About NCN Festival
Nocturnal Culture Night celebrated in the truest sense of the meaning its sixth edition in Deutzen bei Leipzig between Sep-02 and Sep-04 with a killer lineup and a very appealing atmosphere. With ups and downs due to the times of the shows (some of them took place kind of early for the party fatigue building up especially on the second and third days), the audience topped 2k participants who were in their entirety a big family. Everywhere you went, you found people smiling, ready to help and to enjoy together the shows or the side entertainment that were carefully and laid out smoothly by the organizers. With the exception of the unpredictable, to which the same organizers were able to save face wonderfully (the power cut on the second day), the festival could not have been thought up in a fancier and friendlier manner.
To begin with, the shows – they all started on time making the festival a big Japanese train station. The bands were introduced on stage coherently and with great enthusiasm, but only in German. Even after the power cut had been mended, the shows quickened their pace, so that the expected end time would be the same, and bands and audience alike showed understanding faced with the mishap. The sound was overall good and that’s one thing to credit the venues for: both the mainstage (Grosse Buehne) and the smaller one (Kleine Buehne), which were located within reach, had a great surrounding and accommodated easily the hundreds of participants without impeding access and/or blocking the view of participants.
Participants at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
The participants themselves were friendly, peaceful and really at ease with the festival setup. The family feeling was not given only by the fact that participants greeted one another, were courteous and their merry-making was probably the best example of community, but also by the numerous families with kids as young as 9 months (and who knows, even younger) who participated in the festival. Their spare time was divided between the cleverly arranged stands, food courts, playgrounds, quiet areas, shops and the medieval market that took place in the proximity of the main festival venue. The shopping choice was classy and the food was really good, while the refuse collection showed that having fun and being responsible can go hand in hand.
Medieval Market at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
All in all, the festival, with its three days, thirty-four acts, special entertainment and great audience, made the sixth edition of NCN Festival in Deutzen bei Leipzig a very pleasant experience – one we would definitely love to go through again! A big round of applause for the organizers, their partners, and the audience of the festival for making it 100% worthwhile! back to top
Here you can watch the fast-forward, quick video review of this wonderful event!
Den C.T. Bug at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Self-entitled ‘duct between EBM and NDH‘, Den C.T. Bug qualify their music as a mixture of VNV Nation, Suicide Commando, and Frozen Plasma. With a fabulous debut entitled “Nachtzug“, a song that was reprised by numerous compilations, Den C.T. Bug have been busy being a generous and productive duo. Their recent original (and reworked by Funker Vogt) claims at glory, such as “Gotteskrieg” sound truly amazing, and serve as good appetizers for anyone who has not yet known their body of works.
Performance: The show from Den C.T. Bug started on a very energetic note and the heavily cadenced German lyrics readily gathered a crowd in front of the smaller stage of NCN Festival. saluting and thanking their audience, the duo continued their intro with a tingling, sparkling dancebeat filling sort of song while ridding themselves of the formal jackets they donned for their intro. Posing, marching, prompting their forming crowd to take in their dance beats, Den C.T. Bug were provocative, entertaining and really a good find via NCN Festival for further listening. Their electronic music really sounds inviting and determined. back to top
Golden Apes at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Since its birth in 1998, Golden Apes have been known as a shimmering gem in the independent gothic and wave scenes. It is the difficulty of a rigid definition and their versatility, that grant to the band their status, as well as making them an important constant in the musical landscape, looming ahead of the common mainstream. (source: official website, translation Viva Music). With six albums to date, the most recent being the cleverly entitled “Denying the Towers Our Words Are Falling from“, Golden Apes have accumulated quite a fanbase in the last decade, with numerous solo and group tours, as well as festival dates.
Performance: Clocking in at the exact time scheduled for their performance, a precision that we were later to witness throughout the festival, Golden Apes rushed forth with their gothic rock sounds over which superimposed the voice of their lead, overpowering and keeping his cool through what was going to be a well sustained performance. The well balanced vocal sections intertwined half psychedelically, half self-composed with really good guitar trios. back to top
No More at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Condensed in a duo nowadays from their original formula in 1980 (!), No More accurately exemplify the notion of longlasting interest, devotion and creativity in music. With the re-release in 2010 of “7 Years“, their best-of originally issued in 1990, the renewed interest in No More showed to the world that the band anticipated, and delivered, much of what today’s music of the scene is about. Two decades and more ago.
