Tanzbrunnen, Cologne, Germany
21st and 22nd July 2012
Amphi Festival Day 1: The Wars, Eisenfunk, A Life Divided, Tyske Ludder, Spetsnaz, [X]-RX, Seabound, Mind.in.a.Box, Corvus Corax, Spiritual Front, Assemblage 23, Camouflage, [:SITD:], Haujobb, Nachtmahr, Eisbrecher, Apoptygma Berzerk, Sisters of Mercy, DAF, Henke
On 21st and 22nd of July 2012, the “VIII. Amphi Festival 2012- The Orkus Open Air” took place at the Tanzbrunnen in Cologne. It’s incredible how quickly the year has passed! With over 16,.000 attendants from all over the world, the festival is being sold-out way in advance for the fourth time! At this point we don’t have to say that there were plenty to explore on this year’s Amphi Festival - especially concerning the live programme. About 40 bands and acts on three stages gave everything to excite people everyone who attended can attest that this was more than successful.
On Saturday, the 21st of July, the Berlin indie/rock band THE WARS was allowed to open the Main stage. They were introduced by ALEAXNDER WESSELSKY from EISBRECHER. For me it was the first time I saw them and because of the good feedback that reached me way before the festival I was looking forward seeing them. I guess many others did, too. In this “morning” – it was 12:00 am – the Tanzbrunnen was already pretty well filled. And you know what? The weather was phenomenal. Back to topic... The band did a good job and brought us in festival mood. I like their music. The only thing I missed was a little conversation with the audience. http://www.thewars.net/ / https://www.facebook.com/thewarsmusic [Janine]
But let us go to that great industrial looking building Staatenhaus. While people outside have to squint, here it was night 24/7. Staatenhaus was the real exile on those days. Inside you could hide from the sun and heat. And so a completely different day was starting here. The light sources here were presented just by the fluorescent sticks, clothes-elements and of course stage. EISENFUNK started the party at the Staatenhaus. The band was founded by Michael Mayer back in 2006. Hard industrial rhythms are combined with lots of noise elements and different samples and fine melodies as well. In the end of same year as the project was created Mayer released digitally his debut album ‘Funkferngesteuert’. The final line-up was formed in 2007, as Arthur Stauder (eDrums) and Toni Schulz (keys and samples) joined EISENFUNK. It is hard to imagine any other situation, when such music would play in the morning. Maybe, just after a night-party, when the morning isn’t the beginning of the new day, but continue of the previous one. However, people were already overexcited. There were several dance-battles in different parts of the club: People were standing in circles, dancing and enjoying themselves. The music is pretty hard, with live drums, giving a nice tempo for the dancers. It was the best way to start the day. And so the electro party in Staatenhaus went on. www.eisenfunk.de / www.myspace.com/eisenfunk [Kira]
A LIFE DIVIDED. Oh wow. I already knew their music is good, although there’s only one album they’ve released. The live performance from the EISBRECHER guitarist and his crew was so amazing. They performed a song called ‘Lost’ which will be released on their new album in January. And I think we may look forward to this new album. A LIFE DIVIDED - it was a lot of fun, from the very first second they unchained the audience. They had no problem to inspire the fans with their music; they presented yet so good stuff for the eyes and ears. I was happy to be there! http://www.a-life-divided.de / https://www.facebook.com/alifedivided [Janine]
Back to Staatenhaus, where TYSKE LUDDER were on the schedule. TYSKE LUDDER is one of the few bands from Electro-90s, which have managed come back successfully. The band uses provocation in their music and content pretty much. They re-released all of their albums from the 90s: ‘Sojus’, ‘Scientific Technol ogy’,’Anonymous’. But they didn’t stop on this and brought the brand new album ‘Diaspora’, which conquered electro-world just like any other album of theirs. The concert went literally under the Israel flags. It wasn’t just the singer, waving the state banner, but also there were some big and small flags in the public. The first lines seemed to really enjoy the show. They were jumping, singing along and greeting the band. As for the lines behind – there it was much calmer as at the previous show. There were less people, and less people were dancing. The sound wasn’t that good, already at the opposite wall from the stage the music sounded messy and it was hard to recognize separate elements of songs. It was funny to meet a person in TYSKE LUDDER T-Shirt outside, while the band was performing, the fact, that there was nobody performing at the moment at the Main stage, makes the situation even more ridiculous. www.tyske-ludder.com / www.facebook.com/tyskeludder / www.myspace.com/tyskeludder [Kira]
SPETSNAZ was the next act on the Mainstage. With some well-known songs like ‘Alligance’ he kept the pulses going. The singer Pontus Stålberg himself seems to have tons of fun. He dances on the stage and said that it is good to be back. While he gave full throttle the front rows began to dance and Stefan Nilsson pounded on his e-pads, it was a joy. http://www.myspace.com/spetsnazebm [Janine]
