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Diary of DreamsCampus Noir X Festival at Technische Universität, Ilmenau, Germany
24th September 2022
Diary of Dreams

It has now been around 500 concerts in almost 40 countries since the first note from DIARY OF DREAMS sounded, and there is no end in sight. Everyone who knows this band knows about their achievements, created by none other than Adrian Hates - founder, singer and centre of the band, calling himself a creative pessimist. We owe this epic, dark, graceful, dramatic, fragile and extremely detailed music to his dark side and his creative use of it.

The announcement of the release of a new album has been eagerly awaited for some time now; after all, the current album ’Hell in Eden’ was released in 2017. A nasty potpourri of unforeseen events that started with Corona and the restrictions that came with it and continued through private setbacks - we all remember the report that the catastrophic flood in summer 2021 also affected the White Room - has caused production standstills and delays again and again. Finally, DIARY OF DREAMS have announced that the new album will definitely be released into this world in spring 2023, of course accompanied by a first small tour, which will take place in March 2023. In order for this to succeed, I recommend you: buy tickets, reward this effort, and appreciate the ambition to stay strong despite all the nasty hurdles that were placed in the band’s way. This cements the foundation for the safe planning and execution of the upcoming tour, which is so extremely important for everyone in front of, on and behind the stage.

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DIARY OF DREAMS currently are Adrian Hates, Dejan Nikolic, Hilger Tintel and Felix Wunderer. For more information, please visit:
Website: https://www.diaryofdreams.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialdiaryofdreams
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/diaryofdreams_official/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/diaryofdreams

For more than 40 years now, the Ilmenau student clubs of the ILSC e.V. have not only enriched the student life of the campus residents, but also decisively shape the cultural life in the Ilm district in Thuringia. Thanks to the voluntary commitment of everyone involved, the bc, bh and bi clubs also offer a wide range of programs of all kinds at extremely reasonable entry and drink prices. In addition to the weekly parties, concerts, readings, games nights, special theme nights and more are planned with a lot of enthusiasm. For this year’s Campus Noir in its 10th edition, the organizers had come up with DIARY OF DREAMS as a special guest. Exclusively for that night, the brand-new ILSC outdoor stage was unpacked.

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Before I come to rave about the concert, let me write down some words and thoughts on the general situation. Organizing or attending concerts and festivals is becoming an act of strength and a nerve-racking test for more and more people. Corona has started something that the war in Ukraine and the associated exploding energy costs drive into the absurd. We all wonder what will be left of us, of all that we have built and created. Nobody in Germany has had to deal with such inflated worries and problems since the end of the Second World War. There have always been people short on cash, but now even those outside of the low-wage, welfare or pension sectors are scared of the immediate future. It hits us all, and that with full force. Prices in all areas are rising at a speed that makes one dizzy. Those who do not lose their job are put on short-time work or ordered to work from home so that energy can be saved in the company; energy that you then have to book on the private meter at home.

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Trust dissolves more and more into thin air, more often than ever before every man is for himself. Some industries are lucky and really thrive in the crisis. Steel fabricating companies like the one I work at are laying on the ground and breathing heavily. My deep connection with DIARY OF DREAMS started in 2019 and I go to concerts as often as I can. There I met people who have become very important to me and whose company means a lot to me. They all live far away, so concerts are our places to meet. It makes me sick to the bones to think of losing this and I’m sure a lot of people out there feel the same way. Concerts and festivals are always a meeting place for like-minded people. There is no need for big words, you hear the same bands, and you understand each other. That’s why events where you can be close to your favourite bands and all those with whom you share your taste in music are so infinitely important for salvation.

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Now what is happening to the events industry in the third year in a row is creating anger, frustration, pain and despair. That’s why it’s so damn important not to buy tickets at the last minute, because nobody, really nobody, can plan and pre-finance a tour without proper advance booking. Then it doesn’t matter whether four people come with a transporter or fifty with a hundred trucks. We are all going through this now and need each other more than ever. Let’s continue to stand together and protect what we love so much: the music and those who create it and who continue to put on concerts with their team despite all adversity.

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Situation on campus: I like the gothic scene above all because you can move around in it very safely, especially as a woman. Unfortunately, I have had to deal with abusive behaviour after a concert, and even if it was a long time ago, it always stays in the back of my mind. The Campus Noir Festival was actually my first festival ever. I do not like larger crowds, but on the campus of the TU Ilmenau I felt extremely relaxed and comfortable, at no time there was a moment of discomfort or threat. Thank you for making me feel safe. What immediately touched my heart was to realize that DIARY OF DREAMS were something very special for this festival. Indeed, we asked ourselves how the band became a part of Campus Noir X. The answer is so simple: the organizer placed an inquiry and got a confirmation in return. For this uncomplicated reaction, it’s not hard to love the band a little bit more. The commitment of young people, who put a lot of effort into setting up a festival like this on a professional level, definitely needs support.

