Wave Gotik Treffen - Leipzig 2006 (Day 1)

Leipzig, Germany
2nd June 2006 – 5th June 2006
WGT Day 1: Silvery, Regicide, Theatres des Vampires, Xandria, The Dreamside, Samael, The Gathering, Zeitgeist Zero, Culture Kultür, Schattenschlag, Lacrimosa, CombiChristNitzer Ebb

Like every year during Whitsun it was again time for the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig/Germany – this year about 20.000 gothic people from all over the world celebrated the 15th anniversary. After I missed the festival last year I was looking very much forward being in Leipzig this year again – and as imagined before the trip was worth it. Not only the concerts (more than 170 bands were playing) attracted thousands of people – also readings, movie nights, medieval markets, classic concerts, signing sessions or club nights were on the event list. http://www.wave-gotik-treffen.de/

Friday – the first festival day – welcomed us with a very nice blue sky and warm air. Perfect for the afternoon and evening outside at the Parkbühne where we went first after we had a short look at the big merchandising area in the Agra hall.


Silvery – Parkbühne [DV]

‘Silvery’ from Germany had the honour – or the duty – to open the festival as usually at Parkbühne. The band released their first demos in 2003 and after the release of ‘Black Box’ in 2004 it was finally time for a new full-length album. ‘High-Class high on Silvery’ was released in May 2005. ‘Silvery’ are Rico (Keyboards / Programming), Rosa (Voice / Lyrics), Jens (Bass) and Falo (Guitar). http://www.silverysounds.de/



Music
Goth-Rock band with female singers are widely spread nowadays and it’s hard to find some outstanding ones. Musically ‘Silvery’ is nothing new – but the descant voice of Rosa makes the sound to something extraordinary with a wide pitch range – but nothing for anyone’s taste. The instrumentation with guitar/bass and keyboard give the right background to Rosa’s chant. As first band of the festival they had to suffer a bit from the bad sound what makes the voices sounding a bit strange. Luckily it improved during the gig. As it was expected the main aspect of the setlist was put on songs out of the latest release.



Performance
In bright daylight the band entered the stage. Rosa’s white dress was the right choice for that day late in spring. She was surely the eye catcher on stage and the people that found their way to the Parkbühne at the early Friday afternoon welcomed the band warmly.

Setlist
1. 1000 years
2. hollow
3. I'm lovely
4. no way out
5. other voices (cure cover song)
6. our party
7. why is it a lie

Rating
Music 5
Performance 6
Light – (daylight)
Sound 5
Total 5 (5.4)




Regicide – Parkbühne [DV]

The German band from Oldenburg manages to combine different musical influences in a very good way. The cornerstone for the band was laid in 2001 as a pure studio project. After just the second demo (‘Behind your Eyes’) the band got signed and recorded the debut ‘Viorus’. A few smaller shows followed. End of February the second record ‘Break the Silence’ was released. ‘Regicide’ are: Frauke (vocals), Timo (vocals), Heiner (keyboard), Jan (guitar), Malte (bass), Til (drums) and Nicola (violin). http://www.regicide.net/ / http://www.myspace.com/regicidemusic 


 
Music
Violin, keyboard and guitars are combined to an extraordinary musical mixture. Within ‘Regicide’s’ music you find elements from 70ies rock, Gothic and Metal – sometimes hard stuff for the listeners. The very melodic songs are a pleasure for the audience – so as the great and clear voices of Frauke and Timo are. The songs seem to be small soundtracks underlined with Nicola’s violin play. Progressive riffs meet Musical-like passages and deeply moving melodies touch fragile moments of melancholy. The setlist contained songs of ‘Viorus’ as well as songs of the recent release. After the first band of the day the sound has improved too and supported the great voices and music too. Smaller problems with the guitar-amp were not really recognized.



Performance
With seven people the stage was quite crowded. Even though it was quite early on that Friday afternoon there was also a good crowd in front of the stage which was willing to celebrate. The show was a combination of rocking parts played by guitar, bass and drums and the silent sounds of Nicola’s violin. The interaction between Timo and Frauke was the perfect food for the audience’s eyes. You could see that the band had lots of fun on stage. Frauke was constantly dancing with a wide smile on her face. Due to the bright sunshine there was no light show to be seen. But besides the band itself the huge backdrop showing a mystic scene and the band logo was a pleasure to look at.