The Cologne-band [X]-RX, being next on the indoor stage, combines Aggrotech and techno with Hardstyle. The first track of [X]-RX ‘Disco Distortion’, which appeared on the compilation ‘Extreme Sündenfall 5’, immediately became the absolute club-hit and made the project quite popular. Their debut album ‘Unmöglich Erregend’, which came to the world back in 2007, the musicians called ‘Industrial Rave Music’, and it describes their sound precise enough. The next album ‘Stage 2’ came out two years later. Although in general the musicians kept the general sound concept, now they sound lighter with a nice part of irony. As later it is, as less there are people and as calmer and more tired people are. Maybe it’s because, they danced so hard with previous two acts, but even if it was already (or just) 14:30, people seem to be very quiet and calm. There are still enough people to have problems to get right to the stage. The first lines were creating the whole atmosphere. Probably because of the light on the stage, it looked like the first lines vibrated along with music. While the musicians ran all over the stage shouting their manifests, people in front of the stage had not many options, but to move mainly vertical. Fans in that area seemed to be absolutely happy and excited about the show, they jumped, shouted and greet the band. But the picture was a bit different behind. Stunned people hardly moved, some stood still looking at one point, some were leaving. Just one dancing circle left, it was somewhere in the corner. People still had fun there and showed their best dancing. But we have to be fair. At the same time at the Mainstage SPETSNAZ was acting, so no wonder a lot of people left the Staatenhaus. The show was fine; there was a lot of energy from both sides: the musicians and fans. With a bit more luck and different schedule the band would have as big public, as the previous two acts. www.myspace.com/xrxindustrial [Kira]
A highlight at this year’s Amphi festival was one of the few stage appearances by SEABOUND. They played at 15:30 and the Staatenhaus was again completely filled. What an amazing feeling. They played some well-known songs like ‘Scorch the ground’. But also new songs were in the repertoire of electro popper, like the track ‘Nothing But Love’, from the forthcoming album, which was very well received. I like the new material although the sound was really bad at this time in the Staatenhaus. http://www.seabound.de / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Seabound/51899974997 [Janine]
Finally the time for dream-electronics came with Austrian electronic music project MIND.IN.A.BOX and mastermind Stev Poiss. He manages to unite in his music Futurepop, Progressive Trance and cyberpunk. The fourth and current album of MIND.IN.A.BOX's ‘R.E.T.R.O.’, was released in February of this year. The live-line-up consists also of bassist Roman Stift, drummer Gehard Höffler and guitarist Adam W. Swiczinsky. From the very beginning there was the wonder of the day that on the main stage the sound was the worst. Maybe it was because it’s outside or maybe there are some other logical reasons, however, the peak of this was at the MIND.IN.A.BOX show. The sound was faded out all the time, once it was away for more seconds, once the band took a break… a break in a 50-minutes long show. But away from all the bad things, the show was fine. The band's songs were presented by the use of vocoder vocals and guitar, bass and drums. While Staatenhaus was shaken by the EBM and Industrial beats, and after SPETSNAZ rocked the Mainstage, the MIND.IN.A.BOX -show with their light and dreamy melodies was kind of relief. The vocal effects give a strange impression. On the one hand it is very unusual and when it is done well, it is kind of funny to listen to it live. On the other hand there were some thoughts that it would make no difference if I listen to the CD. But it is worth being caught in the Dream Web live. www.mindinabox.com / www.myspace.com/mindinabox [Kira]
Formed by Castus Rabensang, Meister Selbfried and Win - CORVUS CORAX released their first album in 1998. They’re still performing - with authentic instruments and period costumes. The band was the only "middle age band" at the Amphi Festival. I could just see one song of their show since ASSEMBLAGE 23 at the Staatenhaus were calling! http://www.corvuscorax.de / https://www.facebook.com/CorvusCoraxBand [Janine]
The SPIRITUAL FRONT concert was the first concert after all the readings, which were running in the Theatre. SPIRITUAL FRONT is a Neofolk band based in Rome, although their music is known better as “nihilist suicide pop”. The influence of neoclassical and rock music elements, as well as tango and experimental feel, is unquestionable. SPIRITUAL FRONT was previously a solo-project, but 2006 the album ‘Armageddon Gigolo’ proclaimed the glorious way of the same name band. 2010 the second full-length album ‘Rotten Roma Casino’ followed, with which the band toured all around Europe. At the moment the Italians work on the new release ‘Open Wounds’, which will include re-arranged and re-mastered and unreleased tracks of the period 2000-2005. So, to get to the theatre before the concert was a real quest. An hour-long queue was at the doors. Some had no more patience and left wishing to have a good time. Yeah, it was not much fun waiting for the entry, but those who were there, knew that it was worth. Note for future: it is not necessary to stay in the queue while there are some readings, if you don’t want to visit the reading. It is clear, that the place inside the theatre is limited. But after the reading were finished all the guests were leaving and the entry was free again. soundcheck was pretty quick while the public was gathering. And finally the show went on.
