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covenant2Tanzbrunnen, Cologne, Germany
16th & 17th July 2011
Amphi Festival 2011 Day 2 Staatenhaus: Covenant, Kirlian Camera, Feindflug, Das Ich, In The Nursery, Clan Of Xymox, Diorama, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, Der Fluch

Staatenhaus on Sunday offered a very mixed line-up regarding musical styles. Amongst clearly handmade music like the one of IN THE NURSERY there was many stuff deeply rooted in the electronic like DIORAMA or COVENANT: But first thing attendees got to see thereon arrival was a doze of rocking inferno with DER FLUCH.

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Der Fluch (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)

The roots of German veteran Punk band DER FLUCH go back as far as 1981, when the band was started as a side project of OHL: Being influenced by bands like CRAMPS, MISFITS or METEORS, DER FLUCH introduced Psychobilly to Punk and set a foundation stone to what was later known as Horror Punk. With their imagery and their morbid lyrics full of Horror themes, DER FLUCH also had a certain impact on the emerging Goth scene in Germany in the 1980s and early 1990s. Their song 'Halb Mensch Halb Tier', a song about a young werewolf and strictly speaking a cover of THE CRAMPS' 'Human Fly' with German lyrics, is still considered as one of the Gothic Rock all-time classics. After one album and one single in 1982. DER FLUCH was put to a rest and the band members concentrated on other projects, last but not least on their main band OHL. Twelve years later there was the next sign of life from DER FLUCH in the shape of the album 'Für immer', and subsequently the band released new albums in a two-year rhythm. In 2002 the band was put to rest again but DER FLUCH returned five years later with the album 'Geschichten aus der Gruft' (‘Stories from the Crypt’) and since then DER FLUCH has played numerous gigs including the Wave Gotik Treffen and released another album in 2008. DER FLUCH is Deutscher W (vocals), Biest (bass), Mephisto (guitar), and Karlov (drums). http://www.myspace.com/DerFluch1981

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Music & Performance
Due to problems with public transport we arrived too late at the festival ground so that we missed the first half of DER FLUCH's show. Really a shame as what I got to hear and see was really good! Horror Punk with a whiff of Gothic Rock and a Psychobilly touch was a rare thing at the Amphi - DER FLUCH was the only band with such a sound actually, and all the more it was great to have them at this festival. This kind of sound simply belongs to the roots of the Goth scene, sometimes people tend to forget that Goth and Wave emerged from the Punk scene, and not from the Techno scene or whatever. Vocalist Deutscher W. couldn't refrain from a dig at today's scene and thanked “for letting us perform at this Techno festival” before he announced the final song of DER FLUCH's set. Earlier he made a cheap shot at Alexander Kaschte of SAMSAS TRAUM when he exclaimed “You can buy our CDs at our merch stall - wait, forget about that, I just sounded like that jerk from Samsas Traum!”. Well, nobody should be surprised that a Punk band has a Punk attitude! I enjoyed the attitude as well as the rock solid performance, it's just a pity that DER FLUCH had to started as early as 11:45 am.

Setlist
01. Der Fluch
02. Der Rabe
03. Hexen leben länger
04. Fürsten der Nacht
05. Asche zu Asche
06. Das Grauen geht um heut...
07. Herr der Fliegen
08. Ein kalter Wind
09. Betet für uns
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10. Rattengift
11. Halb Mensch halb Tier

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

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Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio (Sebastian Huhn)

ORDO ROSARIUS EQUILIBRIO is an aesthetic constellation situated somewhere on the illusive boundary between the impending apocalypse & the orgies of ancient Rome, besides that it’s the sonic outlet of Tomas Petterson, who founded the project in 1993 after his former project ARCHON SATANI had ceased to exist and ORDO ROSARIUS EQUILIBRIO is his way to canalize his remaining creativity “…through the aesthetic portrayal of the undivided spiritual and intellectual kinship between Light and Dark, Life and Death, Male and Female, Love and Hate, Beauty and Depravity, War and Peace”. With all of its works starting with the debut ‘Reaping the Fallen, The First Harvest’ from 1995 the project meanwhile grown to a duo enchanted his listener’s every time anew. ORDO ROSARIUS EQUILIBRIO is Tomas Pettersson (music, lyrics, vocals) and Rose-Marie Larsen (vocals). http://www.ordo-rosarius-equilibrio.net/ / http://www.myspace.com/ordorosariusequilibrio

