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Solar Fake Königstein 2023Königstein Fortress, Königstein, Germany
21st July 2023
Solar Fake - Königstein Fortress Open Air - Support: Future Lied To Us

Concerts at Königstein Fortress are always something special. The wonderful landscape of Saxon Switzerland, the impressive backdrop of the fortress, the enchanting atmosphere in the Kasemattenhof. When SOLAR FAKE announce that they will be performing a concert at the legendary Königstein Fortress Open Air, you simply have to be there. For me, it was clear from the announcement of this event that I’ll be attending. And just when you think it can’t get any better, the special guest adds the finishing touch. SOLAR FAKE and FUTURE LIED TO US in this dreamlike setting - fantastic. Now, if only the weather cooperates...

Future Lied To Us

FUTURE LIED TO US (shortened as FLTU) had their first live performance in October 2016 at the charity festival in the Kulttempel Oberhausen. Legend has it that at that time, there were no song titles yet. However, Vais Vallis (FROZEN PLASMA, REAPER, NAMNAMBULU), Krishan Jan-Eric Wesenberg (ROTERSAND, CYTO), and Tom Lesczenski ([:SITD:]) still captured the hearts of the audience. After the release of their first album ‘Presence,’ however, the rising star was in danger of falling. Singer Tom left the band in winter 2020 for personal reasons. Thus, the future was uncertain at first. In December 2021, they were able to complete the trio again with singer Damasius Venys (MENTAL EXILE), who had left MONDTRÄUME in 2021.

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Till now the (new) trio has already released two new EPs and performed at various festivals. The future is prepared, and just like in 2016 during their first performance, FLTU will be sharing new songs with us today in the Kasemattenhof of Königstein Fortress. Songs that are so new that they don’t even have a title yet.

Music & Performance
In addition to the two completely new songs mentioned above, FLTU will also present us familiar titles. And in doing so, singer Damasius Venys proves not only that the new songs work wonderfully with his distinctive voice, but once again, what a fantastic and charismatic entertainer he is. But first things first but not necessarily in that order…

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After a short detour to Dresden (my unnamed companion messed up with the ticket and had to quickly get a new one), we settle in Pirna, located about 30 minutes away. From there, we continue on to Königstein and up to the fortress. The box office and entrance are located at the lift, where a long line of people has already formed by 6:00 pm. Originally, entrance was supposed to start at 6:30 pm. However, due to the many fans who arrived early, they start 15 minutes earlier. In groups of 20 people each, we are transported up to the fortress walls. Unfortunately, hardly anyone takes the time to enjoy the view. Instead, most rush straight to the Kasemattenhof of the fortress and right in front of the stage. Since the next group of 20 has to wait for the elevator, we take some extra time and still manage to secure our spot in the first row. Before the show starts at 7:00 pm, I make a quick visit to the merchandise booth, where I indulge in some extensive shopping today. There, I also come across the first familiar faces. So, I linger there for a while before making my way back to my companion. I’m excited to see several more or less familiar acquaintances today. By the time being, I haven’t been able to spot anyone yet.

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On stage, Krischan prepares himself a little before seven o’clock and adjusts the controls one last time. Promptly at 7:00 pm, Vasi joins him behind the console and the intro to ‘Blaze in the dark’ begins. In the meantime, Daniele has joined us. While she supports Damasius on stage with MENTAL EXILE on keyboard, today she watches her partner from the audience. The singer has chosen “the little black dress” today. He pairs a vest and jacket with jeans, a tank top. The Kasemattenhof has already filled up nicely during ‘Intensions and masks’. However, not everyone has made their way up here yet. A few more people are welcome. The first ones are already getting infected by the singer’s energy. Krischan supports Damasius on the microphone. He regularly showcases his skills as a background singer with ROTERSAND. Today as well, this adds an extra depth to the sound. With ‘I, Hope’ comes the first single release after the singer change, and Damasius takes off his jacket. People are dancing in front of the stage. “Thank you! Now something new.” Unfortunately, we don’t get to know the title of the song. As I mentioned before, it’s so new that it hasn’t even been given a title yet. I really like this energetic number and it leaves me wanting more. For ‘Fly Away’, Damasius joins his bandmates behind the console. “Krischan and Vasi, folks. Let’s give them a round of applause!” And of course, they receive it. The atmosphere in front of the stage is now alive and kicking. It seems Vasi is also starting to feel warm on stage. He takes off his jacket as well, revealing a stylish zebra-print shirt underneath. Next up is ‘Tellurians’.

