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electromaniax byAileenRitter IMG 3229Kulttempel, Oberhausen, Germany
30th September 2023
Electromaniax - A night with Rotersand and Frozen Plasma / Two Bands One Show

Somehow, Peter Jurjahn, the head of the Kulttempel in Oberhausen, always manages to offer his guests something truly special. With ‘Electromaniax’ he brings together two bands on stage that have been indispensable in the world of electronic music for what feels like an eternity. In addition, he does it in a way that has probably never been done before. Bringing ROTERSAND (RS) and FROZEN PLASMA (FP) together on stage at one evening promises to be a massive party. However, the uniqueness of the event goes further as these two bands do not just perform one after the other. They blend their sets, perform together, and support each other during their performances. This is indeed something very special. It was clear from the outset that I had to be present at this undoubtedly unique event. Even if I (like many attendees on this evening) hope that this won’t be a one-time occurrence.

The title of the event could hardly have been chosen more aptly. The protagonists of the evening are, after all, involved in several electronic projects, and some of them have already collaborated in the past. Our “Fantastic Four” share their love for electronic music and also a long-lasting friendship and great mutual respect. It was therefore not surprising that they decided to elevate their shared musical interests and experiences to a new level in this special event, intertwining the performances of ROTERSAND and FROZEN PLASMA in an unprecedented way. In addition, the concept works. The guests, who gather at the Kulttempel Oberhausen on 30th September 2023, will reciprocate the efforts and dedication of all involved with gratitude, love, and respect. Before we dive into the events this very special evening, let us say a few words about the participating bands, even though they are probably hardly in need of an introduction.

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ROTERSAND is not easily pigeonholed and has continuously evolved its musical style since its formation in 2002, consistently reinventing itself. However, they have always remained true to themselves. With influences ranging from Future Pop to Synth- and Electro Pop, EBM, Industrial, and even Techno, ROTERSAND is extremely versatile and diverse. In two decades, they have released eight studio albums, various singles and EPs. Rascal Hüppe and Krischan Jan-Eric Wesenberg are known for their intelligent Electro as well as for their intense and highly energetic live shows. /

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Frozen Plasma

Also, FROZEN PLASMA has been an integral part of club dance floors for almost two decades. The duo first crossed paths in 2005 when Vasi Vallis was on tour as a live keyboardist with VNV NATION. DIORAMA was performing as support, and during sound-checks, Vasi noticed Felix Marc’s vocals. Vasi asked Felix if he would be interested in a joint project, and in the same year, the two recorded the first FROZEN PLASMA single. The debut album followed in 2006. Since then, they have released various works, consistently earning the duo a presence on various alternative charts. Their current single, ‘Let It Rain Love’, entered the German Electronic Web Charts (GEWC) directly at #1 and has held the top position for six weeks.

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Music & Performance
The two popular bands and the unique format of today’s event are expected to draw a full house. Therefore, we set out a bit earlier, quickly pick up two friends, and then head to Oberhausen. Over an hour before the doors open, the first party enthusiasts are already waiting in front of the Kulttempel. By the time the doors open at eight, our small group has grown into a larger gathering, and a long line has formed outside. Right on time at eight, the doors open and the Kulttempel fills up quite rapidly. Even by half-past eight, it is already quite crowded, and more people are streaming into Peter Jurjahn’s club. Friends are greeted, lively conversations take place. Jokes are made, and hugs are exchanged.

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I have some time to look around and inspect today’s light installation. The existing light setup has been complemented with additional spotlights. Across the entire stage width, small LED bars are arranged in two rows. I can identify strobes and moving heads and am curious about what light wizard René Junge still has up his sleeve. The installation looks very promising, to say the least. On the screen beneath the “Electromaniax” lettering, the logos of the two bands are displayed. At nine sharp, it is lights out, fog on. Krischan and Vasi take the stage, launching a special intro for a unique event. They are greeted with shouts and applause as they take their customary places behind the console, the ones they occupy in their joint project FUTURE LIED TO US. Krischan is in a black zip-up jacket, underneath it the black t-shirt with the characteristic white blossom. On the other hand, Vasi has opted for a black short-sleeve shirt for the special evening.

