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asp23RuhrCongress, Bochum, Germany
8th April 2016
ASP & Spielbann

Let's go again! For the second time the Hotel Astoria opens its gates to entice the clueless and adventurous into its serpentine hallways. ASP released their new album ‘Verfallen, Folge 2: Fassaden’ (English: Decayed, Episode 2: Facades) on April 1st, again they put a spell on Germany in the context of their “Verfallen 2” (English: Decayed 2) tour together with SPIELBANN.


The gothic rock band SPIELBANN is now on tour with ASP to play several songs that are created in cooperation between those two bands. Both new albums came out on the 16th October 2015. SPIELBANNS first album ‘Schwesterchen Frost’ came out in 2013 and was supported by ASP as well, so it was just a question of time when both bands will play live together. SPIELBANN consists of Seb Storm (vocals), Nic Frost (vocals), Spyke Sinister (E- and acoustic bass), PI (drums, percussions, loops), Lias Schwarz (E- and acoustic guitar, backing vocals). / 


Music & Performance
Somewhat about 8pm the hall lights turn off and the masters voice himself sounds out loud over the speakers. After the short and spoken intro, SPIELBANN make short work and open rocking with ‘Auferstehung’, ‘Feuerteufel’ and ‘Monster, Monster’. To calm down, Nic Frost walks towards the microphone, holding a letter in her hand and looking longingly afar. ‘Lebewohl’ first starts with soft drums and guitars and forms the first quiet song of the set. But after this, the band performs with familiar powerful sound, so the audience got no real time to catch a breath. The music tempts too much for dancing and jumping. After ‘In alle Ewigkeit’, the band thanks ASP and the fans gushingly and leaves happy and sweaty the spotlight.

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

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ASP is known for their stunning live shows. Harmonious light shows, fitting to the songs and a great stage presence of every single member of the band are only two of the remarkable facts about the live gigs. It’s thrilling to see the facial expressions, hear the overwhelming voice of ASP and how you can see the emotions that he is feeling while singing the all known good songs and the new ones. The tour is meant to promote the new album, ‘Astoria 2: Fassaden, which came out only a couple of days ago. ASP is Alexander “Asp“ Spreng (vocals, programming), Lutz Demmler (guitar, keyboard, E-bass, mandoline) Sören Jordan (lead guitar), Andreas “Tossi“ Gross (E-bass) and Stefan Günther (drums). / 


Music & Performance
At 9pm it's getting dark again and Lutz, Sören, Tossi and Stefan step onto the stage. Asp comes in last and starts immediately animating the audience to clap and jump. ‘Wechselbalg’ opens as a promising entrance for that evening. The show goes on with ‘Kokon’, released in 2001 - not the oldest piece in the set but perfect to burst into wild dancing. Already, it's clear to ASP that it's going to be an awesome evening! He asks: "You can already sing, but do you also jump for me?" As if you got a choice when ‘Himmel und Hölle’ starts. Also ‘Krabat’ forces the audience to obey the master and to not stand still for a second. From the black mill it goes back into the haunted hotel, ‘Souvenir, Souvenir’, ‘Astoria verfallen’ and ‘Loreley’ carry off the listeners into the insatiable building and its faithful attendant's story. ASP assures oneself: "Such a drama on a Friday night. You didn't fall asleep, right?" Of course not! ‘Duett’ is the perfect chance to give proof of its own awareness. Those who listen thoughtfully maybe get the hidden messages between the lines.


After ‘Duett’ it's time for a little self-laudation: "We are so incredibly proud of these two albums. Please overlook it, we don't wanna sound vain but they are so beautiful!" ASP laughs and no-one wants to refuse his deserved praise. The steady applause speaks volumes. With ‘OdeM’ it's time for the first song of the new album, accompanied by ‘Köder’ and ‘Das Kollektiv’. Fortunately, also these songs are accepted well and are cheered stridently. ‘Und wir tanzen’ is one of the two oldest tracks, the audience gets to hear this evening. It's a balanced mix of calm and dynamic passages. With a seamless transition, ‘Schneefall in der Hölle’ sounds and Nic Frost from SPIELBANN enters the stage in an elegant black lace dress and sings a beautiful duet with ASP. After fading the exuberant applause, Sören got the dubious honour to check the singers makeup for photos. Their conversation stays unheard for the people but they get things straight immediately: "Now you can pull out your little friend... your favourite toy... I don't get out of this thing now, right?" Amid peals of laughter everybody whips out its smartphones and ASP tries some posing at the beginning of ‘Werben’. He grimaces and blows kisses into the crowd. It's clear that these pictures are precious memories of a particular kind.


‘Schwarzer Schmetterling’ and ‘schwarzes Blut’ again demand everything from the fans, everybody claps, sings and dances wildly. ASP put a sudden end to this euphoria and leave the stage without any further words. Instantly the whole room screams "Wir wollen brennen" (English: We wanna burn) in that old and invincible tradition. ASP enters the stage again and smilingly takes a bow. "Thanks that we get to be here. Thank Christ, tomorrow there will be only one more concert. Even if I will be just a shadow of myself... we will do that!" Everybody who already listened attentively to the new album recognizes immediately that hint to the following ‘Umrissmann’. The eagerly awaited ‘Ich will brennen’ connects seamlessly and is celebrated appropriately. Again the musicians shield away from the audiences view to thank once more the fans and to summon everybody to turn their backs to the stage. ‘Rücken an Rücken’ is the calm pole on the setlist and generates a really special atmosphere because audience and singer don't see each other so that everybody can concentrate fully on the music.


The last part of the evening is ‘Fortsetzung folgt...’ as anticipated. A tiny musical résumé of experiences on and ahead stage. That's also an auspicious  promise because ASP makes a few noises for their “Ich bin ein wahrer Gesisterfahrer” Tour and invites all present to their concert in Dortmund in October, 26th. ASP keep us excited, although the story of Paul and the Astoria has come to an end, they won't keep us waiting too long for new and thrilling tales. Beautifully (or even ugly) wrapped in emotional music, you'll be addicted to.

01. Wechselbalg
02. Kokon
03. Himmel und Hölle (Kreuzweg)
04. Krabat
05. Souvenir, Souvenir
06. Astoria verfallen
07. Loreley
08. How Far Would You Go? (The 6th of September)
09. Und wir tanzten (Ungeschickte Liebesbriefe)
10. Sündige Heilige
11. Demon Love
12. Schneefall in der Hölle (Duett with Nic Frost from Spielbann)
13. Werben
14. Schwarzer Schmetterling
15. Schwarzes Blut
16. Per Aspera Ad Aspera
17. Die Klippe
18. Ich bin ein wahrer Satan
19. Ich will brennen
20. Rücken an Rücken
21. Fortsetzung folgt

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

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All pictures by Jens Arndt

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