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ennlfrdeitrues

vnv9Columbia Area, Berlin, Germany
3rd September 2011
E-Tropolis Festival 2011: Xotox, Solitary Experiments, Formalin, Spetsnaz, [:SITD:], Santa Hates You, Welle:Erdball, Front Line Assembly, Agonoize, Haujobb (Stage Reunion), Suicide Commando, VNV Nation

Saturday afternoon, about 30°C and 3,800 fans of electronic music going on a pilgrimage towards the Columbia Area in Berlin: it was time for the E-Tropolis Festival 2011. Bands like WELLE:ERDBALL, AGONOIZE, SUICIDE COMMANDO and, of course, VNV NATION already promised it to be a night to remember and they surely fulfilled the high expectations. So, after getting press passes and making our way through the black crowd, XOTOX was about to play and everybody was looking forward to a night filled with the finest electronic music: BÄSSER, HÄRTER, LAUTER!

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Xotox (Columbia Hall - Anne Kuhfuß)


Andreas Davids founded XOTOX as a solo project in 1998 and with the first albums, self-released by him; he could establish a small but constantly growing fan base. In 2003, he signed a record deal with the ProNoize label and ‘Lichtlos’ became the first album under the label’s moniker and the track ‘Eisenkiller’ went on heavy rotation in various clubs. Only a short period of time passed before Andreas pulled of his next album with ‘Die Unruhe’. The limited CD was a thank you to the loyal fan base and sold-out soon. The next album ‘[psi]’ hit the shops already in 2005 and peaked at #2 of the German Alternative Charts. Right in time for the 10th anniversary of the project ‘In den Zehn Morgen’, the third official studio album came out and even reached the #1 of the GAC. The newest release is ‘Die Unruhe 2.0’ from 2010. XOTOX is Andreas Davids (all music, production). http://www.xotox.info/ / http://www.myspace.com/xotox

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Music & Performance
Well, it was the first band for that day and everybody was anxious to finally get the party going. Not really knowing much about XOTOX, I was rather excited when the band finally entered the stage. Honestly, at first, I didn’t know if both of them were male but somehow, Andreas’ wife managed to show that she was female. Maybe they didn’t want to be in focus because they wanted the music to be the centre of attention - and what can I say? I wished it was the other way around. The music to me sounded like a big mess of disturbing noises being played by a broken computer. I am sure, a lot of people will disagree with that opinion but for me, it wasn’t really music at all. There was no melody, no vocals or even structure. During the second song, Andreas’ wife stepped away from the computer in order to put something around her neck that looked like a fog machine put into a kind of special case. That one produced an optical effect with her bashing against the back and a ring of smoke being pushed out. This was kind of interesting to watch (although the light was so little that you could barely see anything at all) but still didn’t make up to the strange sounds.

Rating
Music: 4
Performance: 6
Sound: 7
Light: 3
Total: 5 / 10

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Solitary Experiments (Columbia Hall - Anne Kuhfuß)

When the worlds of Dennis Schober and Michael Thieleman collided one day, they found out they were like-minded and made their first musical experiences under the name PLAGUE, before they decided to form the project SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS in 1994. By doing that, they were making the foundation for what was to become a successful story in the genre of electronic music, even though the way to getting that status was full of many stones. With every new album, they could enlist a bigger audience and a loyal fan base grew from that. Their newest album ‘In The Eye Of The Beholder’, which came out in late 2009 following a long time of dormancy since ‘Mind Over Matter’ in 2005, marked their triumphant return to the scene with powerful and melodic electro songs carried by a distinctive voice. SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS is Michael Thielemann (sampling, programming, engineering, recording), Dennis Schober (lyrics, vocals, effects, performance) and Steve Graeber (programming, sampling). http://www.solitaryexperiments.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/solitaryexperiments