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Following them are Rascal and Felix, taking their places at the microphones. Both have chosen jackets, with Rascal, as usual, in black, wearing the matching shirt for the opener beneath and sunglasses on his nose. Felix is in black and white, with a simple black muscle shirt underneath. Rascal takes the lead vocals for ‘Electronic World Transmission’ and Felix handles the second voice before switching to his own keyboard. Felix comes back to the front for the chorus. The energy is through the roof right from the opener. The four musicians leave nothing to chance. Moreover, it is already clear that the brought lighting tech was more than worth it. The lighting is perfectly coordinated. Light master René knows his craft. The audience is also in high spirits and ready to party. They are singing along, clapping, and dancing right from the start.

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ROTERSAND and FROZEN PLASMA have kicked off their hit fireworks. The next 26 songs will be drawn equally from the extensive repertoire of both bands and divided into two sets for each band. In some instances, the songs will be performed collaboratively by both bands. Sometimes Rascal takes on the second voice and accompanies with guitar or keyboard. Other times, Felix supports on the keyboard and microphone. In addition, even Vasi does not stay stuck behind the console by the end. First things first, but not necessarily in that order. After the opener, Felix and Vasi temporarily leave the stage, leaving the field to Rascal and Krischan. Now it is pure ROTERSAND, who is looking forward to “an awesome evening” with us and seamlessly continuing. In Felix’ absence, the audience takes on the “second voice” and passionately sings the chorus of ‘grey’. And grey lets true colours shine, initially red, later transitioning to blue. Rascal sheds his jacket. The sunglasses stay where they are for now, while ‘grey’ subtly transforms into ‘Forgotten Daydreams’.

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A little extra applause for Krischan before the chorus, which is once again sung by the entire hall. Before moving on to ‘Torn Realities’, Rascal expresses his gratitude. His words, however, are drowned in the loud cheers. The live anthem is wildly celebrated. Krischan dances behind the console while Rascal takes over the entire stage, jumping and dancing from one side to the other. Throughout the performance, he repeatedly seeks contact with the fans. Sometimes he kneels at the edge of the stage and holds the mic towards us. Sometimes hands are shaken, and at one point, he ventures into the crowd. But wait! That comes later. For now, Rascal stays on stage, and the audience is already going wild. In front of the stage, people are jumping up and down, dancing, clapping, singing, and shouting at the top of their lungs. Unbelievable, considering we have just begun, and “there’s more to come tonight”.

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For ‘Silence’ Rascal swaps his sunglasses for the guitar. ROTERSAND take it up a notch before we “let Vasi and Felix in again”. While the two return, Rascal puts the sunglasses back on. He keeps the guitar and starts playing. Vasi asks for quiet, “shhhhh”. Felix and Rascal begin ‘Home’ very slowly in a duet, giving me goose bumps on my arms. It sounds damn awesome. Then the tempo picks up, and the Kulttempel explodes. Felix takes over the vocals alone while Rascal works on the guitar. He joins back in for the chorus. Vasi and Krischan work together on the electronics behind the DJ console. Everyone is dancing. Krischan and Rascal bid farewell (for now) amid thunderous cheers and applause. Now, Vasi and Felix turn up the heat. It is pretty ‘Crazy’ here in the Kulttempel. The two get the crowd roaring. “It’s great to be home again, in the Kulttempel with all of you.” The audience is carried away by ‘Foolish Dreams’ and I look at dreamy faces all around me. People dance and go with the flow. Felix beams with satisfaction. “Many thanks, you dreamers!”

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‘Westend’ is “today without the gold shirt, but nonetheless, even more intense”. What a party! And just as the cheers fade, ‘Safe. Dead. Harm’ starts, and people go crazy once again. It gets into your bones and Felix smiles from ear to ear. Then FROZEN PLASMA ‘Let It Rain Love’. The recently released new single appropriately bathes the hall in red - love actually rains down. Little red hearts twirl through the room and dance over the heads of the audience, who are dancing joyfully and singing the chorus at the top of their lungs. Simply wonderful. You might think there’s no way to top that. But here come Krischan and Rascal back on stage. The “Fantastic Four” are reunited for ‘Merging Oceans’. Felix initially supports Rascal on the mic, and they sing in duet. Then Felix switches back to the keyboard and takes over the second voice from there.

