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Stahlwerk, Düsseldorf, Germany
23rd October 2010
And One, f.o.d. & Gecko Sector

Steve Naghavi’s AND ONE invited his fans to the “Tanz-o-mat Fulltime Show”, a short tour through a couple of German cities. What might look like a short tour between two albums to convert fan devotion into cash turns out as a completely different story. We checked out the sold-out show at the Stahlwerk in Düsseldorf, which also featured the support acts GECKO SECTOR and F.O.D.!

Gecko Sector

The yet unsigned GECKO SECTOR is a spin-off of FUNKER VOGT - a collaboration between FUNKER-mastermind Gerrit Thomas and vocalist Stefan Winkel, to be precise. They started their mutual project in 2007 after they met at a club, and after a lot of studio work GECKO SECTOR finally started to perform live in 2010. GECKO SECTOR is Stefan "DJ" Winkel (vocals, lyrics) & Gerrit Thomas (composing, production). /

Music & Performance
The Stahlwerk was still half-empty, at best, when GECKO SECTOR entered the stage. Many people obviously had no idea that there are actually two support bands, and if they had they surely had no idea who the first band would be. GECKO SECTOR was only announced as “first support act”, with the band’s name mentioned nowhere. Maybe someone did them a favour with this, as their live performance wasn’t exactly thrilling. Dressed all in white, complete with hoodies and baseball caps, Thomas, Winkel, and their additional live keyboarder looked rather like a leftover from a 1990s Techno Rave, and at times they also sounded like that.

Winkler did his best to deliver a good performance, and we should acknowledge that he did a decent job for someone who apparently has not much live experiences. But even though Gerrit Thomas has a wealth of experience as a producer with his other bands from FUNKER VOGT to RAVENOUS, the music itself sounded too generic and trivial. Mean bastards would claim now that you can say the same about most of his other musical outlets - and everyone knows that I’m indeed a mean bastard! GECKO SECTOR failed to make an impact, despite the efforts of Winkel, and if you’ve followed electronic music for a couple of years already you’ve heard similar stuff too many times. At least the AND ONE fans gave GECKO SECTOR a warm welcome and polite applause but it’s a long way to go for GECKO SECTOR to build up their own profile. For once I keep my fingers crossed for this young project that they will succeed in this.

Music: 5
Performance: 6
Sound: 6
Light: 6
Total: 5.6 / 10


Shortly before F.O.D. is going to release their second full-length ‘Maschinentanz’ at the end of November, the quartet has embarked on the “Tanzomat Fulltime Show” tour with AND ONE. It’s not the first time that F.O.D. support Steve Naghavi & Co., so some AND ONE fans might be already familiar with F.O.D. Their first album, ‘Synthesizer Tanzmusik’, was released in 2008 and offered quite some variety but the focus is clearly - as the titles suggest - on dance music. I’m sure ‘Maschinentanz’ (which I haven’t listened to yet) will be no different and offer a mix of catchy Synth Pop and straightforward EBM just once more. German Electro band F.O.D. is eXcess D (vocals, composition, programming), Eva Pölzing (vocals), An/dress a. Anderson (lyrics, synths), and André van den Gerk (synths). /

Music & Performance
White clothing dominated the stage again (was there some sort of agreement between the bands?) when F.O.D. hit the stage. The venue was well-filled by now, and the audience was ready to rumble and that F.O.D.’s sound is often rather close to AND ONE surely helped to get a good crowd response. The Stahlwerk is infamous for horrible acoustics, at least in the back, but thankfully the sound was much better now than during GECKO EFFECT’s gig. F.O.D. delivered, last but not least because of front man eXcess D’s good performance, and their beat-driven show was rewarded with almost euphoric feedback. Not bad for a support act!

Singer Eva Pölzing, previously member of the Goffick cheese masters BLUTENGEL, joined the boys after a couple of songs and proved that she has indeed a nice voice. I for one prefer the energetic male vocals of eXcess D, and when F.O.D. throw in some PRODIGY tunes it’s just big fun! All in all a good and entertaining show, and as it is F.O.D.’s primary goal to make people dance and enjoy themselves it has to be said that they succeeded in Düsseldorf!

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

And One

No need for a long introduction for AND ONE, as the Berlin-based Synth trio is one of the most popular bands from their genre. Founded in 1989, when Naghavi and Ruiz were young teenage club-goers at places like the famous Linientreu in Berlin, AND ONE soon released their first EBM floor-filler with their debut single ‘Metalhammer’, released on Machinery records in 1990. The first album, ‘Anguish’, followed in 1991 and marked a very prolific era for AND ONE. Up to 1994 the band released one album per year, plus several singles and EPs. By the mid-90s AND ONE had established their profile with simple but hypnotizing and catchy Electro meandering between the sonic worlds of Synth Pop heroes like early DEPECHE MODE or CAMOUFLAGE and the straight EBM tunes of pioneers like NITZER EBB and FRONT 242. The hit single ‘Deutschmaschine’ (1995) is a fine example for the typical AND ONE sound, with a significant AND ONE bass line (did they ever change the sound of their bass lines since then?), simplistic yet charming melodies, lyrics which wander from darker issues to a very ironic, tongue-in-cheek style, and last but not least Steve Naghavi’s recognizable voice.