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By half past seven, the Kasemattenhof has filled up quite nicely and some friend join us in front of stage. The atmosphere is lively. Another new song follows, which also doesn’t have a title yet. The track had its premiere last week at the Black Lower Castle Festival. It’s also a very beautiful song that immediately gets you moving. I believe I can hear the singer’s influence on the sound here. It reminds me a tiny bit of MENTAL EXILE. “So, Königstein. We want to get you ready for SOLAR FAKE. Are you ready?” Absolutely, ready we are. Damasius animates the audience with his arms. The crowd in front of the stage cheers, claps, and dances. Vasi behind the console acknowledges this with applause. Damasius decides not to venture into the crowd today, as he did last week in Kranichfeld at Black Lower Castle Festival. ‘Embrace a world’ convinces even the last guests. There are quite a few people here who know the band and sing along. During ‘Falling,’ Damasius energetically encourages everyone to clap along. I notice once again how well Krischan’s backing vocals fit. It just sounds cool. Vasi raises his arms as if he wants to clap, but he doesn’t. The audience takes over and enthusiastically claps along. Vasi seems visibly pleased about it and beams with joy. He captures the moment with his phone. And Damasius calls out again, “Königstein! Now, everyone together! Show me your hands!” It’s incredible what energy the song unleashes.

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“And now comes the question: Are you ready for SOLAR FAKE? (Cheers) Are you ready for SOLAR FAKE? (Cheers) You are ready.” Some individuals object and demand an encore. (I confess, I’m one of them.) FLTU still have one last song up their sleeve for us. After 50 minutes, the trio says goodbye today with ‘Born In Silence’, and there’s even a farewell photo. Somehow, I was still hoping for ‘Lost’. But maybe they will play it at the full-time show on 26th August at the SubKultur Hanover. Who knows, maybe FLTU fulfil wishes?

01. Blaze in the dark
02. Intentions and masks
03. I, Hope
04. untitled 1 (new song)
05. Fly away
06. Tellurians
07. untitled 2 (new song)
08. Embrace a world
09. Falling
10. Born in silence

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Light: 8
Sound: 10
Total: 9.5 / 10

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Solar Fake

There’s not much left to say about SOLAR FAKE. After 16 years and 6 studio records, the Synth Pop / Industrial / Indie-Electro act fronted by ZERAPHINE and former DREADFUL SHADOWS singer Sven Friedrich has become almost an institution in the black scene. The solo project has now grown into a solid trio with André Feller (keyboard and bass) and Jens (Jeans) Halbauer (drums) joining Sven on stage. The trio also forms a very entertaining unit in the podcast initiated during the pandemic. Sven is currently working on the seventh full-length album scheduled for release on 31st September 2023 (podcast listeners know this). But jokes aside - the album will likely come out in spring 2024. However, we can already look forward to some new tracks and a few premieres today. /

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Music & Performance
But first, space needs to be cleared on the stage. Everyone helps with the setup. While Krischan and Vasi dismantle the console, Jeans and André start preparing their instruments. Time flies by with small chats, and at 20:08 pm, Jeans and André step back onto the stage and kick off the intro to ‘At Least We’ll Forget’. Since it’s not very warm today (and the sky doesn’t look very friendly anymore), Sven is once again on stage with his customary coat. While he jumps around, André on the bass keeps moving back and forth, switching sides. The fans are already going wild. There’s loud singing, clapping, dancing, and jumping. By the way, this will hardly change over the total of 25 songs that lie ahead of us. Even the rain that starts later won’t change that. Because “let’s just ignore it”. But I’m getting ahead of myself again. It’s still dry and Sven will get rid of his coat before ‘Reset To Default’. Things get intense, and they continue with ‘This Pretty Life’ full of energy. And it almost happens again. Sven just manages not to mess up his effort. He still has to laugh. Everything is ‘Under Control’, which is up next. “Oh man, thank you so much! You guys are incredible. Madness!” ‘All The Things You Say’ makes the fortress shake. Sven and André express their excitement by applauding the enthusiastic crowd. Sven has a big smile on his face. “Guys, it looks so amazing from up here. Madness! You can’t even imagine.”

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A brief pause with the wonderful ‘I Don’t Want You In Here’. Even the slower song unleashes incredible energy. When the first drops fall after 30 minutes during ‘Not What I Wanted’, we simply ignore them. After all, we promised. “Let’s do this song together!” And so, during the chorus, Sven repeatedly holds the microphone towards the audience and lets us take over. What an atmosphere. “Madness!” Sven seems to be barely able to believe it. The Kasemattenhof has turned into a cauldron. As announced in the podcast, SOLAR FAKE is currently working on their new album. Many people know that “it will be released on 31st September. Um, yeah. Actually, it’s coming out next year. But we’re still going to play a song from it now. And if we don’t completely mess it up, we might play a few more throughout the evening. We’ll see. We still have a few chances left.” Some of us heard ‘Disagree’ live at the fan club event in November. Back then, it was in a rock version.

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Still, it’s a premiere tonight since they’ll be playing the electronic version, of course. The bridge reminds me a bit of a song by Robert Smith’s THE CURE. However, I can’t quite remember which one. Nevertheless, the song is incredibly well-received. While singing along may not be happening, there’s plenty of clapping and dancing going on. The gentlemen on stage seem to be very pleased with the audience’s reaction. Even Jeans has a cheerful smile on his face. Everything worked out. There will be more new material later. But for now, let’s enjoy ‘Arrive Somewhere’. André starts once again at the front of the stage and becomes the “Dancing Queen” before escalating behind the keyboard. Even the security guard standing at the side gets caught up in the mood and starts swaying to the rhythm.