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Music & Performance
After XOTOX, my mood was a little down and to be honest: I was a little afraid of the next band - but SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS really showed some nice music with great vocals. Starting off with a little firework, everybody was excited including me. The band has a VNV NATION like melodic by still having a punchy sound. So, fans of future pop music probably like the music as much as I did. Something I always find really nice are instruments on stage that do not exclusively consist of computers - so the band scored on every level for me. Unfortunately, the band did not attract the biggest crowd (what a shame if you ask me), but the ones who made it to the Hall clearly enjoyed what they saw and heard. No wonder, SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS is certainly a pleasure for eyes and ears. However, there is one negative thing to say about the band: the songs sounded very much alike and didn’t really show much of a variety. Besides that, there is nothing else to say than: great show, great vocals, definitely looking forward to seeing them again!

Setlist
01. Pale candle light
02. Immortal
03. Deja vu
04. Kirlian Camera - Edges (SE-Cover)
05. Delight
06. Still alive
07. Point of view
08. Rise and fall

Rating
Music: 8.5
Performance: 8.5
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8 / 10

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Formalin (Columbia Club - Fee Wundersee)

FORMALIN describe their own sound as “Berlin City Industrial”. The band consists of Tominous, who is the lead singer and responsible for the lyrics, and Gabor, who plays the drums and writes the lyrics as well. The members describe themselves as “experts at provocation and polarization”. With their songs they want to document urban life in all its decrepit glory: sex, dirt, deterioration, destruction, fashion and arts, humankind in all its facets and the longing for the extreme. The music sounds hard and unique and so was their concert at E-tropolis Festival in their hometown Berlin. https://www.facebook.com/formalin.music / http://www.myspace.com/formalin

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Music & Performance
At the beginning, the C-Club was not really filled with people. However, when it was time for FORMALIN the Club was well filled. I guess not many knew the band before but were curious for them. The intro of FORMALIN was forceful and made people really want to watch the show. Gabor was standing at his drums first, fog came up and the music started. Tominous came onto the stage and made people danced to the song ‘This isn’t love’. When they played their most known song ‘Yuppiescum’ the people were dancing and screaming the lyrics of the song. Tominous was doing a good show and Gabor was playing the drums trying to support Tominous’ show. FORMALIN definitely has its own fan base liking their unique sound and its fan base grows bigger and bigger with the help of MySpace and Facebook.

Setlist
01. Intro
02. Yuppiescum
03. My Fetish
04. This Isn’t Love
05. Faker
06. Resistance

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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Spetsnaz (Columbia Hall - Fee Wundersee)

The Swedish electro band SPETSNAZ consists of Pontus Stålberg (vocals) and Stefan Nilsson (synths). The band was founded in 2001. Both Pontus and Stefan are fans of the electro scene but didn’t like oldschool bands being replaced by future pop. So they started their own music and are working hard in the studio. ‘Grand Design’ was released by SubSpace Communications in 2003 and re-released by Out of Line in Germany a year later after the band attracted some attention with their intense and energetic live performances. The duo released two EPs - ‘Perfect Body’ and ‘Degenerate Ones’ and of course two CDs ‘Totaliär’ and ‘Deadpan’ in 2007. www.myspace.com/spetsnazebm

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Music & Performance
When Pontus and Stefan entered the stage of the C-Hall the audience was already waiting for them. ‘Apathy’ made people dance, sing and sweat. The whole C-Hall knew the lyrics, absolutely amazing. They also played a new song which had the typical SPETSNAZ sound. The audience was really interested and of course curious for a new album. I think the song sounds like the band but in an improved new version. Pontus was encouraging the people, while Stefan looked absolutely gorgeous in his white shirt and his braces.