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It was the first time for me that I was on a university campus, so I quickly wondered whether I should have used my university degree for something other than a normal apprenticeship. Then I immediately thought of the craft industry, the administrations and offices that are looking for staff more urgently than ever before, and therefore any training that is not related to a degree is important for a functioning society, too. One studies, the other doesn’t, and that’s perfectly fine. Of course, degrees and jobs were completely unimportant that weekend, what counted was a peaceful togetherness supported by music, fun and good humour, and that definitely worked great. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who organized and ran the festival. I know from secret sources that the band also felt very comfortable and in good hands, and it’s not common practice that you get to enjoy personal support right by your side that is always there to help. Thank you again for that, thank you, thank you!

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Music & Performance
DIARY OF DREAMS were announced for 9:45 p.m., and from around 9 p.m. the space in front of the stage gradually began to fill with creatures of the night. For all the hungry people, there was a snack bar with typical Thuringian grilled specialties, grilled cheese or vegan chili. The selection of drinks was phenomenal, most of it were offered in the clubs, but there was also a drinks booth near the stage, and there you got the most important drinks of all: mulled wine! From my slightly elevated position in front of the canteen I had a good view of the area and decided to stay here during the concert, because writing a live review not only means having the band in focus the whole time, but also the audience. It’s not the best when you’re in the middle of the crowd. Band and audience form a unit, an action is followed by a reaction, the balls are played back and forth, and this is best observed from a slight distance.

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Just in time for the announced start of the concert at quarter to ten, the stage lit up in a flickering light and the first familiar sounds came out of the speakers. The direct bombast of ‘Sinferno’ from the 2015 album ‘Grau im Licht’ was directly preparing for the night to come. A bit like ants, all the people who had been on the edge of the arena ran towards the stage to get a good seat. The black crowd of people on the lush green meadow, which apparently had survived the summer drought well, began to sway to the beat of the melody and greeted the band members, who now entered the stage, with applause and joyful whistles. I will remember this year’s Campus Noir Festival as something special because after a year it brought me back together with the people I really like but very rarely see due to the great distance between their hometowns and mine. The fact that they all travelled to my Thuringia means a lot to me.

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After the first song faded into the night, Adrian greeted the audience and was also directly concerned that we might be cold, and if so, we might warm up with mulled wine. He couldn’t help but hope for one too. I don’t know if his wish was followed, but diligent stage hands are always known for not leaving any wish unfulfilled [comment by the photographer: yes, Adrian got his mulled wine from a helping hand of the crew]. Immediately afterwards they went full steam ahead with ‘Epicon’, the first track from the still current album ‘Hell in Eden’, which will be superseded next spring by the eagerly awaited successor. Now even the last one who rocked back and forth a little unsteadily to the beat of the music should have swung their legs to the fullest. With ‘Epicon’ you always get the whole team on board. The next track, ‘listen and scream’, also came from the hell or brightness of Eden and, at a slightly slower pace, set the mood for ‘Ikarus’, which was then to fall from the sky, carried by words about loss and disappointment in interpersonal coexistence.

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What particularly caught my ears as a vegan was Adrian’s comment that he is in the process of breaking the habit of eating meat. It’s always good to hear that someone seriously considers a change in consuming behaviour and diet. He is too smart not to recognize the connection. Adrian then added that it smells like bratwurst everywhere, which thankfully elicited a laugh from the audience. Whether he found the smell of bratwurst unpleasant or rather appetizing remains his secret. Anyone who carefully follows interviews in which the bandleader has his say probably knows the effect that ‘Ikarus’ has on himself on stage: performing the song and looking into all the pairs of wide-opened eyes in the silent and concentrated audience sends chills down his spine, which in turn leads to him being able to sing with great emotion. You get an idea of all the disappointments and unpleasant encounters he had to experience in his life with people. I'm sure we all share these experiences with him in one way or another.

