NCN is a festival for the heart. Every time we leave NCN on Sunday night, we leave a piece of our heart in Deutzen bei Leipzig. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as the end of each festival also brings along the thrill for the next one and the feverish curiosity to see what incredible bands are already announced for next year.
More than 35 bands played on three stages, there were fashion shows, after parties, reading sessions and movies. The medieval fair entertained the approximately 2000 visitors with amazing art performances, crafts, games, poetry, joggling and even a girl on stilts and a guy riding a huge dragon (who spoke perfect Romanian). Everyone was relaxed and everything started as scheduled, the food was awesome ranging from the superdonuts at the entrance to the grilled sausages and all kinds of meat and we could buy souvenirs and band merchandise.
NCN 2012 (Sep-07-09) was even more special for us as we met our dear friends and we had the chance to see for the first time live so many new bands! Our special thanks go to the organizers of NCN, very hard working people who really go the extra mile when it comes to the participants’ comfort and entertainment. We feel like home in the Kulturpark Deutzen every year, and we hope we can keep the tradition of visiting NCN from now on. Congratulations and thanks!
CLICK HERE FOR AUDIENCE & ATMOSPHERE PHOTOS @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY COINSIDE @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Coinside was started in 1993 as an instrumental group, but evolved as an electronic one, spanning their activity until 2003. Despite their strong presence in clubs, on the radio and their self-promotion, they do not give us the gladdening news of new material being published, and that’s a pity, since it’s been almost ten years since they put on record their creations of hard and menacing beats. However, their strong opinions about controversial subjects such as child abuse, pollution or euthanasia, that they dress in their unique musical fashion, published between 1995 and 2003 stays as a maze in which many people know their way and recognize a classical pool of music.
Performance: Obviously Coinside was a very good choice for the festival kick off! We enjoyed the beats and relaxed atmosphere, both on stage and among the not so numerous but more than enough to get a great feeling audience. We started dancing pretty quickly and we admired the awesome communication between the two members of the band who seemed like they can for sure finish each other’s sentences off stage. Although very short, their set was dynamic and pleasant, inviting the participants to already immerse in the festival energy. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY DANCE OR DIE @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
Previously on darkwave.ro: Dance or Die @Industrial Booom, Budapest 2012: Viva Music Review with Photos
About: Dance or Die has been for the last 20+ years a striking band and brand for the dark electronic scene, and even today, speaks to an always larger spectrum of music fans. Not only is their sound engineered to perfection, but is also accompanied by conceptually sophisticated lyrics. 2011 meant the revival of the large scale stage performances of Dance or Die. With WGT, and in 2012 E-only, Out of Line Weekender, Industrial Booom and Nocturnal Culture Nights, Dance or Die are hitting again the masses with their diligent and cerebral EBM.
Performance: Dance or Die are all about dancing or dying! The three band members (including Chris L. of Agonoize) are very energetic and expressive, allowing the audience to jump right into the cyber world that the band depicts in their songs using an exuberant and pumping rhythm. Dance or Die’s music is a perfect blend of deep, gothic voice (Gary Wagner also stars in And One’s track “Take some more”) and vicious techno beats. Gary Wagner’s stage presence is overwhelming; using convincing grimaces and contortions of his body and hands, he manages to orchestrate the audience’s feelings giving the viewer the impression that he manipulates the people in front of him like a real conductor. Another perfect performance at NCN 2012! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY NOSFERATU @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Nosferatu are an English gothic group hailing from the late 1980’s. Despite great success in their early years, they had harder times next to the good days, and it was not before 2005 that they came back to stage with their original lineup, the one that was ‘responsible’ for their numberless successes and great sale records back when gothic music was not even hip. Today, they rejoice renewed fame with their most recent material, “Wonderland“, released in 2011 and with a new vibe brought on new stages of an already established scene – incidentally, one in which they had and still have a say.
Performance: Nosferatu is a strikingly energetic band with an obvious extensive live performance experience. The small stage at NCN 2012 seemed to be quite small for a drummer, two guitarists (one wearing a skull mask and a high hat) and Louis DeWray, the charismatic frontman who seemed to literally rip apart the entire stage! Louis sings with his voice, with every cell in his body, even the air around him chants gothic. He gives all his energy on stage where he is nothing like the quiet guy that I had noticed very early in the morning sitting on a bench and chatting with his colleagues. The tall, thin silhouette, sun glasses, hairstyle and velvet jacket made Louis stand out from a distance. Little did we know about the incredible force that would have soon been displayed on stage during the performance at NCN 2012. Some artists are able to express themselves naturally and let the audience experience the depths of their music. Watching and listening to Nosferatu I had the physical sensation of stepping into a dark, horror place, a deserted castle with a wild garden in the back where I could clearly hear the waves of the angry sea. It is amazing when a band can transport the listeners into another world, making them sense the music and create an atmosphere of their own. Although they played only nine tracks at NCN, Nosferatu offered a full show breaking the hearts of gothic rock fans present in front of the small stage. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY ORANGE SECTOR @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Ranging among their interests is … sweating on stage. And this is what they metaphorically do, since their EBM takes a lot of energy to be present on stage – the same kind of energy they transmit to their audience. Living the golden age of EBM from 1992 to 2004, they came back due to the same thing that kept them together and apart: EBM, the music which creates strong and faithful bonds. Infacted Records, which, is one of the main reasons why EBM still is on stage in a multitude of facets and styles, was to become Orange Sector‘s new home, one that nurtures them with the respect and openness due to the great names of a scene.