This time the band used new acoustic backtracks, which of course presented the new intensive and intimate atmosphere. It is no need to say how SPIRITUAL FRONT music influences people. If you look around, there are always hundreds of inspired faces, shining eyes and smiles. During the concert, more over if it is the theatre-concert, there is a very good chance to look deep inside of you and let all your beautiful emotions come outside with the music. The time while the band plays its sincere pure and heartfelt songs somebody’s life can be turned upside down. With time it becomes clear, that the only instrument the musicians play is the listener’s soul, and they manage to touch that strings, that were secret even for the listener himself. // Setlist: 1. The Shining Circle / 2. Cold Love in a Cold Coffin / 3. Walk the Deadline / 4. Darkroom Friendship / 5. Jesus Died in Las Vegas / 6. Song for the Old Man / 7. German Boys / 8. Slave / 9. Soul Gambler / 10. Hey Boy / 11. Bastard Angel. www.spiritualfront.com / www.facebook.com/spiritualfrontofficialpage / www.myspace.com/spiritualfront [Kira]
Tom Shear and his project called ASSEMBLAGE 23 is one of my all-time favourites and I listen to him very often. The first time I saw him live was at the Blackfield Festival 2 years ago. I remember that I got disappointed (Oh damn, I missed ‘Disappoint’ on the set list this time – what I pity). The performance on this stage was more than satisfying. After some minutes of start-up difficulties Tom found his full strength of his voice and started to entertain the people with a mixture of some wonderful old and some brilliant new tracks. I can say that the news songs from the latest album ‘bruise’ are really good – and they are going very well at this live performance. // Setlist: 1. Crosstalk / 2. Open / 3. Drive / 4. The last mistake / 5. Naked / 6. Over & Out / 7. Document / 8. Let the wind erase me / 9 The noise inside my head // http://assemblage23.com / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Official-Assemblage-23/138651156153800 [Janine]
With CAMOUFLAGE the Amphi Festival offered one of my most looking forward top-acts. The cult synth-popper camouflage began their show with "Suspicious Love". In the fashionable white suit Marcus swept across the stage and looked good. My favorite songs came after 40mins. And then the show ended very quickly. At the end I was disappointed. I could be that I’ve setted too high expectations. But it doesn’t change my opinion. What a pity. // Setlist: 1. Suspicious Love / 2. Misery / 3. Neighbours / 4. We Are Lovers / 5. Dreaming / 6. Confusion / 7. That Smiling Face / 8. Me and You / 9. Love Is A Shield / 10. Shine / 11. The Great Commandment // http://www.camouflage-music.com / https://www.facebook.com/camouflagemusic [Janine]
Tom and Casi - known as members from [:SITD:] took part right after A23 gig. They started with songs like ‘Code:Red’ and ‘Lebensborn’ and made friends with the audience, who appreciated the fast start. // Setlist: 1. Extrajudical punishment / 2. Code:Red / 3. Lebensborn / 4. Periculär (Richtfest II) / 5. Sonic barrier / 6. Papillon (Editors Cover) / 7. Laughingstock / 8. Rot / 9. Richtfest / 10. Snuff machinery // http://www.sitd.de / https://www.facebook.com/SITDofficial [Janine]
Back to the Theatre again with HENKE. First of all Oswald Henke is famous for his previous band GOETHES ERBEN, formed in 1989. Henke composed and “singed” in the band, although his singing was rather speaking. In 2007 the musician left GOETHES ERBEN, in the open letter by Oswald and Mindy Kumbalek declared the indefinite hiatus of the band. Two years later the band HENKE appeared, and the musician works already on the second album. As for GOETHES ERBEN, they still play with Oswald Henke. And here comes the real theatrical show. If visiting the show of the previous band there could be some questions, like why is everybody sit? Doesn’t anybody want to dance? Now there is no shadow of such a question. The rich decorations, big preparations, the number of classical instruments (played by GOETHES ERBEN) and the real theatrical play – welcome to HENKE’s world! First of all this show is for German-speaking public.
