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ennlfrdeitrues
Expo, Waregem, Belgium
24th - 26th July 2009
Gothic Festival 2009 Day 3: Gary Numan, IAMX, Apoptygma Berzerk, Welle:Erdball, Hocico, Specimen, Client, IC 434, Scary Bitches, Hedera Helix, Lizard Smile, Curse of the Vampire

Today was the day when I finally should see GARY NUMAN, someone I always missed and never had seen on stage before. So, I was looking very much forward the very last band of the festival. But of course, this day had much more to offer… IAMX, APOPTYGMA BERZERK with the last time featuring Geir Bratland on keys, WELLE:ERDBALL or HOCICO. With several Goth bands, there was also something for the lovers of more guitar influenced music.




Curse of the Vampire (Club Stage - Sebastian Huhn)

The story of that project began in 1996. But due to certain circumstances the initial line-up broke up again. Six years later the project came together, however not with the exact same line-up and grown to a trio. The next two and a half years would see the line-up change several times before it was finally set in 2004. In 2005, the band began recording their first demo ‘In Holyness’ which could be handed over to Simon Gallup (THE CURE). In September 2008, the debut album of the band was finally released. CURSE OF THE VAMPIRE is Tony (vocals, guitar), Georget (bass, guitar) and Stephane (keyboards). http://www.curseofthevampire.fr/ / http://www.myspace.com/curseofthevampire

Music & Performance
Already during the sound check we were impressed by the sounds flying over from the hall to us and definitely wanted to hear more and so - when the time was right - we headed towards the club stage, where the French band CURSE OF THE VAMPIRE would soon take their places, immersed in dark lights and framed by candles standing on the stage floor. Best premises for a moody show I’d say and we should get one of that kind. Spherical keyboard sounds penetrated the speakers’ membranes uniting with the most beautiful and brittle bass and guitar chords. You think that’s already it? Wrong!



There, where other bands suffer from the lack of an appropriate singer to complement their sound, CURSE OF THE VAMPIRE has Tony! A man that besides handling his guitar generates such pervading and clear vocals it puts you in a state of trance and melancholy if the music didn’t do that already. You’re standing there mesmerized and fall deeper and deeper into their world with every new song. A band like that not only deserves waves of exciting applause which the little crowd here was happy to give, but also that you buy their CDs. That’s just what happened after the gig had ended. People queued at their merchandize booth to get their CDs. Sometimes you go seeing a band with no expectations at all and it’s frequently those moments a band blows you away like CURSE OF THE VAMPIRE did in Waregem. A very positive surprise on the third festival day!

Setlist
01. Behind the Attic Door
02. Time
03. Don’t Pretend
04. Nightmare
05. Crawling Snakes
06. Haunting Shadows
07. Strangest Kind of Beauty

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8.3 / 10




Lizard Smile (Main Stage - Sebastian Huhn)

LIZARD SMILE starts out in 1995 when 3 guys meet on a gig at one of them. Over the following years they would be touring a lot and releasing the first album ‘Press My Button’ around the year 2000, bringing the band’s sound to a wider audience. Following the release, the band did lots of touring again and shared stages with the likes of DIVA DESTRUCTION, DEINE LAKAIEN or THE NEON JUDGEMENT. A new album was planned for a release in 2008 but I couldn’t find any information about its name or if it was released at all. LIZARD SMILE is Beatnick (vocals), Strobo (guitars, Albi) and Voombastic (bass). http://www.myspace.com/lizardsmile



Music & Performance
Another newcomer for the Reflections of Darkness crew! Would they be having such a great impact than the festival opener did? To say it right away: No! That is not to say, however, that it was bad what we got to see at the main stage now with LIZARD SMILE opening the set with a song called ‘I Was Wrong’, a compound of elaborated guitar and bass work on a solid foundation of danceable electronic beats with a voice that at times reminded me of Darin Huss from PSYCHE sound-wise. While I didn’t miss the little action on stage during CURSE OF THE VAMPIRE, I found that here and with this kind of music a little more movement couldn’t have hurt.