Performance: Late at night we had the pleasure to enjoy Orange Sector’s performance. Two informally dressed guys blew the speakers EBM electro style during a fifteen song set. They have released twelve studio albums, so the band could slalom easily through a lot of material released over the years. The participants danced and enjoyed the incredible warm weather, preparing for the last band of the evening, KMFDM who played on the Grosse Buehne. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY MAERZFELD @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: A German sextet, Maerzfeld are again a new name of the scene, another of the reasons why we love Nocturnal Culture Night – namely, the opportunity we get to listen to history in the making. Hardly one year has passed from their first official live performance, and less than a year since their debut album “Tief” hit the market. Their philosophy, self-irony, but also power and honesty are going to charm you immensely – one of the reasons, mainly, why their music strikes as new, provocative, and definitely with a great beat.
Performance: The first band to play the Grosse Buehne at NCN 2012 was an awesome choice: Maerzfeld! The warriors of Mars charged the stage right on time and played a short but comprehensive set. Although a newborn, the band is cohesive and the frontman’s deep voice is stunning. Maerzfeld are promising artists on the industrial and metal German scenes, and we look forward to seeing them play live again. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY A LIFE DIVIDED @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
Previously on darkwave.ro: A Life Divided @Amphi Festival 2012: Viva Music Review and Photos
About: Maybe the best description of A Life Divided is rendered in the words of Flux from Oomph!: “A Life Divided is for me one of the few German bands who know how to blend together melancholy melodies, electronic instruments and aggressive rock guitars. The emotional depth of their songs reminds me often of one of my favorite bands, Stabbing Westward“. With songs such as “Heart on Fire” and “Anyone” from their 2011 debut album “Passenger“, A Life Divided surely know how to be a musical heartthrob.
Performance: A Life Divided are already a Viva Music favorite, so we were so looking forward to seeing them play live again. It is amazing how much can a band surprise but not surprising (in the negative sense). Thus, A Life Divided unsurprisingly left us bouche bee again during the entire eight track set! Beautiful songs along with harsh guitar riffs poured at NCN one after another, as if given as special gifts to the audience. I don’t know if it is a gut feeling that I have when I listen to a new band, but it seems that most of the time when it is love at first sight for me, the band admits a certain influence from Depeche Mode. So, not to my surprise, A Life Divided state on their Facebook page under influences: Depeche Mode, Devin Townsend, Statix X, Nine Inch Nails and Bon Jovi. Apart from being astounding musicians who play as naturally as we speak, A Life Divided also display a real pleasure to be on stage. The usual trembling voices during the first song, the excessive sweating and speaking incoherently with the audience are never present during their performances. They are 100% live professionals, supersexy, energetic, powerful and we just wish to see them again soon! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY ERIC FISH @NCN 2012
About: Although being the lead voice of Subway to Sally, Eric Fish has long become an institution as a solo artist. Reflecting his environment in his songs, he pours out his thoughts and feelings, unrestrained and romantic, in a way that is unequalled in the scene. As a setting for his songs he uses acoustic guitars and a piano that make you want to light a candle to catch the mystical atmosphere. This combination will leave nobody cold and neither realists nor cynics will be able to elude the magic of the voice and the message behind it.
Performance: Before the actual show began, the large stage had been decorated with lit candles. The atmosphere had already been created and we were all waiting for a touching and romantic act. Eric Fish and his fellow musicians sat on chairs and made us feel like we were listening to a confession around a bonfire. The communication with the audience was subtle and although there was no loud cheering and jumping, everyone had a great time. The acoustic show was a beautiful relaxation moment on the large stage among all the live wired performances of the first day at NCN 2012. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY KMFDM @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Requiring no formal introduction, the band whose acronym name made everyone wonder what it stands for (abuse of Depeche Mode, Madonna or Kylie Minogue and their fans range among favorite interpretations) are one of the most known groups who come out of their scene in order to bring more fame to it. Pioneering a crossover genre from techno and dance on the one hand and off to heavy metal, they get everyone’s attention with their signature industrial sound. Keeping up with trends in experimentation, and touring massively worldwide, KMFDM can reshape themselves in no time – and give the world of their fans the exact amount of attitude and good music they need.
Performance: The night ended on fire! KMFDM are the masters of live show and excitement. Female lead singer, Lucia Cifarelli is one of the most beautiful and talented artists in the scene, and she knows how to manipulate the audience like no other. Her dancing routine, her imperative voice and her exquisite natural beauty are the ingredients for a magical experience. Although Lucia was joined on stage only by German multi-instrumentalist Sascha Konietzko – who founded the group in 1984 as a performance art project – while the guitarists and drummer were guests, the show was perfect in terms of stage presence and energy. At a crossroads between industrial, heavy metal, techno and pure electro, the music of KMFDM is the proof that underground can be taken to mainstream without losing its great value. KMFDM have toured more than most bands in the scene and have sold more albums than any of them can dream of. At NCN 2012, KMFDM rocked the stage; the audience was dancing frenetically and singing along all the lyrics. For 90 minutes KMFDM did not give us a breather. The final act of the first festival day was a tour de force we will not remember! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY OPUSCULUM @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Dark ambient/darkwave sensation Opusculum open the second day of the Nocturnal Culture Night 2012 with great aplomb: their young music (the group was formed but in 2008) is not, according to the opinion of the group’s members, is not a drawer project, but one consistent with a variety of influences that puts to good work the subtleties of electro music.