So if you don’t belong to this category, it would be useful to get some translations of his songs before you come to his concert. The play is very personal, telling a story of the whole year of life of the main hero. It is a wonder that somebody would ever dare to bring that deep feelings and thoughts on the stage. But especially in modern art people got used to the idea that for many artists exactly this kind of emotional exhibitionism is saving. The whole story is quite emotional and pretty sad, and the public seemed to be really involved. // Setlist: 1. Ein Jahr als Tag / 2. Das schwarze Wesen / 3. Abseits des Lichtes / 4. Märchenprinzen / 5. Die Form / 6. Spüren / 7. Rote Irrlichter / 8. 5 Jahre / 9. Kopfstimme / 10. Vergessen / 11. Helden / 12. Der Eissturm / 13. Mensch sein / 14. Sitz der Gnade / Encore: 15. Zeitmemory // www.henkeband.wordpress.com / www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001428804561 / www.myspace.com/oswaldhenke [Kira]
HAUJOBB was the next act at the Staatenhaus and I always like to see Daniel Myer but this was my first attendance at a HAUJOBB gig. And you know what? Wow, what an amazing EBM sound. He for example played ‘Let’s drop bombs’ (which you can get for free I you want to – or just offer the price you think it is worth it – just follow the link http://haujobb.bandcamp.com/). The concert ended too early. http://haujobb-music.com / https://www.facebook.com/haujobbmusic [Janine]
The evening program in the Staatenhaus was about to begin and NACHTMAHR came out on the stage. It is still a question, if the creation of NACHTMAHR caused the crisis in the first project of Thomas Rainer L’AME IMMORTELLE, or otherwise. However, while L’AME IMMORTELLE is concentrated on releasing some side-versions of the recent album, both Thomas and Sonja play with their side-projects. Thomas’ Industrial project follows traditional for this genre path of destruction. The trademark of NACHTMAHR is heavy distorted beats, driving bass lines, and catchy melodies. This show is interesting for more reasons, since this project is quite scandalous. Lately it is more and more talks about the project and Nazi-stylistic in the music in general. There should be some boarder between flirt and open provocation, and this is quite important to keep good taste going in provocative direction. However, one of the best things there are in modern society is freedom of choice. And so the answer on all indignations will be “if you don’t like it, don’t listen/watch”. More over at this very moment there was a chance to see the last part of the show of EISBRECHER and then SISTERS OF MERCY. As for NACHTMAHR, there was nothing new. The band still uses military aesthetics bold and shameless. Thomas Rainer with his two companions and of course army of girls rocked the Staatenhaus.
There are always mixed feelings of watching this kind of shows. This is actually clear, why there are people, who don’t like that kind of provocation. It feels uncomfortable, staying among a thousand of people shouting some mottos. But looking closely, it is possible to notice that people are mostly positive, so it’s better to forget all the prejudices and just enjoy the show, which was great. www.nachtmahr.at / www.facebook.com/nachtmahrprojekt / www.myspace.com/nachtmahrprojekt [Kira]
EISBRECHER are famous for their shows. It is always the concert you want to visit, and this day it was one of the main shows. Loud guitars and beating drums and of course one of the most famous vocals on the German scene won over Tanzbrunnen. Not much people stayed indifferent and even those who wasn’t look at the stage, because one moment it became just impossible to get any closer and see the stage at all. Rolling all over the park up to Rhine EISBRECHER attracted more and more people. Of course it was great to listen to the tracks from the new album as well as the unfading hits, like ‘Schwarze Witwe’. It is hard to believe that the song is eight years old. So much beautiful years spent with EISBRECHER’s music flew away like one day, but it always a great pleasure to listen to it and visit shows of the band. //
Setlist: 1. Exzess, Exzess / 2. Willkommen im Nichts / 3. Verrückt / 4. Leider / 5. Herz aus Eis / 6. Amok / 7. Prototyp / 8. Schwarze Witwe / 9. Vergissmeinnicht / 10. Heilig / 11. This Is Deutsch / 12. Miststück (Megaherz cover) / 13. Die Hölle muss warten // www.eis-brecher.com / www.facebook.com/eisbrecher / www.myspace.com/eisbrecherkommando [Kira]
APOPTYGMA BERZERK was one of the most awaited acts at AMPHI this year, even if it wasn’t on the first version of the festival’s line-up. The founders of the genre Future Pop with the tongue-twisting name APOPTYGMA BERZERK has about twenty years of history, six studio albums, three live albums, four collections of singles, remixes and cover versions and the legendary status behind. After the successful tour around the world back in 2009-2010, the band is going to visit the US again, Canada and South America in September as well. The concert that night was great. There was the absolute unity of the band and the public.