Setlist
1. Break the Silence
2. An Embracing Space Part II
3. An Embracing Space Part III
4. A World without Oceans
5. The Fragrance
6. The Hanger-on

Rating
Music 7
Performance 8
Light – (daylight)
Sound 7
Total 7 (7.4)




Theatres des Vampires – Parkbühne [DV]

The band from Italy has seen the light of day in 1994 and were amongst the first ones called their sound “Vampiric Metal”. The gothic attitude of the band was associated with vampirism. Their image, themes and atmospheres created some kind of cult among their fans too. Current band line up: Sonia Scarlet (Vocals), Roberth "Morgoth" (Guitars), Fabian (Keyboards, Backing vocals), Zimon (Bass, Backing vocals) and Gabriel (Drums, Backing vocals). http://www.theatres-des-vampires.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/theatresdesvampires



Music
The sound of the band can be described as mixture of gothic and electronic music, of classical music with opera and rock influences. Over the years the band developed its personal style which was released on sic albums over ten years. Sonia – the only voice and front girl of the band – has not a secondary vocal role anymore since 2004 and now she can show all her talent. Maybe you would expect something in the style of black Metal how ‘Cradle of Filth’ playing it when you just look at the album booklets. But you get something different and much more melodic – even something with choir arrangements. My personal highlight of the set was ‘Queen of the damned’ from the album ‘Suicide Vampire’.



Performance
The show of the Italian band is very controversial and usually causing lots of discussions so even the shows were forbidden on several occasions. Compared with this, the WGT show was quite harmless. The band entered – unfortunately again in direct sunlight – the stage wearing masks. The men’s masks were white looking like in old theatre plays while Sonia wore a black-red mask and a red cape. Everything looked very mystical. After the first song – ‘Never again’ – the masks were falling as was Sonia’s cape too. Under it she was wearing a very tight black latex outfit – very sexy and you could see the big eyes of the boys (and some girls) within the audience. To fulfil the vampire cliché Sonia was drinking blood from an antic looking goblet. Very good – but also very clichéd - show where only real darkness was missing.



Setlist
1. Never Again
2. Angel of Lust
3. La Danse Macabre du Vampire
4. Rosa Mistero
5. My Lullaby
6. Queen of the Damned
7. My Solitude

Rating
Music 7
Performance 8
Light – (daylight)
Sound 7
Total 7 (7.4)




Xandria – Parkbühne [DV]

The band released the first album ‘Kill the sun’ in 2003 and immediately gathered a true fan base around them. After touring through Germany the band released the second album ‘Ravenheart’ and hit German charts on number 36. The video for the title track was rotating on music television for several weeks. Recently the band from Bielefeld/Germany put the album ‘India’ on the market. ‘Xandria’ are: Lisa (vocals), Marco (guitar), Philip (guitar), Gerit (drums) and Nils (bass). http://www.xandria.de/http://www.myspace.com/xandria    



Music
Some people might see the band just as a ‘Within Temptation’ or ‘Nightwish’ clone. But the band emphasises over and over again that they create their own musical style and are different to the mentioned bands. On the afternoon at the Parkbühne you could once more listen to the combination of atmospheric and heavy sounds that the band created. The musical range spreads from soundtrack landscapes over spacey sounds to hard guitar riffs. And exactly that is the stuff the fans want to hear. 



Performance
The bright sunshine was reason enough for Lisa to show her good mood and share it with the audience which appeared in droves at the venue. The nice weather seemed to set anyone in a good mood and people were celebrating especially the hit ‘Ravenheart’. But also new songs like ‘End of every story’ found its lovers. Huge applause was the thank for the show.



Setlist
1. India
2. Now&Forever
3. The Lioness
4. Kill the Sun
5. End of every Story
6. In love with the Darkness
7. Snow-White
8. Ravenheart
9. Black Flame

Rating
Music 6
Performance 6
Light – (daylight)
Sound 7
Total 6 (6.2)




The Dreamside – Parkbühne [DV]

The band was formed by singer Kemi in 1994 and released the first album ‘Pale blue Lights’ on Nuclear Blast. Several albums followed and after a long production time the fifth full-length album ‘Spin Moon Magic’ was released in 2005 and included a cooperation with Rogue (singer of ‘The Crüxshadows’) on the song ‘Open your Eyes’. ‘The Dreamside’ are Kemi Vita (vocals), Merijn (drums), Fried Bruggink (guitar), Cees Viset (guitar) and Roman Schonsee (bass). http://www.dreamside.nl/ / http://www.myspace.com/thedreamsideband / http://www.myspace.com/dreamside



Music
The band’s making good music – but even though they are quite long in business now they had to watch being overtaken by several other Dutch bands when it comes to success. Thereby the band has to offer a lot. The Goth-Rock with female voice reminds partly of ‘The Mission’ mixed with the typical “heavenly voices” genre and straight rock. Kemi calls ‘Dead can Dance’ one of her paragons. And you can here it when she uses her voice as another instrument. Even though they had to suffer a bit from sound problems everything sounded perfect. The set included very new songs like the title track of ‘Spin Moon Magic’ as well as very old ones like the last song  of the evening ‘Nuda Veritas’ which was taken from the first release of the band.