Performance: NCN welcomes newcomer bands and Opusculum was an early eye candy on the second festival day. We enjoyed the female vocalist and the belly dancer’s lavishing beauty, and admired in awe the sensual moves that accompanied the music. The exotic dancer was so natural and offered minutes of pleasure even to the untrained eye. Opusculum is using the Blutengel recipe to a certain extent, and as we all know, the formula works very well. The songs (although the set was short) have a good rhythm and the tunes are pretty catchy. When the erotic dance and role playing are added to the show (we even witnessed a murder on stage – take a look at the photo gallery to see for yourselves) you have the perfect ingredients for good entertainment. We hope to see more of Opusculum in the future and we wish them a lot of success. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY FERNTHAL @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: “Fernthal begins behind the light, where all shadows end. It’s an antique chest, full of exploding stars, carried from heart to heart.” (source: band page). An alternative synth/pop rock group hailing from 2009, and counting among their influences merely ‘life’, Fernthal provide good vibes, arcane thoughts, and a great scenic atmosphere. Like any group in their early years, they have strived to find their path: and it seems they found it, but without saying no to any further adjustments.
Performance: As we haven’t seen Fernthal live before, judging merely by their name and by the rich decoration on the small stage (more common for medieval bands) we expected a large group of artists, most of them wearing skirts and playing bagpipes and flutes. To our great surprise, Fernthal were two guys – one guitar and one programming and vocals – two very modest and talented artists who have something to say and feel very comfortable saying it on stage. As the show developed, we could not help but think how similar Fernthal is to our dear Slave Republic, a band that stole our hearts in Bucharest at the Darkwave.ro Festival (III) – review and photos here. Fernthal who love stars, hearts and unicorns apart from putting up a unique visual of the stage decorating it with a cyborg head, an accordion, an old keyboard, statues, guitar cases, offered a few pleasant tunes, played by the frontman in an emotional and heartfelt manner that moved the crowd already gathered in large numbers in front of the small stage. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY PRINCIPE VALIENTE @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
Previously on darkwave.ro: Principe Valiente, “Principe Valiente”: Viva Music Review
About: Principe Valiente from Stockholm, formed back in 2005, released a 4-track EP in 2007 which received great reviews and was widely played by DJ’s and on radio shows across Europe and North America. They soon became known for their solid live shows and they performed at Debaser Medis in 2008 and at Wave Gotik Treffen in 2009. Their combination of innovative and inspired material makes for an invigorating listen as it is difficult to pinpoint in regard to genre. As a result, their music has frequently been labeled dark pop, a description that sums up the sonic qualities reminiscent of bands as diverse as The Sisters of Mercy, The Sound, Interpol and Suede.
Performance: The second Principe Valiente entered the small stage, I imagined their performance to be much more gothic than it was in reality. Their show and music were closer to alternative pop, despite the dark glasses, white shirt and general dark attitude. From time to time there were clear signs that the band has a gothic rock background, but I detected more melodic and upbeat parts in their performance. The songs poured naturally one after another, and as the show developed, the atmosphere became intimate and vibrant, a glorious state that only great bands can achieve. Principe Valiente is, in my humble opinion, are like the child all parents want to have. When young parents are expecting, they take closer looks to all the young kids they see in the street, they start searching for the best traits in their families, admire each other’s talents and hope and pray that the new baby will be the best looking and smartest of them all. This is what happened to Principe Valiente: they are the kid who managed to take after the greatest parents and have the best traits from quite a large array of music relatives, from gothic to pop and from darkwave to synth. Great work, Principe Valiente! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY EISENFUNK @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
Previously on darkwave.ro: Eisenfunk @Amphi Festival 2012: Viva Music Review with Photos
About: Eisenfunk started out in 2006 as a solo project, under the creative influence of Michael Mayer; but currently exists as a trio. The project was meant to be a fusion of hard techno and noise elements; by which their music stands out in many ways and shows just how creative one can be with the musical wealth of contemporary music. Their lively sets are encouraging and few people can leave an Eisenfunk concert without having become a lifetime fan.
Performance: Eisenfunk have 16,000+ fans on Facebook. Eisenfunk make people run to the stage to be there when their show begins. Eisenfunk make people dance, shout, feel the beat and sweat. Eisenfunk put a large grin on people’s faces when they play live. These are simple facts that should explain how and why Eisenfunk always gather crowds of all ages and manage to perfectly use body language and simple beats that turn into exquisite entertainment. Take a look at the photo gallery of Eisenfunk at NCN 2012 and you will understand how fun it was to see their live performance on the second festival day, on the small stage. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY FLIEHENDE STUERME @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Fliehende Stuerme are a German Depro-punk/darkwave who was born in the mid-1980’s after the split of the punk band Chaos Z. “Fleeing Storms” was influenced by Joy Division, Bauhaus or Killing Joke. Although it was a group project, time took its toll and now it’s an individual project, with Andreas Loehr and guest musicians taking care of the renown of one of the most long-living music projects of our scene.
