc than on stage, and that the emotions they carry on have a specific chemistry with their audience. back to top

Leaetherstrip

On Myspace | Discography on Discogs

Other Leaetherstrip news by Viva Music: Leaetherstrip at E-tropolis Festival 2010 – review | Leaetherstrip at E-tropolis Festival 2010 photo gallery

Leaetherstrip at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

A very animated set was put on by Leaetherstrip among the ongoing ovations of the audience. His one-man set was relinquished for once, and the result was not at all disappointing. While the classical formula of Leaetherstrip is on every club’s wishlist, due to the intense buzz the act was able to gather during the long-living activity, this new face of Leaetherstrip is engaging, truly powerful and with a new quality to it, really appealing to the Amphi Festival crowd who lined up front to get the most of Leaetherstrip. For the first time in our Leaetherstrip live experience, Viva Music witnessed the appearance of a new member on stage, Kurt Grünewald Hansen, who was definitely enjoying the show and coordinated the beats during the entire show. back to top

Suicide Commando

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Suicide Commando at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

A top-drawer name for the electro and industrial scenes, Suicide Commando were the first act of the evening to be requested an encore – and that does not come as a surprise after witnessing their beautiful and energetic show. “Bind, Torture, Kill”, ”God Is in the Rain”, as well as their “Die, Motherf***er, Die” got everyone electrified and dancing. A forerunner to many acts of today, Suicide Commando still masters the vein that got everyone’s attention since Johan Van Roy’s debut in 1986; and if you add the momentum building voice distort and the very visual content of the show, you can easily understand why an act such as Suicide Commando celebrates in 2011 their 25th anniversary – and also why we need such acts on our scene. back to top

Hocico

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Other Hocico news by Viva Music: Hocico at E-tropolis Festival – review | Hocico at E-tropolis Festival – photo gallery

Hocico at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Hocico stay true to their artistic creed and their all-out Amphi Festival performance reminded us their much quoted defense of art: “With our music, we try and awake the demons who dwell inside each and every one of us. They need to discover and acknowledge their dark side, and express their opinion of what we are doing. We do not want our malice to lead to hatred and self-destruction, but to a smart understanding of our creativity“. Seconded by a blood-showered goat-face statue, Hocico’s frontman Erik Garcia made it clear for everyone present that the occasion calls for a very animated aggrotech ambient, much at stake during their renditions of “Dog Eat Dog” and “A Fatal Desire”, but also present throughout their show, which summed up the evening of the first festival day. back to top

Amphi Festival: Day Two, Sunday, July-17: Mainstage | Staatenhaus 

Mainstage: Funkhausgruppe | Dreadful Shadows | De/vision | Agonoize |

Funkhausgruppe

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Funkhausgruppe at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

With a recently released first album, Funkhausgruppe were an act that was much expected due to their ingenious use of analog sounds, guitar riffs, and robot voices – all representing the many artistic propensities of the members of this ensemble. Quite a visual and vigorous show was put up by Funkhausgruppe, including covers (“Sweet Dreams” is an example to the point), and own pieces, such as “Der Physiker”, all proving that we need to look out for Funkhausgruppe, for their new live dates and new releases. back to top

Dreadful Shadows

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Dreadful Shadows at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Dreadful Shadows meant not only the live experience of a very popular band, but also the meeting again of Zeraphine’s Sven Friedrich. A very pleasurable and welcoming company, he proved once more that placing your bets on quality music and quality shows is never a bad choice for a musician. He and bandmates were able to perform beautifully a quite personal mix of darkwave and metal, plus some very ostentatious electronic elements, all up to the challenge of engaging their audience completely. Their set was a complex one, comprising gems such as “Burning the Shrouds”, and was warmly received by all Amphi Festival attendees. back to top

De/vision

Official Website | on Facebook| Discography on Discogs

De/vision at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

It’s not unexpected to get the most of the performance of an act who not only fashion the industry, but also remain rock-solid in the sometimes painful process of growing up that all bands have to check. De/vision were able to animate an audience who definitely was in the know of what they can and do on stage; and their Russian roulette of songs bounced from early De/vision such as “Foreigner” and “I Regret” to “Popgefahr” era “Mandroids” and “Ready to Die” in an almost unpredictable, but all the more enjoyable manner. back to top

Agonoize

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Agonoize at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Definitely the most spectacular show of the entire festival, Agonoize’s visual violation of the expectations set and met by previous bands was a very powerful experience. As often is the case, their show was preceded by a longer set of preparations, which were performed unknown to the onlooker, just so the effect were not spoiled one bit. And indeed, the fabulous descent of frontman Chris L. was not to be expected – not even after the introduction from Eisbrecher’s Alex Wesselsky; and neither were expected the very visual and fierce blood shedding that ensued during their performance. With a very prominent impact on the audience, Agonoize, whose trademark sound of very rich sound and charismatic voice has already got them a name on the scene, provided a full-house entertainment, from which highlights were “Open the Gate” and “Opus Dei” – all in a crowd so tight you could barely drop a pin and in a commotion that made the main stage finale worth the wait. back to top

Staatenhaus: Diorama | Clan of Xymox | Das Ich | Feindflug | Kirlian Camera | Covenant

Diorama

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Other Diorama news by Viva Music: Diorama at Nordstern Festival – review | Diorama at Nordstern Festival – photo gallery

Diorama at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Diorama’s set, which we were looking forward to seeing again after their beautiful Nordstern Festival one, was just as expected a seamless experience of charisma and expression. Music, lights and atmosphere were all a premium experience, and perks were the excellent dynamics of the band and Torben Wendt’s voice, looming over as “Child of Entertainment”, “Synthesize Me”, “Advance” or “Home to Millions” were taking the audience over. The more one sees Diorama perform live, the more one notices how excellent their shows all are, and the subtle communication between band members makes your Diorama experience a worthwhile, and accomplished one every single time. back to top