Performance: Really intense beginning, building up synth and guitar brought on to the entire Kulturpark Deutzen the mesmerizing sounds of No More. Andy’s voice is grave and penetrating, while Tina’s performance, though not vocal, is as imposing. The post-punk roots are showing in the band’s performance, but you do not need to be a (post-)punk aficionado in order to enjoy it! Combining ambiguous and melancholic tempo wit upbeat music, their show was well-received and truly delightful. back to top
Gothminister at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: With beautiful guitar riffs and groovy electronic sounds, Gothminister has kept everyone with their ears pricked ever since their debut in 2003. Their latest, 2011 album, “Anima Inferna“, the band’s fourth full-length release, they entered the Danse Macabre hall of fame and started touring again.
Performance: The opening with Das Ich‘s Bruno Kramm lighting incense on the stage was definitely not something the audience had expected, and therefore he was greeted by them. But emotions were far from being over as the lead singer hoisted himself over stage level on a scaffolding marked with G&M – a true lectern for a true goth minister – and erupted into a wild sermon of industrial strength. Painted faces, a devilish ventriloquist’s mannequin, ethereal altar voices, elusive but definite guitars and a staccato voice preached together in a very evocative and welcoming musical performance that was wholly taken in by the audience. “Liar“, their 2011 production, was particularly loved by their public. back to top
Whispers in the Shadow at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Dark and mystic conceptual lyrics fashioned against a dark trip core – this is where the band created by L’Ame Immortelle‘s guitarist, Ashley Dayour is getting us into. The name of the band comes from a H.P. Lovecraft story, “Whisperer in the Dark“. Their psychedelic, ‘Goth-Floyd‘-dubbed sound ushers in a great sense of musical prestige and fashions a special atmosphere, imbibed with dark elements.
Performance: Out of the fog filled stage glimpsed a paltry number of lights before the sound of Whispers in the Shadow took over. With a declamatory voice that resembled a conjuring of forces of nature, the set put up by Whispers in the Shadow quickly caught on with the audience, who, in their turn, awaited the unchaining of the trademark Goth-Floyd sound of the band. They were not to wait for too long, as even the first track from their lengthy set provided a sound share of psychedelic surges of a very profound Gothic inspiration, while the ensuing set built up a powerful, however austere, emotion, able to move even the most reluctant of their listeners. back to top
Tyske Ludder at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: EBM veterans Tyske Ludder took their name from the argot of the WW2 (a Danish expression of contempt for local women who would take up romantically to German military men). Their trajectory was steady, from their debut album in 1994 and up to their 2011 “Diaspora“, and their content-ridden, platform-setting lyrics vie elegantly with their musical discourse. In their most recent album, religiously invested content (with the Hebrew ‘Har Ha-Bayt‘/’Temple Mountain‘ opening, as well as with androgynous heroes, diaspora and glory) adds to the Tyske Ludder equation a message of communion to dispersed contemporary societies, who need a common denominator and a guiding light in order to thrive.
Performance: Hailed on stage by an announcement that mentioned their being veterans of the scene, the very visual and polyglot show of Tyske Ludder started energetically, with clamor and harmony. Beaming lights and dark electro beats introed their one hour show and set a definitely alert and convincing tempo to their excellent performance. With an Israeli flag at full mast on stage, and being flanked by allegorical missiles, their call to ‘diasporas’ was sensible and well-articulated. While the Israeli flag assumes no national role in their industrial yarn of narrative, it serves as a metaphorical construct to convey the meaning of a unifying principle to dispersed communities; an ideal that no longer prevails in the contemporary lack of unity and individualistic pursuing of diverse, disunited ideals. Their on-stage rendition of “For their Glory” together with Deviant UK‘s Jay Smith as a special guest deserves a special round of applause. back to top
[:SITD:] at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: “Shadows In The Dark” acronymized and embellished as [:SITD:] metaphorically stands for the music and lyrical content of the band. [:SITD:] know how to keep themselves in the news. With a rich past of remixes (Suicide Commando, Rotersand, Eisbrecher, Project Pitchfork), VNV Nation European and US tours, and acting as replacement for Rotersand at this year’s E-tropolis, it seems they are always active and available – qualities which fans immediately approve of and enjoy.