Performance
After ‘Theatres des Vampires’ this band was the second one that really showed candy for the eyes. When the band entered the stage all boys were wearing silver metal masks which gave them some kind of ancient look. Kemi appeared with a long white dress and a golden mask with black feathers. Everything looked very mystical. Short after the start the masks fell down and Kemi also put off the dress and revealed a sexy black leather outfit and very nice make-up. But that was not the only things to see. After it was getting darker the light show in combination with decent smoke started to work. Towards the second half of the set Merjin changed from his drum set to a very big drum which he hit with burning sticks. Additionally the band had a female dancer (Medusa – real name Agnes, who is also keyboard player in ‘Clan of Xymox’. You can find out more about her work as performing artist at http://www.medusasrealm.tk/) on stage showing some kind of fire show – she had burning sticks on her fingers – dressed only barely.



Setlist
01. Intro
02. Spin Moon Magic
03. Joyfire
04. The Feast is Set
05. Dreaming all of you
06. Somewhere before
07. Open your Eyes
08. Into a Frenzy
09. Foresaken
10. Nuda Veritas

Rating
Music 7
Performance 9
Light 7
Sound 7
Total 8 (7.6)




Samael – Parkbühne [DV]

Switzerland’s band ‘Samael’ is some kind of institution in the Black-Metal scene. The band exists since 1987 and constantly developed their style. Over the years they added synthetic elements to their metal music. After a first 7” single the debut album ‘Worship Him’ was released some years later in 1991 setting the foundation of black Metal for a whole generation. Several more albums followed and 2006 saw finally the release of the double-CD ‘Era One’. ‘Samael’ are currently Vorphalack (guitar, vocals), Makro (guitar), Masmiseim (bass) and Xytraguptor (drums, keyboard). http://www.samael.info/ / http://www.myspace.com/samael1



Music
In the beginning of their history the band was working with a real drummer. But as he left Xy took over his job using no real drums anymore but a drum machine. Together with the use of keyboard and synthesizers the metal music of ‘Samael’ becomes something special. Besides that the music is somewhat evil and mysterious, ‘Samael’ are innovators in their field always improving their style. The songs live from wicked guitar riffs, strong lyrics and enchanting atmospheres.



Performance
The band is well-known for their incredible and powerful live performances. And so the Parkbühne was very well filled on the Friday evening. Anyone was in a good mood even though the band was nearly an hour delayed by now. Masmiseim at the bass was very extroverted moshing a lot and jumping around with his instrument. And there was not only banged head on stage – also the audience had its fair share with shaking their hair. And when singer Vorphalack raised his hand for the “evil” sign anyone in the audience was doing the same. The light show worked very well now when it was quite dark. Colourful enlightened smoke in the back gave the right background for a bright enlightened singer.

Setlist
01. Jupiterian Vibe
02. Inch'Allah
03. Reign Of light
04. The Cross
05. Telepath
06. Oriental Dawn
07. Baphomet's Throne
08. Rain
09. Infra Galaxia
10. On Earth
11. Moongate
12. Chosen Race

Rating
Music 8
Performance 8
Light 8
Sound 7
Total 8 (7.9)




The Gathering – Parkbühne [DV]

After the long illness of Anneke and a cancelled tour the Dutch band is now back on stage to headline the Parkbühne on Friday night. The band started in 1989 first as usual male metal band. In 1994 Anneke came into the band and added her special voice to the sound. The latest album ‘Home’ was released earlier this year. Current line-up: Anneke van Giersbergen (vocals), Hans Rutten (drums, percussions & loops), René Rutten (guitars), Majorlein Kooijman (bass) and Frank Boeijen (keyboards & programming). http://www.gathering.nl/ / http://www.myspace.com/gatheringofficial  



Music
The band always is diving in new waters when it comes to a new album – and they are celebrating their music letting go of stylistic hooks. You could feel that also during the show at WGT. Even though the band just released a new album there were only two songs out of it on the setlist – ‘Shortest day’ and ‘In Between’. So also long-time fans have been pleased at this festival set. The new songs sounded very homogenous and very well instrumented. Anneke’s voice was perfect and you could not hear at all that she was ill for a while – it was hypnotizing. The band translates images, dreams and fairytales into sounds and you are lead far away when listening to their show.