It was all in all a too static performance for my liking even though musically pleasant. The guitarist often drew my full attention away from the others with a special way of playing the guitar; resembled the slide technique. Another unusual method is playing it with a bow you would normally use for a violin. Creates really interesting and sustained textures! Regardless of the improvable show an act to look out for.

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 6
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 6.6 / 10




Hedera Helix (Club Stage - Sebastian Huhn)

HEDERA HELIX emerged in 2000 as a three-piece line-up of seasoned musicians which have produced since the band’s inception a couple of musical pieces within a varying stylistic range but not released any album thus far according to the scarce information I could find. HEDERA HELIX is Oscar V. Kandinsky (Bart De Poorter - lyrics, music, vocals), Maestro Virgule (Peter De Koning - keys, backing vocals), Goss (Steven Gossye - guitar, trombone, backing vocals), Öscr (Steven Verbeke - visuals), Palacinta (Günther Vermeire - visuals) and Öswld (Wouter Vanrysselberghe - visuals). http://hederahelix.broodmes.be/Hedera Helix @ Facebook 



Music & Performance
Now that was a really special one. Actually, you’d have to say it’s much more of a performance than with anyone else. HEDERA HELIX from the Netherlands doesn’t intend to present their music in any way the common audience is used to. They’re making it more of an act. This act started with a very danceable first song intermingling guitars as well as synth work, delivered by the guys - Peter De Koning and Steven Gossye - on the left and right on platform they wouldn’t be leaving for the entire show. That fact left much room for the singer and poet Bart De Poorter to move but it wouldn’t just be him as it turns out. But first it was only him, wearing sort of a priest’s uniform and not singing but reciting poetry. The problem was that I didn’t understand a word because it was all in Dutch as the rest of the texts would be as well. With the next song he would also start chanting, which was not extraordinary to my ears.



The extraordinary came with ‘Hypochonder’, the third song in the set. A guy - Öscr - slowly came on stage with a big fish in his hands, imitating swimming movements and then handing it over to De Poorter, who gave it a away alter to another guy - Öswld - who left the stage the same way the other entered it. But that’s not nearly the end of the line. For the next song we saw the two guys from before returning with what I suspect to be a bible, they would open and hold, while De Poorter seemed to quote a prayer or something. At that moment I cursed myself for not understanding Dutch. Would’ve helped here definitely this time around and I suppose be fundamental for a deeper understanding of their overall performance and how it’s connected to the lyrics. What I didn’t expect at all, the crowd really liked it and the band seemed to have quite some fans in Belgium or wherever they actually came from. As for me, it solely musically didn’t strike a big chord with me, but the performance; they laid down almost made that up completely.

Rating
Music: 5
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 7 / 10




Scary Bitches (Main Stage - Sebastian Huhn)

The SCARY BITCHES were formed in 1998. The first release was a home recorded album, named ‘No Reflection’ made available through a site called Peoplesound. With their appearance at the “Dance of the Vampire” festival in 2002, their sound became know to a wider audience and it was the same year they’ve released their first official record, entitled ‘Lesbian Vampyres from Outer Space’. Ever since that album was released their touring schedule got much bigger with gigs played in Germany, Italy or Paris. After signing to the label Resurrection Records, they put out their second album ‘Creepy Crawlies’ and in June 2009 with lots of touring in the meantime, their third album ‘Island of the Damned’. SCARY BITCHES are Alma Geddon (vocals, guitar, bass, keys), DEADri Ranciid (keys, saxophone, vocals), Hayley Chopper (congas) and Dead Boy (drums). http://www.thescarybitches.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/scarybitches



Music & Performance
Is it already Halloween? I needed to take a look on my calendar which told me that it’s way too early for Halloween. But then it occurred to me that it’s the SCARY BITCHES playing now and they always perform with such special, bizarre outfits. OK, that at least gave everyone something to look at. For quite some time, I was wondering about what creatures they were embodying with their costumes. Really wasn’t sure at first but then I found a striking similarity to a medusa and was that a weird variation of a bat? Whatever let’s go a bit for the music, shall we? The music the bitches play is filled with 80s synth nostalgia and most prominently guitars. But what’s so attracting to their performance is the huge fun factor the ladies bring on stage and if a band has fun, when playing their stuff live and it really comes across honest, then it’s usually infecting to other people. Most particularly those that haven’t been initiated thus far and initially just came here to take a short look on what’s this all about.