Performance: Already enjoying a large crowd, just like their predecessors on stage, Tyske Ludder, [:SITD:] started their show with a high-tempo electronic beat, which coupled with the inviting voice of their lead, provided top-drawer entertainment. Quick at shifting rhythm, but consistent in keeping an active role in their relation to their audience, the band were thoroughly acclaimed and taken in whole-heartedly. “Rose Colored Skies“, “Catharsis” and “Lebensborn” were the highlights of their show. back to top
Kirlian Camera at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: A living legend, Kirlian Camera, whom Viva Music had the pleasure and honor to host for a first Romanian concert, have been around for 30 years – their music evolved from the times of Italo disco to full-fledged electronica, and amazes even today for long-standing commitment to refusing artifice and for chronicling the scene’s evolution in a very personal and determined approach. Kirlian Camera concerts are an energetic wave expressed via alert and subtle instrument and exceptional vocal exercise in all languages on Earth, as a polyglot manifesto for messages that appeal to all generations. Their most recent single, “Ghloir Ar An Oiche“, sets expectations as high as ever for their 2011 forthcoming album.
Performance: With their already patent show beginning with lantern-lit hooded faces, the electrifying message sent by Kirlian Camera, in conjunction with text visuals about a self-devised angelologic cosmogony easily caught with the NCN mainstage area filled to the brim. Their most recent “Nightglory” proved to be infectious with the crowd and their 1.5h show was thrilling, noble and truly inspirational. A Spectra Paris song, “Size Zero” was included in their show, and Angelo Bergamini seemed to have a lot of fun performing it, and reworked versions, especially of Kirlian Camera delicatessen such as “K-Pax”, “Blue Room” and “Heldenplatz” were breathtaking, and stirred the audience in a unanimous, gentle and decided manner. back to top
[soon] at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: After a 2006 debut album “End Isolation”, the band [soon], formed in 2003 in Hamburg, had an ascending career, mainly due to their attentive work with rhythm. Powered up by harsh guitar and cleverly mastered drums, as well as by exceptional voice, [soon] were often invited to perform alongside acts such as Saltatio Mortis, Lacrimas Profundere, Das Ich, but also Zeraphine or End of Green.
Performance: Astounding rock sounds marked the beginning of the second day of NCN Festival as Hamburg-based band [soon] started their energy-packed show. With an alert sound and impeccable guitars and drums, their short set was welcomed by an increasing crowd as festival-goers realized they are up against another full day of entertainment. [soon]‘s sound, slightly redolent of Bush and The Rasmus, but with a definite and distinct persona of their own, quickly embalmed the ears of their audience with quality rock and a definite vein of melancholic, but also forward-thinking stage presence. back to top
Oberer Totpunkt at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: The sound collages and short-story-like picturesque and conceptual worlds of Oberer Totpunkt are inclusive of various genres: wave, EBM, but also hip-hop and Gregorian chant. Oberer Totpunkt are often regarded as a representative of the Neue Deutsche Todeskunst. Two realities, the inner and outer understanding of the world clash throughout the musical itinerary of Oberer Totpunkt. Their often emotion-ridden content plunges the listener in depths of fear, but also of resignation, of vigilance, but also of confusion.
Performance: A very enthusiastic show began as the mainstage’s first act of the day, Oberer Totpunkt began their mesmerizing, multi-instrument production. Inflamed by lead singer Bettina Bormann‘s powerful voice, who stood immobile midstage, the show was all about taking pleasure in music: in thinking it up, playing it, and delivering it onstage. A disoriented, whitewash faced creature of the underworld, with a doll tied to her ballerina skirt emerged on stage and seemed to be held captive by the band’s music. Later on, Bettina the circus tamer shared the stage with the circus MC and the circus’ ballerina, whose mechanical movements were giving a special tempo to the already cadenced show. back to top
F.O.D. at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Priding themselves with their being an auditive feast for the fans of bands such as And One, Icon of Coil, VNV Nation, Mesh, or Covenant, F.O.D. are not easily pigeonholed. Their electro clashes and mild synthpop generate a genre of its own standing. With an incredibly good latest album, “Maschinentanz“, and just like co-festival act Obscenity Trial, F.O.D. accompanied And One on their most recent tour, reaching an audience of tens of thousands.