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Music & Performance
It was foreseeable that a sound check of merely 15 minutes wouldn’t be enough for ORDO ROSARIUS EQUILIBRIO and their arsenal of instruments! It took over 10 minutes longer than expected and so two songs (‘Reaping the Fallen, The Second Harvest’ and ‘A Song 4 Hate & Devotion’) were cut off from the setlist that started with ‘Which Word confines the Truth’. After the rock tinged adventure with DER FLUCH this was something to calm down. The compositions rarely leave the mid-tempo but immerse the audience with their rich assortment of instruments. Sadly though, the acoustics of the hall made the sound a real mess and the clarity of the instruments and keys got completely lost in the mix, something IN THE NURSERY would have to suffer from later as well. For me it was a great, calm way to start the day at Staatenhaus with that band, even though I have to admit of leaving earlier than planned cause I feared falling asleep again in the dim of the hall again amidst the ethereal sounds.

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Setlist
01. Which Word confines the Truth
02. I Glorify Myself, the Perplexity of Hybris
03. Hell is where the Heart is - The Gospel of Tomas
04. A World not so Beautiful (A Song 4 the Emperor)
05. In High Heels, through Nights of Broken Glass
06. I M B E C I L E, My Idiot Lover
07. Three is an Orgy, Four is Forever

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 6
Light: 6
Total: 7.4 / 10

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Diorama (Sebastian Huhn)

DIORAMA was founded by Torben Wendt between 1994 and 1996. His long-time friend Felix Marc soon joined him as a co-producer and keyboard player. Sometime later, bass player Bernard le Sigue and guitarist Sash Fiddler, who were fellow students of Torben and Felix, gradually grew into the line-up and last but not least drummer Marquess became a member of the band. Unfortunately Bernard le Sigue left the Band in October 2006. In 2007, the band released their fifth and newest album ‘A Different Life’, preceded by the single ‘Synthesize me’. The band played some extremely energetic and compelling festival shows to present the album and kept playing various shows in the following time. Eventually in February 2010 the silence was broken with the release of the new single 'Child of Entertainment', being the offspring of the long-awaited album 'Cubed', released in March 2010. DIORAMA is: Torben Wendt (words and music, vocals, keys, percussion), Felix Marc (co-production, keys, vocals), Sash Fiddler (guitars) and Marquess (drums). http://www.diorama-music.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/dioramamusic

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Music & Performance
One of my favourite bands was now about to hit the stage at Staatenhaus and did with an altered version of the introduction to ‘Child Of Entertainment’. The crowd, amongst them fans from near and far, were catching the groove of the sound right away and started jumping and screaming along, captivated by Torben’s extroverted performance. One song rarely played live followed up with ‘Prozac Junkies’. The song has a certain magic to it that could unfold pretty good regardless of the sound. Not a mere club filler in itself it managed to get people dancing. ‘Ignite’ on the other hand was a club filler extraordinaire and its stomping beats got the crowd into action nearly all at once. Ok, a bit exaggeration in there but sometimes it helps for the dramatic effect. ‘Home To Millions’ is another rare treat at a DIORAMA show and I was more than pleased to hear at least one track of ‘The Art Of Creating Confusing Spirits’. The mostly energy packed show found its end with the harsh ‘The Girls’ and left fans craving for more. But the tight schedule didn’t allow any encores.