Performance
Anyone was in a perfect mood and when Anneke entered the stage more than one hour later than planned she was wearing a big smile on her face – which she did not lose during the whole set. Anyway, she looked very colourful too – different to her band mates – with fire-red hair and a football-shirt in yellow-green Brazil colours – just the first sign of the soon starting football championships. Bright light set her in the right spot and anyone was concentrated on her even though also the other band members did a good job on stage. There was not a big choreographed show – the music stood for itself and the red, blue, pink or lilac lights set the right mood for the faster songs or the soft ballads. The audience was excited and it seemed the band was too.

Setlist
01. Liberty Bell
02. Even the spirits are afraid
03. Shortest Day
04. In Between
05. Analog park
06. Probably built in the fifties
07. Saturnine
08. On most surfaces
09. In motion I
10. Eleanor

Rating
Music 9
Performance 7
Light 8
Sound 7
Total 8 (7.95)




Zeitgeist Zero – Moritzbastei [KM]

When I got to Moritzbastei on Friday evening I found the club quite crowded and the band Zeitgest Zero was already performing their songs. It was rather hard to take my eyes from the scene, as the vocalist really attracted attention. http://www.zeitgeistzero.co.uk/ / http://www.myspace.com/zeitgeistzero  

Music
As to the music, the thing that struck me most about the band was the vocalist's manner of singing - incomparable to anything I'd heard before. Teresa Deed’s voice is a mixture of tension, aggression and irony: it raises and falls in the most unexpected way and leaves the impression of being a bit neurotic and changeable. Still, I have to say that the sound in the club didn't help them - I'm sure the audience would appreciate the whimsical, nervous, unforeseeable dance of Teresa's voice better if it wasn't for the technical aspect. I could sense, rather than hear, the gentle nuisances and changes of the voice as the sound was really poor and kind of out-of-tune (at least that's how I took it). Pity. The music itself such as in  'Beats Under My Bed', 'Pins & Needles' or 'Bridge of Frankenstein' made me think of a skeletons dance or a little witches Halloween discotheque and of a mental asylum at the same time. The guitars helped to bring out all the strength of the vocals and musically it was a very inspiring concert.

Performance
As to the performance I must say that it was Teresa Dead who won my eyes during the show as she is an extremely charismatic artist. She knows how to attract attention with her image (styled to a cheeky, capricious, gothic little girl) and ways: her mimicry is extremely expressive and very theatrical. The whole performance could be limited to Teresa's face showing anger, irritation, a whim or vexation. The figure emerging from the red lights and smoke was like a screaming and tramping manifestation 'look at me'. Surely, it was a very emotional show, though rather simple in means.

Setlist
01. Zeitgeist Zero Intro
02. Grudge
03. Outside
04. Pins & Needles
05. Beats Under My Bed
06. Dance Of The Fallen
07. Endzeit
08. Bridge of Frankenstein
09. Tombstone Tourist

Rating
Music 8
Performance 7
Sound 4
Light 5
Total 7 (6.7)

Culture Kultür started their journey to the world of music in 1992 in Malaga, Southern Spain. Their artistic output is recorded on several albums that mark the path they took and it is the path of a change. As they write themselves they went a long way “evolving from an 80's alike EBM with distorted voices to an Electro-pop with energetic beats, melodic Synths and complex lyrics boosted by powerful vocals”. Culture Kultür are: Salva Maine (singer) and Josua (programming & producing). The live line-up differs with Salva doing the vocals and Distortiongirl hitting the keys. http://www.culturekultur.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/culturekultur

Music
The concert was centred around the danceable music with the characteristic reverberations and Salva Maine's voice oscillating somewhere among the depth, strength and softness. They played the tracks of their album “Revenge” of 2001 as well as of “Reborn” (2005), so they presented the audience with their new material rather than the old tracks. I cannot complain though, as “Reborn” is that kind of the album where the vocal line which is sometimes monumental and sometimes just sparkling with joy gets on very nicely with melodious and harmonic sounds whose beat makes the people move to the dance floor. Me personal fav is “Wonder” - its melody is really ravishing and captivating.

Performance
The performance of the band bore witness to the vocalist's perfect fitness: he was dancing, jumping, running on the stage during the whole show. My first impression was that the concert turned into a lively, joyful discotheque with the audience dancing and singing with the band who in turn looked as if they were having good fun, too. Say, a very good party with dynamic, rhythmical, danceable music. The light was reddish, dim and rather feeble, except for the moments when the rays of light were cast upon the artists and created the impression of the band standing in some heavenly glow. I must say that during this particular concert it was the first time when I had a good laugh at technical problems: when the band was playing the third track, suddenly something happened and the music was silenced. We started laughing, as it was the track entitled “Wonder” so we though that perhaps it was a kind of a divine intervention :) Anyway, the sounds the Spanish project produced made the whole place sway like a boat in storm and the enthusiastic reaction of the audience left no doubts whether the concert was a success or not. 