Signing to major label Virgin in 1997 granted AND ONE some chart success in their home-country Germany but after a longer break they signed to an Indie label, Out Of Line, in 2006 to release the album ‘Body Pop’, followed by the compilation ‘Bodypop 1½’. AND ONE is Steve Naghavi. And various other people - after a couple of line-up changes, Gio van Oli and rejoined founding member Chris Ruiz complete the band since 2001. /

Music & Performance
You could tell that the Stahlwerk was sold-out when AND ONE started their show, as it was packed to the roof with beads of sweat coming down the walls. Not much place to dance and move, though, but the band was welcomed by a roaring cheer when the curtain dropped after the intro. Steve Naghavi sported a tight and somewhat militaristic outfit, complete with white shirt, collar, neck tie, braces and a black brassard with the AND ONE logo in a white circle on his right arm. Well, one might complain that it looked like a little Fuhrer outfit, as especially the brassard reminded on the red/white armbands the Nazi used to wear, but you have to be an ignorant booby to accuse the Iran-born (!) singer to be a German nationalists! It’s rather little Steve pulling a leg and the stern, militaristic outfit is quite a contrast to the ironic attitude of Naghavi, who smirks and prances around on stage all the time.

The set list was quite impressive, with a total of 35(!) songs including lots of old stuff AND ONE haven’t perform in a while. ‘Metalhammer’ is a fine example here, which pleased together with tracks like ‘Deutschmaschine’, ‘Second Front’ or ‘Steine sind Steine’ those who prefer the harder-edged, more EBM-ish side of AND ONE. But with hits like ‘Get You Closer’, ‘Sometimes’, a speeded-up ‘Für’ or ‘Traumfrau’, Naghavi and his band mates also pleased the Pop fans in the crowd. However, especially in the first half of the show the party factor was not as high as one would expect. Maybe because it was simply too packed to have a nice little dance fest, maybe because AND ONE interrupted the flow of the show too often with darker and perhaps lesser know tunes like ‘The Secret’, ‘Sexkeit’ or ‘My Warrior’, too many ups and downs instead of a nice, evolving build-up. Anyway, the second half of the show corrected this impression and especially the two DEPECHE MODE cover versions ‘But Not Tonight’ and ‘Get the Balance Right’ and A-HA’s ‘The Sun Always Shines On TV’ caused near-hysteria reactions in the 2,200 heads strong audience. Steve Naghavi, while being a little less talkative than usual, was obviously pleased with the feedback from this huge crowd and thoroughly enjoyed being on stage.

After all, Steve Naghavi still lives a teenager boy’s dream - the kind of dream kids dream when listening to their favourite music in their bedrooms and dancing and posing like their favourite Pop stars in front of a mirror. Naghavi exchanged the mirror with huge audiences but despite all the professionalism he has acquired over the years he still often looks like a young boy living his dream. And sometimes he likes to do things off the beaten track - the whole “Tanzomat” tour is actually an example for that! While other bands might tour between albums to make some cash, AND ONE embarked on this tour to make the next album actually! On Saturdays they play shows, the rest of the week the band sits in the studio to produce and improve material they’ve just tried and tested live. So Düsseldorf - the second show of the “Tanzomat” tour - got three brand-new songs, which will be either tweaked and improved or replaced by other new songs in the next few shows. The goal is that at the end of the tour AND ONE will have a new album in their hands which already passed the live test in front of an audience. Quite an unusual approach indeed!

But Düsseldorf got a lot of classic AND ONE songs, and as Naghavi, Ruiz and van Oli left the audience on a high after the main set they returned for a generous encore. A total of eleven songs! Well, maybe just ten and a half, as the song ‘Klaus’ was only performed in a somewhat adumbrated version - on the other hand AND ONE through in DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Photographic’ halfway through ‘Sternradio’. Just another broad hint that Naghavi is still such a fan-boy! the AND ONE fan-boys and -girls in the crowd freaked out during old big hits like ‘Techno Man’, ‘Panzermensch’, ‘High’ and a tougher sounding version of ‘Sitata Tirulala’, and when everybody thought after ‘Military Fashion Show’ that the show was over AND ONE surprised everyone with yet another encore and a both funny and touching finale with ‘So klingt Liebe’. The many fans clearly love Steve Naghavi’s AND ONE - not bad for a fan-boy, who’s just living his dream for so many years already!

01. ICE (Intro)
02. Mirror In Your Heart
03. Love And Fingers
04. The Secret
05. Sometimes
06. Only Your Dreams (new song, preliminary title!)
07. Love You To The End
08. My Warrior
09. Sexkeit
10. Electrocution (new song, preliminary title!)
11. Deutschmaschine
12. Metalhammer
13. Get The Balance Right (DEPECHE MODE)
14. But Not Tonight (DEPECHE MODE)
15. Get You Closer
16. Friends In Heaven
17. Traumfrau
18. Second Front
19. Steine Sind Steine
20. The Aim Is In Your Head (new song, preliminary title!)
21. The Sun Always Shines On TV (A-HA)
22. Stand The Pain
23. Für
24. Men In Uniform
25. Sitata Tirulala
26. Anguish
27. Panzermensch
28. High
29. Techno Man
30. Bodynerv
31. Tanz der Arroganz
32. Sternradio / Photographic (DEPECHE MODE)
33. Military Fashion Show
34. Klaus (acapella)
35. So Klingt Liebe

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 9
Total: 8.2 / 10

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / /

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