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A journey to 2014s ‘Elegies in Darkness’ now was made with ‘Malum’, a defiant live long-running hit that broke the reflective stillness of the previous title and got the pace back on track. It’s one of those songs, where the microphone is always held out to the audience to sing along loudly, “Keiner, keiner”. The reaction by the audience was hesitantly, obviously due to the fact that there were not just die-hard DIARY OF DREAMS fans here, but also many who joined the festival in general and wanted to hear something new and thus had no idea of this tradition or the lyrics. But it wasn’t a big thing, a professional band expects something like that may happen and can deal with the less loud feedback very well. The next announcement to the audience was “Jetzt wird es sperrig”. “Sperrig” means bulky, or maybe rough. The beautiful ‘Charma Sleeper’, my absolute live favourite, was on its way, which goes back in time really far to 2004 when the album ‘Nigredo’ was released. Soft start, soft end, and in between all the driving, bulky and rough elements that are exactly the mix that it takes to turn a song into a live experience.

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From my elevated position, I had a good view of the audience and it was nice to see how there was constant dancing and clapping, and despite the cool temperatures, the crowd of an estimated 250 people demonstrated perseverance and there was no sign of escaping to the warm clubs. For a moment, I was tempted to get a second mulled wine, but since experience has shown that it is very easy to miss entertaining events on stage if you turn away for a moment, I simply pulled the collar of my jacket a little higher and continued to follow the show. The third German-language song of the evening followed. ‘Grau im Licht’ from the album of the same name doesn’t leave too many doubts that it’s about the loss of loved ones, meaning someone you’ve lost and whose loss is so difficult that you almost forget to live. The art of effortlessly sweeping away the sadness that is just floating in the room succeeds with the following ‘Endless nights’, a song that marches with ease and is extremely danceable and whose beat and rhythm everyone can really find their way into. So, it was no wonder that Adrian’s question “Are you still OK?” was promptly answered with “Yes”.

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The set then went back to the ‘Elegies in Darkness’ album: the ‘Daemon’ was unleashed from his dungeon to dance and scream and face each and every one of us. Whenever it’s part of the setlist my heart skips a beat because it’s been one of my favourite songs from the first listen. It begins melancholy and then ends in a danceable lightness that spills over directly into the next song ‘decipher me’, which can always keep up with the lively danceability of ‘Endless nights’. From experience I knew that the main part of the concert was slowly coming to an end, which was clearly a sign that time had passed far too quickly. A big leap back in time to 2007 was made with ‘the Plague’, only to step on the gas again with ‘Undividable’ from my favourite album ‘Ego:X’ from 2011 and encourage the audience to sing along and clap to the fullest. At every concert, the magic of this song unites the audience and gets the mood really high again. What ‘Sinferno’ introduces, ‘Undividable’ rounds off.

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The sad feeling that everything will soon be over after a few encores could no longer be suppressed. The band left the stage after a short farewell and warm words of thanks, but returned immediately after the first calls for an encore. Then the distinctive intro of ‘Butterfly:Dance’ sounded into the night; a song Adrian said is 22 years old. Old men play old songs on a campus full of young people, many of whom weren’t even born when this song was written. That was probably the rough meaning of this statement. Let me know if I am wrong. With ‘Kindrom’ we got a little closer to the future, and here everyone who has to deal with psychopaths and rebellious people could scream it out loud. The battle cry “All the rebels in the world can’t bring me down! All the psychos in the world can’t bring me down!” quickly caught those who had never heard it before, and that’s how you win over new listeners.

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Then the band said goodbye for the second time and left the stage with more words of thanks, whereupon calls for encores were heard again, which, probably also due to the cool temperatures, were answered very quickly. On the way back to the stage, Adrian was engaged in a conversation with a couple in the front row, and of course, you get curious and wonder what they’re talking about. He told us: The two got engaged to a DIARY OF DREAMS song. To which, of course, remained their secret. The audience applauded to wish good luck and all the best to the lovers. When the band was back on the stage, for some reason the four guys were giggling, and the whole thing was reminiscent of the unexpectedly funny concert in Bielefeld 2021. This is of course a very inopportune moment when a sad song like ‘She and her darkness’ is supposed to end the concert. “Now the saddest will probably be the funniest song of the night,” Adrian was heard saying, but with enough concentration, the sadness of the song was driven by the sadness that the concert will be history in a few minutes.

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Farewell number three was honoured with a good round of applause and in return, there were again words of thanks from the band, which were primarily aimed at the organization team. They felt very comfortable and welcome and saw a lot of professionalism. The fact that young people are putting together a festival like this made an enormous impression. I can totally agree! Thank you, Ilmenau student club of the ILSC e.V., we all had a great time!

Setlist
01. Sinferno
02. Epicon
03. listen and scream
04. Ikarus
05. Malum
06. Charma Sleeper
07. Grau im Licht
08. Endless nights
09. Daemon
10. decipher me
11. the Plague
12. Undividable
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13. Butterfly:Dance!
14. Kindrom
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15. She and her darkness

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

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All pictures by Dani Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)

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