Setlist
01. Glimpse
02. Forever
03. Wonder
04. Time Wave
05. War is Over
06. Fading Away
07. The Analyst
08. Promised Land Blues

Rating
Music 8
Performance 6
Light 4
Sound 7
Total 7 (6.7)

Schattenschlag is a solo-project of the member of Siechtum - Joachim Sobczak. So far he released two albums "Flashback" (Trisol) in 2002 and Gefühlskalt" (Pandailectric) in 2004. As to his music it is described as “a ( … ) mixture of independence and tough, danceable electro / industrial sound” http://www.schattenschlag.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/schattenschlag  

Music
I must admit that I'd been waiting impatiently for this particular concert. After I'd listened to their album “Gefuehlskalt” I was totally enchanted by the irregular, hoarse and slightly metallic and slurred voice of Joachim and rhythmical, danceable pieces. The tracks were also known to me as perfect floor fillers that speed up the heartbeat. And this is what was offered the audience during the concert in Moritzbastei on Friday: a dish of scuzzy vocals seasoned very nicely with a delectable lyrics and music of a barbwire quality leaving no ears safe and sound. The voice was enhanced by the music that trembled, bleeped, wove, stopped and started anew and combined the fragments of rhythm with the haphazard rampant scamper of offbeat sounds. As far as I could see the people in the first rows answered the call of the music and started dancing (don't know what was happening in the back, I had my eyes glued to the action on the stage) and generally I felt like being given a fair dose of vivid, energetic and original music. The only thing the show lacked was my personal fav “Schlachtfeld Europa”, but I hope to see it next time.

Performance
With the appearance of the band on the stage the light changed from red to blue and the audience was wreathed in great amounts of smoke. And then the concert began. The vocalist took control over the whole foreground moving on the stage quite vividly while the background was occupied by the ladies: one playing keyboards and the two other performing a gentle erotic dance. Though the scene seemed to be 'economically' arranged, the vocalist seemed to be omni-present demonstrating an expressive mimicry, the performance itself was not very diversified I must say. Still, the people were having fun, anyway.

Setlist
01. To break the seal of evil
02. My fault
03. Perverted Dreams
04. Sentenced to death
05. Weltenkonstrukt
06. Lust
07. Envy
08. Xotox
09. Deine Augen
10. Nekromantik

Rating
Music 9
Performance 5
Light 5
Sound 6
Total 7 (7.8)


Lacrimosa – Agra [JU]

Tilo Wolff’s project ‘Lacrimosa’ is one of the leading Goth acts in Europe since the early 1990s. ‘Lacrimosa’ started in 1990 as a solo project with the release of Tilo Wolff’s first single (on tape) called ‘Clamor’ which included two songs. http://www.stolzesherz.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/lacrimosaofficial  

Music
Lacrimosa is from the Latin language and means "flowing tears" or "full of tears", being inspired by Mozart's Requiem, one of Tilo Wolff's favourite composers.  In 1991 the first ‘Lacrimosa’ album ‘Angst’ was released and the road to underground stardom had begun. In 1994 Anne Nurmi, former keyboarder and vocalist of the Finnish Gothic Rock band ‘Two Witches’, joined ‘Lacrimosa’ as a permanent member. ‘Lacrimosa’s’ evolution continued, and apart from Anne Nurmi’s contributions, Metal influences and orchestral elements (at one point ‘Lacrimosa’ even collaborated with the London Symphonic Orchestra) refreshed the sound of the project.
However, ‘Lacrimosa’ have remained as a case of love it or leave it – their numerous fans are surely devoted to the band’s music and especially to Tilo Wolff’s lyrics, while for many critics those lyrics were one of many points where they find fault in. Many say that ‘Lacrimosa’s’ lyrics are too pathetic, too clichéd and rather on the level of angst-ridden high school teenager than on the level of a serious poet, as Tilo Wolff would like to see himself. Another complaint is the vocals, as Tilo Wolff isn’t exactly the technically best singer. You have to get used to his singing, to say the least. Musically, while fans would claim that ‘Lacrimosa’ is open-minded and ambitious, critics would say that ‘Lacrimosa’ is a bit over-ambitious without reaching true musical depth and quality. However, the Agra Halle at the Wave Gotik Treffen 2006 was pretty packed when ‘Lacrimosa’ co-headlined the Friday night.