Performance: After a very momentous, instrumental beginning, the show put up by former And One support act F.O.D. went off like an electronic clockwork, with a definite penchant for crowd-loving, very entertaining dancefloor set. Although the sound was very much following a predictable upsurge, there were numerous surprise elements interspersed in the band’s show. Clearly set on providing a tour de force of their latest, “Maschinentanz“, F.O.D. looked comfortable on stage and like they have spent a lifetime there – persuasive, empathetic and with a very good vibe being carried on to the audience, who rewarded the show with cheering and dancing. back to top
X-Divide at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Their 2010, Vasi Vallis produced “X” EP entered the German Alternative Charts even though at the time they were not signed to a label. Since then, signed to Infacted Records, X-Divide are deep in the making of their debut album. With grateful remixes from Shiv-r, NamNamBulu or Endanger, X-Divide established themselves as a new standard of expectations – one that their forthcoming album needs to exceed if not measure up to.
Performance: The festival limited set of X-Divide was a very positive experience. With piercing vocals and a very becalming beat, their show was an intimate and tempting invitation to introspection on the dancefloor. X-Divide is moving, resplendent and with a true gift for entertaining. Their carefully modulated synthpop, bearing some definite Vasi Vallis trademarks was quick to please and they definite earned themselves a serious followership after their performance at NCN Festival. back to top
Shiv-R at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: The duo, originally from Australia, has been called one of the new acts of the moment and instantly drew the attention of industrial record label heavyweights Infacted Recordings (Germany), Metropolis Records (USA) and Deathwatch Asia (Japan), who simultaneously released Shiv-R’s breathtakingly powerful debut album “Hold My Hand” in early 2010. Just three years away from their overwhelming debut, Shiv-R supported Combichrist on the Australian leg of their world tour, are working on a new album expected for this year, and are traveling the world in their first-ever European tour.
Performance: Shiv-r were a novel and powerful presence on the stage of the festival, and a clever addition to an already promising lineup. Though deprived geographically of the variety the German scene for instance allows for, and of the interplay and exchanges that allow German artists to cooperate, Shiv-r did not feel out of place one bit. They are overpowering, efficient and truly entertaining, and their methodical set was really well received by the NCN Festival crowd. Preceded by their fame on their first European tour, seeing them in Germany is certainly something that will happen more in the future, as they loved NCN and NCN loved them. back to top
Elane at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: After tours with Qntal and Unto Ashes and numerous festival dates, Elane have continued their folktale and fantasy musical imagery into the second decade of the 21st century with a new album, released in 2011, “Arcane“, inspired from the realms of magic, darkness and fantasy of the novels of Kai Meyer. Whistles, harp, guitars, violin, viola, and cello accompany the mythical foundation of the lyrics of Elane. A feast for the true follower of dark fantasy, Elane are an act of extreme imagination, and musical attention to the minutest of details.
Performance: Elane‘s show was a true sensation. Overcome by the technical issues that were going to cast a shadow – the only one to be exact – on the festival’s second day, Elane made the most of it. What could have been a canceled show, became instead an unplugged and improvised set. Cheered on, encouraged and seconded even, Elane made sure that the interruption of their promising show, once two minutes passed, was not going to be the dominant note of their show so they put up a limited reach set that deserves all the praise. It would be wrong to judge Elane‘s show when all the instruments, the vocal commodities that are patent to the band are missing, but if we were to judge their dark fantasy folk music on the performance they were able to put up instantly, they are a great band. back to top
Psyche at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Psyche are a Canadian dark synth pop band, now based in Germany. Since their debut in the early 1980’s, Psyche have continued to record, and perform around the world for just over 25 years to date. With a motley crew of claimed influencers, such as Soft Cell, Eurythmics, The Cure or DAF, Psyche are as active in 2011 with their renewed lineup as ever, and tour at the moment Germany with another NCN Festival band, No More.
Performance: Though Psyche’s show, just like Sensory Gate and Merciful Nuns‘ scheduled time passed in constant reminders of the technical problems that were soon to be solved, we were able to see a belated and abridged version of the set from Psyche which proved to be terrific, both for the quality of their show, and for the waiting that kept everyone on the boil. A very energetic performance, with a lot of uninhibited dancing going on on the stage, but also in the audience was what Psyche had in store and were able to provide for their fans. Though music-wise Psyche are not eye- or better said ear-catching on first listening to them, their show does it, and you cannot not like them. back to top
Sensory Gate at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Sensory Gate is an Italian band living between northern Italy and the south of Germany. Started as a solo-project of Andrea Pozzi in 2004, it initially built up speed around the remix work for Nine Inch Nails, Kirlian Camera, Runes Order, Collide and other acts. They also wrote the song “Gridami“ together with Klangstabil, and the track was released on the latter’s album “Math and Emotion“. Their 2010 debut album, “Ianus” did not mean, despite critical acclaim, that they forsook their collaboration history. New Spectra Paris and Frozen Plasma reworks are added to the roster of their musical interactions.