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So far, it’s only drizzling lightly. But as ‘Es geht dich nichts an’ is played, the drops slowly become heavier. Sven seems to notice this too. As he sings, “Du wirst schon sehen, bald kommt der Tag, an dem der Himmel wieder blau ist” (You will see, soon the day will come when the sky is blue again), he chuckles a bit in light of the rain. But we won’t let a little rain spoil the atmosphere anyway. Plus, “there’s another new song coming up now” and “we agreed earlier that it won’t rain anymore today.” Sven is quite out of breath and needs to catch his breath for a moment. How fitting that the next song is called ‘You Keep Breathing’. “World premiere!” The rain, however, refuses to be completely ignored, and now some umbrellas and rain ponchos are being used. I put mine on too. The song is a bit calmer with a great hook and a chorus that goes straight to the ear and feet. It’s simply amazing and makes me even more excited for the new album. Pure anticipation. ‘More Than This’ and ‘I Despise You’ exude pure energy. Sven wonders if this grin will ever disappear from his face. But why should it? It suits him so well.

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“Do you still want to hear a new song? Can we play another new song? Let’s see. Let’s give it a try. It’s a bit risky now, right? If we mess it up, then everyone will think it’s shit. But we won’t mess it up. No! We’ve never done it before. Come on, let’s play it. ‘This Generation Ends’... it sounds almost a bit socially critical, critical of society. It could be that too.” Even if I’m repeating myself... I’m incredibly excited for the new album! With ‘Not the One’, ‘Other plans’, and ‘Waiting for the Day’, which were played at the fan club event in November, we’ve already heard over half of the album. Assuming all the songs made it onto it. I’m curious. But now, let’s enjoy ‘It’s Who You Are’ and ‘The Pain That Kills You Too’. Around 9:30 pm, “the last song” will come, and the main set will end with ‘Observer’.

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But as you can imagine, the trio doesn’t stay off the stage for long. Because “as a punishment, we’re going to mess up a famous song.” ‘Ghosts Again’ (DEPECHE MODE) was played live during the US tour for a DEPECHE MODE party and is being performed in Germany for the first time today. And no, the song is not “messed up.” And even though some Devotees may want to stone me for it... I definitely prefer the SOLAR FAKE version. And it looks like I’m not alone in this opinion. We are back in action with ‘Sick of you’. Sven holds out the microphone to us again during the chorus and lets us sing. Jeans seems thrilled, as he stands up briefly and gives us both thumbs up. And Sven remarks, “It’s amazing. You guys are truly incredible. I don’t have any words left. The next one might dampen the mood a bit, but someone requested it.” Correct, you can request songs from SOLAR FAKE and the gentlemen might play them. So today, it’s ‘Until It’s Over’. Then Sven asks if we can handle another slow track and reiterates that it’s not raining at all. “The wetness comes from within, so to speak. Okay, it’s getting a bit disgusting, I’m feeling it now. Just a little bit disgusting. Well, fuck it.” Before Sven talks himself into trouble, a sad song comes now. There won’t be a dry eye during ‘Stay’. I wonder if that’s just because of the rain.

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The three say goodbye again from the stage. The second encore starts with ‘Under The Skies’ and once again Sven has to laugh because of the reference to the current weather: “And I know I’m dying in the rain”. Not today! Not today. Another popular cover follows, which Sven no longer needs to introduce. With ‘Papillon’ (EDITORS), no one is standing on their feet. Everyone jumps up and down and sings loudly along. And with ‘Just leave it’, it’s not different. Well, maybe there’s less jumping, but there’s lively dancing instead. Then comes the time to thank everyone involved. I’ll skip the enumeration, but I’m happy to join in. Even Jeans gets up and applauds. And then it’s already time for ‘Wish myself away’. Before SOLAR FAKE blissfully release us into the night at a quarter past ten, there’s still a final photo. It has almost stopped raining, so some people stay a little longer. The band makes another appearance at the merch stand, and some take the opportunity for photos and autographs. We also stay for chatting with friends. However, around 11:00 pm, we start making our way back to the hotel, where we fall into bed, tired and satisfied.

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01. At least we’ll forget
02. Reset To Default
03. This pretty life
04. Under Control
05. All The Things You Say
06. I Don’t Want You In Here
07. Not What I Wanted
08. Disagree
09. Arrive somewhere
10. Es geht dich nichts an
11. You keep breathing
12. More Than This
13. I despise you
14. This generation ends
15. It’s who you are
16. The pain that kills you too
17. Observer
18. Ghosts Again
19. Sick of you
20. Until It’s Over
21. Stay
22. Under The Skies
23. Papillon
24. Just leave it
25. Wish myself away

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Light: 9
Sound: 10
Total: 9.8 / 10

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All Pictures by Helge Roewer

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