Performance
I have to admit that I missed the first part of ‘Lacrimosa’s’ show but what I saw pretty much confirmed my opinions on ‘Lacrimosa’ live from previous experiences. The sound was a bit stripped down compared to the sometimes quite orchestral studio works as ‘Lacrimosa’s’ backup band consisted of a traditional Rock line-up with drummer, guitarist and bassist (and Anne Nurmi playing keyboard). The music benefited from this slightly more minimal approach and the rather standard Rock setup. The Agra Halle is notorious for its awful acoustics but it seemed okay to me, at least better than in previous years. It was rather the vocals both of Wolff and Nurmi which gave me a hard time. Both didn’t seem to hit a single note during the whole show so that their consistent non-singing made the whole show a sonic nightmare! How on earth could an abysmal singer like Tilo Wolff turn into one of the leading front men of the Gothic scene?? ‘Lacrimosa’s’ fans often argue that perfection doesn’t matter; it’s emotional intensity that matters. Well, a pain in the ass is emotionally pretty intense, too, and that’s exactly what Tilo Wolff’s so-called singing is – a pain in the ass. Anne Nurmi’s so-called singing was perhaps even worse. So, after all, ‘Lacrimosa’s’ gig was unbearable and unenjoyable for me and I left the place with even more resentments than I had before.

Setlist
01. Inferno (Intro)
02. Der brennende Komet
03. Malin
04. Alles Lüge
05. Eine Nacht in Ewigkeit
06. Lichtgestalt
07. Not Every Pain Hurts
08. Road To Pain
09. Letzte Ausfahrt
10. The Party Is Over
11. Siehst du mich im Licht
12. Der Kelch der Liebe
13. The Last Milenium
---
14. Der Morgen danach
15. Ich verlasse heut dein Herz
16. Copycat
17. Stolzes Herz

Rating
Music 5
Performance 3
Light 7
Sound 6
Total 5 (4.9)

This band has surely been seen a lot during the previous year – counting a total of over 80 gigs. But obviously they decided it wasn't enough and will continue this year. Last year they were promoting their electronic, energetic, and aggressive mix of techno and EBM; in the form of the album ‘Everybody Hates You’. This year they have another release to celebrate - the EP ‘Get Your Body Beat’, which was released 060606. http://www.combichrist.com/http://www.myspace.com/combichrist  

Music
Regardless if you agree that ‘CombiChrist’ are pushing the boundaries into a new age of music, with the genre label “Techno Body Music – TBM” - you have to confess their shows sure are energetic. My tent-pal was going to skip ‘CombiChrist’ altogether, but I wanted to catch at least one or two songs before lining up in the dreaded tram queues, heading for the Agra hangar. It proved to be difficult to be that disciplined though – with songs like ‘This is my rifle’ and ‘Lying sack of shit’ they held me there.



Performance
The amazing energy on stage with Andy LaPlegua as the focal point, just was too good to miss out on. They more than well made up for the lack of Kourtney Klein on stage, who will be on loan to ‘Nitzer Ebb’ for their re-union tour this year. I actually ended up watching 45 minutes of the gig, just skipping the end to get to Agra and ‘Nitzer Ebb’ on time. Unfortunately this meant missing ‘This shit will fuck you up’.

Setlist
1. Get Your Body Beat
2. Today I Woke To The Rain Of Blood
3. This Is My Rifle
4. Intruder Alert
5. Enjoy The Abuse
6. Lying Sack Of Shit
7. Feed Your Anger
8. What THE Fuck ?
9. This Is TBM
10. Blut Royale
11. Like To Thank My Buddies
12. Without Emotions
13. This Shit Will Fuck You Up

Rating
Music 9
Performance 8
Light 7
Sound 7
Total 8 (8.10)




Nitzer Ebb – Agra [JU]