Setlist
01. Ignorance is Bliss
02. Between What ifs and Might Have Beans
03. Allegiance
04. Degenerate Ones
05. Apathy
06. Man God
07. Plaything
08. Onwards
09. Mine
10. Indifference
11. Faustpakt
12. True to Form
13. Perfect Body
14.Hardcore Hooligans

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 10
Light: 7
Total: 8.5 / 10

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[:SITD:] (Columbia Hall - Anne Kuhfuß)

In 2002, a new star arose on the firmament of the club landscape and its name was [:SITD:] which is short for “Shadows in the Dark” and a metaphorical expression for the music and lyrical content of the band. The band existed since 1996 though, but the big breakthrough came with the ‘Snuff EP’ with the hit track ‘Snuff Machinery’ which, from there on, couldn’t be missed out on any DJ Playlist and is now a real classic. The first album ‘Stronghold’ continued the path of combining club orientated beats with hymnal melodies and dark vocals and was the most successful band album in 2003. With ‘Coded Message:12’, [:SITD:] released their second album showing the band’s sound matured, containing several new club hits like the preceding single ‘Richtfest’ and the German-tongued ‘Wegweiser’.

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The third album had to wait until 2007 aptly titled ‘Bestie:Mensch’; the album shed some light on the deepest abysms of the human soul, even more than that the band opened their sound to new influences such as the break beats on the instrumental track ‘Floating’. With a new album ‘ROT’, the trio soon unleashed its next strike on the clubs in October 2009. [:SITD:] is Carsten Jacek (vocals and lyrics), Thomas “Tom” Lesczenski (keyboards, programming, sampling and backing vocals) and Francesco “Frank” D'Angelo (keyboards and backing vocals). http://www.sitd.de / http://www.myspace.com/xsitdx / https://www.facebook.com/pages/SITD-Official/137657076710

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Music & Performance
[:SITD:] replaced ROTERSAND that had to cancel, and surely played their role well. It is their 15th anniversary this year and so the band showed what they can do: a big crowd gathered in front of the stage and was not disappointed by the band’s performance. With songs like ‘Snuff Machinery’, ‘Herbsterwachen’ and ‘Rot’, the band probably played something for everybody that night. The Hall literally was shaking under the dancing of the fans. Basically, there is nothing negative to say about the bands performance except for the light but this was rather bad the whole night due to missing light from the front. All in all: it was a great show and everybody is already anxious about the upcoming anniversary concerts and the guests they will bring along

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8.5 / 10

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Santa Hates You (Columbia Club - Fee Wundersee)

As strange as the name sounds as strange is their appearance if one takes a look at the photos on their MySpace profile. The mastermind of this project should be fairly familiar to the creatures of the dark music scene. Peter Spilles (Project Pitchfork) created this project in 2007 with a woman called Jinxy. The debut release goes by the name of ‘You’re on the Naughty List’ and was released by the end of October 2007. On the WGT, the project celebrated its live debut and ever since then played a string of shows mostly at festivals. At the E-tropolis festival, the band presented its new album ‘Jolly Roger’. www.santahatesyou.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/santahatesyou

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Music & Performance
Peter Spilles is well-known among the gothic scene, also due to his main band PROJECT PITCHFORK. However, today he presented his side project known as SANTA HATES YOU (which is probably just as known as his other bands) including the new album ‘Jolly Roger’. The C-Club was pretty crowded and you could see a lot of PROJECT PITCHFORK fans, just like me. Many of them probably just wanted to see how Peter was going to present his solo project live on stage. The show starts, the intro resonates and the people start partying as soon as Peter enters the stage. It was pretty strange seeing Peter behind a keyboard, usually dancing around stage. The songs are pretty good, a mixture of electro and industrial but somehow monotonous if you ask me. However, the people seemed to love it. The mood was amazing, people dancing like crazy. Also, the light fitted the band concept quite well. Nicely done, SANTA HATES YOU!