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For ‘Higher Ground’ Vasi and Felix hand the stage back to their two colleagues, but we are far from being satisfied. Rascal hears this loud and clear when he asks, “Can you handle more?” The singer clears some space on the stage, and then it kicks off. I really love this song. Apparently, I’m not alone. The entire hall sings along from start to finish. There’s clapping, jumping, dancing - the vibe is just unbelievable. You can tell that the musicians enjoy the concept as much as we do. Even during ‘Whatever’ Rascal, as usual, seeks closeness to the audience and is often right up there with the fans. They reach out to him, shaking hands. The tempo picks up, and ‘First Time’ starts immediately. The orange-and-white spotlights, changing in rhythm, almost have a hypnotic effect and draw me in. Light man René does a fantastic work. The effects are wonderful to watch. It´s Awesome.

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Let’s keep the momentum going with ‘Rushing’ followed by ‘Waiting to Be Born’. Once again, I notice Rascal’s expressive facial expressions and gestures. His face, his movements convey so much emotion. The stage cannot be big enough for him. He rushes from one side to the other, keeps Krischan company behind the console, comes back to the front at the stage edge, jumps up and down - a true bundle of energy. And it effortlessly transfers to the audience, who is also celebrating with great enthusiasm. In the end, the stage seems too small for him. During ‘War on Error’ he can’t stay on the boards any longer and moves the party down into the audience. “Dance control!” He jumps along with the fans. There’s posing for a few memorable selfies, singing along with the audience. When Rascal jumps back on stage, Krischan comes to the front with him, and both of them jump from one side of the stage to the other, shouting together with the crowd. “I’m not a digit. digit, digit, digit, digit...”

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Now, Vasi and Felix are back on stage. The latter took the time to throw on a fresh shirt, maybe a souvenir from South America where FROZEN PLASMA just had a few gigs, including Mexico. The shirt features a mask like the ones worn in lucha libre (Mexican Wrestling), but glittering. “I want that shirt”, I hear immediately from the audience behind me. Rascal accompanies ‘Earthling’ on the guitar, while Felix occasionally plays the air guitar. “Oberhausen, hands up!” The Kulttempel literally shakes because “everyone together” is clapping and jumping. “Thank you very much!” Rascal and Krischan bid farewell again amid cheers and applause from the stage.

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Felix gets settled on the stage again. The cool shirt is not the only thing that glitters, or should I say, lights up. The shoes have more to offer than meets the eye at first glance. When switched on, the soles glow in red. The Kulttempel Oberhausen turns into a ‘Gefühlsmaschine’ (emotion machine). The audience does not hold back and joins in immediately. “Oberhausen! Gefühlsmaschine. Everyone together! Gefühlsmaschine. Louder! Gefühlsmaschine. You guys are the best! Gefühlsmaschine.” Everyone claps along, and the hall is boiling. “Oberhausen! What are you? Gefühlsmaschine. What are we? Gefühlsmaschine.” Then Felix drops to his knees, “Gefühlsmaschine”. Then he jumps back up and comes to the front. Felix keeps holding the mic towards us. “Oberhausen, everyone together. Gefühlsmaschine. What are you? Gefühlsmaschine. What are we? Gefühlsmaschine.”

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Loud cheers and applause. “Okie-dokie. Are you having fun?” Sure thing. “That’s the main thing tonight.” Vasi looks satisfied too and kicks off ‘Irony’, which is immediately met with intense cheering. Felix throws out a few more hearts, and then it is time to raise arms in the air and create waves, which must look fantastic from the stage. The audience is still in great spirits and in a wonderfully relaxed mood. The celebration and singing continue exuberantly. As a thank-you, there is a round of handshakes with the fans in the front rows, reaching out their hands to Felix. Someone in the audience demands ‘Tanz die Revolution’. Felix smiles. But first, there’s ‘Living on Video’, which is no less celebrated. Felix pushes the knob at his shoes, and now the soles alternate colours. He energizes the audience and continues to heat up the crowd.