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Setlist
01. Child of Entertainment
02. Prozac Junkies
03. Ignite
04. Home to Millions
05. Advance
06. Erase Me
07. Synthesize Me
08. The Girls

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 8.1 / 10

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Clan of Xymox (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)

The Dutch band CLAN OF XYMOX is one of the veteran bands of the Goth scene, founded in Nijmegen in the early 1980s by Ronny Moorings and Anke Wolbert. Over the years, CLAN OF XYMOX became one of the most important bands of the Dark Wave genre and were probably the first Dutch band signed by the legendary British label 4AD, making the band label mates of DEAD CAN DANCE, COCTEAU TWINS and the PIXIES. CLAN OF XYMOX had many faces in their 30-year career but their trademark elements remained over the years: Ronny Mooring's deep vocals, dark and moody atmospheres driven by electronic rhythms and combined with anthemic melodies and chorals. Within their own cosmos CLAN OF XYMOX adopted many styles, from Synth Pop and Future Pop to Dance and more guitar-dominated Gothic Rock in the vain of SISTERS OF MERCY or THE MISSION. On over 13 albums and numerous singles and EPs CLAN OF XYMOX proved their diversity while sustaining the identity and recognisability of their sound. Their latest output is the album 'Darkest Hour', released in May 2011. CLAN OF XYMOX is Ronny Moorings (vocals, guitars), Mojca Zugna (bass), Yankee Rose (guitar) and Yvonne de Ray (keyboard). http://www.clanofxymox.com / www.myspace.com/clanofxymox

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Music & Performance
At the Amphi 2008, CLAN OF XYMOX performed a mind-blowing show at the packed theatre venue. Perhaps the best gig I've ever seen of this band. Since then, the second stage has been moved to the much bigger Staatenhaus, and CLAN OF XYMOX did not struggle at all to fill this bigger venue as well. It's good to see that this band is still so popular, even though their more recent output seems to get a little lost in the flood of releases we have today. However, 'Delete' was the only song from the new album 'Darkest Hour', which was released just a few weeks before the Amphi festival, while the rest of the set was full of the CLAN OF XYMOX classics we've embosomed over all those years. Starting with 'Strangers' as the opening song we also got the classy 'Jasmine & Rose', the crooning 'Lousie' and the throbbing beats of 'There's No Tomorrow'. After all, the 2009 album 'In Love We Trust' was represented with three tracks, including the single 'Emily' and an unexpected 'Hail Mary'.

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The line-up of CLAN OF XYMOX was by the way reduced to a trio, with Yankee Rose playing the guitar and Yvonne de Ray behind the keyboards, giving CLAN OF XYMOX a more electronic sound compared to previous years, when they also had Mojca (who is currently taking care in building her little family) as bassist on stage, and reflecting the rather synth-driven sound of the last few releases.

Setlist
01. Stranger
02. Love Got Lost
03. In Love We Trust
04. Jasmine And Rose
05. Hail Mary
06. Delete
07. Emily
08. Louise
09. Farewell
10. No Tomorrow

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

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In The Nursery (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)

Formed by twin brothers Klive and Nigel Humberstone and guitar player Anthony Bennett in 1981 in Sheffield, England, IN THE NURSERY are a neo-classical / martial electronic band, known for their cinematic sound. When IN THE NURSERY started they were rather influenced by Post-Punk and bands like JOY DIVISION. The first release was 1983 but it wasn't before the 1986 'Twins' and the following EP 'Trinity' until IN THE NURSERY found the style they are known for today. Guitarist Benett had already left the band, and instead multi-lingual vocalist Dolores Marguerite C and military-styled percussionist Q were added to the line-up. With 1988's album 'Köda', IN THE NURSERY completed the transition to a classical instrumental sound with a cinematic feel and IN THE NURSERY utilised computer sequencing in the recording process for the first time. The album also credited engineer Steve Harris who got more involved in the production of the subsequent album 'L´Esprit' and who worked with IN THE NURSERY on every album since then. The 1990s started for IN THE NURSERY with the long-players 'Sense' (1991) and 'Duality' (1992), still essential albums in their back catalogue and a logical progression to real soundtrack work on 1993's psychological drama 'An Ambush of Ghosts'. IN THE NURSERY's music was also featured in the movies 'Interview with the Vampire', 'Streetfighter II' and 'The Rainmaker', among others.