Many of them stayed then and started to join the ranks of a considerable crowd of supposed fans, having a good time at the show and clapping and cheering when a favourite was announced as was the case with ‘You’ll end up Looking like the Scary Bitches’, a classic in the band’s repertoire. Was a pleasure for me to watch and a good diversion after the challenging show of HEDERA HELIX.

Setlist
01. Lesbian Vampyres from Outer Space
02. The Island of the Damned
03. Come dance with me
04. Deathrock Baby
05. Werewolf
06. Lung Cancer
07. Piss all over your Grave
08. Strange Child
09. Fifteen for the Bogeyman
10. You’ll end up looking like the scary bitches

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




IC 434 (Club Stage - Sebastian Huhn)

Everything started with Geert de Wilde forming the project TALES OF DOOM in 1991 following a long-lasting span of experimentation. In August 1994, after adding the Korg M1 synth to his gear, the project gained its current name IC 434 after a galactic cloud in the Orion constellation. It was in 1996 that Dirk Ivens attended one of the project’s live shows and deeply impressed offered to sign IC 434 for his label Daft Records. Until 2002, the project would release three albums on the label, which, except for the re-released debut ‘Weathering Skies’, are sold-out. Re-established after temporarily changing the project’s name to OBEDIENCE, de Wilde started working on new songs which ended up being released on his newest effort ‘Bacteriate’, released through Infacted Recordings in 2008. http://www.ic434.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/ic434



Music & Performance
Next on the club stage was another Belgian act: IC 434. The mere fact it’s electro from Belgium had a lot of people turn up at the stage this afternoon. The sound of Geert de Wilde’s project is a lot more accessible than e.g. the one of THE KLINIK or VOMITO NEGRO who had played the festival already. Its base is made of club-compatible, quite straight structures, which are complemented by wide textures of pads, chorals and stuff. The vocals are as hard and cold as the others and are mostly screamed out. Now to the show part! The stage setup was somewhat typical for an electro act with a synth tech tower built up in the back behind which Nicolas Van Meirhaeghe (Sal-Ocin) of THIS MORN OMINA would take his place and the rest of the stage was all free ground for Geert de Wilde to walk around, scream & shout, as well as heating up the crowd if he thought it was necessary. It rarely was as the hard beats had the same effect, they would have later with the HOCICO guys. They made people freak out extensively. Otherwise, there’s nothing much to say. Was a common electro gig I enjoyed but it wasn’t as remotely compelling as THE KLINIK the other day.

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 6
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 6.6 / 10




Client (Main Stage - Peter Smets & Katrin Renner)

Radiating aloofness and dressed in Scandinavian airline hostess uniforms, the three CLIENT girls show a reliable sense of style wherever they appear. Besides the unusual look, the British formation drew attention to themselves by its multi-faceted Electro Pop that even impressed DEPECHE MODE keyboarder Andrew Fletcher who released the girls´ first album `Client´ at his label “Toast Hawaii” in 2003. The band is very successful in Asia and Germany and released the recent long-player `Command´ in 2009. Its members, who call themselves CLIENT A and CLIENT B, are supported by CLIENT E (bass) live on stage. http://www.client-online.eu/ / http://www.myspace.com/client



Music & Performance
With the 50s style airline hostess uniforms at the ready but only with 3 static persons, CLIENT did not really fill the state - no matter how much the lead singer wandered up and down between the outer 2 - bass on the left and keyboard / laptop on the right. When going to a concert you go there in the intention of getting some kind of added value in comparison to the CD. Okay on a club stage a quite static band with not much to look at can be "ok-ish" but with the three CLIENT ladies standing completely non-moving on the main stage... That "added value" was not really present. Even with the ever-presence "clap your hands" sign from the stage towards the people in front of it every other track. Ok but what if the music was nice and worth it? Sorry again... I admit I'm not a large fan of this fake-minimalistic set that was delivered - little angel voices with a monotonic bass-note or not.

