25th to 26th July 2015
Amphi Festival Day 1 with Centhron, Schöngeist, Chrom, Rabia Sorda, The Other, The Crüxshadows, [X]-RX, DAF, The Birthday Massacre, Agonoize, Goethes Erben, Front 242, And One
The summer is known for festivals and having several options to got to if you like to meet friends, listen to music, dance or just enjoy the atmosphere. In July, the Amphi Festival is the most known festival when it comes to scene music. Like in the years before, the festival took place in Cologne but not at the usual place called Tanzbrunnen.
The festival moved to Amphi Event Park, or let’s call it the area around the Lanxess Arena. Offering three stages, two of them outdoor, the promoters tried to make it as comfortable as possible for the visitors. Unfortunately the weather was not on the festivals side as there was a storm warning on Saturday and due to that many bands got cancelled, some of them rescheduled, which cause a bit of a chaos for both – organizers and visitors and mostly disappointment for the fans whose band didn’t play. But let’s stay positive! Now you can read about what was going on this Saturday!
Centhron - Arena Stage (Nataly)
The first act at the festival turned out to be CENTHRON who originally were supposed to play on an open air stage but due to the rain and storm warning or other terms the band started their gig at 10:30 am on the main stage and really surprised the audience. At first I thought that it was just a sound check but the band kept on playing one energetic song after another, gradually charging the first visitors and actually the crowd was getting bigger and bigger even if it was rather early. Visually the performance was good enough and the keyboard looks quite impressive, musically as I said it was powerful, driving and energetic, and in whole the necessary atmosphere was set from the very beginning // http://www.centhron.de / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Centhron/186495284716678 // Rating: 9 / 10
Schöngeist - Arena Stage (Nataly)
So the main reason for me to come to Amphi that day was SCHÖNGEIST and actually comparing to all other performances of the band I attended before, this show was just worth seeing. Of course the songs were mostly from the current album ‘Wehe!’ and the set started with ‘Sonne der Nacht’ from the previous release so seemingly nothing new and unknown but the musicians managed to add something different to each track they played and the music itself became stronger, faster and more energetic able to make the whole venue move. With a brand new logo, appropriate stage, high quality sound and that unique touch of dark romance which is always a special feature of SCHÖNGEIST’s world, the band did a wonderful show and definitely gained some new fans from those who listened to the songs for the first time. Of course, the set was too short so everyone will be looking forward for more // http://www.schoengeist-music.com / https://www.facebook.com/schoengeist // Setlist: 1. Sonne der Nacht / 2. Tief / 3. Wieder / 4. Traumtanz / 5. Kenne mich / 6. Zusammen allein / 7. Wehe! // Rating: 9.5 / 10
Chrom - Arena Stage (Josie)
I have seen this Synth Pop duo quite often and I really, really like the music of Christian Marquis and Thomas Winters. Well, they always look a bit lost on stage and so they did at this Amphi Festival too. It might have been cause of the fact that they’re just a band consisting of two people and that the Arena Stage was a way too huge thing for them. At least they didn’t get the opener slot, which would have been a waste as they’re doing pretty good music. Maybe they should take a look at Robert Enforsen or Android of S.P.O.C.K. to improve their entertainer qualities, so that they don’t look so shy anymore. Thumbs up for the audience in these early afternoon hours – the area around the Arena Stage was quite full of people who wanted to see CHROM. // http://chrom-music.com / https://www.facebook.com/pages/CHROM/106585156057408 // Rating: 8 / 10
Rabia Sorda - Arena Stage (Dani)
RABIA SORDA on such a big stage and the venue was already really crowded at that early hour. That surely was uncommon and Erk must have had a great view onto his audience. RABIA SORDA is the, in 2003 founded, solo project of the HOCICO singer Erk Aicrag. Until now they have released three albums, one re-released album and three singles. Compared to HOCICO the music of this band is less aggressive and noisy but belongs to the Electro-Industrial / Post-Punk genre. One of my colleagues once called Erk Aicrag the “Speedy Gonzales of the Electro scene” and well, that is a pretty good description of him since he can never stand still and so he entertained the crowd at Lanxess Arena very well, running across the stage or jumping… he simply hardly stands still for a moment and is bursting with energy. With the use of guitar, RABIA SORDA recently added more guitar sound to their electronic music and this fits very well. Also the gig at Amphi was really entertaining. Not only because of the energy but also because of the fact that the keyboard stand of Grigory Feil did not work as it should and finally, he threw the keyboard onto the floor and pieces of it into the audience. // http://www.rabiasorda.com / https://www.facebook.com/rabiasordaofficial // Rating: 8 / 10
The Other - Arena Stage (Dani)
