Blackfield Festival 2012 – Jun-23&24 – Gelsenkirchen: Viva Music Review with Photos

June 29, 2012 in Blackfield Festival

Blackfield Festival celebrated its fifth edition with a first-time sold-out arena on Jun-23&24 in Gelsenkirchen. In the already traditional Amphitheater of Gelsenkirchen, the festival was set up as a middle-sized event to the minutest of details. Not only the amphitheater was made-to-fit the crowd and its access to and fro, but it provided excellent venue facilities. All bands were rigorous about their stage time and the schedule allowed everyone to be entertained by a musical diversity which was at the same time well-thought and respectful of people’s tastes and interests. The setup of the festival was complemented by a large array of facilities and the food served met all tastes. Add to that the number of shops for gear and clothing, jewelry and fragrances, as well as the wonderful medieval fair, and you tick all the boxes of a dream festival. Unfortunately, the weather was not so welcoming, but however, did not actually impact the audience, who stood against a first day of scorching sun and wind, and a second day of drenching rain and dark skies.

Viva Music’s presence at the festival was enriching and educational – we have of course met before decent and respectful organization of events, and Blackfield is one of the festivals which actually commit to people’s well-being while on the premises, but we were constantly overwhelmed by the friendliness of space, people, and concept of the festival. So our thanks go to the Blackfield organizing team, to our fellow artists, journalists and music fans – with them, the event felt like a blessing, and within minutes of its end, we would have started this experience all over again! Go back to top

Day One | Day Two

Day One | X-Divide | The Exploding Boy | Pakt | She Wants Revenge | Grendel | Herzfeind | In Legend | End of Green | Dreadful Shadows | Hocico | Oomph! | VNV Nation

X-Divide

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY X-DIVIDE @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Previously on darkwave.ro: X-Divide at Nocturnal Culture Night 2011

The Cologne act opened the festival in a very animated and at the same time becalming manner. A good festival start, their act meant the juxtaposition of two parallel worlds, one of accelerated beats and resounding harmonies, and another, of clear and calm waters. Their set, however short – one of the challenges all initial acts of the two days of the festivals did with elegantly and persuasively – was a nice example of how to fuse elements of electronica of the 1980’s and futuristic electronica. They played a song from their forthcoming album (a working title could be “Keep on Holding On“), as well as “Sympathy“ and the NanNamBuluNow or Never“, prompting people to clap hands and dance, which, unapologetically, the growing crowd from the scene of the festival just did. Go back to top

The Exploding Boy

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY THE EXPLODING BOY @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

With a name lookalike with one of the arcane and dim songs from The Cure, The Exploding Boy are not at all dark, but vivid and full of sap; even their latest album, “The Black Album“ is a misnomer for a very animated and driving kind of music they are able to come up with due to the elegance of their polyvalent setup. Their sound is incredibly good, their musicianship is next to ripe (after all, they are an already established act with their three album history), and their show really sounds like a battery of miniature, refined explosions, some at full blast, some craftily muffled. They played among other tracks “Human“ and “Torn“, to the audience’s delight, and did not miss the chance to congratulate their German audience on the national football team’s success the previous evening. Go back to top

Pakt

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY PAKT @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Previously on darkwave.ro: The first international interview with Pakt | New single “Freiheit” from Pakt on August-12

The set of Pakt was eagerly awaited by the fomenting crowd of Blackfield festival – decidedly the newness of the And One splinter group was still a news issue for many of the participants, who had not managed to that date to witness a live performance from Pakt. They managed to preserve a very intense atmosphere, and their stage presence is a very convincing one. Because of their one and only album to date, their setlist was predictable, but even for people who knew their album, the music sounded refreshing and surprising. The reaction that they got from their audience was instantaneous, and it was a thumbs-up for Pakt. They played their signature track, “Freiheit“, as well as “Egoshooter“ and “Angriff“, and did not leave their playful side at home – within the songs’ lyrics they inserted the name Blackfield as a tribute to organizers and to their fans. Go back to top

She Wants Revenge

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY SHE WANTS REVENGE @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Clearly one of the most eagerly awaited acts of the festival day, the Californian She Wants Revenge prepared a set with an interesting blend of rock and industrial music. At times monotonous, their show did not lose in intensity one bit, and managed to keep all ears pricked and feet moving to a very casual, American, lighthearted beat. Go back to top

Grendel

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY GRENDEL @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Previously on darkwave.ro: Grendel at Amphi Festival 2011 – Viva Music Review

Grendel is, festival-wise, one of the acts from which you know what to expect, and that is definitely not a bad thing. With their atmosphere setting intro, and their exuberant start, they managed to keep a very energetic presence on stage and their fans did not tarry to dance in their turn with a devilish beat. A very fulfilling experience, the performance from Grendel was convulsive and loud, as well as musically diverse, combining tracks such as “Harsh Generation“, “Timewave Zero“ and “Hate This“ in a very compelling and robust set. Go back to top

