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Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg, Germany
4th April 2009

The German author E. T. A. HOFFMANN (1776-1822) and his acts are an important source of inspiration for the Berlin band COPPELIUS that named itself after the mean advocate in the novel “Der Sandmann” (“The Sandman”). The sestet, consisting of the butler Bastille (vocals), Max Coppella (vocals, clarinet), Graf Lindorf (vocals, cello), Comte Caspar (vocals, clarinet), Nobusama (drums) and Sissy Voss (double bass), didn’t only commit itself to the era of the German Romanticism, but also set a high value on being authentic concerning appearance and language. By releasing the EPs `Coppelius´ (2003), `1803´ (2004) and `To my Creator´ (2005) followed by the long-players `Time-Zeit´ (2007) and `Tumult!´ (2009), the band gained a lot of fans who are fascinated by the extraordinary sound and the special performance on stage.

After an extended tour through German clubs in 2008, the representatives of the so-called “Chamber Core” are touring again in accordance with the release of the recent album `Tumult!´. On 4th April, COPPELIUS came to the club Colos-Saal in Aschaffenburg.,

I read on the Colos-Saal´s website that the Czech support act INNOCENS wasn’t able to play that evening. Nevertheless the concert should start at 9pm. It was a sunny and warm spring day. Therefore, I enjoyed waiting outside until the admission should be proceeded. All the fans, who had gathered at the front door, were welcomed by the crew in the usual way. It’s always remarkable how friendly and courteous the staff is. Due to the great stage design, I decided to climb a board on the hall’s right side instead of preferring a standing room in the first rows. The musicians´ affinity to the 19th century was displayed with a cello, a double bass and two clarinets. The modern drum set stood out from the crowd of the more old-fashioned instruments. Furthermore, the stage was decorated with a huge backdrop (showing the COPPELIUS logo), ancient picture frames and chairs, an old radio and striped wallpapers.

Music & Performance
Some minutes past 9pm, the lights went off and the swallow-tailed coat wearing butler Bastille entered the stage and turned the old radio on. One by one, his colleagues appeared on stage and went to their instruments to start a great performance that is hardly comparable to other concerts. Firstly, let’s take a look at the music which was characterized by the classical instruments. This led to a soundscape similar to the style of APOCALYPTICA. The members of COPPELIUS created the expression “Chamber Metal” that hit the bull’s eye. The lyrics are morbid, bizarre and a bit weird. There was always a hint of sarcasm and black humour, when they broached the issue of criminal activities as well as other abysmal depths of humanity. Performing the song `Urinstinkt´, the musicians sang about a drug-addicted loser’s path of life who finally became a murderer.

I noticed some guiding themes E. T. A. HOFFMANN had used in his novels. For example, COPPELIUS told the horrible story of a man who wants to get his victim’s eyes (`Schöne Augen´). The piece `Spring doch´ also seemed to be inspired by the end of the novel “Der Sandmann”. The Motörhead cover `1916´, which was one of the encore songs and a perfect addition to the setlist, dealt with a dying young soldier in World War I. In my opinion, the concert was special due to the show which was very theatre-like. I don’t know any other band who has got an own butler serving drinks and introducing the upcoming songs. Of course, the costumes played a big role, as they were eye-candy for the audience and perfectly representing the era COPPELIUS stands for. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be fair to reduce the formation to the morbid make-up and certain crankiness, as the gentlemen did a great job by playing their instruments.

For example, the drummer Nobusama played a brilliant solo lasting several minutes as well as the virtuoso clarinettists did. There was always enough time and breath for some jokes and spontaneous interludes. When a girl’s mobile phone was ringing, Bastille demanded to have a conversation with the caller. After having a chat, he told the surely surprised person that he should call back in ten minutes, as they had to finish the show at first. That situation raised a great laugh. Furthermore, the band ordered a girl on stage who should play the triangle. If you plan to attend a COPPELIUS concert, you will have to know some conventions. Thus, if you want to listen to an additional song, you should shout “Da Capo”. And so the Aschaffenburg audience did. To sum up: I experienced an extraordinary concert and really enjoyed myself.

01. Transylvania
02. Der Advokat
03. Komposition
04. Zu Dir
05. Time-Zeit
06. To my Creator
07. Lilienthal
08. Die Glocke
09. Coppelia
10. Urinstinkt
11. Habgier
12. Rightful King
13. Bass Solo
14. Genghis Khan
15. Das Amulett
16. Spring doch
17. Ouvertüre
18. Schöne Augen
19. Charlotte the Harlot
20. 1916

Music: 7
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 8.2 / 10

All pictures by Katrin Renner (

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