23rd November 2018
Solar Fake, Hyperhate & X-0rtiN
It happened so that I’m staying up in Kiev or rather in its suburb towns at the moment when a famous German duo Solar Fake performed in the capital of Ukraine. I would not say that I am a big fan of their music, but it was interesting to visit the concert in Kiev especially with the fact that some of my old and new friends were about to be there. Therefore attending a concert on Friday evening was the priority event of a personal weekend.
The event took place in a club called “Volume Club", which was not quite in the centre of Kiev although it was also far from the outskirts. As a result it was quite easy to get to the club without walking around the back streets of the Kiev periphery in the darkness. During the 15 minuts walk from the underground railway station to the club I felt like walking through the industrial area and then through normal quarter, where people live. The club was part of the local culture palace building called “Rostok”. But the entrance to the club was from the side and not through the palace itself, so I didn’t see the view of the monumental building of the local cultural centre from the inside. “Volume Club” is actually a new location of the famous rock club “Barvy”, which was previously located in one of the lanes relatively close to the same culture palace. The rock club “Barvy” existed in the 80s and many Ukrainian rock fans consider it as the cultural centre of the underground movement in the 80s and 90s.
In February 2018 “Barvy” moved to a new location, became wider and more global although according to the owners the format didn’t change. The dancefloor was located on the second floor with a fairly decent large stage, a bar in front of it, little chill out with tables in front of the bar and a VIP zone on the second floor of the building. The atmosphere was quite cosy, the sound didn’t disappoint, but the choice of alcohol in the bar and the speed of service were under a question mark. But it’s all details. The audience was standard for gothic and industrial events in post-soviet countries. Goths mixed with metal heads and alternative audience as well as a couple of regular music lovers. This is normal and even good, because otherwise the dark scene here will not survive, although it is very difficult to call it completely alive. Someone sat and slowly sipped his beer, someone walked measuredly into a smoking room for another portion of nicotine, someone looked at the stage in anticipation, where the show of the first band of the evening was about to start...
Ukrainian formation X-0RTIN is essentially an updated version of another project NITR0-X, which existed from 2014 to 2017. It was 2017 when X-0RTIN appeared on the scene of post-industrial music. It is obvious, that X-0RTIN duo / trio has no rich discography. At the moment the project was part of the compilation ‘Terror Night, Vol. 3’ of the Russian label Insane Records. The musicians themselves position themselves as “hard dance / industrial rave”. Maybe their sound will be like this on the studio recordings, but at the concert everything was different. On the stage there were two people, one of whom stood and conjured over keyboards, and the second participant without any special movements and touches cast out the distorted vocal accompaniment. And if the music could somehow be accepted and even being liked (most probably not by me), the vocals were set up quietly and barely noticeable and sounded monotonous and without any energetic boost.
The behaviour of the vocalist also requires at least some effort so X-0RTIN will not just be on stage, but become the real warming up act before the performances of other bands. And yes, the industrial rave style doesn’t really exist, but if it existed, it would have sounded more like the early works of the Germans [X]-RX. So X-0RTIN sounded like the usual dark electro with a more trance-like sound a bit similar to the second album of the German project RE:\LEGION (only worse and more monotonous). And if all their performance was so monotonous and tedious, then there would have been hard to call X-0RTIN the warming up act. But on the last four songs Denis Cherryman appeared on the stage and saved the performance of the opening band. Denis is known for his participation in the well-known on the post-soviet scene of the dark electro project DIRTY BIRD 13, which is currently in a sleep mode, and his solo project THE CHERRY MAN.
Now he has undergone a general synth-wave epidemic creating a new project called BLAZERJACKET, with which he recently performed as the opening project of the AMERICANS DANCE WITH THE DEAD in Kiev. However at this event the vocalist of DIRTY BIRD 13 decided to go back in time to the old days and perform several tracks of his old project. And these four tracks were actually almost the best performance of the evening. Powerful dark electro with excellent vocals and powerful energy, old songs including their old hit ‘Saga’ went very well and were a pleasant surprise especially for those who visited Energy Open Air festival in the early 10s. After such a performance it remains to hope that the long-time frozen project DIRTY BIRD 13 will someday return to the activities and light up the European dance floors and charts, which is quite possible especially considering the already gained experience in composing music in other electronic styles.