The appearance of this band was quite surprising. The slot originally was occupied by WESSELSKY, the solo project of Alexander Wesselsky, front man of EISBRECHER. There was much speculation about the reasons why WESSELSKY had cancelled their show, but anyway, there was found a replacement in THE OTHER from Cologne. Too band no one knew before that there would be a storm warning and the slot would have been better filled by one of the bands who finally did not play at all. But as the Horror Punk band was obviously asked before they of course got their chance to play. THE OTHER started as a MISFITS cover band, and they still sound somewhat in awe of them. The dark arena of course fitted perfectly to their ghoulish appearance. Indeed they rocked the stage very well and even the first mosh pit of the day could be spotted in the arena. // http://www.theother.de / https://www.facebook.com/theotherhorrorpunk // Rating: 8 / 10
The Crüxshadows - Arena Stage (Alex)
The American band entered the Arena stage at 4pm on this stormy Saturday afternoon and were able to make the audience forget the turmoil from outside for a while with their unique musical mix of Synth Pop and Goth Rock with a twist of industrial, underlined by the sound of violins which is delivered by the beautiful JoHanna. THE CRÜXSHADOWS were one of the few bands who did not seem to be lost on such a big stage as the one in the Lanxess Arena. Rogue was climbing the stage as wildly as always and the gorgeous dancers and beautiful musicians were able to make the crowd forget the confusion and disappointments that resulted from the changes that had to be made due to the storm warnings outside. It definitely pays off to have a conceptualised stage show in arenas. THE CRÜXSHADOWS were pure entertainment and fans went wild when classics like ’Deception’ and ‘Winterborn’ were played. // http://www.cruxshadows.com / https://www.facebook.com/cruxshadows // Rating: 7 / 10
[X]-RX - Arena Stage (Alex)
The industrial formation [X]-RX were one of the lucky bands whose show was immediately rescheduled on Saturday and so they were lucky enough to play on the huge Arena Stage instead. Some people were not too happy that not another band was squeezed into the Arena Stage programme instead but the grumpy mood couldn't be felt when the band started playing. Their music is easily structured with heavy and easy beats which makes Cyber Goth hearts happy. When I saw them some years ago I remember I had a lot of fun during their set but for some reason I wasn't too thrilled when I saw them for the second time this Amphi. Yes, their music is danceable and many people were indeed dancing the typical cyber dance but other than that, their music is not really a tour de force. But that's probably not their approach at all and they did indeed deliver a set of good entertainment and at the end, people were singing along to ‘Stage 2’. Due to the new schedule, their set was shortened to twenty minutes, just enough for four songs. // https://www.facebook.com/XRxmusic // Setlist: 1. Escalate / 2. Stage 2 / 3. Hard Bass Hard Soundz / 4. A to A and D to D // Rating: 6.5 / 10
D.A.F. - Arena Stage (Patrick)
They wasted their youth but they are still present in 2015. 35 years after founding DAF in Düsseldorf this band is still a blast live. When they entered the stage, Gabi Delgado showed that he still has a very strong and charismatic aura. The sound of DAF is minimal in words and sound, but very impressive. And this mix made the first rows dance and pogo. I missed the feeling of small, dirty clubs though... because if you really want to feel the music of this band you need the contact to others, to dirt and beer. Of course, you need beer not only for drinking, but I mean you need it all over your body. EBM concert visitors do know what I mean. When they played their most known songs ‘Alle gegen Alle‘, ‘Tanz den Mussolini‘ or ‘Der Räuber und der Prinz‘ it felt like back in the 80ies. Like being in a time capsule travelling back to the old, dirty Ratinger Hof. I really look forward to her shows in autumn this year an I wish the don’t split after that. At least they announced that they will proceed… // https://www.facebook.com/pages/DAF-Deutsch-Amerikanische-Freundschaft/231352760285901 // Setlist: 1. Intro / 2. Verschwende Deine Jugend / 3. Ich und die Wirklichkeit / 4. Der Mussolini / 5. Ich will / 6. Muskel / 7. Tanz mit mir / 8. Mein Herz macht Bum / 9. Der Sheriff (New Version) / 10. Die Lippe / 11. Osten Währt Am Längsten / 12. Sato-Sato / 13. Liebeszimmer / 14. Nachtarbeit / 15. Verlieb Dich in mich / 16. Alle gegen Alle / 17. Verlier nicht den Kopf / 18. Die Lüge / 19. Als wär's das letzte Mal / Encore: 20. Der Räuber und der Prinz // Rating: 10 / 10
The Birthday Massacre - Arena Stage (Alex)
The Canadian synth rockers travelled all the way from Toronto in order to perform at the Amphi as their only Europe show this summer. Unfortunately, their Europe shows have become a rarity in the past years so it is always a highlight to see them. From the very first second THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE took the audience on a trip through the purple-stinted world they have been creating for more than 15 years now, entering the stage with the smashing ‘Red Stars’. While singing old and new songs like the classic ‘Video Kid’ or the haunting ‘Superstititon’, Chibi was running around and throwing hearts and kisses into the crowd and the chemistry between her and her colleagues couldn't be better either. They were able to transmit their exuberant mood onto the crowd and people were singing along, throwing hearts and dancing happily to the unique mix of dreamy 80s synths and industrial rock that tells eerily sad stories which can sometimes escalate into the gruesome like in ‘Blue’ in which Chibi mimes equally the innocent little girl and the creepy murder doll. One should truly appreciate the great mix of heartfelt, thought-provoking lyrics and the uplifting, powerful music they create under their murderous band name.