Performance: Sensory Gate definitely knows how to put up a good show, for the fans of ambiguous electro and rock combinations. Very straightforward, and very precise on the stage for a rather young band, Sensory Gate volunteered their enthusiasm, willingness to please and their craft of sound for their NCN Festival date and were repaid accordingly by their fans. Sensory Gate may not be for the time being a top requested band, but their show was really something to enjoy, and enjoy we did! One additional fact that may seem striking, but at the same time explanatory of the kind of audience they rejoice, is the fact that the first rows of their smaller stage venue were filled even before their performance with people donning “I’m a wandering king/queen without a throne”, Sensory Gate-penned T-shirts – a sign of loyalty that should not go unmentioned. back to top
Merciful Nuns at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Self-nicked “Garden of Delight’s only legitimate successor” and organized in loges, the arcane art of Merciful Nuns befuddles and the less they say about themselves, the more they leave open for our imagination to draw the picture. With a very rich and dense imagery, Merciful Nuns draw their inspiration from age-old mythology, from rejection of religions based on the written word, and on their understanding of a humane, but fierce dynamics that moves humanity backward and forward at their own expense.
Performance: Merciful Nuns, who – call it coincidence – share their name semantically with another well-famed band, namely The Sisters of Mercy, were a quick audience pleaser. Although they were also forced to abridge their show due to the incurring power cut and the subsequent attempts to solve the issue, their show seemed satiating and definitely pleasured the audience to a large extent. Not only does their music sound like true engineering of sound, but their stage presence is imposing, classical, and classy. back to top
Klangstabil at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Klangstabil played more than 70 successful live concerts in Germany, Eastern and Western Europe, Russia, and the U.S.A. Also, since 1995 more than a dozen releases were published on vinyl, CD, and digital download formats. While early on Kraftwerk were a major inspiration, Klangstabil‘s range of composition expanded from experimental sound collages to catchy, yet deep electro pop. In due time, popularity and fan response increased steadily, leading to top 10 positions in various alternative charts for the latest two album releases, as well as acclaimed festival appearances across Europe.
Performance: Klangstabil were definitely one act we should have seen on the mainstage of NCN Festival and not on the smaller one. Their show, even better than the ones we witnessed this year both at Nordstern and Amphi festivals, debuted with an overwhelming intro, entitled “Shadowboy” – pure music and a vocal tour de force from Boris got the crowd humming and dancing in no time. Klangstabil were the first band of the second day lineup who were welcomed by a full house, and also the first to be asked for an encore – and they complied willingly. Deep lyrics, nerve-knotting emotion, and sonic thunderstorms are not a novelty for a Klangstabil performance, but the impeccable manner in which they were performed at NCN Festival left them with definitely a larger scope of fandom. Klangstabil are, next to Schoengeist, one of the favorite NCN Festival performances of the Viva Music crew. back to top
Absolute Body Control at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Belgian project Absolute Body Control is a history-making electronic music group. The electronic beats of Absolute Body Control find their accurate description in the band’s name. Powered alongside Eric Van Wonterghem by Dirk Ivens, who is also active in The Klinik, Dive and Sonar), the band hail back from the late 1970’s – and are still up to the challenge of transgressing boundaries, influencing trends, and re-establishing genre definitions.
Performance: Unfortunately overlapping with the Klangstabil show due to the time limit put on the second day of the festival by the technical issues at the venue, the show put up by Absolute Body Control did not seem to feel the strain or the fatigue of the wait. With a strong penchant for elegant and intelligent dance music, the relentless show put up by Absolute Body Control meant a sturdy and energetic display of what already decades of both studio and stage experience can bring in 2011. Though the show was a terrific one, the limitations of a festival in general, and of the already hastened pace at which bands had to perform, as well as the fact that for the most of its duration they had to dispute – of course in a friendly and fairplay manner – their audience with the simultaneous show of Klangstabil, had a final word. back to top
32 Crash at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: The imaginarium of 32 Crash is splendidly described in their own bio: taking the standpoint of year 2127, in a world unlike the one we are currently inhabiting, the post-apocalypse is livable, but rich with content and open to the spiritual: “Universal archetypes such as demons, angels, ancient divinities, and even sometimes abstract shapes and symbols, supposedly emerging from other dimensions, often and suddenly appear in front of individuals or large crowds, sometimes requiring submission and conversion, sometimes only hovering in the air before fading away.” With extra credibility due to the musical past of its members (Len Lemeire and Jan D’Hooghe come from Implant, while Jean-Luc De Meyer comes from Front 242), 32 Crash offer a new perspective on the world we could be living in – or we might live in if many of our superstitions, science-fiction imageries turned up to be true in their flesh. With an astonishing EP (“Humanity“) and an album exceeding the expectations set by its predecessor (“Weird News from an Uncertain Future“) their music stands out as unique, inspired and really engaging.