Herzfeind

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY HERZFEIND @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

The acts we were curious about to see live at Blackfield Festival were many, notwhithstanding our history of festivals, and Herzfeind were one of the groups we wanted to see. What we saw – and what else – listened to, made us very content – they are lively, joyous and melancholy at the same time, with a bittersweet quality that makes their music quite original. Of course, the show was pretty short, but we also were amazed to see that quite a few festival fans gathered for their show, despite the fact that She Wants Revenge were playing on the main stage. Go back to top

In Legend

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY IN LEGEND @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

In Legend were again a band we did not know many things about, except their bio, as goes live performances – and for the minutes we were able to spend in their company (with pressure to go back to the Grendel concert which was taking place at the same time) were an experience worth revisiting. Not only are they very qualified musicians, but also they impose an overall feeling when they are on stage. Looking from afar, we had the impression they had been many times directing the lights and choreography of people coming and going inside the tent of the smaller stage. Go back to top

End of Green

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY END OF GREEN @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

End of Green provided an excellent and intense show, with heaviness of guitars counterbalanced by the very poetical and uplifting lore of their lyrics. Their hellish rhythmicity spoke at times of effervescence and at others about resplendent darkness. “Die Lover Die“ and “Bury Me Down“ sounded topnotch in their live interpretations and met with an ecstatic audience. Go back to top

Dreadful Shadows

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY DREADFUL SHADOWS @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Of the many acts who survive as recognized living legends of the scene, gothic rock/darkwave act Dreadful Shadows are a clearly mesmerizing stage presence of many talents, despite their unofficial disbandment in the late 1990’s, they continue to be an unrivaled live act. As we drew nearer to the end of the night, and while expecting the headlining acts to come on stage, Dreadful Shadows provided a hard to pierce through curtain of sound in front of an always larger audience. Their set was a natural and convincing continuation of the set provided by End of Green, and they included in their set beautiful covers of Tanita Tikaram’s “Twist in My Sobriety“, New Order’s “True Faith“, as well as Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt“. “Dead Can Wait“ was similarly an acclaimed piece, and probably one of the best songs played during the first festival day. Go back to top

Hocico

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY HOCICO @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Previously on darkwave.ro: Hocico at Amphi Festival 2011 – Viva Music Review

Hocico provided a magnificent show, with a very pointy beat and gathered a huge dancing crowd. They also provided significant contrast with the day’s bands, in a concentrated and fast-paced show that included among others gems such as “Where Words Fail, Hate Speaks“, “Episodio“ and “Flesh of Your Flesh“, in a blend that appealed to connoisseurs and newcomers to the music of Hocico alike. Their awakening of the demons was convincing and loud, but at the same time they proved that what they call, in their own words, “a smart understanding of their creativity“, is a musical philosophy worth believing in, and also worth sharing. Go back to top

Oomph!

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY OOMPH! @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Previously on darkwave.ro: Oomph! at Amphi Festival 2010 – Viva Music Review

If we were to choose a concert that rocked our world at Blackfield Festival on Day One, it would be the performance from Oomph! Their show was probably the most viral, effervescent and musically colorful. Their stage debut was marked by coincidence: dressed in navy attire, they came on stage with a navy siren sound, just as a commercial vessel was crossing on the river behind the stage. Bursting with energy, their show meant a cavalcade of tracks, hummed and danced to by the full-house audience. They interspersed their set with diverse messages, dedicating songs to Justin Bieber but also to Angela Merkel, and providing also an anti-gay statement which was well received by the audience. “Mein Schatz“, “Kleinstadtboy“, “Mitten ins Herz“ as well as “Gott ist ein Popstar“ were highlights, but also their beautiful renditions of “Seemansrose“ and their closing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life“. To add, the frontman’s crowd diving was duplicated to the infinite by tens of fans from the crowd, who took the direction of the photo pit from the crowd, being carried on the arms of the participants and of the helpful bodyguards. Go back to top

VNV Nation

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY VNV NATION @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Previously on darkwave.ro: VNV Nation – “Automatic”: Viva Music Album Review | VNV Nation at Nocturnal Culture Night – Viva Music Review | VNV Nation “Automatic”: New Album Out in September and Preview Tour Dates | VNV Nation at Nordstern Festival 2011 – Viva Music Review | VNV Nation at Amphi Festival 2010 – Viva Music Review | VNV Nation at Wave Gotik Treffen – Viva Music Review