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7.5 / 10

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Welle:Erdball (Columbia Hall - Anne Kuhfuß)

The German Electro Pop band in uniforms with a strong affinity to Fifties´ aesthetics and its C64 (that is regarded as the fifth band member and responsible for the minimalist sound) was formed as HONIGMOND in 1990 and renamed to WELLE:ERDBALL in 1993. The debut album `Frontalaufprall´ was delivered in 1993, followed up by all in all eight long-players including some special editions. The release of `Der Sinn des Lebens´ (1998) made WELLE:ERDBALL become popular in Sweden and Denmark too. In 2006, the radio station broadcasted the recent album `Chaos Total´ and recently the movie ‘Operation: Zeitsturm’ was released on DVD. WELLE:ERDBALL is Honey (lyrics, vocals), A.L.F. (music, programming), Fräulein Venus (percussions, vocals) and Plastique (percussions, vocals). http://www.welle-erdball.info/ / http://www.myspace.com/funkbereit

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Music & Performance
A new album is coming up and for some reason, a lot of people expected a lot of new stuff being played during the show at this year’s E-tropolis Festival – but the band decided to rather do a show that completely existed of classics. With songs like “Starfighter F-104G”, “Super 8″, “Arbeit adelt”, “VW Käfer” and “23″, the band took the people on a trip through the last years and all the hits. Unfortunately, there seemed to be some technical problems. Plastique’s microphone didn’t really work but this was fixed after some comments of her and Honey. Also, the backstage crew seemed to be somewhere else: Honey’s oil drum, which he used to play around a little, wasn’t removed until he harshly commented on that towards the people working with technology.

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However, those little problems didn’t contribute to the fact that the fans were enjoying this concert like every other concert. This was probably also due to the big white balloons and little paper planes the band was throwing into the crowd. All in all, WELLE:ERDBALL played a great show with a lot of classics. Looking forward to the new record, guys!

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 10
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 8.25 / 10

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Front Line Assembly (Columbia Hall - Anne Kuhfuß)

There’s no denying, the Canadian FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY is one of the most influential acts of the Industrial scene. Albums like ‘Caustic Grip’ (1990) or ‘Tactical Neural Implant’ (1992) stand the test of time and have been a source of inspiration to a plethora of electronic underground bands. After gaining huge mainstream success with the side project (sic!) DELERIUM in the 1990s, founder Bill Leeb seemed to neglect a little his first brainchild FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY but managed to revive it over the last few years. FLA’s more recent albums, however, were a bit of hit or miss and at times a bit inconsistent. The single ‘Shifting through the Lens’ was the herald for FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY’s new album ‘Improvised Electronic Device’ which has been released at the end of June 2010. FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY is Bill Leeb (vocals, keys), Jeremy Inkel (keys), Jared Singerland (guitar) and Jason Bazinet (drums). http://www.mindphaser.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/thefrontlineassembly

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Music & Performance
When thinking about FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, I had some good thoughts in my mind and so, I was looking forward to the concert. However, as soon as the band started I was kind of disappointed. Sure, the sound was good, the songs were catchy and totally danceable but the voice could have easily been replaced by another electronically changed voice. In fact, I think a computer itself could have stood on stage and sung. This was really a shame because the music itself wasn’t that bad actually. However, the crowd loved it and the hall was filled with dancing people and screaming fans. I am sure that a lot of people really enjoyed this concert a lot but I think that a band whose singer could be replaced by any other guy who is able to use a computer isn’t really unique and somehow replaceable itself. Sorry, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, I expected more from you.

Rating
Music: 5
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 5
Total: 6.3 / 10

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Agonoize (Columbia Hall - Fee Wundersee)

Berlin based AGONOIZE is surely the most popular Aggrotech / Hellectro act of the German scene. Since AGONOIZE started in 2002 / 2003 their following is ever growing, and the industrious trio released six albums and six EPs in the last seven years. Last year’s AGONOIZE album, a double CD with the unpronounceable title ´Hexakosioihexekontahexa`, was just another success in the German Alternative Charts and spawned several club hits like ‘Bis das Blut gefriert’. AGONOIZE is Chris L (lyrics & vocals), Mike Johnson (composition, programming, production & mastering), and Oliver Senger (composition & programming). http://www.agonoize.de/ / www.myspace.com/agonoize