Performance: 32 Crash needed just seconds to get everyone in the mood for their show. Quickly immersing everyone in a bath of deeply emotional music, tell-tale of their imagined universe of a future humanity who survived numberless calamities, 32 Crash, whose joint stage history is awe-inspiring, put up a clean, professional and captivating show. back to top
Atrocity at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: “No listener will remain untouched” is Atrocity‘s caveat for their own music, and if you chance on any of the songs of possibly one of the most successful metal bands from Germany, you will have to agree. Witnessing Atrocity live is a unique experience. All instruments are performed live, which enhances the richness and plenitude of sound. Corroborated with a tapestry of complementary rhythms, as well as tribal beats, the intense and fascinating atmosphere Atrocity emanate is guaranteed.
Performance: Atrocity proved to be a very inspired and festival-safe choice for the mainstage end of the second night of the NCN Festival. Recently returned from a trip to Poland, not exempt from mishaps, Atrocity were ready to party and steered their audience that way, too. Very communicative with their public, they put up a show that combined stage glam – costumes, scantily clad lady dancers, stage dynamics and tributes to a wide array of music. Das Ich‘s “Gottes Tod“, Visage‘s “Fade to Grey“, and Camouflage‘s “The Great Commandment” and other already classical songs received very plausible industrial versions which were really loved by the audience. back to top
Nova-spes at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: On reading about Nova-Spes, their official website welcomes you with a countdown message for the release of their imminent forthcoming album, “pripyat – home of lilith“, mastered by Das Ich‘s Bruno Kramm and to be released with Danse Macabre. Pinned down by Orkus as “the one band the And One and Depeche Mode fan needs to witness live for an experimental escapade“, Nova-spes have been relentless with their releases, giving out new material almost every year since 1999.
Performance: Nova-spes, despite the short version of a show they were invited for as the first smaller stage act of the third and last day of NCN Festival, provided a promising show. Elegant, self-assured and provocative, Nova-spes included in their festival show songs from their forthcoming album, scheduled to be released the week after the festival. During the show it became evident that Nova-spes have a distinct personality, but also that their recent collaboration with Bruno Kramm proved to be a very efficient and beneficial experience. Stay tuned on darkwave.ro for the pre-release review of Nova-spes‘s “pripyat – home of lilith” by Viva Music. back to top
Eyes Shut Tight at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: With two albums to date, “Secret Destroyer” and “Fairground Zero” (the latter released in 2011), Eyes Shut Tight combine seamlessly rock and industrial music to unusual, but notwithstanding really pleasant effect. Based on life experiences, some of them ominous, others unfortunate, Eyes Shut Tight illustrate a philosophy of life that should be taught in schools: “Yet Eyes Shut Tight won’t be stopped by incompetence and insensitivity, no matter from which side they may come down upon them. They will just shut their eyes and press on regardless.”
Performance: The deal struck by Eyes Shut Tight with their limited audience – an inconvenience unfortunately run into by earlier acts of the third day of quite an exhausting festival – was square and fair one about the clarity and decidedness of the sound. With powerful instrument, and a fair enough mixture of industrial and classical rock music, sometimes edging even on the alternative side, Eyes Shut Tight were definitely one of the most promising young acts of the festival. With enough stage experience, and their potential of giving attention to every detail of their tidy shows, Eyes Shut Tight are sure to become a constant of European festivals. back to top
Schoengeist at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: The gothic and industrial fiber of Schoengeist honors their name (i.e. “Beautiful Spirit” in German) – it is elegant, well-wrought, and truly a masterpiece. Counting on the presence of Eisbrecher‘s Alex Wesselsky for co-writing some of the songs from their latest album, “Keine Zeit” released in 2011, the experience of Schoengeist is one to look forward to.