I already feel guilty that I always praise old-school stars of the scene on “Reflections of Darkness” but what can I do? The last few years saw the return of many old heroes although the return of ‘Nitzer Ebb’ has been probably the most unexpected of them all! Insiders knew that Bon Harris and NE-vocalist Douglas McCarthy split the band in 1995 with a lot of a lot of brawl and to much controversy, and after the split (which was btw never officially announced!) there was little communication between the two masterminds of ‘Nitzer Ebb’ and relations haven’t been on good terms. Bon Harris has moved to the USA where he became a studio technician of high reputation, with big names like ‘Smashing Pumpkins’ and ‘Marilyn Manson’ on his agenda. He also started his own project ‘Maven’, which still has to see a release to date. Douglas McCarthy did a few contributions to other projects like Recoil, the project of ex-‘Depeche Mode’-member Alan Wilder, and finally graduated his design studies in the UK. In 2002 he founded the project ‘Fixmer/McCarthy’ together with French DJ Terence Fixmer. ‘Fixmer/McCarthy’ unites raw Techno with the powerful voice of McCarthy, and the project became a big success in the worldwide underground dance scene. In early 2006 the news came that the long-awaited and often postponed ‘Nitzer Ebb’ Best Of will finally hit the shops and, a massive surprise, that ‘Nitzer Ebb’ will do a world tour in summer accompanying the release of their “Body Of Work” album! The first gig was to be held at the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig – ‘Nitzer Ebb’s’ first official gig in 11 years!! http://www.nitzer-ebb.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/nitzerebbmusic / http://www.kourtneyk.com/



Music
‘Nitzer Ebb’ started in 1982, founded by Douglas McCarthy, Bon Harris and David Gooday in Chelmsford, Essex, UK. Influenced by post-punk bands like ‘Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft’ (DAF), ‘Die Krupps’, ‘Malaria’ or ‘Killing Joke’, ‘Nitzer Ebb’ soon abandoned the guitars they used at first to form an all-electronic outfit. Soon the combination of pounding beats, chanted shouts and irresistible rhythms became the trademark of ‘Nitzer Ebb’ – who chose this Teutonic sounding name to distinguish them selves from the British scene at that time and to reference to their German heroes of electronic music. After a few singles on their own label Power Of Voice they signed to Mute Records and released the massive singles “Murderous”, “Let Your Body Learn” and “Join in The Chant”, followed by the album “That total Age” (1987) which is for many fans still the essence of ‘Nitzer Ebb’s’ sound. After a few club tours ‘Nitzer Ebb’ toured as support for their label mates ‘Depeche Mode’ on their European tour 1988, which marked ‘Nitzer Ebb’s’ breakthrough. The 1989 album “Belief” marked a new direction for the band, still very rhythmic and full of controlled anger, but more subtle and open for a more melodic appeal. The single “Control I’m Here” still had the aggression of the debut but became also an unexpected hit in the Dance scene of Ibiza and in the new Acid House movement in the UK. 1990 saw ‘Nitzer Ebb’ again supporting ‘Depeche Mode’, this time on the US leg of DM’s massive World Violation tour. The album “Showtime” followed and it showed yet another side of ‘Nitzer Ebb’s’ sound. They incorporated Blues and Ragtime elements, resembled by samples off old Blues records from the 50s and 60s and perfectly realised in the single “Lightning Man”. The album nevertheless still had a few songs which held up the old virtues of the first two albums, like “Getting Closer” or “Fun to Be Had”. Despite drastic changes in their soundscape ‘Nitzer Ebb’ managed to make any new sound feel like 100% ‘Nitzer Ebb’.



1991 saw more drastic changes with the “As Is” EP and the album “Ebbhead”. “As Is” contained four songs, each produced by a different high-profile producer like Alan Wilder (“Come Alive”) or Jaz Coleman (of Killing Joke fame, who produced “Family Man”). “Ebbhead” contained the old ‘Nitzer Ebb’ sounds combined with new elements from Rock, Dance, Hip Hop, and Pop. The leap to a new sound was so huge that this time large parts of ‘Nitzer Ebb’s’ fan base reacted repelling, annoyed and some fans turned their back on the band, longing for the ‘good old times’. Time taught that after some time “Ebbhead” was regarded as one of the band’s finest works, and in a way ‘Nitzer Ebb’ antedate many things which made bands as diverse as ‘Nine Inch Nails’ or ‘The Prodigy’ popular in the mid-90s by crossing over Rock and Electronics. The “Ebbhead” world tour in 1991/92 was, however, a huge success, seeing the band performing in countries all over the world, from the United States to Russia. A long break followed, with a lot of internal struggle and disagreements about the musical direction for the next studio works. 1995, four years after “Ebbhead”, saw finally the release of ‘Nitzer Ebb’s’ last album, “Big Hit”. This album displayed a band in disruption, without orientation. “Big Hit” had excellent tracks, like the rocky single “Kick It” or the underrated “Floodwater”, but also failed experiments and weaker tracks. The title of the album turned out to be unintentionally ironic, as it couldn’t hook up with the success of the former albums. After a headlining tour following the release, where for the first time ‘Nitzer Ebb’ sported guitars and a traditional Rock setup with two additional musicians, it became quiet around ‘Nitzer Ebb’. With no official announcement the band ceased to exist, and it seemed that Bon Harris and Douglas McCarthy would never ever work together again.