Performance: Another awesome show on the small stage of NCN 7 took place in the afternoon of the second festival day. We witnessed a professional crew of three, two guitars (and an incredibly strong voice) and an energetic and very focused drummer who played for Rabia Sorda on January 29 2011 in Bucharest, at our Darkwave.ro Festival (III). “Fleeing Storms” displayed the vivacity and pleasure of a teen boy band on stage. They included the audience in their 10+ track set, they enjoyed every minute of the show and they uninterruptedly kept us locked in a world of their own that they definitely know how to share. They undisputedly made us feel young and beautiful. Thank you, Fliehende Stuerme! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY SONO @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
Previously on darkwave.ro: Sono @Nordstern Festival 2011: Viva Music Review and Photos
About: Musically, Sono could be categorized widely as pop, with strong influences from techno, house, and electro. This musical diversity has provided Sono with a considerable number of fans from various music scenes. The Hamburg based trio, talking about their often eclectic influences that make up Sono, said: “We have so much to say, it’s impossible to just focus on one aspect“.
Performance: Sono was a duo at the NCN 7 and they raised the stakes for all the bands who followed them. We could see everyone gathered in front of the small scene, dancing like mad, and having a lot of fun! Sono played exactly when the sun was setting, so the light on stage was beautiful during the first few songs. Although famous for only one of their tracks: “Keep Control” that was according to Billboard the number 1 “Top Hot Dance Club Play Single” in the Year-End Chart-Toppers in 2001, Sono are a prolific band, and most of the songs they played at NCN 2012 are potential dance hits. Lennart A. Salomon is a charismatic frontman who knows exactly how to dosage tension sequences in live shows; take for example the awesome guitar solos that he performs. I have mentioned this before in Viva Music’s review of NCN 2012, but I am going to repeat myself and say that it is a real pleasure to see brave artists who simply belong on stage. Many people think they can do it, and that it is so easy and cool to play live. It is not always cool. Humans make mistakes, and at all times things can go wrong during a live performance. The artists are under constant pressure and most of them are drained emotionally after each show. However, Sono is a band designed to play live gigs and entertain to the max! Time stands still during a Sono gig, and everyone sees only how natural and beautiful it is to give 100% of yourself in stage. Thanks, Sono! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY DIVE @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Dive is the alter ego of Dirk Ivens, the man behind numerous projects, among which we can quote Absolute Body Control, Klinik, and Sonar. Known to keep his musical fantasies in the open and to find quick remedies for his new projects by assigning to each and every new project that he’s started his special charisma and a great musical idea. In the case of Dive, it’s an exciting mix of industrial, EBM, noise and experimental sounds.
Performance: Dive was the act of the night on the small stage! Although Mr. Ivens does not make the photographers happy as the lights during all his shows are dim and the stroboscope literally pulsates like mad, the show of Dive at NCN 7 was a blast. We witnessed a revolution of sounds and beats completed by the superhuman voice of one man who could orchestrate a total submission to music of hundreds and hundreds of participants! The entire space in front and on the side of the small stage was packed. Even way before the show started people were gathered and we could tell the eagerness to participate in the performance that we were not new to. Every project that has been touched by Dirk Ivens magic hand is amazing. His music addresses the senses, the inner person of everyone who listens; during his shows we can unleash our demons (so to speak) and travel together in a state of ecstasy. Dirk Ivens is more than an artist. He is a wizard and a poet. I remember his shows in Budapest, at the Industrial Booom Reboot Festival with both Sonar and Absolute Body Control. All of us (including an 11 year old) were bouche bee! We could not stop moving and spinning like records for Mr Ivens! We hope to have the pleasure to witness as many as possible performances of such a gifted artist of the scene. Merci, Dirk! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY HEKATE @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Hekate is the goddess of the underworld, and if she were entitled to her own music, it’s definitely what this band does! Folk, classical, medieval, and balladeer music combine in a multifaceted music style. Banding up in 1992, Hekate have published to date several albums which have convinced their audience that their unique touch of style, their trance-like and ritual music are signs of a very spiritual kind of music.
Performance: Hekate was, as one of the participants said, the most expressive act of the night for some. Hekate falls in the category of folk bands, closer to the soul of many when it comes to conveying feelings and emotions through legends and fairy tales. Many unconventional instruments were mounted on stage before the show began, so we expected to travel through time and space with costumed band members who put their heart and soul in their artistic expression. And right we were when we saw a princess and her knight enter the stage, together with a party of musicians who enchanted us during their ten track setlist, a delight to the ear, eyes and soul. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY VERSUS @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: “Love and music are the most important things in the world. However, I believe that music can create deeper feelings than love will ever be able to” (source: band statement). Versus was founded in 2001 with a view to giving musical shape to the imagination of the band members. Definitely rooted in the area of electronic sounds, Versus rebuke pigeonholes, and, therefore, think in their own terms music, which, as a result, comes as a very varied sound.