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In the late 90s the band was commissioned to provide new scores for the silent movie classics like 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari'. A retrospective compilation of their work was the first release on their own ITN Corporation label, on which they also released a number of concept albums and scores. The latest release, the full-length 'Blind Sound', hit the shops earlier this year and is a more consistently dark album from the Humberstone brothers and features more real percussion than previous releases. IN THE NURSERY 2011 is Klive Humberstone, Nigel Humberstone, Dolores Marguerite C, and David Electrik. http://www.inthenursery.com / http://www.myspace.com/inthenursery

Music & Performance
While thousands waited in front of the outdoor stage for AGONOIZE hammering their Hellectro playback through the PA, a few hundred people preferred to witness true art instead and headed to the indoor stage of the Staatenhaus. The contrast truly couldn't be bigger! Outside the masses enthralled by AGONOIZE's clownery full of blood and “shock” elements exhibited to pre-recorded Hellectro by numbers, inside actual musicians who also use electronics to a great extent but who actually perform. No shock effects though but I guess there couldn't be anything less appropriate for IN THE NURSERY, anyway.

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The attendance was quite frankly disappointing but the performance hardly was. There were a few technical hiccups but the poetic and majestic quality of IN THE NURSERY's music came to full effect nevertheless. Thanks to the all the various drums on stage the band also made a great visual impact, and the marching rhythms and percussion-heavy compositions were simply irresistible. There were also quieter moments with tender string arrangements and when the susurrant vocals of Dolores Marguerite C perfectly conjoins with the musical extravaganza of the Humberstone brothers. IN THE NURSERY performed eleven tracks but many of them easily hit the 6-minute mark. The handpicked tracks covered the last 24 years of IN THE NURSERY, from the title track of 1988's album 'Compulsion' to 'Siren' from 1994 to 'Transcript' from the 2008 album 'The Passion Of Joan Of Arc'. The latest album 'Blind Sound' was only represented with the songs 'Crepuscule' and 'Artisans of Civilisation', and the 1995 long-player 'Scatter' was also featured with two tracks, 'Sixth Sense' and the epic 'Mystere', a personal favourite and clearly a highlight of the show. Talking about epic: This is an adjective you would have to invent for IN THE NURSERY's hymns if it wouldn't exist! Highly addictive music and, unfortunately, highly underrated as well.

Setlist
01. Transcript
02. Blueprint
03. Hymn Noir
04. Crepuscule
05. Mystere
06. Bombed
07. Sixth Sense
08. Artisans of Civilisation
09. A Rebours [against nature]
10. Compulsion
11. L'Esprit

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

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Das Ich (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)

There are hardly any other German acts which shaped the Goth scene of this country as much as Bruno Kramm and Stefan Ackermann aka DAS ICH. Starting in 1989 in the Bavarian city of Bayreuth, DAS ICH created a mélange of electronics, symphonic and neo-classical elements combined with expressionistic lyrics full of religious imagery influenced by 19th and early 20th century poetry. Journalists even created the term "Neue Deutsche Todeskunst" for DAS ICH, showing that this band simply cannot be pigeonholed anywhere else. The songs 'Gottes Tod' and 'Destillat' are to this very day musts in every Goth DJ's set, and with concept albums like 'Staub' (1994), 'AntiChrist' (2002) or the two 'LAVA' albums, DAS ICH proved both longevity and artistic integrity. Initially ridiculed and dismissed for their excessive style, DAS ICH got a lot of recognition after a while and Bruno Kramm has become a popular producer and remixer over the years. DAS ICH's last release with new material was the 'Kannibale' EP in 2008, and since then the release of the forthcoming album 'Koma' has been postponed again and again. However, DAS ICH continue to play live, including this year's Wave Gotik Treffen and Amphi festival. http://www.dasich.de / http://www.myspace.com/dasich