Clan of Xymox

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Other Clan of Xymox news by Viva Music: Clan of Xymox in Control Club, Bucharest – review | Clan of Xymox in Control Club, Bucharest – photo gallery

Clan of Xymox at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

With a limited band presence, but nevertheless one that ensured that a classical Clan of Xymox feel was still present in their show, the band was ready to prompt people to dance and just feel good, which was indeed a plus of the show. Clan of Xymox’s show reminded at the same time of Depeche Mode and gothic scene bands and DJ’s – a mélange that could not yield anything bad, after all. Clan of Xymox’s quiet and orderly performance was not a highlight in itself, but a well-deserved moment of clarity and with all entertainment premises checked.  back to top

Das Ich

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Other Das Ich news by Viva Music: Das Ich at Darkwave.ro Fest – Viva Music event – review | Das Ich at Darkwave.ro Fest – Viva Music event – photo gallery

Das Ich at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Regrettably and let’s hope temporarily reformed, Das Ich provided a new experience (with vocals from Myk Jung and Vic Anselmo) that should tell us that within a band’s mission statement the urge to go on irrespective of the hardships of any of its members is a compulsory one. While it goes without saying that Das Ich cannot be complete without Stefan Ackermann, it is also true that their renditions of “Kannibale” and “Re_animat” sounded pretty neat, and were it not for the general and heartfelt concern over the health of Stefan Ackermann, they resembled their original versions, which meant, after all, that frailty of life the band is so keen on expressing in each and every song is felt at the most: just three years ago they were performing at Amphi Festival and two years ago in Bucharest in a Viva Music event: and we can only wish Stefan to get well soon, because he’s an exceptional artist and one of the forces behind Das Ich. back to top

Feindflug

Official Website  | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Other Feindflug news by Viva Music: Feindflug at E-tropolis Festival – review | Feindflug at E-tropolis Festival – photo gallery

Feindflug at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

If someone asked out of the blue whether Staatenhaus could hold the sound propagated by Feindflug, we bet your answer was going to linger more on the reluctant side; however, experiencing Feindflug in their full glory in an indoor venue did not turn off the impact one bit. With warfare entrenchment lighting, gas masks and a sound shield that could hold back armies, Feindflug provided an otherworldly, extracorporeal experience to all gathered in a very well coordinated dance of force, gravity and utmost emotional quality. Every breath was taken away by the explosive performance that made literally everyone in the Staatenhaus move to the infectious beats! We enjoyed the Feindflug show again, and we are sure that such an act will always be the highlight of every festival, especially because the audience is ready to dance and Feindflug are by far an amazingly energetic act. back to top

Kirlian Camera

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Other Kirlian Camera news by Viva Music: Kirlian Camera in Bucharest – Viva Music event – review | Kirlian Camera in Bucharest – Viva Music event – photo gallery

Kirlian Camera at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Despite slight issues with sound, and with a different live lineup than the one we had the pleasure and honor to host for their first Bucharest date, Kirlian Camera were nevertheless astounding, and provided a generous and acclaimed set: from “K-Pax” to “Edges”, and from “Heldenplatz” to “Born to Fight”, their lifetime deal with music to sound good and perform excellently did not go amiss! With a “Comfortably Numb” everyone would have gone on listening to forever, and their Ultravox cover “Hymn”, Kirlian Camera surely increased their fan base after their Amphi Festival date. back to top

Covenant

Official Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

Other Covenant news by Viva Music: Covenant in Bucharest – Viva Music event – review | Covenant in Bucharest – Viva Music event – photo galleries: one, twothree | Covenant at E-tropolis Festival – review | Covenant at E-tropolis Festival – photo gallery

Covenant at Amphi Festival 2011 – photo gallery

Under the auspices of a very bucolic celebration spoken up by Covenant’s frontman Eskil Simonsson, who urged the audience to respect themselves and celebrate themselves, the closing – and most likely most expected act of  Amphi Festival – if we are to count the numberless festival attendees who hummed to their songs and danced along all the way from the intro “Modern Ruin” and up to the encore “One World One Sky”, with very definite love halts at “Bullet”, “The Men”, “We Stand Alone” and “Call the Ships to Port” was amazing! With utter precision and a myriad of new accents and hues added to classical Covenant songs, with scatting and a cappella renditions of “Happy Man”, the new layout of Covenant proved concert-safe and relevant for today’s scene, who know how to make love to their audience and to devote to them entirely in a totally requited musical exchange of artist and audience. “Lightbringer” was definitely a favorite, with Daniel Myer at his best, putting all his energy and devotion, leaving a very personal mark on the song that, for sure, will not go unnoticed by Covenant fans. The drum beats make Covenant performance unique, as Daniel adds to the energy of the show and places more emotion in everyone’s heart. That adds to the energy of the show and places more emotion in everyone’s heart. Thank you, Covenant! back to top

The Aftermath

Amphi Festival organizers did not lose time, so by Monday, July-18,  when the festival was clearly over, their message of thanks to all those who chose to spend their time with 16.000 friends from all over the world was already online. So was in a typical and nevertheless laudable German manner, the announcement of next year’s edition: the chosen dates are July 21 and 22 with tickets already selling online! First confirmed bands are online, too, among which The Sisters of Mercy, Camouflage, DAF, Mono Inc., Corvus Corax, Coppelius, Haujobb, Seabound, Tyske Ludder and Whispers in the Shadow. More details will be available on the festival site as well, as always, on darkwave.ro, on the page we dedicate to Amphi Festival updates.back to top

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