Performance: There are stories that need to be kept secret and stories that although should be kept secret are worth telling the world, just because they illustrate history in the making. So, if you were wondering why Andre Steinigen of Versus performs barefoot on stage, here is his informal explanation: a long time ago, he was supposed to go on stage in a few minutes, so he started looking for his shoes. He could not find them, so the stress was unnecessarily higher than usual. That was the day when he decided, just like any other professional football player who has his own rituals and strategies before a game, that he should go on stage barefoot. At NCN 7 we saw an amazingly talented Versus live for the first time. Andre’s voice is soothing and powerful at the same time, and he has the time of his life on stage. He communicates, he laughs, he jokes and he definitely masters singing playfully, as if no effort is put into the activity. “Love and music are the most important things in the world. However, I believe that music can create deeper feelings than love will ever be able to” stated Andre in 1999, right before Versus was born. With Andre taking care of most of the music making process of the band, namely the vocals, music, lyrics, arrangements and pre-production, and Markus Krech taking responsibility for the drums, music, vocals, synthesizer and co-arrangements, Versus has a great future in the scene and we wish all the best to this very talented band! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY THE WARS @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
Previously on darkwave.ro: The Wars @Amphi Festival 2012: Viva Music Review and Photos
About: The Wars is a New Wave band from Berlin formed in 2008 featuring Chris Kowski on vocals/guitar, Gernot Pohle on bass and Felix Roll on drums. The three-piece is considered a 2nd generation Post-Punk Revival project that took its cues from bands like The Chameleons, Joy Division and Bauhaus but is also influenced by groups like U2 or My Bloody Valentine.
Performance: We have already gotten used to this band’s routine: deep, solid, perfect voice added to guitar riffs all carrying a powerful message. The Wars are not into displaying energetic shows on stage, they are rather static and introvert. They create vibes using unique guitar techniques including stereophonic and ultra-wide sound that gives the impression of invisible extra guitarists and keyboarders being involved. The inner energy of The Wars‘ performance is amazing: looking closely at the three musicians a spectator has the feeling that they grow bigger and bigger and they literally cover the entire stage with their bodies. The anger and feelings of deep solitude arising from personal life experiences absolutely gorgeously reflected in the band’s music, bring war experiences and human existence to a higher compulsion level: the laments and dark prophecies abound in their songs, the lyrics are dark and the entire show gives the viewer a feeling of unrest and hunger for something that transcends the here and now, allowing room for reflection and study. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY AGE OF HEAVEN @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: A German Goth Rock band since 1991, Age of Heaven are a living legend. Despite their sinuous history, they managed to be always in the spotlight and their presence at Nocturnal Culture Night is a true sensation. Strictly speaking, their evolution did not mean keeping to the straight and narrow of gothic music, as the multitude of genres they were able to incorporate, do not even fall clearly under one umbrella or another. However, the basic core of their music stays gothic, and the numerous lineup changes they had to face in their 20-year+ history meant also that they can provide today an improved live version, as well.
Performance: Starting by comparing Age of Heaven to other gothic bands would be the most convenient thing to do. Nevertheless, Age of Heaven is a solid and perfect gothic act that amazed the audience at NCN 7. JU Age’s deep voice flooding the atmosphere, two skilled guitarists, a beautiful and enigmatic female keyboard player were blended perfectly together to create a dark and elegant atmosphere. The “Open your eyes and see the destruction” incantation during the “Armageddon” track gave me the goose bumps and I could literally feel the decay around us. The subsequent “Machinery” was another Viva Music favorite song that started with an amazing train on the tracks sound that developed into a melodic chorus with a superb uplifting effect. Playing on the large stage at NCN gave Age of Heaven the advantage of good lights and space that added to the mysterious and distinguished atmosphere of their songs. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY NOVA SPES @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Releasing their new album “Leben ist Krieg” on the first day of NCN, Nova Spes are NCN returning customers – they have enchanted us before on the scene of 2011 (see links above for album and event review). Over the years the band developed its own sound in the synthpop scene caused by different influences.
Performance: Nova Spes is an increasingly popular trio who managed to play Nocturnal Culture Night Festival twice in a row, thanks to an Internet based poll that provided the public with a few choices regarding newcomer bands to play again at NCN. Nova Spes was voted by most participants, so we had the pleasure to see them live again at NCN. This time they played on the large stage, so they had the opportunity to decorate the stage in the spirit of their latest album: three huge posters of the members were displayed behind the band, evoking very aggressive and violent imagery under the ”Leben ist Krieg” motto (Living is war, or living is fighting judging by the artwork of the album). The great surprise of the show was the young guest who appeared on stage during the fifth song, Matthias Hübner’s six year old son! He had his face painted just like the band members and he brought a smile on everyone’s face. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY THE BEAUTY OF GEMINA @NCN 2012
About: The Beauty of Gemina conceive themselves as a modern rock band orbiting close to the spirit of the age. Nonetheless, their sound knowingly eludes clear musical categories. A distinctive voice as primary component, psychedelic guitar sounds, driving electronic devices, acoustic elements and profound lyrics peak to an arc of suspense, belt the mighty, epic-dark songs and reflect their atmospheric persistence and at the same time daunting visual output.