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Music & Performance
Just a few days before the Wave Gotik Treffen 2011 it was announced that DAS ICH front man Stefan Ackermann fell ill but that the show would take place anyway with some fellow singers from other bands stepping in for Ackermann. Obviously his illness is much worse than some might have hoped, as two months later Ackermann still wasn't able to travel to Cologne to perform at the Amphi. So he was replaced again, with the Latvian singer Vic Anselmo, THE FAIR SEX singer Myk Jung, and Sven Friedrich of DREADFUL SHADOWS and ZERAPHINE respectively. It was surely a nice gesture of these three to replace Stefan Ackermann but on the other hand no-one can replace him in DAS ICH as Ackermann is a highly charismatic front man and his character is so interwoven with the image and art of DAS ICH that it's simply not the same band without him. Bruno Kramm, who placed his keyboard rack much more to the front than usual, made a few introductory words why Ackermann couldn't be here, and then the show started with 'Das dunkle Land' with Vic Anselmo on the Microphone. Unfortunately all the occasional technical problems over the weekend culminated in DAS ICH's performance, most notably in non-audible microphones. Myk Jung, who did songs like 'Kindgott' or 'Gottes Tod', might have a strong voice but without a microphone he can scream as much as he wants to, an auditorium big as this won't hear him anyway. What a shame! The technical problems were solved at one point thankfully but they were not completely gone.

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Sven Friedrich, who sang 'Schwarzes Gift', was a bit luckier and his sonorous voice fitted quite well to the sound of DAS ICH. Despite all the problems the atmosphere at the Staatenhaus was quite good, the crowd enjoyed it and as the grande finale all guest singers entered the stage to belt out 'Destillat', though not before Bruno Klamm asked the audience to send some positive vibes to the diseased Ackermann. If I was nit-picky I would say that it was anything but a perfect performance but under such circumstances you just have to appreciate that everybody involved tried to make the best of an awful situation. And the audience felt that too and belted out “Gib mir mein Destillat” with one voice. With Ackermann in mind truly a touching moment. To add to the positive vibe sent to Stefan Ackermann I will give DAS ICH ten points in every category - especially in regard to the sound ten points are a complete lie but I don't give a damn!

Get well soon, Stefan!

Setlist
01. Das dunkle Land
02. Kain und Abel
03. Kannibale
04. Meine Wiege
05. Kindgott
06. Schwarzes Gift
07. Reanimat
08. Gottes Tod
09. Destillat

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

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Feindflug (Sebastian Huhn)

FEINDFLUG emerged between 1995 and 1996 when the two future band members met by pure chance. The band’s name initially was intended as a mere project title to remain flexible concerning possible future thematic changes. The band has been accused of being associated with Germany’s neo Nazi-scene and so, they have repeatedly opposed these critics by stating i.e. that every form of adulation regarding WWII runs completely against the intention of the project. FEINDFLUG since its inception has put out a respectable array of releases, staring with the first self-titled album in 1997, whose first three versions never were released through a label and the following first official release with the MCD ‘I./ St. G.3’ in 1998. Their latest release following a collaboration with SUPREME COURT called ‘We’ll f*** you up’ in 2006, was the Live DVD ‘…hinter feindlichen Linien’, released later in the same year. The latest release from 2009 is ‘Feindflug [Dritte Version]’, but a new album is being worked on. http://www.feindflug.info/ / http://www.myspace.com/feindflug

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Music & Performance
Military harshness now was taking over at Staatenhaus with FEINDFLUG arriving at the scene. Just as so many other bands FEINFLUG choose to walk mostly in the shadows of the stroboscopic light cascades, backed by an armada of video clips that are supposed to underscore a current song’s theme. I am all for instrumental music with a visual message, but in the case of FEINDFLUG I really never ever could get used to the way the music was made up at all. Too monotonous and thus too little diversity. As is the case very often I was in a minority. In fact so many people wanted to see FEINDFLUG and songs like ‘AK 47’, ‘Truppenschau’ or ‘Roter Schnee’ they closed up the hall for a while because it was simply too many people trying to get in. The band seemed to have learned from the disaster two years back when the ceiling came down during one of their shows and brought some hard hats. The even borrowed the cubes of DIORAMO, or so it seemed. Anyway, I tried again but the stuff really isn’t up my alley.