Rating
Music: 6
Performance: 6
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 6.2 / 10






Specimen (Club Stage - Sebastian Huhn)

The band formed in Bristol, England during 1980 and in 1982 where they would found and play many shows at the club “The Batcave”. The band released two singles in 1983 followed by the EP ‘Batastrophe’ in the same year and would continue to play life and release a couple of singles until they go separate ways in 1985 not having released a full-length album by then. 2007 saw the release of ‘Electric Ballroom’ recorded with another line-up collaborating with members of the original line-up though. In 2008, the original line-up came back together to perform a show for the Batcave’s 25th anniversary and a live recording of that event was made available through Metropolis Records in 2009. http://www.myspace.com/specimenofficial



Music & Performance
Up for a travel back through time? Then be sure to attend a gig of the British SPECIMEN if they ever happen to play at a place near you. Watching them is like going straight back to the end of the 70s, beginning of 80s when the band’s been formed! The whole atmosphere is completely out of time and also the costumes they’re wearing were far away from being ordinary with the singer looking a lot like one of the KISS guys just without two additional tons of make-up or the guy behind the keys with his a little gay looking leather outfit. But I suppose it was meant to be looking exactly that way. Anyway, just like the music was literally classic being committed to the early forms of Punk, Glam, and Goth Rock, the stage show followed the example of being a classic rock performance with singer Olli Wisdom mostly setting the tone, delivering powerful yet melodic vocals to the crowd.



Simultaneously just like a few other band members he would be animating the masses. But was there really a need for that? At least not a really big one, because to my surprise many of the attendees seemed to know big parts of the music and danced and sang along. The SPECIMEN proved that classic, genre-transcending rock music isn’t dead yet and delivered greatly.

Setlist
01. Stand up
02. Beauty of Poison
03. Hex!
04. Syria
05. Dead man’s autochop
06. Lovers
07. Wolverines
08. Death drive
09. Ooze
10. Kiss kiss bang bang

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7.7 / 10




Hocico (Main Stage - Peter Smets & Katrin Renner)

The Mexican cousins Erk Aicrag (vocals, lyrics) and Racso Agroyam (programming) started with making music at a young age. Finally, their interest in EBM sounds led to the founding of HOCICO in 1993. Four years later, HOCICO released the debut album `Odio Bajo El Alma´ that stood out from the crowd of other EBM long-players due to the especially flaming temper and raw-edged sounds that were perfectly in line with the explosive lyrics dealing with religion, sex, death and abuse. The rousing and exhausting live appearances of the guys enthused a large audience in Germany in particular. Aicrag and Agroyam reached their final breakthrough by releasing `Aqui Y Ahora En El Silencio´ (2000) and `Signos De Aberracion´ (2002).



In 2008, HOCICO played in Japan for the first time. As the Osaka show was a very special experience, they recorded the live album `Tora! Tora! Tora!´ that delivers a great insight into the spectacular concert atmosphere of HOCICO appearances. http://www.hocico.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/hocicoh

Music & Performance
No feather man dancers this time for HOCICO who returned to Waregem after three years. When examining the loud, fast-paced, energetic, semi-aggressive set that HOCICO brings every single time there is one thing in my mind that keeps popping up is "how does that guy prevent himself from throwing up on stage". One of the nicer touches to the entire performance was when all stage and hall lights were switched off with Erk Aicrag jumping into the front stage with a strong searchlight blasting the audience in a white, but never standing still, glare.

