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apop01Ringlokschuppen, Bielefeld, Germany
11th February 2009
Apoptygma Berzerk, The Anix

APOPTYGMA BERZERK has changed a lot over the last few years. Fans debate if it's been for the better or not but frankly most think it's not. But APOPTYGMA BERZERK has always been a great live band, so we went to see them on their ‘Rocket Science’ tour despite a pretty dire new album.

The Anix

THE ANIX from Los Angeles, California, are Brandon (lead vocals/guitar), Greg (keyboards), Logan (drums), and Chris (guitars). At the show in Bielefeld, some guys next to me described THE ANIX' music as Emo - but firstly it wouldn't do the band's music any justice, and secondly what's Emo anyway? Yes, there's a lot of emotionality to THE ANIX' music, an underlying melancholy which is contrasted by the exploding choruses. And they have a great talent for irresistible hooks! On record the LA band is more electronic than on stage, I'm undecided if it's a kinda Industrial element or rather cutting Synth Pop - well, THE ANIX cite Depeche Mode as one of their major influences, after all!


Music & Performance
A couple of years ago an APOPTYGMA BERZERK audience would have never accepted a band like THE ANIX as a support for the Norwegian Electro heroes. But the times in which APOPTYGMA were seen merely as Electro heroes and pioneers of the so-called “Future Pop” are long gone, and in 2009 Stefan Groth's following has no problem with a guitar-driven band like THE ANIX at all. Quite the contrary, the feedback THE ANIX got from the crowd in Bielefeld was really positive! And obviously they received a warm welcome at all their German gigs with APOPTYGMA BERZERK so far, as keyboard player Greg (apparently somehow the “spokesmen” of the band) didn't tire to point out how much they enjoy the tour and how happy they are about being welcomed with open arms both by the audiences and the tour crew. They simply deserved such great reactions. THE ANIX offered a pretty unique version of Alternative Rock which also had a heart for great Pop melodies as well as edgier and darker tones. Most songs lack a bass guitar - the synths are doing the job instead, which adds a lot of groove to the sound. Live the guitars are a little more dominant than on their debut album ‘Demolition City’, from which THE ANIX presented a few of the many highlights at their Bielefeld show.

Songs like ‘Bullets without a Gun’ or ‘Don't Save Your Breath’ are straight rockers with a hymnal chorus, while ‘This Game’ is a dark, brooding mid-tempo track with a luring synth line. THE ANIX also performed a cover version of FILTER's ‘Hey Man Nice Shot’ (yep, makes sense and sounded good!) as well as a brand new and yet unreleased song called ‘Take My Future’. The whole set was very well received by the headliner's audience, and I'm sure THE ANIX won a few new fans this night!

01. Long Way Out
02. Bullets without a Gun
03. This Game
04. Half the World Away
05. Hey Man, Nice Shot
06. Don't Save Your Breath
07. Resident One
08. Take My Future

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 6
Total: 7.8 / 10


Apoptygma Berzerk

Stephan Groth, Geir Bratland, Angel and Fredrik Brarud are APOPYTGMA BERZERK 2009! Stefan Groth has come a long way with his band APOPTYGMA BERZERK! Starting as solo project in the Goth / EBM underground, evolving to one of the pioneers of a whole new genre, Future Pop, to embracing Alternative Rock as a fully-fledged band, APOP does indeed have a long and rich history. Not all old APOP fans are happy with this evolution; some of the old Electro heads feel somewhat alienated by the recent Rock tendencies of the last two APOPTYGMA albums. I surely don't mind some nice, guitar-driven Rock but still I'm not too fond of their 2005 album ‘You And Me Against The World’ and, in particular, their new album ‘Rocket Science’. While their 2005 effort spawned great Pop singles like ‘In This Together’ and ‘Shine On’ their new full-length release sounds a bit too flat and uninspired. Well, APOPTYGMA BERZERK is always a different thing and so far they never failed to put on a great show so I nevertheless looked forward to check them out at the “Rocket Science” tour. /

Music & Performance
It was a good decision to relocate the gig to the smaller hall of the Ringlokschuppen, as the main hall is pretty huge and the approx. 500 people who turned up for the APOPTYGMA BERZERK show would have looked lost there. The smaller hall looked quite packed, and after all it's a pretty nice venue. APOPTYGMA BERZERK entered the show fairly quickly after the support act and started off with ‘Weight of The World’, the opener of their new album. I ticked the first point in my check list - yes, the new songs do indeed sound better live than they do on record! The lead single of ‘Rocket Science’, ‘Apollo’ followed as the second song of the set already, but it was the classic ‘Eclipsed’, performed as a reasonably reworked version, which truly raised the pulse. The light show was pretty stunning and clever, with five LED screen hanging from the stage top between the band members. These LEDs allowed everything from video displays to cool light effects. Eye candy!

The band was apparently also quite happy with what they saw - an audience which was truly up for it and ready for a good party. Honestly, I expected that quite a few fans would wait for the old stuff while being rather indifferent to the new songs, but it wasn't like this. After ‘Eclipse’, APOPTYGMA BERZERK presented a selection of their rockier stuff from their last two albums, including the frenetically applauded hit single ‘In This Together’. But old buggers like me also got what they desired - ‘Love Never Dies’ (from 1997) was quite a treat, while ‘Until The End Of The World’ (from 2002's ‘Harmonizer’ album) caused a big dancing fest among the crowd. With the new song ‘Butterfly Defect’ the ballad department came on, nicely blending over to the first piano bars of ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ - a nice obeisance of one of Stefan Groth's heroes, NEW ORDER, and a pretty different and wonderful version!

The end of the show was a true APOP hit parade. ‘Kathy's Song’ is Synth Pop galore and of course still a fan fave, while the HOUSE OF LOVE cover ‘Shine On’ was the sing-along of the night. I would have loved to hear ‘Deep Red’ (performed at other shows of this tour) but APOPTYGMA offered more classics in their encore, with the stomping ‘Starsign’, ‘Mourn’ and the 1996 single ‘Non-Stop Violence’. I'm still no big fan of APOPTYGMA BERZERK's latest releases but at their “Rocket Science” tour they proved that they still haven't lost it, and that the Norwegian outlet is simply, a great live band!

01. Weight of the World
02. Apollo
03. Eclipse
04. Mercy Kill
05. Asleep or Awake
06. Lost in Translation
07. In this Together
08. Shadow
09. Black vs. White
10. You Keep Me From Falling Apart
11. Love Never Dies
12. Until The End of the World
13. Butterfly Defect
14. Bizarre Love Triangle
15. Kathy's Song
16. Shine On
17. Starsign
18. Non-Stop Violence
19. Mourn

Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 9
Total: 7.9 7 10

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / /

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