Performance: Some bands offer a state-of-the-art performance during festivals, and The Beauty of Gemina was a Viva Music favorite in this aspect at NCN 7. The second they started their show, people in the audience started dancing and cheering. This Swiss band was probably the most eclectic band of the festival. Their music featured a fusion of dark rock and electro, electronic rock and synth, trip hop and techno. Michael Sele, the mastermind behind The Beauty of Gemina repeatedly indicated using body language that his songs come from and are about the heart. At times, The Beauty of Gemina reminded me of one of my favorite bands of all times, Escape with Romeo. The beautiful “King’s Men Come”, a jewel in my opinion, also reminded me of Depeche Mode and Clan of Xymox at their best. There is so much energy and uncontrollable emotion in these bands’ live performances that as a spectator you simply forget where you are and what you are doing, feeling every note and beat with every fiber of your body. Thus, an unparalleled performance can be achieved in so many ways: using the utmost sincerity, using props and costumes, shouting ideas and addressing social issues of general interest, calmly bringing the audience into a world where they can enjoy the soundscape of the music, simply chanting verses and talking about love and life, ripping the stage apart or sitting on a tall chair and chanting about fairies and legends…All the above are means used by various bands to reach and touch the heart of people who have their own mentalities, feelings and expectations. When an audience reacts like one and participates with the band it’s like magic. The Beauty of Gemina was an outburst of talent on the second festival day, an experience to remember and a performance at the highest level possible. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY SUICIDE COMMANDO @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
Previously on darkwave.ro: Suicide Commando @Amphi Festival 2011: Viva Music Review and Photos
About: Johan Van Roy, Suicide Commando‘s only member, began experimenting with electronic music in 1986. Three years later, he released his first tape under the moniker Suicide Commando, and made an appearance on the vinyl compilation, Electronic. 25 years later, his musical project gained the needed acclaim of an act in which force, grandiosity and elegance fuse without shame, and Suicide Commando can state it over and again, on each and every stage they go to, that they still master a solid vein.
Performance: Always eagerly awaited, always cherished and applauded, always appreciated and honored, always served with some moshpit and pogo. This is the regular treatment for Suicide Commando, be it a sole concert of the band or a gig as part of a festival. Suicide Commando’s Johan always is and acts like a true headliner. He makes people feel the importance of sharing the night with him. He cares not about material things and speaks his mind like there is no tomorrow or law enforcement on the planet. The very explicit projections including hate speech and human body parts shocked me a great deal the first time I saw a Suicide Commando live show. At a later stage I got used to the violence on screen and concentrated only on the violence and rage on stage, the key ingredients that makes Johan Van Roy an icon figure in the scene. Imagine a tall and thin man marching up and down the stage, a silhouette you can barely see in the dim orange or red light, convulsing and being tortured in front of you by his inner demons unleashed wildly from inside out on stage. Maybe the words roll a little bit randomly from my keys, but this is an accurate picture of a Suicide Commando show. You can barely understand the lyrics, but they are clear and shoutable during the choruses. And there is another thing guaranteed for each Suicide Commando show: that you would be hearing the crowd sing along the line “Bind, torture, kill” for quite a few hours afterwards! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY PETER HOOK @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Already played in movies about Factory Records and the life of Ian Curtis by Ralf Little and Joe Anderson, Peter Hook is one of the legendary founding members of cult bands Joy Division and New Order. Today an established artist who needs little or no introduction, he is a long-lasting stage presence, with a great musical culture and with ambitions that surpass the passing trends and fads of music.
Performance: Peter Hook on stage is a walking miracle – and nobody can disagree to the previous statement without denying in one blow the right to exist of our musical history of the previous decades. A relatively new project, but at the same time, one that is rooted in history with all needed props, the project of Peter Hook is one that already purports success – and it’s not because of the Joy Division fundament of their music, but because of the way it is interpreted in a new key, and because of the unused studio and live recordings dating from the early 1980’s of the same cult band. Unsurprisingly so, Peter Hook in the close of the second NCN night meant a musical excursion applauded exhaustively, proving that there is a common ground in the music of decades ago that appeals to all ages and that carries our souls to the same heights it carried the blessed ones who were musically active on the scene back then. So, it is not wrong to assume that Peter Hook is one of the rare acts that still give us the opportunity to feel transcendence and timelessness. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY THE FLOOD @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: What started as a progressive rock project in the mid-1990’s, is now boiled down to one of the most moving electronic projects. References to darkwave bands from the 1980’s abound; but in fact, The Flood sounds very modern. A slow-dancing storm of emotions, the Flood uses an archaic approach to music: everything is hand-played, not programmed, not even sampled and definitely not using autotune. The way, in fact, music should be.
Performance: We looked forward to the third day of NCN festival and, at the same time, already felt nostalgic about the impending end of this awesome event. Unexpectedly, we had quite an experience while watching the first band, The Flood on the small stage. The music was unusual and thus very hard for me to describe; syncopated and antagonistic melodic entities were fighting to coexist in the same musical structure, emerging into quite pleasant sequences that would soon break into dissimilar musical phrases somehow overlapping and conflicting all together. The Flood falls into what I define as experimental music. Markus Hof, the mastermind behind the project creates original music that owes a great deal to Depeche Mode and Peter Gabriel, and although there were no clear signals of dramatic structures and visions I could sense the expressions of an unsettled soul and a permanent search for beautiful bare sounds and melodies. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY RUMMELSNUFF @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Berlin-based muscle man Roger Baptist is Rummelsnuff, a combination of testosterone-laden body building aesthetics, brute navy romanticism and comic-book-hero: a strange, yet fascinating icon that spawns a steadily growing fan base and has generated quite some buzz in the press. Rummelsnuff is happily ignoring all standard genre boundaries while sporting a thoroughly identifiable and unique sound. Basing his music on a minimal electro foundation that he effectively garnishes with all sorts of sonic experiments, a healthy dose of weirdness and his trademark hoarse voice, Rummelsnuff is one of the most unique acts in German-language popular music.