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 7.5 / 10






Welle:Erdball (Club Stage - Peter Smets & Katrin Renner)

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´ which was brought into the stores as a limited picture vinyl again in 2009. http://www.welle-erdball.info/ / http://www.myspace.com/funkbereit



Music & Performance
This time WELLE:ERDBALL did not bring any spinning contraptions and old slide-projectors but three old arcade machines. Not filled with Pacman or Double Dragon but with strobes, light, audio equipment but still attached with blinking TL-tubes on all corners - decorated in red and white WELLE:ERDBALL markings. On the other hand, the ladies were still dressed in 50s dresses on their spinning platforms with the obligatory re-dress act behind a backlit screen. Starting off with a "fans only" reaction the band slowly grabbed attention all the way to the back of the room where on the later songs in the set people were even found twisting on the, being it a bit cliché, fake-50s sound generated on the stage.



If there is one negative topic that comes up on close to every WELLE:ERDBALL show it’s that there is quite some pause between the tracks - yes this leaves some room for stage re-designs, there have been a few, and Honey addressing the crowd with various topics but it causes delays and takes the "flow" out of the set every now and then. And in the end the long pauses between the songs worked against the band when the audio was cut off from the main stage - already 15 minutes over time it was time for APOPTYGMA BERZERK to start, making ‘Poupée De Cire’ the final track of the performance.

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






Apoptygma Berzerk (Main Stage - Peter Smets & Katrin Renner)

Founded in 1989 by Stephan Groth and Jon Erik Martinsen, APOPTYGMA BERZERK is one of the biggest export hits in the matter of Scandinavian Alternative music. Starting with dark up-beat Electro anthems such as `Burning Heretic´ and `Bitch´, the Norwegians caused quite a stir in European clubs. The third studio album `Welcome to Earth´ (2000) was even more danceable and can be attributed to Future Pop, as well as the recording `Harmonizer´ (2002). In 2005, APOPTYGMA BERZERK released the long-player `You and Me against the World´ that featured a Rock-oriented sound and was also able to attract mainstream listeners. This year, the recent full-length release `Rocket Science´ was brought into the stores and followed up by a tour of the same title.



Though the stylistic change has caused various debates, Stephan L. Groth (vocals), Angel (guitar), Geir Bratland (keys) and Fredrik Brarud (drums) can always prove that they are able to offer a fantastic live show. The show in Waregem was sadly the very last one of Geir, who left the band afterwards, and also drummer Fredrik was replaced for this show by someone else. http://www.theapboffice.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/apoptygmaberzerk

Music & Performance
When APOP started their set, it could go about two ways. Either a set composed of tracks from the latest - more rock-ish - albums or the older - synthier - tracks. The gut feeling said that the crowd would prefer the latter and boy did it get what it asked for... A ride loaded with energy and action that got extremely few, if any, slow moments.



How to describe the response of the audience? Well usually a review states if only the first row of die hard-fans was singing along, half the hall responded or that people were moving until the back but when the band ended up about halfway ‘Non Stop Violence’ and the entire hall, upstairs balcony and the merchandising stands at the side were all singing along and jumping around. When it all came to an end the people, obviously, wanted much more but no matter how hard the crowd was screaming and rooting for more tracks, the band was already heading into the backstage... only to re-emerge to watch GARY NUMAN about 2 hours later.