Performance: Schoengeist, who alongside Klangstabil range among Viva Music‘s favorite performances at NCN Festival, were a quick pleaser and instant heartbreak with the audience. Sped up and forward by their charismatic lead-singer, Schoengeist strike first and foremost as a band in which the friendliness and body language of their members work wonders. The novel addition of Oriental tunes and virtuoso violin on to their basically industrial core, as well as the beautiful set they prepared for the festival were all pluses and we were most certainly not the only ones to notice them. Schoengeist songs have this innate quality that makes them sound like, once triggered, they cannot be stopped. “Keine Zeit“, “Auge um Auge“, “Sonne der Nacht“, “Heiler” were only a few of the titles they amazed their audience with, and most of them are beautiful collaborations between Timur Karakus and Eisbrecher‘s Alex Wesselsky for the band’s latest. back to top
Future Trail at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Carefully arranged songs, sophisticated sounds and melodies are what Future Trail are up to; and the sound they come up with, in their renewed 2011 effort, is really something! Electropop pitching for attention in a rollercoaster of emotions – this is a good description for Future Trail‘s 2011 single “Patience” from their 2009 album “Breaking New Ground” which also includes a groovy “Landslide” featuring Absolute Body Control‘s Dirk Ivens, as well as a very good rendition of the Martin L. Gore-penned 1982 Depeche Mode song “Satellite“.
Performance: Future Trail promoted a vigorous show, although the limited version set for the festival was probably not the most representative one. Their songs, as known from their latest album, are clearly well-thought compositions, and a highlight such as “Patience” was well-received by their audience, but be it stage fright, or be it the lack of more festival adapted material, Future Trail left a good, but somewhat indistinct aftertaste. We definitely need to see more live performances from Future Trail, since, as mentioned before, their NCN Festival set does not seem to do them justice. back to top
Persephone at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Named after the Greek goddess of the afterworld, Persephone was formed in 2000 under the initiative of L’Ame Immortelle‘s singer Sonja Kraushofer. Not unlike L’Ame Immortelle, the music of Persephone is about despair, unfulfilled desires and lost hopes. The orchestral quality of the music thought and delivered by Persephone has enchanted for the last decade. Open to experiment and to poetic perfection, Persephone makes a point of performing always acoustically.
Performance: A show by Persephone is first and foremost a visual detour. The visual props (wreaths, lights) and the turn-of-the-century costumes simply leave their onlooker no chance but go back in history. The motivating show of Persephone is, however, not limited to eye-catching background, but also includes a jubilating musical foreground in which the superb vocal exercise of singer Sonja Kraushofer, coupled with the diligent use of various classical instruments astonishes and keeps one pinned to one’s spot. Essentially quiet performances, but speaking up musically about a bundle of despair, regrets and disenchantment, a show by Persephone is a very good example of what the encounters between musical genres and styles can engender – and we mean a positive example, of course. back to top
Blind Passenger at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Nik Page was one of the German electropop icons of the 1990’s with his Blind Passengers cult-band. In the 2010’s, his comeback to spectacular electronica is loud and clear with the new album “Next Flight to Planet Earth“; with appealing and entertaining retro synthpop grooves. With jingle quality to their choruses, and a vocab inspired from sci-fi, their moog-sequences have a charm of their own. A new odyssey for the space cowboy of the golden 1980’s, Blind Passenger is energetic, catchy, and truly effervescent.
Performance: Nik Page‘s Blind Passenger project simply grabs from you the prize for the most theatrical performance. Emerging from the audience, chaperoned by security and flight attending personnel, and summoning via a loudspeaker the last passengers for the flight for planet Earth, Nick Page did not lose time, and once set up on stage, donning cosmonaut overalls and aviator sunglasses, started a pepping-up diatribe from the height of his lectern. His self-titled wave science fiction, a sort of future-oriented synthpop with a definite science fiction inspiration proved to be an entertainment heavyweight. Waving endless black flags, wearing pig head costumes, prancing along with baseball bats – all on very dance-friendly beats is what Blind Passenger were able to do on stage, much to the delight of their audience. back to top
Staubkind at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Rock songs, somewhere between melancholy and depression, coupled with the mix of heavy guitars and catchy melodies, coupled last but not least with the memorable voice of Louis are the defining forces behind Staubkind. Founded in 2003 by vocalist Sven “Louis” Manke, Staubkind took inspirations from artists such as Oomph!, Zeraphine, Linkin Park and Evanescence. Staubkind performed live with Unheilig and Eisbrecher.