Performance
As I mentioned before the show at the WGT was ‘Nitzer Ebb’s’ first official show since 1995 – neglecting the secret gig they did at a Techno rave in Detroit on May 29th 2006, where they performed between the DJs Derrick May and Ritchie Hawtin. Anyway, the huge Agra Halle in Leipzig was packed with fans waiting for the gig of their old heroes, who wouldn’t hit the stage before 1:20 in the night. In front of the stage the fans went wild before any sound was played at all, and when the huge NE banners were dropped down at the back of stage it almost caused hysteria. How would things go down when the band enters the stage? It seemed that ‘Nitzer Ebb’ were going to use the traditional setup, with two drum-kits on each side and a lot of space for front man Douglas McCarthy.
After a long wait the lights went down and there was noisy drone – after a few seconds everybody noticed that this was the intro of the fan favourite “Getting Closer” and sheer excitement flooded the whole place. It’s a song I would have expected for the encore but in the end it was a wise choice for the opening song for the very first reunion show, as this song features both Bon Harris and Douglas McCarthy at the front on the microphone. When the bass kicked in everybody in the audience started to jump and push and I swear that it was almost impossible to stay at the place where you had been just a few seconds before the show started. It was just crazy! Another surprise was the second drummer – in early days it used to be David Gooday and then Julian Beeston who made ‘Nitzer Ebb’ a trio onstage. Will one of them return for the reunion shows? Nope. ‘Nitzer Ebb’ took up on a female drummer for the first time in their history, Kourtney Klein from Los Angeles. She’s a really tight, energetic babe, the perfect match for the testosterone-filled music of ‘Nitzer Ebb’.



After this thundering start another massive track followed – “Let Your Body Learn”! I just thought “are they insane???”. The slam-dancing continued and more fragile persons left the pit at the front. The first two songs where such a massive start that some people felt already exhausted after the first ten minutes! One guy from the audience even got that excited that he found his way over the fence, through the photographers in the pit and onto stage to be close to his heroes. “Shame” and “Hearts & Minds” from the 1989 “Belief” album followed, more groovy than aggressive. Douglas McCarthy displayed why he is regarded as one of the best front men of all time, running from one side of the stage to the other and really living every single sound and beat. This man is sheer energy!
The following one hour had most of ‘Nitzer Ebb’s’ hits but also a surprisingly large portion off  “Belief”; with some more mellow tracks like “Captivate” or “For Fun” and the incredible “Blood Money”. Their 1995 album “Big Hit” was neglected, and with “Ascend”, “Family Man” and “Godhead” there were three songs from “Ebbhead”. I missed the hit single “I Give To You” from this album, but reports say that it got performed at later shows. Some other people say they would have missed songs like “Warsaw Ghetto” or “Isn’t it Funny How Your Body Works” but I for one didn’t expect the band to go back that far in time, as those songs are from 1985. “Murderous” and an extended version of “Join In The Chant” completed the big three from the debut “That Total Age”.



Performance-wise, there were a few problems, especially at the start. New Drummer Kourtney Klein missed a few tones (or rather: hits) and one of Bon’s microphones wasn’t audible at first. No-one really cared as the energy onstage was so damned incredible that you had no chance to not getting into it! Of course the fans wanted more, and NE were allowed to play one more song – “Fun To be Had”! I was longing for this song during the main set, I even thought they might start with it beforehand, and I finally got to hear the track! Surely a must at NE shows, even 16 years after its release on the “Showtime” album. Sweaty, exhausted, bruised, and very very happy – I guess everyone left the Agra Halle in this state, just like me. If you have the chance to see ‘Nitzer Ebb’ live, go and see them!!! Or regret it for the rest of your life!!!

Setlist
01. Getting Closer
02. Let Your Body Learn
03. Shame
04. Hearts & Minds
05. Lightning Man
06. Captivate
07. Godhead
08. For Fun
09. Ascend
10. Family Man
11. Control I'm Here
12. Murderous
13. Blood Money
14. Join In The Chant
---
15. Fun To Be Had

Rating
Music 10
Performance 9
Light 8
Sound 8
Total 9 (9.1)


More pics on Black-Cat-Net
{jos_sb_discuss:18} 


Reviews:
Daniela Vorndran [DV]
Jörg Uhlenbruch [JU]
Jenny Thorell [JT]
Karolina Moszkowicz [KM]
Mattias Nordgren [MN]

Pictures:
Daniela Vorndran (all if not stated different)
Sandro Griesbach (Lacrimosa)
Falk Scheuring (Combichrist)
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