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In terms of energy, he is a match for Rascal, pure power party here. “Someone wished for a song earlier. Here it comes.” ‘Tanz die Revolution’ gets things going in full swing. Here too, Felix sometimes lets the audience take over the singing, and they willingly and confidently join in. I know, I am repeating myself. But who cares. What a party, “willkomen zum Tanze der Revolution” (welcome to the dance of the revolution)! “Krischan, Rascal, well, I’d be up for having two more dudes on stage now. One tall. The other not so tall.” The audience reinforces Vasi’s request and, along with him, chants “Rotersand. Rotersand. Rotersand...” The two thought they had a bit more time for themselves, but they’re needed on stage. ‘Warmongers’ is also cheered and celebrated from the start. The dynamic vocal duo unleashes an energetic fireworks-display and that is no joke.

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Rascal takes on the shouting and backing vocals. Felix clears some space by moving the mic stand aside and amps us up once again. Krischan and Vasi sing together in the background. The quartet whips the crowd into a frenzy before leaving the stage together. The intense applause and loud, persistent encore chants quickly bring our heroes back. The encore is also tackled collectively by the four. “One, two, three, four!” Here we go with ‘Murderous Trap’ and Rascal on the keyboard while Felix sings. Around me, I see many blissful faces. “So, my dear ones! It’s getting wild in here now!” All hands are up, and there’s jumping, singing, and dancing. Felix joins Krischan and Vasi behind the console, and the three party together. Then Felix comes back to the front and amps us up once again.

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For ‘Exterminate Annihilate Destroy’ Rascal and Krischan also come to the front. The three men stand at the edge of the stage with raised fists during the song´s intro. The audience cheers. Vasi remains alone behind the console. The audience also raises the fists in the air. The stage is bathed in blue. The light flickers. Then it becomes bright. “Exterminate! Annihilate! Destroy!” Felix and Krischan disappear behind the keyboard and the console, and Rascal takes over the stage. The audience sings (or better shouts) the chorus with such vocal power that Rascal is sometimes barely audible. Krischan comes back to the front and shouts along with Rascal. Both jump from one side of the stage to the other, holding their mics into the loudly shouting audience. For the outro, Vasi and Felix also come to the front. Now the four of them stand on the stage with arms outstretched to both sides. What a sight. The audience cheers, screams, whistles, and claps. “That was kinda awesome, huh?”

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Vasi and Krischan take their places at the back again, and Rascal and Felix move to the front of the stage. Rascal and Felix sing in duet accompanied only by “piano” (Rascal starts, Felix joins in later), giving me goose bumps once again. Then both slowly lean back and the lights go out. When the lights (in blue) come back on, the initially slow ‘Undone’ turns into a real power song. The light pulses to the beat, as do the arms of both singers. Back on their feet, the artists reclaim the stage. Then Krischan and Vasi also come to the front. Even Vasi joins in the shouting. “It’s gone too far...” Our four heroes jump, dance, and sing together on stage, and the audience celebrates just as vigorously in front of them. “All together! ... Everybody needs somebody...”

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After more than two and a half hours, our four heroes bid farewell. Rascal expresses their gratitude amidst the cheers and applause of the crowd as they exit the stage. The party continues in front of the stage, most of the guests stay for the after-show party. We also keep celebrating a bit longer before we leave the Kulttempel and set on to our way home. I gladly leave the final words to Rascal this time: “Thank you so much, guys! Thank you for being here. Thank you for understanding our concept. Thank you for being so clever. Thank you for just being here, for being so nice, for looking so good. I don’t know what else to say... Many, many, many, many, many thanks!”

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01. Intro / Electronic World Transmission (RS)
02. gray (RS)
03. Forgotten Daydreams (RS)
04. Torn realities (RS)
05. Silence (RS)
06. Home (FP)
07. Crazy (FP)
08. Foolish Dreams (FP)
09. Westend (FP)
10. Safe. Dead. Harm (FP)
11. Let It Rain Love (FP)
12. Merging Oceans (RS)
13. Higher Ground (RS)
14. Whatever (RS)
15. First Time (RS)
16. Rushing (RS)
17. Waiting to Be Born (RS)
18. War on Error (RS)
19. Earthling (FP)
20. Gefühlsmaschine (FP)
21. Irony (FP)
22. Living on Video (FP)
23. Tanz die Revolution (FP)
24. Warmongers (FP)
25. Murderous Trap (FP)
26. Exterminate Annihilate Destroy (RS)
27. Undone (RS)

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

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All Pictures by Aileen Ritter

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