Setlist
01. (New Song)
02. (New Song)
03. Ak 47
04. Truppenschau
05. Ersatzteil
06. ?
07. ?
08. Roter Schnee
09. (Stukas) Im Visier

Rating
Music: 4
Performance: 5
Sound: 6
Light: 4
Total: 4.6 / 10

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Kirlian Camera (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)

Italian band KIRLIAN CAMERA, founded by Angelo Bergamini as far back as 1980, is one of the most controversial bands of the dark scene. In the past they were often accused of promoting right-wing aesthetics and ideologies. Which is, frankly, utter nonsense. KIRLIAN CAMERA surely created their very own sonic world, ranging from cold minimalist beats to acoustic Neo Folk ballads to Dance songs with the luring voice of singer Elena Fossi. KIRLIAN CAMERA combine danceable and tranquil moments, poppy and experimental tracks. The music sounds very spacious and clear and contains a great deal of moody electronics with a very clear sound. Experimental structures, yet pleasant to listen to. Darkness is a very prominent feature in the atmosphere of their sound, in fact I would regard KIRLIAN CAMERA as one of the most apocalyptical and gloomy acts on the scene. But it’s no hollow attitude, all this darkness inherits a certain kind of graveness and seriousness. Lyrically they also touch the darker sides of existence most of the time, and they obviously have a certain interest in apocalyptic visions, paranormal phenomena and psychology. Over the last few years, KIRLIAN CAMERA's sound has become somewhat lighter and dancier, perhaps as a result of Elena Fossi's work with all-female Pop project SPECTRA*PARIS. KIRLIAN CAMERA is Angelo Bergamini (vocals, synths), Elena Fossi (vocals), Andrea Savelli (keyboards), and Mauro Montacchini (bass guitar). http://www.kirliancamera.com / http://www.myspace.com/kirliancamerafront

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Music & Performance
Wow! It's been a while since I saw KIRLIAN CAMERA live on stage but a fortiori the development is quite significant. Pop and Dance entered the sonic world of KIRLIAN CAMERA, but without giving up artistic ambition and all the other qualities of KIRLIAN CAMERA. And Pop becomes Elena Fossi! She knows about her sex appeal, and she's ready to use it! From 'Nightglory' to 'Heldenplatz' to 'K-Pax' KIRLIAN CAMERA played a fine selection of tracks, sometimes significantly updated and remixed and at times more Techno-orientated than their old works. Teutonic beats with sweet melodies and gloomy lyrics and Fossi's salacious, dark eroticism, that's quite an enticing mixture. KIRLIAN CAMERA even sneaked two cover versions into their set: ULTRAVOX' 'Hymn', which got all the darker in KIRLIAN CAMERA's rendition, and PINK FLOYD's 'Comfortably Numb' as an encore. Angelo Bergamini, who used to be a very stoic and distanced person on stage, rocked his socks off behind his rack - never saw this guy moving this much!

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Apparently KIRLIAN CAMERA reinvented themselves and I missed it until the Amphi but they are obviously happy with it, I'm happy with it, so we will meet again at KIRLIAN CAMERA's autumn tour!