Performance: And true it is, Rummelsnuff is one of a kind! The first encounter with this incredibly nice Hulk was a very entertaining joke: he had his colleague (the keyboard player) punished on stage, so the latter started doing pushups, including a last one using only one arm! Impressive start of a show, isn’t it? People were pushing to get closer to the stage, cheering and having fun already. Rummelsnuff had the audience sing along and he offered an awesome show. As most songs are about seamen and manly stuff (he states that his music is for men, although he welcomes his female fandom, too) and played in German, we could only guess that the lyrics were light and funny, a mockery and lampoon for all German speakers to enjoy. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY IN LEGEND @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
Previously on darkwave.ro: In Legend @Amphi Festival 2012: Viva Music Review and Photos
About: “Don’t call it your dream – but make it your life!” – say the members of In Legend about their musical creed, and in fact, In Legend is the essence of many artistic processes that have been pulsating in the heart and maturing in the soul of the band members for the last 10 years. Piece by piece, they have been hammered down and forged into an evoking sound, work of, you would say, a medieval artisan, the perfect blend of hard and soft and uncompromising passion.
Performance: We look forward to seeing In Legend live, it’s a fact now. They are beautiful, energetic, talented, amazing in every way. Their show is unparalleled and you can easily see how much they love being on stage. Although they played at NCN 7 on the small stage and did not have a lot of space to unfold their reverberating and colorful performance, they managed to put on their best moves and bring out their amazing talent in the most natural manner. In Legend are a blend of classic rock presented in a medieval attire, a metal band that develops the sweetest and most emotional melodies. What makes In Legend really special is the fact that unlike other metal bands that emphasize guitars, the band’s music has the piano as a centerpiece. All melodies revolve and develop around the piano lines played by Bastian Emig, creating a unique symphonic rock atmosphere. Bastian is the wizard; he created music by ear, without writing the notes down. That is why the live performances are carried out with such easiness, almost as if the band are simply improvising on spot! Long, waving hair, strong guitar riffs, perfect communication with the audience, danceable and catchy tunes, a drop of medieval and folk connected to powerful African tribe beats is the success recipe of a band we cannot get tired of! Thanks, In Legend! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY CLAN OF XYMOX @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: An impressive 26 years have passed since the founding of Clan of Xymox, a period being revisited on the new album and leading to ten modern darkwave classics ready to be instantly introduced into the canon of gloomy music. The track “In Your Arms Again”, excerpted from their latest album, “Darkest Hour” was featured in David Ficher’s box-office “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” alongside the musical creations of Trent Reznor, Brian Ferry, Enya, and so on.
Performance: Clan of Xymox are a reputed band and no matter the venue, time or set length they never disappoint. The novelty for us was to see that Mojca Zugna has returned to playing live and she is more beautiful and glowing. Ronny Moorings was in a great mood and sang with all his heart to a large crowd, ready to dance and sing along for hours on end. Ronny Moorings, Mojca Zugna, Mario Usai and the latest addition to the band, Sean Göbel who joined in 2011 (keyboards) offered a perfect performance with no flaws whatsoever, sweet, dark, intriguing and powerful. It would be more appropriate to use here Ronny’s very words when describing “Darkest Hour”: “it is music for the night, is music for life and for death, is music for eternity.” back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY AGONOIZE @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: The guys who think they sound “just like Manowar – but completely different” have gathered raving audiences wherever they go. Sporting the theatrical gadgets of a dagger romance, but the sound of musicians of the caliber of Hocico, they are responsible for a sound melange that keeps melodiousness in noise. Their music is driving, mature and definitely a good find for any festival. It is no wonder the time has come for them to play at NCN – and as a headliner, too – because they have practically checked in recent years all major festivals of the scene.
Performance: Agonoize offer – apart from the infectious beats accompanied by a loud distorted voice shouting in anger and pleading for social issues – a show to remember. We have never seen a crowd so happy and eagerly awaiting a show! Before the actual show everyone was talking about where and when the blood would be spilled, where to watch from and what was going to happen. The crowd quickly took the two sides available: one part decided to wait patiently on the sides and watch the show from a distance, away from any liquids that may spill of be sprinkled from stage, and the other part that bravely decided to sit in the center, close to stage, in the open, promising to actively participate in the show. The whole routine of covering all technical equipment was completed, so Chris L. jumped on stage and started blowing the speakers like no other. And yes, the long awaited throat cutting and blood spilling moment came during the second song, splashing and distances you cannot imagine and making the crowd ecstatic. See the photo gallery above to judge for yourselves! If you have never witnessed an Agonoize show, take us word when we say it is quite an experience. Chris L. may not the most charming gentleman on stage, but he definitely is a showman. His poses, mimicry, grins, convulsions and contortions are part of a performance to remember. Chris L. is a charismatic artist and a hard worker whose efforts pay back infinitely through the love of his fans. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY SUBSTAAT @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Oslo EBM trio Substaat are a cross between the uncompromising and driving beats of oldschool EBM and lyrical Scandinavian music. Debuting in 2011, they sound fresh, and new, even if references abound to earlier music. Critically acclaimed as wild, unrestrained, experimental, versatile and varied, they sound as a great party starter, and at the same time, conveyors of a feel-good atmosphere spiced with all you need in order to enjoy EBM.
