25th September 2021
Konzertsommer im Revier: Diorama & Zoodrake
It’s been a while since I travelled that far for a concert - and usually when it happened it was from Germany to Norway. Now it was the other way round: Oslo - Hamburg - Gelsenkirchen. A very special weekend trip and so deeply missed. The last show of the season 2021 at Circus Probst was about to happen. DIORAMA finally were able to present their latest album ‘Tiny Missing Fragments’ live after the previously planned show in November 2020 couldn’t happen due to Germany getting into the second lockdown just a few days before. The atmosphere before the show was so warm and great. So lovely to meet so many known faces and to have a nice chat with so many, just sharing the anticipation as we’ve all been waiting for at least 799 days for another DIORAMA live show to happen.
ZOODRAKE was founded in 2019 and is the project of Hilton Theissen (also known from AKANOID, DARK MILLENIUM, THE JOKE JAY, previously singer in SEADRAKE). The debut album ‘Purified’ was released in 2020. ZOODRAKE is combining finest Electronic and Pop elements and creates music with its own signature. The new album ‘seven’ is being released on the 1st October 2021 - less than a week after this show. https://www.zoodrake.de/
Music & Performance
It might seem a bit of a challenge to conquer the circus arena with just two people - Hilton as the frontman and Silvveil behind the keyboard. But Hilton knows what he does. And it shows he is an experienced artist - very engaged with the audience and always having in mind to not forget the people who are also sitting or better dancing left and right. A set consisting of ten songs - strong attitude, remarkable voice and lots of energy. I only had seen SEADRAKE, Hilton’s previous band live once just before the break-up and was wondering how ZOODRAKE will be. Despite that it’s been quite a while ago, I believe I liked this show even more. You really feel that Hilton puts a lot of energy and effort into the shows and also really enjoys the stage or in this case arena.
The set started with the new single ‘Success Of The Snake’ and made it clear from the beginning what we might expect - as already mentioned, a really energetic, fun gig and great start to a memorable evening. The songs from the debut album ‘Purified’ as well as the ones from the new album ‘seven’ prove that ZOODRAKE came to stay.
01. Success Of The Snake
02. Sent To You
04. On The Run
06. Nothing’s Wrong
07. Our Light
08. Death Bloom
Total: 8 / 10
Not sure what to tell you about DIORAMA that you might not know yet? The band was founded in 1996 which means we are talking about 25 years of music from DIORAMA this year and about 10 albums and a whole bunch of other releases. To me personally they are a very unique music project and no genre description feels as it would be able to even get close enough to what they are and do. Live shows may be somewhere between pure fragility and mania. No show is the same and so also no album feels like the other. DIORAMA are masters in challenging their follower’s audio expectations with every release. That is something some might not get along with, I personally love it. Some of the songs might not feel too accessible at the beginning, but the more you give it a listen, the deeper it pulls you down in a world that cannot be described but has to be felt. https://diorama-music.com/
Music & Performance
We knew that this would be the first time for us to hear the songs from the current album ‘Tiny Missing Fragments’ live and the anticipation towards this evening is not possible to describe with words. Everyone was super excited, emotional or just happy to be here and to know this show is really finally happening! When in March 2020 the first lockdown was announced - it was the E-Tropolis Festival that was my first event to be cancelled - and of course I wanted to go there mostly because of DIORAMA. When kind of the same happened in November 2020 with DIORAMA and the 2nd lockdown and also in January 2021 where the postponed show should take place - I did not dare to look forward to this show until just a very few days before.
As the intro to the show DIORAMA chose ‘Beamers’, an instrumental track with a length of somewhat more than seven minutes! The position of the light made me feel as if I was in a church and the music just underlined the magic of this moment. Hard to put in words the moment when the band finally came on stage… just letting sink the moment when everyone welcomed them warmly for this last evening at Circus Probst (for now). It just felt so incredibly good to finally see the band on stage that we all have missed so much. And what an intense evening we’ve been gifted! Patience really pays off, and so do spontaneous decisions to back flights and train tickets 1.5 weeks before the show. The setlist was alternating between new songs from ‘Tiny Missing Fragments’ and the well-known “Gassenhauer” - as in hits, along with some rare and magical gems.
Just looking into the first part switching between ‘Avatars’, ‘Erase Me’, ‘Gasoline’ and ‘Child of Entertainment’… I was actually expecting to get super emotional in another way, but instead I caught myself widely grinning. Happiness, is it you? Torben having a little talk to the audience after the first song, mentioning that Felix has been here probably for 5,000 times, and so probably many of us have visited the circus arena a few times before. For DIORAMA it’s been the first time. I’ve missed the sarcastic side notes from Torben so much” “Who would have thought two years ago that you would end up going to a circus so often?” The truth. Last time before the pandemic was for me some time as a child. Along with this, Torben mentioned that the evening today follows the 3G concept (which usually means translated from German - vaccinated, recovered or tested) - but in terms of DIORAMA of course stands for “Geil, Geil, Geil” which I won’t translate. You’ll figure it out yourself.
And I loved so much that ‘Gasoline’, one of the singles from the current album, was welcomed with as much enthusiasm as the older, well-known songs. My personal highlight was definitely hearing ‘Sensation’ being performed for the first time live! Damn, I could listen to it on repeat for days. ‘Sensation’ is such a great, wild, experimental song and Torben’s and Felix’ voices are creating something very special along with Zura and Marquess shaping the atmosphere. Another comment from Torben in between - “Popcorn for all!” - unfortunately not true, would have been fun though to attend a DIORAMA show with a bucket of popcorn in your hands. But probably not very appropriate. ‘Irreversible’ has been dedicated by Torben to everyone who has experienced struggles in one or another way throughout the past almost two years. A thoughtful moment, thinking of what and who we struggled with, trying to escape our own demons or for some even the people we lost.
There won’t be a “back to how it was before”, even if we try to pretend. A very special one was ‘Prozac Junkies’ from 2005’s ‘amaroid’ album - dark, intense, sucking in. The main set ended with the loved ‘Why’, a fan hymn actually. And I wondered how the time passed by so fast that we already reached the encore part of the evening? Three more songs - the complex ‘Patchwork’, for me the first DIORAMA song I listened to ‘Synthesize Me’ and the incredibly magical ‘Minimum’ - making it impossible not to get emotional. DIORAMA concerts are always the perfectly insane balance between beauty, madness, life, passion and despair, and always as different as they can be. This show was no exception! The beauty lies in tiny fragments…
03. Erase Me
05. Child Of Entertainment
06. E Minor
10. Exit The Grey
12. Prozac Junkies
15. Synthesize Me
16. The Minimum
Total: 10 / 10
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)