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Empathy TestBahnhof Pauli, Hamburg, Germany
31st October 2019
Empathy Test & Special guest: Sono

Halloween night in Hamburg also meant this year a fulltime show of EMPATHY TEST at the Bahnhof Pauli venue right at the well-known Reeperbahn that is also famous as red light district. Besides of that this area is actually even more popular among tourists and locals as the place to go out on weekends (or weekdays as you wish) - with uncountable number of bars, restaurants, kiosks, clubs and also many concert venues.

Just the day before the gig Isaac from EMPATHY TEST asked the crowd on Facebook about suggestions for a support artist as they actually didn’t have one yet. The discussions started and at least publicly stopped after a while. Actually, a support could be found und should be announced on the concert day at 5 pm - and yes, it was one of the discussed names - SONO were spontaneous enough to fill in as special guests for the night before they were off to the Pluswelt Festival Oberhausen where they played the day after.


Sono

SONO are celebrating their 20-years-anniversary next year with a special tour and a ‘20 Years (The Singles 2000 - 2020)’ collection that will be released on 14th February 2020 and also include three new songs. SONO released their first single in 2001, one that will be recognized by many once they hear it - ‘Keep Control’ is a dancefloor classic. The debut album ‘Solid State’ came out one year later, in 2002. The last album ‘Human’ was released in 2018. https://www.facebook.com/sonofm / http://www.sono.fm

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Music & Performance
Despite their long history, I have to admit that the first time I saw SONO live happened to be just a bit earlier this year at the M’era Luna Festival. A friend kept telling me that she liked them a lot, so I got curious and enjoyed the performance actually a lot. So the spontaneous announcement was a great coincidence and the pretty well-packed venue welcomed SONO as warmly as they deserve. The short set was full of great songs that were lots of fun to sing along and dance to. The first one was the calm ‘Amplify’ with a wonderful, catchy melody that immediately made curious for more.

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The calm start went right into the heating up ‘Supersonic’ that is crawling right from the mind into your hips and feet. Lennart’s soft and extremely memorable voice along with the beats make ‘Supersonic’ into an absolute smash hit (at least for me, but I am sure a few more people from Bahnhof Pauli would also totally agree). The set was full of songs with a great variety like ‘All Those City Lights’ or ‘Top Of The World’. All in a beautiful gig that was literally lots of fun and the last one - ‘Keep Control’ worked even with the help of the audience that was willing to sing along - I mean why shouldn’t they? A really cool surprise turned into an awesome special guest appearance. Don’t miss them on their “20 Years” tour in March and April 2020. It’s a must-see!

Setlist
01. Amplify
02. Supersonic
03. A New Cage
04. All Those City Lights
05. Blame
06. Top Of The World
07. Keep Control

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 9
Light: 7
Sound: 9
Total: 8.8 / 10

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Empathy Test

EMPATHY TEST started in 2013, a year later they produced and released their first four-track-EPs ‘Losing Touch’ and ‘Throwing Stones’. In 2015 EMPATHY TEST made their first co-headliner-tour in the UK happen and also performed for the first time at the Wave Gotik Treffen in front of a bigger audience. The stories goes on, with a whole bunch of great releases, support and headlining gigs and just recently and very few days (more like hours) before the short German tour leg that finished a touring odyssey of several weeks they came back from the US tour where they were supporting AESTHETIC PERFECTION. A long, for sure exhausting tour that paid off in gaining even more fans in the US as well as in Europe and showing the extreme perseverance of Chrisy (Christina Lopez, drums) and Isaac Howlett (vocals).

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A week before the Hamburg gig their new keyboarder, Oliver Marson, joined them as permanent live performance member. https://www.facebook.com/empathytest / https://www.empathytest.com

Music & Performance
Isaac wrote just the day before on social media about the fact that his body showed, absolutely understandable, signs of physical (and it would not surprise me, also for sure mental) fatigue and so he was just hoping to make it through the show. There were still three more gigs to go before the well-earned days off at home, and Hamburg was a special one as it was from the beginning a headliner gig - the venue was packed and the excitement of the audience was noticeable way before the band came on stage.

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As it was Halloween the trio came on stage in Halloween make-up and despite the long tour behind 2/3 of them, the show turned out as beautiful as expected. I am sure not just I appreciated the honesty of the band and so the audience helped to carry them through the gig by giving all the energy they had. The songs enchanted the crowd in no time. The music by EMPATHY TEST is kind of the soft layer that becomes more and more complex and inspiring, the more you let yourself sink into it. ‘Holy Rivers’, ‘Bare My Soul’ or the perfectly fitting to the Halloween topic ‘Vampire Town’ - Isaac, Chrisy and Oliver magically filled the venue with music that is touching the soul very deep inside and the way it’s opening the hearts is creating a strong bond between the band and the audience.

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Isaac dedicated ‘Seeing Stars’ to Daniel Graves who took him on tour, as he said “It finished him off, but I am still standing. This is for Daniel - ‘Seeing Stars’” - a phrase with that hint of irony, yet very honest and appreciative. The first 14 songs were done in, as it seemed, no time though I kinda was torn apart between calling for an encore or just letting the guys go get some sleep. Despite the lack of sleep during the last weeks, the performance was mind-blowing and beautiful. And of course they came out to play more for us and for some more moments the world was standing still and the music inspired and let us forget all the things that were bothering for another moment. That is what music should do and EMPATHY TEST are masters in doing so. Already looking forward to many more live gigs to come.

Setlist
01. Holy Rivers
02. Incubation Song
03. Bare My Soul
04. Everything Will Work Out
05. Vampire Town
06. Empty Handed
07. A River Loves A Stone
08. Safe From Harm
09. Seeing Stars
10. Holding On
11. Demons
12. Losing Touch
13. Here Is The Place
14. Just Got Home
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15. Kirrilee
16. Last Night On Earth
17. Throwing Stones
18. Burroughs & Bukowski

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

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All pictures by Nastja Iz
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