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Music & Performance
I have seen AGONOIZE so often in the past years. In my eyes, every single show looks exactly the same: blood, blood and even more blood. This time, they began their show with some ritual stuff, having people dressed up like friars. The crowd was ecstatic and the C-Hall was totally filled with people. When Chris L. left the band after the second song and a curtain fell down, the crowd was confused. He seemed to be pretty angry. However, then the show went on with Chris L. wearing a straitjacket and singing. While watching the show, I saw the band’s carpet. They used the carpet for their torch. Trying to have such an evil image, full of blood and anger and then having a kids carpet with houses and streets on it on stage made the band members a lot more human for me. Behind the evil image seems to be a lot of humour. Though the audience liked the show, AGONOIZE should improve their show using less fake blood.

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Setlist
01. Evil inside (intro with show in stage)
02. Koprolalie
03. Femme fatale
04. Staatsfeind
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05. Wer hat an der Uhr gedreht? (Pink Panther)
06. 999
07. Bäng bäng goodbye
08. Opus dei
09. S.F.P.A.
10. Alarmstufe Rot
11. V.R.F.
12. Glaubenskrieger
13. Sacrifice
14. Bis das Blut gefriert

Rating
Music: 5
Performance: 5
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 5.5 / 10

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Haujobb (Columbia Club - Anne Kuhfuß)

HAUJOBB was formed in 1993 by Daniel Myer, Dejan Samardzic, and Björn Junemann, pulling the name from the Blade Runner translation of "skin job". They were soon signed to Off Beat, and began distributing their music in North America via Pendragon Records. 1995 saw the departure of band mate Björn, and the line-up has consisted of Daniel and Dejan ever since. After Metropolis Records acquired Pendragon, the two musicians have been able to spread their music to a larger fanbase in North America, and have remained continuously popular in the European industrial music scene. Over course of their subsequent releases in the 1990s, they wove increasing amounts of drum'n'bass and IDM influence into their sound. They have since reintroduced some of the more rhythmic elements back into their sound on their more recent albums, but have continued to experiment, drawing concepts from a wide variety of musical styles. According to the official website, HAUJOBB are currently working on a new album with the title ‘New World March’ which will involve the use of more hardware, guitars, drums, and sound recordings compared to software based Vertical Theory of 2003. http://haujobb-music.com/ / www.myspace.com/haujobbmusic

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Music & Performance
To be honest, HAUJOBB is a band I haven’t really heard much of before but since it was a stage reunion show, we made our way towards the Columbia Club in order to watch the show. Soon, the small club was filled with people who were anxious to see this band. Shortly after our arrival, the band started their show and immediately heated up the club. Although the band could barely be seen due to the bad front lighting and the massive back lighting (which was coming from led-walls), the music made its way to the audience and was enjoyed by the whole crowd - and of course, me. The band had a lot of fun of stage (maybe due to the abstinence?) and delivered the fun to the people. It was a really nice reunion show with songs like ‘Subsonic’, ‘Dream Aid’, ‘Renegades Of Noize’, ‘Eye Over You’ and ‘Dead Market’.

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 4
Total: 8 / 10


Suicide Commando (Columbia Hall - Fee Wundersee)

SUICIDE COMMANDO is a music project of Johan van Roy. First songs were released on tape. In 1994 van Roy released the first Suicide Commando CD with the name ‘Critical stage’ on the German label Off Beat. At first, the sound of the band was inspired by minimalistic bands like THE KLINIK. Later the band sounded more like well-known electro bands. After releasing a lot of albums, Johan van Roy started his own record label in 1999. Latest studio record release was in 2010 with ‘Implements of hell’. www.suicidecommando.be/ / www.myspace.com/suicidecommando