The Kharkov-based project HYPERHATE was formed in 2011 by Igor known for his work in his more experimental electronic project THE_MAAAIGS. Their first recordings immediately attracted the attention of post-industrial music fans and not only in Ukraine, but also in Europe. Initially the group included two more participants from the project MORTAL INVASION, but a year later they left the project. In 2012 HYPERHATE released their debut and at the moment only full-length album, which was positively received by lovers of this music not only in Ukraine and Europe, but also in America.
During their career the musicians performed as the warm up band of various European guests in different places of Ukraine and as invited guests outside their country. Both participants appeared on the stage. One stood behind the keyboards and Igor talked to the public and warmed up the crowd. Good quality, powerful sound, hard beats, aggressive vocals and bursting melodies were diluted with a dark electro cover version of the well-known black metal project BURZUM and more rhythmic, but no less experimental version of the composition of Igor’s old project THE_MAAAIGS. I would not call the HYPERHATE performance super-interesting or out of the ordinary with a twist and chic, but it turned out quite well and good for warming up project.
At the end of the performance the musicians had some problems with the equipment, so some compositions including the main hit ‘Hate You!’ were not performed and the performance ended with the dancing girl, so everything went well in the end. In fact at the moment HYPERHATE is almost the only existing dark electro project in Ukraine, so such personnel should be taken care of by everybody. And the performance was good for warming up, but not more than this.
Year 2006. Recently the fourth album of the gothic-rock band ZERAPHINE was released. At the same time vocalist and the ZERAPHINE and DREADFUL SHADOWS’ frontman Sven Friedrich thought about to create something electronic that absorbs gothic romanticism, synthetic sound and dance rhythms. In 2007 the world learned about the formation of the SOLAR FAKE project and in 2009 Sven’s debut work already saw the music world. At the moment the German duo has five solo albums in hand, the last of which was released in the 2018 and has already managed to light up in the top twenty of the German charts.
Previously SOLAR FAKE already performed in Ukraine, as one of the headliners of the Deti Nochi (Children of the Night) festival in 2012. But this time they visited Kiev with their full time show. By the time it started the dancefloor in front of the stage was already sufficiently filled so it was not so easy to move around, but still it was not sold-out situation. Sven and Andre immediately started with their fiery dance synth tunes from both old albums and new ones. It was understood, that the musicians wanted to promote a new work, so many new tracks were performed during the show.
They sounded quite good, but the old known hits ‘More Than This’, ‘My Spaces’, ‘The Pages’ and others were still more expected and appreciated by the audience. The performance didn’t have some kind of the great show, but the audience sang and supported the musicians on each song charging the musicians with energy, which the Germans were returning back to them doubly. The sound in general was at a good level, but still depended on the location of your ears in the club (it sounded badly on the sides). As a result the audience was completely ecstatic and SOLAR FAKE went out twice for an encore. This shows how much the audience liked the performance and to perform for the musicians. Everything went exactly as expected.
Everything went exactly as expected. Literally. Everything described above is relevant for fans of SOLAR FAKE and for those who have never been to their performance before. I have already visited their concerts twice, so I saw nothing new. In fact all their shows were the same. On the one hand this is good, because there is stability and there is no desire to pursue ephemeral “professional growth”, which usually implies excessive use of guitars, unnecessary drums or poor dubstep attempts, but on the other hand I would like to hear a different atmosphere, different design of the show and music and maybe even different sound, but not sure about this part of “new” stuff. But that is me. And for those who have not seen the SOLAR FAKE before it went excellent. Thanks to the bands, thanks to the visitors, thanks to the organizers for the evening. Someone came to this even because of famous Germans, someone came to drink and relax, and someone came just to hang out. I came to see. I didn’t visit a dark scene events in Ukraine for a long time and it was pleasant to see that the scene was not completely dead yet. “The patient is more alive than dead” and it is good.
All Pictures by Count_Death