Let's hope that it is not going to take six years again until those amazing Canadians grace Germany's festival stages! // http://www.thebirthdaymassacre.com / https://www.facebook.com/TheBirthdayMassacre // Setlist: 1. Intro / 2. Red Stars / 3. Destroyer / 4. Divide / 5. Superstition / 6. Pins and Needles / 7. Video Kid / 8. Lovers End / 9. Alibis / 10. Kill The Lights / 11.Leaving Tonight / 12. Blue / 13. In The Dark / 14. Sleepwalking / 15. Midnight / 16. Happy Birthday // Rating: 8.5 / 10
Agonoize - Arena Stage (Dani)
It is always that thing with AGONOIZE, you either love them or hate them. Seems there is nothing between. Besides the provoking - mainly - German lyrics and danceable Electro/ Aggrotech sounds, the band is known for their extreme performance with spraying artificial blood or semen. So you should think twice if you like to stand in the first rows at their concerts. For this Amphi Festival, they announced kind of old-school set, much to the joy of their early fans. AGONOIZE started the show quite bombastic with an epic choir and in the following made the hall shake with their beats. No need to say that they flooded the floor with blood too and once more after the concert you could see who of the fans was standing in front of the stage. Still not my kind of stuff, but the fans obviously loved it and the arena was crowded. // http://www.agonoize.de / https://www.facebook.com/pages/AGONOIZE/275733936009 // Setlist: 1. Returns A King / 2. Glaubenskrieger / 3. Nekropolis / 4. I Against Me / 5. To Paradise / 6. Running (Club Version) / 7. Pavillon 5 / 8. Kind der Nacht / 9. Sacrifice / 10. Toxin / 11. Femme Fatale / 12. Staatsfeind / 13. Koprolalie / 14. Bis das Blut gefriert // Rating: 6 / 10
Goethes Erben - Arena Stage (Alex)
Oswald Henke, the mastermind behind GOETHES ERBEN, has been busy with his side projects FETISCH:MENSCH and HENKE in the past years since Mindy Kumbalek, GOETHES ERBEN’s former keyboarder, and himself decided to take a break from this extraordinary project in 2007. Now they are back, without Mindy, but I was nevertheless excited to see this influential band live for the very first time. Their performance exceeded all my expectations. It's fascinating how much thought, energy and will some artists put into their output and GOETHES ERBEN are one of these bands. Who else brought a whole dance and theatre ensemble with them on stage? The stage was also decorated with two female statues on each side and even before the band got on stage the mood was set and everyone knew that something big was to be expected in the next hour. From the very first second Oswald Henke was able to fascinate the crowd with his captivating performance which was borderline-psychopath (I mean, eating paper on stage and running around like a lunatic? Well, probably perfectly normal on a Goth festival). Please note that this is meant in the most humbling way possible because to me, Henke is an extraordinary artist who becomes his lyrics on stage. You believe him when he sings about the terrors of war in ‘Nichts Bleibt wie es war’ or criticises our society's mechanisms in the most brutal way in ‘Himmelgrau’ and you leave the venue after a GOETHES ERBEN show with many impressions and the urge to change something.