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Music & Performance
Whenever Johan van Roy entered the stage, the audience went crazy. The band started their show with the song ‘Severed Head’ and went on with ‘Hate me’. The light was absolutely fantastic and so were the videos in the background. Unfortunately, the light wasn’t that great if you were standing on the ground because there was almost no light coming from the front. What a pity since it looked great standing on the balcony. However, my personal favourite was the video to ‘Hate me’, the naked girl and the song lyrics written on her body was a fantastic idea. The audience went mad when van Roy played the song ‘Dein Herz, meine Gier’ because most of the people in the crowd knew the lyrics. During SUICIDE COMMANDO’s show, Pontus and Stefan (SPETSNAZ) went in the crowd and started to push other people. I laughed when Pontus nearly fell down. By the end of the show, van Roy began to sing a bit of a SCOOTER song and then went on with the "normal" show. Finishing the show with a new version of ‘Bind, torture, kill’ was the best choice. The audience wanted more but at the same time people were tired. To conclude: Best show at E-tropolis festival. People were sweaty, tired and though wanted more SUICIDE COMMANDO songs.

Setlist
01. Intro + Severed head
02. Hate me
03. Death cures all Pain
04. Dein Herz, meine Gier
05. God is in the Rain (clubmix)
06. Cause of death: Suicide (remix)
07. Time
08. The Perils of Indifference
09. Love breeds Suicide
10. Die Motherfucker die
11. Blind, torture, kill
12. See you in Hell!

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 9.5 / 10

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VNV Nation (Columbia Hall - Anne Kuhfuß)

VNV NATION is an electronic music band originally from Wexford and London, now based in Hamburg, that combines elements of industrial music, trance, Synth Pop and electronic body music. Earlier works also include some electro-industrial influences. The "VNV" in the name stands for "Victory not Vengeance". Over the years, VNV NATION developed to one of the most important bands of the electro / Synth Pop scene; the current album called 'Of Faith, Power and Glory' was released in June 2009, the upcoming album is in progress and will be released Just in a few days. VNV NATION is Ronan Harris (music, lyrics, vocals) and Mark Jackson (drums); on stage usually they are supported by two additional keyboard players, this time like so often Tom and Andreas. http://www.vnvnation.com / http://www.myspace.com/vnvnation

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Music & Performance
It was probably the 4th time I saw VNV NATION but I was excited like it was the first time ever. VNV NATION is just a great live band with the more than charismatic front singer Ronan. Although it was way past midnight, the band managed to get everybody going for the last time that night. The guys immediately started the party. Since the upcoming tour was ahead, some new songs were already being played like ‘Control’ and ‘Nova’. However, the band played some hits as well with ‘Beloved’, ‘Darkangel’, ‘Further’, ‘Testament’ and the well-known ‘Illusion’ (including a sad story about a young Goth girl who was beaten to death because she was different encouraging us to being ourselves, no matter what - really breathtaking).

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Unfortunately, the led-walls that were built up in the background didn’t really work the way the band wanted them to. And also the guys responsible for the lighting and fog obviously didn’t such a great job too which was commented by Ronan. The poor technicians probably had a nice get-together afterwards. Besides that, the concert was just as amazing as all the ones I have seen before - and a special highlight Ronan took the camera from one of the visitors and filmed the audience, the rest of the band and of course himself, trying to still sing along to the song that was going on at the same time: ‘Standing’. If you wanna take a look at the video, please ask YouTube.

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Setlist
01. Space & Time
02. Tomorrow never comes
03. Testament
04. Further
05. Chrome
06. Honour
07. Darkangel
08. Illusion
09. Standing
10. Control
11. Beloved
12. Nova
13. Perpetual

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 9
Light: 8.5
Total: 9.5 / 10

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A night to remember ended, everybody was happy - yet exhausted - and went home thinking about the good music, nice people and great mood. Let’s hope, next year’s festival will be just as good as this year’s. Thanks to the E-tropolis festival for such a great night!

All pictures by Anne Kuhfuß except Formalin and Santa Hates You by Dominik Herz (http://www.corcordis.de/) and 1 of Agonoize by Florian Schulz (www.metal-shot.de)
Written by Anne Kuhfuß (common parts + mentioned bands) and Fee Wundersee (mentioned bands)

Comments   

0 #1 Rick 2011-10-06 19:31
And welle erdball tracklist? :-)
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