There’s hardly any festival which does not want to boast with a crowd-making act such as VNV Nation. Everywhere they headline, the crowd is sure to pour in, and there is reason in that: their music is catchy, their beat is contagious, and their lyrics resonate inside every heart. As expected, their show was unquestionably devoted to their latest album, which counts for one of the most viral musical contents of the first half of 2012. The opening of “On Air“ was cut short in order to introduce a live favorite of the band, “Chrome“, but left just in time to give space and time to “Space & Time“. “Illusion“, “The Great Divide“, “Resolution“ and “Control“ were natural additions to a setlist no one could ever possibly object to, just as were “Nemesis“, “Nova“ and “Perpetual“. Just as lively as the last time we saw them at Nocturnal Culture Night, with an easy and accommodating nature, VNV Nation were definitely up to the challenge of rising the temperature of the evening in the Amphitheater of Gelsenkirchen and keep it up for a long and nurturing setlist. Go back to top

Day Two: Culture Kultur | Stahlmann | Solitary Experiments | Megaherz | Funker Vogt | Welle:Erdball | Agonoize | Saltatio Mortis | Combichrist | In Extremo

Culture Kultur

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY CULTURE KULTUR @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Culture Kultur were the ones who gave the fresh and replenishing start of Day Two of Blackfield festival. We enjoyed their set, and were glad to have the chance to listen to an act which comes from a less traditional geography of electronica and EBM. Their sound of today might sound like different colors and hues you have listened to before, without, precisely, being able to put your finger on it and say that’s it!, but as mentioned before it sounds fresh and satiating. Their stage presence left a profound mark on the participants, and their songs were practically in their entirety known by a steady group of fans! “I Found You“, “Wonder“, as well as “Drummmachine“ were part of the short set that lit up the skies of the Amphitheater in Gelsenkirchen. The rain coming down, which, we would only later find out, lasted for the entire day, could do nothing against the audience: they were already in the right mood to go on and party. Go back to top

Stahlmann

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY STAHLMANN @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Previously on darkwave.ro: Stahlmann “Quecksilber” New Album: Viva Music Album Review

Stahlmann were one act we were extremely curious to see on stage, after the strong and lasting impression their album “Quecksilber“ left on us. They were lively, unpretentious, with a gene of showmanship and a resolution to make everyone feel good while their show lasts, and after. Shortly after their intro “Willkommen“, the blaring and masculine sounds of “Stahlmann“, “Kaltes Herz“ and “Hass mich/Lieb mich“ took over and made everyone feel at a simultaneous concert of Die Krupps, Oomph!, Eisbrecher and Rammstein, so good it was! Their closing “Spring nicht“ and “Tanzmaschine“ got everyone express their enthusiasm and yes, the rain could nothing against it. Go back to top

Solitary Experiments

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Previously on darkwave.ro: Solitary Experiments at Amphi Festival 2010 – Viva Music Review

Solitary Experiments may zoom in to their 20th anniversary soon, but they did not lose the beat and stayed atop of the many changes and of the sinuosity of the scene in the past decades. Their sound is a constant challenge to the listener, and provokes a myriad of emotions. Soaked in happiness, or contemplating the frailty of human life, Solitary Experiments know how to give voice to diverse emotions in a very plausible and entertaining manner. Professional performers in and out, they provided a wonderful set, however short, and played alongside the predictable, but nevertheless much awaited “Delight“ and “Rise and Fall“ tracks such as “Odyssey of the Mind“, “Pale Candle Light“, “Immortal“ and “Point of View“. Solitary Experiments always deserve a welcoming audience, and they found one made to fit at Blackfield festival. Go back to top

Megaherz

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY MEGAHERZ @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

The show of Megaherz barely left room for breathing: its intensity and build were confidently delivered in front of an ecstatic audience. Braving the weather, the fans who kept guard in front of the stage were soaked clean by the rain and the torrents of sounds of Megaherz. Needless to say, their set was friendly and not at all austere, delivered with sufficient elegance and attractiveness in order to mesmerize their audience. Their rocking heartbeat and their enthusiasm in playing were not unrequited by fans, who did their best to partake in the experience of a truly professional set. Go back to top

Funker Vogt

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY FUNKER VOGT @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Previously on darkwave.ro: Funker Vogt at Amphi Festival 2010 – Viva Music Review

The electro productivity and creativity of Funker Vogt are not only recognized, but also appreciated. The thorough impression of being caught inside a minefield where the blaring sounds of destructiveness were countered by the humming of building up again entire civilizations was a lasting one, while the decisiveness with which the set was delivered was breathtaking. There are a few things that stand out in a Funker Vogt live performance, usually their live sets are perfect from one end to the other, and the set they provided at Blackfield was no exception to this rule. Like most of the acts in the festival, if not all, they did not need strong visuals in order to strengthen their point of view, but instead, created the very visuals with their music – a clear picture of a very creative and forth-striding world. Go back to top