What else to say about the show? There were, anyway, a lot of sad faces in the crowd; especially in the first row some girls had tears in their eyes what might be caused by the fact that this was Mr. Bratland’s last show with the band…

Setlist
01. Starsign
02. Eclipse
03. Asleep or Awake
04. You keep me from
05. In this together
06. Mercy Kill
07. Shadow
08. Kathy's song
09. Love never dies
10. Until the end of the world
11. Non stop violence

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




IAMX (Club Stage - Sebastian Huhn)

After a series of albums with SNEAKER PIMPS, Chris Corner started IAMX as his solo project in 2003. Corner produced the IAMX debut ‘Kiss + Swallow’ (Recall records, 2004) in his home studio and the follow-up ‘The Alternative’ (Major Records, 2006) in his new domicile in Berlin, Germany and now after a seemingly endless time span IAMX returns with the third album ‘Kingdom of Welcome Addiction’ in May 2009. IAMX live is Chris Corner (vocals), Janine Gezang (keyboard, guitar, backing vocals), Tom Marsh (drums) and Dean Rosenzweig (guitar). http://iamx.eu/ / http://www.myspace.com/iamx



Music & Performance
The headline spot of the club stage on the very last festival day went to with whom I had my first live encounter with several weeks ago and it rocked big time. One characteristic of that past gig was an extremely loud sound and the audience in Waregem should be getting a good taste of loudness as well. The show started with an experimental noise / electro / guitar intro that was the prelude to the pumping, naked rhythm structures that announced ‘Bring me back a Dog’ and soon it was Chris Corner’s incredible voice floating away over the audience. In-between the flickering dark lights, you could spot the first of a gradually growing group of dancing and writhing bodies. Again Corner, who’s wearing captain’s hat this time was backed by his freaky live band that would never be standing at one place for too long and in case of Janine Gezang stay behind the keys. Rather she would be joining the front with her guitar and sweeping over the stage and with that was on par with Corner himself.



The set continued with another opener; the one from the new album ‘Kingdom of Welcome Addiction’ named ‘The Nature of Inviting’ and ‘The Alternative’, all in some way connected through quirky sound gadgetry often created by Corner with a guitar and a synth standing in front of the drums. At the beginning, when I arrived at the stage I was trying to find out what the umbrella, placed up there, was about. It all cleared up eventually with ‘Tear Garden’, one of my top favourites from the new album. Chris grabbed the thingy and pulled some artful movements with it. Sometimes I thought he did it to protect himself against imaginary tears pouring down. Of course, when you get fed with so much power and emotion you can’t just let the one giving it to you disappear so early. So, Chris Corner and company returned for a double encore with another sweat-driving couple ‘The Negative Sex’ and ‘Skin Vision’ all of which made the ground shake one more time and I mean shaking; at least if you were standing in the front row on the metal of the barriers to the photographer’s pit.



You received a foot massage for free due to these insane vibrations. Maybe a little less volume would be a good idea. The organizers did everything right with giving IAMX the headliner’s slot of the club stage. A fantastic gig! Was just a pity for me that the last song which was written on the setlist, ‘Think of England’, hasn’t been played.

Setlist
01. Bring me back a Dog
02. Nature of Inviting
03. The Alternative
04. Sailor
05. An I for an I
06. Tear Garden
07. My Secret Friend
08. Spit it out
09. Nightlife
10. Kiss + Swallow
---
11. The Negative Sex
12. Skin Vision

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8.7 / 10




Gary Numan (Main Stage - Sebastian Huhn)

Though being involved in several other little bands before, GARY NUMAN’s career really started with THE TUBEWAY ARMY, the band he would rise to fame with and spawn hits like ‘Are Friends Electric?’. With ‘The Pleasure Principle’ (1979) and ‘Telekon’ (1980, now using the alias GARY NUMAN) he’d be releasing two albums incredibly successful. Especially in the UK Numan’s next effort ‘Dance’ (1981) marked a departure from his established sound trademarks going in a rather experimental, jazzier direction and a mixed critical reaction with some praising the album and others carelessly dismissing it.