But GOETHES ERBEN are not only about harsh social criticism as songs like ‘Tage des Wassers’ prove which was underlined by a dancer dressed as an angel telling the story of the song which is that of an angel losing its wing and receiving one from a swan which knows that it is its last winter. This mix of critical and thoughtful, emotional poetry is what makes GOETHES ERBEN so appealing and relevant, even after 25 years of band history. They are an essential part of the scene because they give it a meaningfulness it seems to have lost in the past few years with all the industrial mishmash. Oswald Henke and his team delivered an impressive show of constant goose bumps and shivers with all the beautiful dance interludes, captivating guest vocalists and breath-taking theatre interludes. Chapeau, GOETHES ERBEN. Cologne will be waiting for you with open arms. // http://www.goetheserben.de / https://www.facebook.com/goetheserbenoffical // Setlist: 1. Was War Bleibt / 2. Nichts Bleibt Wie Es War / 3. Himmelgrau / 4. Tage des Wassers / 5. Sie Wusste Mehr / 6. Kopfstimme / 7. Die Sonne Schmilzt / 8. Mensch Sein / 9. Ironie im Plattenbau / 10. Sitz der Gnade // Rating: 10 / 10
Front 242 - Arena Stage (Josie)
I must admit that I have never seen an EBM band from a circle place, but this time I did. Tired by walking around the whole day, being confused, losing my way and after realizing that the front area was really filled with people I decided to enjoy FRONT 242 from a circle place. The good thing was that I was able to rest a bit. The bad thing: Sitting around, with other people sitting down while listening to a band like FRONT is plain boring. There was no feeling, no energy except for feeling at the wrong place and bored. So anyone out there who tells that he or she is too old for EBM and thinks of sitting down – don’t do it. You’ll miss a great concert experience then. The sound was ok, the light too. But there was not that much going on in the front of stage area, so maybe I haven’t missed that much of the Belgian energy that evening.
One thing needs to be mentioned though: the band played a really uncommon setlist and left out their biggest hit, ‘Headhunter’. Kudos therefore! // https://www.facebook.com/Front.242 // Setlist: 1. Commando Mix / 2. Punish Your Machine / 3. Im Rhythmus Bleiben / 4. Take One / 5. U-Men / 6. Together / 7. Kampfbereit / 8. Happiness (More Angels) / 9. W.Y.H.I.W.Y.G. (first time since 1987) / 10. Master Hit / 11. Welcome to Paradise / 12. Funkahdafi // Rating: 8 / 10
And One - Arena Stage (Alex)
An AND ONE show is always a party, even at such a late hour. AND ONE entered the Arena stage at 1 at night but were nevertheless able to animate their numerous fans immediately. In comparison with VNV's Sunday set, though, they were not able to integrate the people sitting on the ranks as successfully but Goth forgive them. Nevertheless, I wouldn't recommend such a late set again since many people were already quite tired, especially after such a nerve-wrecking day like this year's Amphi Saturday. The synth pop band entered the stage with the caustic and highly ironic war song ‘An Alle Krieger!’ which made the audience in the pit move wildly. Further bonus is, as always, the animating abilities Steve Naghavi has, twirling furiously around the stage floor, miming Dave Gahan's pirouettes perfectly and always keeping funny remarks in readiness. In my eyes, he is the only musician who successfully imitates Depeche Mode's frontman because it's so perfectly adorable and a wonderful gesture of devotee-ism. Further bonus is Joke Jay who occasionally joins Steve and lights further fire under the crowd.
Hit after hit was played, old and new songs were delivered in the same frenetic manner as usual and AND ONE proved once again why they deserved the headliner spot. Few bands are able to play a setlist full of scene hits. I mean, who doesn't know ‘Deutschmaschine’, ‘Timekiller’, ‘Techno Man’, ‘Military Fashion Show’ or ‘Sometimes’? After such a turbulent Amphi Saturday many people still left the Lanxess Arena with a huge smile on their faces and made their ways to either the after-party or home. // http://www.andone.de / https://www.facebook.com/ANDONEoffiziell // Setlist: 1. An Alle Krieger! / 2. Steine Sind Steine / 3. Krieger / 4. Unter Meiner Uniform / 5. Für / 6. The Walk (The Cure Cover) / 7. Männermusik / 8. Deutschmaschine / 9. Timekiller (Project Pitchfork Cover) / 10. Second Voice / 11. High / 12. Back Home / 13. Techno Man / 14. Military Fashion Show / 15. Sometimes / 16. Shouts of Joy // Rating: 9.5 / 10
Written by Daniela Vorndran, Josie Leopold, Alex UltraRiot, Nataly Night& Patrick Juch
All Pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)