Welle:Erdball

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY WELLE:ERDBALL @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Previously on darkwave.ro: Welle:Erdball at Amphi Festival 2010 – Viva Music Review

Welle:Erdball are not newcomers to the world of large-scale live performances and this was an aspect that actually helped contour the overall impression their set was about to impose on the audience. Their excellent live performance was a dictionary-definition of a new German wave music, deeply rooted in the music of the 1980’s, but not neglectful of looking forward, with strong visual impact and a theatric stage setup. The audience was overwhelmed by the firm hand which guided every motion on stage and deliberately let each new song flow in and out of the magical universe of Welle:Erdball. It’s an honor to be in a crowd in front of which such refined artists play, and it was obvious for most, if not all participants in Blackfield that this was the case right then and right there. Go back to top

Agonoize

Official | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY AGONOIZE @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Previously on darkwave.ro: Agonoize at Amphi Festival 2011 – Viva Music Review

The sound mélange of Agonoize is crucial when it comes to keeping melodiousness in noise – a craft they share with fellow musicians such as Hocico. The set of Agonoize put up for Blackfield this year meant, alongside an already traditional bloodbath (hours after the show ended you could still spot in the crowd the ones who stood in front and were proudly prancing with faces and T-shirts soaked in artificial blood), a roundup of their finest. “Femme Fatale“ was followed by “Staatsfeind“, and songs such as “Sacrifice“, “Glaubenskrieger“ or “Schaufensterpuppenarsch“ were met with ovations. The ending “Bis das Blut gefriert“ was not exactly the point where you would have pressed stop on an excellent set from Agonoize, but due to the limitations of a festival set instead of a one-act concert, it had to be that way. Go back to top

Saltatio Mortis

Official | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY SALTATIO MORTIS @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

The exotic equipment of Saltatio Mortis, as well as the vibrant imagery of their songs were indeed one of the best experiences of Day Two of Blackfield festival. It did not occur to us, while we were spectators to this set, that the lore they promote needs to finds its voice in more acts, and it was not until the ending act of In Extremo that we did realize not only that there is a need for giving a new musical shape to the past, but also that there is a dedicated audience rising within the dark scene, alongside the devoted audience of medieval music, that eclectically shares interest in anything from gothic to medieval. And this is the span in which Saltatio Mortis moves elegantly and convincingly. With tracks such as “Habgier und Tod“, “Tod und Teufel“, “Koma“, “Spiel mit der Feuer“, or “Eulenspiegel“ they teased the interest in medieval lore and gave a fully fledged roundup of their music. A big impact came built-in “Spielmannsschwur“ and “Wild and frei“, while their ending “I Love Rock’n’roll“ was a wonderful rendition. Go back to top

Combichrist

Official | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY COMBICHRIST @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

Previously on darkwave.ro: Combichrist at Amphi Festival 2010 – Viva Music Review | Combichrist at Nordstern Festival – Viva Music Review | Combichrist in Romania – Review with Photos | Ten Combichrist Remixes to Look Out for

Combichrist on stage are a straight and narrow deal: you know it works, but you don’t know for how long. Their set was incredibly short (shorter than you would expect for a headlining act), but all in all it was a good experience. From “Get Your Body Beat“ to “Just Like Me“, halting at “All Pain Is Gone“, and not forgetting to put in some of “Follow the Trail of Blood“, “They“ or “Throat Full of Glass“, they checked all the boxes of an obligatory set from Combichrist, but the absence of new material, as well as something that could be stage fatigue or a temporary lack of enthusiasm left its marks on the show. Not on the audience, who proved that you could never grow tired of Combichrist, and indeed, you can’t. Go back to top

In Extremo

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CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY IN EXTREMO @BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL 2012

The show of In Extremo went in flames! Literally, it was a majestic setup of pyrotechnical equipment plus exquisite music. Just like in the case of Saltatio Mortis, the genuine medieval and classical rock instrument was a winning recipe. Maybe a little arcane due to their cute habit of using less than standard German, but however, even this aspect contributed to the color of the show. Let us not forget the appealing attire and mesmerizing sounds of their songs: from “Frei zu sein“ to “Zigeunerskat“, from “Saengerkrieg“ to “Flaschenpost“ they showed they know how to entertain in a truly professional and captivating manner. “Viva la Vida“ as well as “Siehst du das Licht“ were our favorites, but we couldn’t resist the appeal of “Nymphenzeit“ or “Kuess mich“ either. The show of In Extremo was indeed a spectacular end of a spectacular festival, and we enjoyed it immensely. We are already looking forward to next year’s edition, and will keep you posted on Blackfield festival news. Until then, keep in mind to visit from time to time the festival’s official page and their Facebook community. Go back to top

 

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