With the album ‘Warriors’ (1983), a phase of artistic decline sustained throughout the 80s which first was resolved with the release of the album ‘Sacrifice’ in 1994, seen as a return to form for the British artist and critically well-received and his next two albums ‘Exile’ and ‘Pure’ would continue to gradually restore his reputation, even being named the “godfather of synth music” supposedly by the same critics that once saw him as spent force. In 2006, his currently most recent album ‘Jagged’ reached the market based on a heavier electronic sound incorporating more live drumming. http://www.garynuman.co.uk/ / http://www.myspace.com/garynuman



Music & Performance
Now, the time had come for the festival’s crowning event. No one less than GARY NUMAN was about to take the stage now and just like us, a cluster of other people had gathered before the stage to not miss the man, cited as “Godfather of Electronic Music” in action. Prior to the gig, we were wondering which role light would take in his show and if at all. Turns out an immense role! The stage was packed with lights, be it some sort of LED towers or common spots. Then it became quiet and the first sounds of the opener ‘In a Dark Place’ from the recent ‘Jagged’ album sounded, powerful mid-tempo drums kicked in and finally the last missing person appeared on stage to start chanting, and call me a doubting Thomas, but I never thought he’d really bring up such energy on stage. No static performance, no lazy food nodding behind the microphone and such crap. The man wandered around, often with the complete microphone stand and rocked to the music and displayed undying fun performing live. Not quite the shy type I expected to see.



With the arrival of hard, distorted industrial guitar in the sound I asked myself if that was some kind of cross-influential thing between Trent Reznor - stating him being a major influence of his - and Gary. Well, the show went on with ‘Haunted’ that in terms of darkness could even top the opener in my opinion. The audience either was staring like hypnotized at the light show spectacle unleashed with the multi-coloured LEDs, sometimes shimmering like a beacon in the dark and other times outshone by the blinding power of the huge spots - or caught by the energy started to move. Obviously moved by the big appreciation of the people Gary smiled all over his face like a little child at certain points into the show. That took me all in for him. No sign of pretension! He also knew that a few old hits had to go into the setlist and so it was no surprise to hear the 1979 hit ‘Cars’ completely re-vamped with fantastic sound. Actually, the overall sound of the show left nothing to be desired, just for the record. The other part of the few old hits I mentioned belonged to ‘Are Friends Electric?’! Cheers ran through the crowd with the first piano lines emerging and this time we wouldn’t hear Gary alone.



For the key melody the entire audience joined forces for an “Oohoohh, Ohhoohh” and keep doing that for the rest of the song when the section appeared. That was such an incredible feeling and must have been even more intense for Gary and his excellent live musicians on stage. Didn’t forget you guys! ;-) This easily could have been the end. But you know it already, it wasn’t. The whole crew “had” to return for one more final song. Another classic off his repertoire ‘Down in the Park’ from the same year the previous song originates. In a much industrialized version I have to say and closed an awe-inspiring spectacle and festival that none who had the chance to be a part of would forget.

Setlist
01. In a Dark Place
02. Haunted
03. Rip
04. Blind
05. Pure
06. Metal
07. Jagged
08. The Fall
09. Bleed
10. Cars
11. Halo
12. A Prayer for the Unborn
13. Are Friends Electric?
---
14. Down in the Park

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 10
Light: 10
Total: 9.3 / 10



So, with the great man, another Gothic Festival ended. Because we had to drive 350km home at night, we left pretty soon after the band, but with the greatest memories a festival could leave. It seems with every year, the festival in Waregem gets better… I am not talking about the line-up because this depends on personal taste, but about the organisation of the whole thing. Everything went very smooth; the security was very friendly and helpful. With an extended outdoor area with lots of additional benches and tables as well as a new gallery built up on one side of the whole hall in the inside, there were now also enough possibilities to sit down and take a rest. Very nice indeed! I also need to mention the lovely decorations everywhere making a naked exhibition hall into a cosy festival venue. You felt that all people helping to make this event happen do it by heart! And maybe that’s the reason why this festival is what it is… one of the greatest festivals every summer. And I really mean it! Be sure, the RoD crew will be also back for the 5th anniversary of the festival next year!

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com/ / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography)
Written by Daniela Vorndran (common parts and overall editorial), Sebastian Huhn, Peter Smets and Katrin Renner (some band intros)

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