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ennlfrdeitrues
ic3peak 112UT Connewitz, Leipzig, Germany
6th May 2022
IC3PEAK

Leaving the train station in Leipzig I heard several people around me speaking Russian or Ukrainian - I must admit I don’t know the differences between those two languages. They both sound very similar to me. According to official numbers there are 43,000 refugees from Ukraine in the federal state of saxony at the time. However, actual figures might be higher because many refugees stay in private accommodation before they register with the local authorities.

No doubt, times are hard for the people of Ukraine these days. Albeit on a different level, times are not easy for Russians as well. Especially when they are in opposition to the government. There is also no freedom of art under Putin’s governance. There are still artists though who speak up and IC3PEAK are one of them. In a notification on Facebook, they inform: “We can’t perform in Russia while the war is going on and won’t be safe during the tour because of our clear position against it. We have to cancel all the concerts in Russia.”

DJ support

The Corona pandemic was not helpful as well in recent years. Concerts had to be rescheduled from April 2020 to November 2020, further to December 2021 and finally to May 2022. However, they finally take place. The small venue UT Connewitz in the South of Leipzig has been sold out long before the doors opened at 7:00 p.m. The evening started with a DJ set followed by a nerve wrecking concert intro which was played for almost thirty minutes. Then IC3PEAK entered the stage and made clear that no one would silence them. Singer Anastasia Kreslina announced: “We are against the war in Ukraine and against Putin!” A message which was received by the audience with applause and cheers. Despite of all of the band’s trouble the two of them have pledged to donate a portion of earnings from the remaining European dates of the current tour to support Ukraine.

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The set list mainly consisted of new material from IC3PEAK’s latest album ‘Kiss of Death’ which has been released in April 2022. The record is a rough mixture of Nu Metal, Rap sequences, and danceable electronic parts. One might guess that the audience consisted mainly of Germans. However, the fact that many people in the audience sang along the Russian lyrics quite well suggests that there were many native speakers in the audience. Statistics say there are more than 7,000 people with a Russian migration background living in the city of Leipzig alone and almost as many from other parts of the former Soviet Union in addition. How many people from Ukraine are part of these group? Impossible to tell but also pretty much irrelevant in this context. In an interview the band also points out that many Western European fans learn some Russian because they want to understand the lyrics and also want to be able to sing along.

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The message of the show was more than clear and also shown on the monitors placed at the back of the stage: “Stop the war - stand with Ukraine”. A risky statement for the band. The government of the Russian Federation has passed a law under which anyone challenging the Kremlin's version of events in Ukraine can face up long jail sentences. The law brought into force on March 4 is criminalising protests against the war with penalties of up to 15 years in prison.

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During the show singer Anastasia Kreslina rushed from one end of the stage to the other, her head bundled up in a black hoody. Instrumentalist Nickolay Kostilev stayed behind his synths most of the time, turning around occasionally for beating the drums besides him or stepping out to the front of the stage with his electric guitar. The band’s smash hit ‘Смерти больше нет’ (Death No More) was celebrated frenetically by the audience as well as the new single ‘Dead But Pretty’ and last year’s release hit ‘Vampir’. Obviously, many people in the audience were more than happy to finally see the band live and share their attitude towards life, arts and their political values.

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The whole event also made clear what IC3PEAK put in a message they published on social media:
Russia ≠ Russian government
Russia ≠ Putin

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

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All pictures by Christian W.

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