It happens when both catch the same wave. The band was very energetic; Stephan was running the stage and communicating with fans all the time between the songs. Fans have been singing all the songs together with the band, so sometimes it was hard to hear the band. With every new song the public blew up and with new force sent a lot of energy back on stage and around itself. And it works like a chain reaction, so if you in the radius of its effect, you’re automatically infected by the crazy energy. Stephan, who will never get old, made the whole crowd jump and dance non-stop and to sing all the songs along. It was one of the shows when the band was hardly to hear, because fans sang over it. There was stuffy atmosphere of absolute unity and brotherhood. // Setlist: 1. Intro / 2. Love Never Dies / 3. Non-stop violence / 4. Eclipse / 5. Shadow / 6. In This Together / 7. You Keep Me From Breaking Apart / 8. Shine On / 9. (The House of Love cover) / 10. Kathy's Song / 11. Deep Red / 12. Unicorn / 13. Starsign / 14. Until The End Of The World / Encore 1: 15. Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division cover) / Encore 2: 16: Bitch // www.theapboffice.com / www.facebook.com/ApoptygmaBerzerk / www.myspace.com/apoptygmaberzerk [Kira]
Now we can talk about king-size-blockbuster acts – lead by the legendary THE SISTERS OF MERCY, headlining the main stage on Saturday. One of England’s leading GOTH bands of the 1980s. They play slow, gloomy, ponderous hybrid metal and psychedelia – often incorporating dance beats. This created an erotic atmosphere. All the people danced and sang along – some of them half naked, while sitting on someone others shoulders. The place in front of the main was totally filled. // Setlist: 1. Kiss the Carpet / 2. Ribbons / 3. Crash and Burn / 4. Logic / 5. A Rock and a Hard Place / 6. First and Last and Always / 7. We Are the Same, Susanne / 8. Alice / 9. Arms (feat. Lisa Cuthbert) / 10. Dominion / Mother Russia (feat. Lisa Cuthbert) / 11. Summer / 12. This Corrosion (Lisa Cuthbert Solo) / 13. Flood II / Encore: 14. More / 15. Vision Thing / 16. Lucretia My Reflection / 17. Temple of Love (feat. Lisa Cuthbert) // http://www.thesistersofmercy.com / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sisters-of-Mercy/7553864797 [Janine]
And the real legends closed that evening - DAF. Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft is an influential German electropunk/NDW band from Düsseldorf, formed in 1978. While the whole world still danced with the biggest hit of band’s ‘Der Mussolini’ in the middle 80-s the musicians concentrated on their solo-careers. And just 2003 Robert Görl and Gabi Delgado-López resurrected the legendary project and released the album ‘15 Neue DAF-Lieder’ with the anti-George W. Bush single ‘The Seriffe’. However Delgado refused to tour, and Görl had to invite a different singer and rename the project into D.A.F.-PARTEI. In 2010 the band returned in its previous line-up of Delgado-López and Görl with the new single ‘Du Bist DAF’, limited to 2010 copies. It could be explained, but still seem to be fantastic, that the band still exists. Although still exists doesn’t really mean that it is quite active. What is even stranger that the band is not just the headliner at such a Festival as AMPHI, but it has its public and greeted pretty well. Or maybe it’s the AMPHI public, which is that special and there is a demand on such bands. However it was quite weird show. For those who aren’t really good in history, Robert Görl and Gabi Delgado-López could give an impression that German American friendship has always been pretty… minimalistic.
I would say Germany and America probably got to know each other in the late 70-s, got drunk, had good time, and all the time they met afterwards they could hardy remember what happened that night, but somehow felt, there was something they should be ashamed of. And just a part of public really enjoyed it: old-school fans and some music nerds, who are interested in that kind of music. The others either tried to have fun amain, trying to fight the tiredness, the others enjoyed the legendary show, they hardly ever see again. The rest seem to be troubled to understand the minimalistic bacchanalia on the stage. www.facebook.com/daf.deutschamerikanischefreundschaft [Kira]
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Simon Hönscheid: A Live Divided, Apoptygma Berzerk, Camouflage, Corvus Corax, Eisbrecher, Eisenfunk, Haujobb, Mind.in.a.Box, Seabound, Sisters of Mercy, Spetsnaz, Spiritual Front, The Wars
Mandy Privenau: Henke
Kai Bimber: Assemblage 23, Nachtmahr, [:SITD:], Tyske Ludder, [X]-RX
Matthias Irrgang: DAF
Written by Janine Szacaks & Kira Kalinina