Performance: After a summerful of festivals, we find Staubkind more mature and more cut for the job of festival performer. With a set embellished by recent and new songs, Staubkind‘s melancholy pieces sounded crystal-clear and more likely to bring a benefit to their audience. Their NCN Festival set was doubly entertaining, and it seemed that both on stage and in the audience, everyone was having a good time. back to top
Krypteria at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: The gloomy atmosphere cast over by Krypteria is rich with Gregorian chant, classical instrument and metal symphony. Krypteria describe themselves as “heavy, melodic, dramatic, emotional, intense” – and they are not far off, because indeed they bring feeling-ridden, elegant symphonies to the next level. Krypteria have always charted well, and their most recent album, “All Beauty Must Die“, released in 2010, is one of the band’s finest achievements to date.
Performance: Krypteria‘s show was a thorough emotion. Their lead singer’s charisma, and leave aside all discussion of ethnicity, exoticism on our scene were topped by the professionalism with which the band delivered their lengthy and overwhelming stage production. Their symphonicity vied with the clear and straightforward metal sounds, both of which were subdued under the domineering voice of at times Krypteria‘s lead singer, and at other times the entire band’s, which gave to the entire performance a chorale quality, further enhanced by the classical pieces included in the weft of their songs. “Messiah” was definitely one of their best renditions for their NCN Festival date. back to top
Fixmer / McCarthy at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: When Terence Fixmer met Nitzer Ebb‘s Douglas McCarthy, it was for remix work for Nitzer Ebb. But this is not what kept them together – their project, simply called Fixmer/McCarthy highlights both musicians’ strengths. An amazing and explosive stage performance is guaranteed with each Fixmer/McCarthy show. Add to that the all-flavor electronic sound they eagerly promote, and you get the picture of a performance really high on everyone’s list!
Performance: The electronic set of Fixmer/McCarthy was hailed as one of the highlights of the festival and indeed the public response to their show was a strong one. Backed up by the prestige that the Nitzer Ebb fanbase understands very well, the show had a distinct tint of a celebrity show. It is a pity in a way that it was the closing act on the smaller stage of NCN Festival and that the other, smaller but talented bands whom performed there did not rub against some of the stardust Fixmer/McCarthy spread. back to top
DAF at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Any encounter with Neue Deutsche Welle/electropunk act DAF is a lesson in longevity and content-heavy messages delivered majestically in powerful musical pieces. After their 2010 reunion, DAF were very active on stage, and several concert and festival dates were added to their already long live portfolio. With a wonderful greatest hit compilation released just two years ago, the live experience of DAF calls for new material, other than their comeback “Du bist DAF” (of which 2010 copies were released in 2010), but there are still no news to this respect.
Performance: Experiencing DAF live is one of the things every concert goer from the scene should have on their checklist. Not only it is a very powerful show, but the youthfulness of the band is astounding for their long history on stage. And their resistance to the strain of a live performance is wonderful – more than one hour and a half on stage close to their 35 year band anniversary is a feat that should really be taken in as a definite sign of their vocation. Alongside “Der Mussolini“, songs such as “Verschwende Deine Jugend” or “Ich und die Wirkilichkeit” were truly good renditions and much loved by their ecstatic fans. back to top
VNV Nation at NCN Festival 2011 – photo gallery
About: Another Hamburg expatriate band, VNV Nation are not just another band. With a very clean past of musical excellence, they combine emotive vocals, symphonic quality of instrument and very inspiring musical pieces in a rewriting of the last three musical decades, and they have not had their final word yet! After the September 2011 release of their new album, “Automatic“, VNV Nation will start their Automatic 2011-12 tour in Europe and the Americas, playing extended sets, since a lot of requests for songs which were not usually played live were received by the band.
Performance: While even after another and another VNV Nation show we are still struggling to find what their recipe for animating masses is, we were very happy to find a long VNV Nation set being welcomed by a massive audience, as well as to witness the live performance of tracks from their forthcoming “Automatic” album. VNV Nation were not only the headliners of the third evening of the festival, but also of the festival itself, and made the most of their show, with their true vocation as performers, and their infectious electronic anthems that seemed to last well into the night. back to top