Performance: Maybe it was too early or too hot, or we were not really awake for the first act on the large stage on the third festival day of NCN 7. It seemed that Substaat left too early without allowing anyone to have a fair grasp of their talent. The lights during Substaat’s show were a photographers’ delight, making all of us very happy. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY CRONOS TITAN @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Dark electronica and industrial sounds: these are the ingredients that, with a harsh religious overtone, gave Cronos Titan a cult following in the scene. Their live performances, with acts ranging from Die Krupps to Front Line Assembly, gave them an audience that is respectful of their music, and enjoys each and every bit of their music.
Performance: Cronos Titan are so dedicated to their long lasting beliefs that even when the technical support for their show failed, they asked one of those questions that even the philosophers have no answer to: “Do you believe in God, or do you believe in technology?” We enjoyed the early show of Cronos Titan. The massive artists using various unconventional live instruments on stage, even a hammer hitting an anvil and a biohazard labeled box hit vigorously with a stick, know their routine and are obviously putting a lot of energy in their live shows. We enjoyed the really danceable music and imagined for a few minutes that this performance occurred much later at night, when the lights could help the band outline their visual effect much better. So, looking forward to seeing Cronos Titan again! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY TYING TIFFANY @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Tying Tiffany is an Italian indie rock and electronic artist. A crossover between unapproachable and mysterious female vamp and a delicate creature of unrecognizable origin, she is a remake of iconic divas of the 1950’s and 1960’s, worshipped as muses of artists and the society in general. She breathes personality with every note, while the girlish and shying away look hide exceptional musical capabilities.
Performance: Tying Tiffany was along with the amazing Angelspit the sensation of NCN 7! These two bands managed to capture our spirit, state of mind and eagerness to see free and unconventional underground bands as frequently as possible. Tying Tiffany are not Italian; they are universally amazing and should play the largest and most reputed festivals of all kind. Their post-punk and wild kid attitude along with the amazing female vocals and virtuoso instrument players are a universal delight. So many influences, or should I just call them resemblances came to my mind while experiencing Tying Tiffany. I could not pinpoint certain bands or genres they sound like, look like or belong to; they are a perfect mélange of clash and punk, industrial and wild electronic music. Tiffany’s exposure and experience with independent movies, artistic films and theatrical performances is obvious, still, her unparalleled singing techniques leave you wanting for more and craving for new material. Tiffany is punk. Tiffany is rock. Go see Tiffany whenever you have the chance and celebrate free spirit and valuable music with her! Thank you, Tying Tiffany! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY ANGELSPIT @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
Previously on darkwave.ro: Angelspit – “Hello My Name Is”: Viva Music Review
About: Australian electronic and industrial duo Angelspit are a glorious, pounding, brutal kind of music. Their vocal assault, powered with high energy, has earned them the reputation of being one of the most innovative alternative bands of the current crop. Synth music, drum machines, samplers and guitars prove to be an efficient and long-lasting recipe for their music.
Performance: Never saw them before and decided unanimously (including our almost twelve year old friend) that Algelspit ROCK! No wonder that the vocalist himself finished a few of the songs with a simple ROCK! Angelspit are no KMFDM although this is the closest resemblance I could think of. They are another kind of – and still similar at a certain level – explosion of energy. The female and male vocalists, along with the other two artists put on a show to remember. The temperature during their show was close to 30 degrees, but they rocked all the way to the end. Sweating and feeling every second of the show was the religion Angelspit followed hungrily and hastily. No break, no intermezzos of any kind, no dull communication with an unresponsive audience! Angelspit got everyone rocking and dancing like mad, despite the heat and early hour. Add to their energy and infectious beats the fact that Amelia was both attractive and talented. Felt like a KMFDM gig, true. But it was personal and original at the same time. Angelspit are our Australian band to look forward to every year! back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY PINK TURNS BLUE @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Born in 1985, the band was started in Germany as a group project, but stopped short in 1995. In 2004, they rebanded for a reunion concert at the Wave Gotik Treffen with guest musicians and part of the original lineup, and ever since, they have played and managed to create a serious following, without unwanted hiatuses, up to the point, even, of being a 2010 Wave Gotik Treffen headliner. Former colalborator and member Thomas Elbern is the mastermind behind cult project Escape with Romeo.
Performance: Pink Turns Blue might not have the longest and most continuous history on the scene, but their presence at diverse checkpoints in the history of music meant they gathered up an incredibly personal feel via the music they create. The musical tinges of their setlist were at times lyrical, and at other times forceful – and needless to say, they were entirely absorbed by their stage and although it seemed they were playing from within a glass box, they reached out to their audience via the emotions they created with their music. back to top
CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY S.P.O.C.K @NCN FESTIVAL 2012
About: Launched in 1986, S.P.O.C.K (Star Pilot on Channel K) is the first sci-fi boyband, they say, ‘in the known universe’. Loads of music, amazing shows, and great adventures have filled galaxies for the last 24 years. Based in Sweden, they are conveyors of legendary live performances, and know how to entertain. Their musical charisma and activity have been awarded several Scandinavian Music Awards, including best artist, best live act, and best album.
Performance: An act such as S.P.O.C.K is added value to any event – and their ability to entertain with instant effect was a very good move for the festival organizers for the end of the third and last night of NCN 7. Although their music may sound at times too much of what other acts have tried to bring into the commercial arena, they showed without too much artifice that they are the real deal, the straight drink bottoms up and by far the liveliest performance of the entire festival. Their advantage of playing in front of a full house also meant no one left with disappointment – everyone enjoyed their show to the latest echoes of sounds. back to top