Setlist
01. Ein deutsches Requiem (Intro)
02. Nightglory
03. Heldenplatz (Mission Walhalla)
04. Edges
05. E.D.O. / Europa Drama Orbit
06. In The Endless Rain
07. Save Me Lord (From Killing Them All)
08. Hymn (Ultravox Cover)
09. K-Pax (Version)
10. Blue Room (Eurotech Vision)
11. Eclipse (Anniverary)
12. Odyssey Europa
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13. Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd Cover)

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

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Covenant (Sebastian Huhn)

COVENANT formed in 1992 with the aim of producing good electronic music. An honourable intention many other electronic acts should have today. With the year 1994, the first album ‘Dreams of a Cryotank’ arrived, whose track ‘Theremin’ would become a club hit, however, not as big as the following EP’s title track ‘Figurehead’, still spinning in clubs until today. With the arrival of ‘Sequencer’ (1996) and ‘Europa’ 1998, the name COVENANT became an epitome for a sophisticated yet still club-compatible kind of electronic music. Greater public exposure came with ‘Northern Lite’ (2002). It took 4 years before the fans could get their hands on the successor and current album ’Skyshaper’. Meanwhile, Clas Nachmansson left the band and sound-wizard Daniel Myer took his place. The trio ha released their new album ‘Modern Ruin this year. COVENANT currently is Eskil Simonsson, Joakim Montelius (currently studio only), Daniel Myer and Daniel Johansson (DUUPONT - live only). http://www.covenant.se/ / http://www.myspace.com/covenant

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Music & Performance
Just as expected the hall filled up pretty quickly before the festival’s headlining show of COVENANT started. When it did the excitement was all over the place. The intro ‘Modern Ruin’ sounded and the three protagonists walked in on stage under great noise to kick the show really off with ‘Stalker’, a track that in its new version really kicks the hell out of the crowd, and the guys on stage seemed to love it just as well. ‘Bullet’ let follow one of their poppier efforts, offering softer beats and melodies in abundance. Afterwards, it was Eskil’s turn to have a little speech before he introduced to the upcoming ‘Judge Of My Domain’ which for me is a prime example of sophisticated electronic pop music that came off even better with Eskil being in good vocal and physical shape, jumping around like a little child as he did on ‘20Hz’ which is the musical manifestation of riding a train as an observer, watching people from a distance. In some way resembled what I just did, watching how their reaction was, putting it down on a sheet of paper. Just in time before we went on a ‘Tour de Force’ to dance and just let ourselves go. ‘Kairos’ as a beautiful little piece of ambient music with vocals offered a few seconds of calm until ‘The Beauty and the Grace’ met. One of the most emotional pieces on the new COVENANT records for me. “A thousand times I say, a thousand times I pray for one last chance to say goodbye”.

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A few more recent and older hits like ‘Rutial Noise’, ‘Der Leiermann’ or recent ‘Lightbringer’ with Daniel Myer doing the main vocals followed until the band left stage with ‘Call the Ships to port’. But being the last band of the evening, and of the whole festival in fact, there needs to be an encore. And so, the band returned with ‘Happy Man’ and finished off an excellent show with highly acclaimed ‘Dead Stars’ making people scream, sing and dance along.

Setlist
01. Modern Ruin
02. Stalker
03. Bullet
04. Judge of My Domain
05. 20 Hz
06. Tour de Force
07. Kairos
08. The Beauty and the Grace
09. The Men
10. We Stand Alone
11. Ritual Noise
12. Der Leiermann / Like Tears in the Rain
13. Lightbringer
14. Call the Ships to Port
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15. Happy Man
16. Dead Stars

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8.4 / 10

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Needless to say the whole show was but a big celebration ending the festival properly. It’s been a great festival, except for the fact that the sound hardly ever reached perfection, in some cases even abysmal and they should be taking a few more risks regarding the line-up, taking in different bands from outside the Goth mainstream. SEABOUND, already confirmed for the upcoming year, already is a step into the right direction. Let’s wait and see if there are some more surprises to come.

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography / www.facebook.com/blackcatnet) except Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio by Ben Blaschke (www.finstergruende.de)


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You are here: Home Festivals Live Review: Amphi Festival - Cologne 2011 (Day 2 Staatenhaus)