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Knaack, Berlin, Germany
31st October 2007
Rotersand & Autoaggression

Berlin, Halloween 2007. Concerts of  SIOUXSIE SIOUX, The Orkus International Festival Tour feat. LOLA ANGST / KIRLIAN CAMERA / DOPE STARS INC. and LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT as well as 32CRASH (project of FRONT 242 front man Jean-Luc De Meyer). And ROTERSAND. An unfair competition for the latter; about 40 people preferred ROTERSAND to the other bands playing that night. But one thing is for sure; these 40 people made their choice consciously - nobody stayed for the Halloween party afterwards. If it wasn’t for your reporter and the decorations of the Knaack club, nobody would have known it was Halloween.


AUTOAGGRESSION is a one-man formation by Lukas Schneider, and under the umbrella of label DEPENDENT. The latest album, ‘Artefacts’ has been in the German Underground Charts top 10 for a few weeks now (which means, in the great company of COMBICHRIST, SKINNY PUPPY, and THE CRÜXSHADOWS, to name some), and the German Goth magazines are unanimously enthusiastic about AUTOAGGRESSION, calling it innovative, intelligent, but still danceable, exciting, and melodic music. The leading magazine Orkus even called ‘Artefacts’ a milestone in electronic music. /
With so little people showing up for ROTERSAND, the support act gets an even smaller audience. The readers of the German Goth magazines obviously were somewhere else, and the ROTERSAND fans came in late. Too bad, because AUTOAGGRESSION definitely deserves to be heard in Germany’s capital. AUTOAGGRESSION’s music turned out to be very danceable indeed, even though some unexpected beat changes made it hard to keep up at times. This was definitely interesting music, which deserves more attention and demands better listening than just a one-night-coincidence-support-gig. AUTOAGGRESSION’s electronics are various in tempo, dynamics, and atmosphere, and include melodious lines as well as pumping beats, not necessarily combined in one song. A great musical blind-date, and the getting-to-know-each-other-well-phase will have to take place in the domestic environment. But I expect no unpleasant surprises.

This was really what you call a performance for three men and a dog. Nearly literally. You try to get a few people in an empty room going. Tough call. Still, AUTOAGGRESSION managed to get at least some people dancing; those who liked the music and did not care about being watched. AUTOAGGRESSION on stage is a well-dressed, good-looking man playing with his computer and turntables. The light show was well-done, and necessary as well. With only one man on stage, it is hard to create a great performance since all the chemistry has to come from the interaction between artist and audience. If the audience is so small, it is impossible to get a right impression from AUTOAGGRESSION on stage. It is simply weird, for both artist and audience. Heavy jumping behind the electronics simply does not work in this context, and therefore I cannot blame him for not throwing off a bigger party on stage. Still, it might have worked better for AUTOAGGRESSION to perform a continuous set, without pause and chats in between, to build up excitement and dance fever. Maybe not just in this situation, but in general as well.

01. RNG (hidden track on ‘Artefacts’)
02. Reflector
03. White Dust
04. 3.14
05. The Sky is not yours
06. Blau
07. Speed

Music: 7.5
Performance: 6.5
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7


From the start in 2003, the German EBM band ROTERSAND has been about dancing. As support for COVENANT and festival band, ROTERSAND have never failed in getting any audience to dance hard. On their very first headlining tour, Rasc, Gun and Krischan promoted their latest album ‘1023’, which contains some surprising songs compared to the previous albums ‘Truth is fanatic’ and ‘Welcome to goodbye’. The tour turned out so extremely demanding that ROTERSAND had to cancel their Canadian dates on October 26th and 28th due to a collapse of singer Rasc. Fortunately for Berlin, Rasc had recovered enough to be able to perform again. And still, ROTERSAND is ROTERSAND. And ROTERSAND is a dance band. And thou shall dance. 

Starting off with the song ‘Rushing’ from their latest album, ROTERSAND made a flashy and pounding entrance on the tiny Knaack stage. ROTERSAND has offered their fans the unique chance to define ROTERSAND’s playlist. Out of the voters, 3 winners would be picked whose favourite song would be played. Berlin included a winner too; the fourth song they played was introduced as a winner and a rarely played song: ‘Almost Wasted’. Soon after that, a few cam songs including ‘One Level down’ were played, with Rasc on the acoustic guitar. They ended the set with ‘Undone’, and undone it was indeed: they came back to play ‘Dare to live’ and ‘Exterminate Annihilate Destroy’, and a second time to end with ‘Merging Oceans’ - the climax the fans have definitely been waiting for. In sum, only 4 songs of the new album were played; relatively little. To my regret, they did not play my personal favourites ‘Shelter’ (from the new album!) and ‘Storm’. Well, I guess that’s what happens if you don’t vote. All in all, there was absolutely nothing to regret about the concert except that it felt too short (as usual): the songs were played and sung perfectly and the playlist was well-balanced. And as said, ROTERSAND is a dance band, and this time too they heated up the entire dance floor - even if that dance floor only contained 40 people.

Whereas many bands keep up the invisible curtain between audience and artist and rather make a myth of themselves, ROTERSAND prefers to be with the audience and create a great evening together - literally. During the entire gig, Rasc avidly talked to the audience - and to me it was nice to hear him speak in German instead of English for a change. Next to breaking through the curtain by talking to and joking with the audience between songs, Rasc actively includes the audience during the songs as well, by pointing at them, making personal eye contact, and joining the audience off stage while singing. There is no way to avoid dancing; if Rasc notices people not dancing at the end of the venue, he will go there and make them dance. Whereas Rasc at Dutch gigs usually gets off stage only once, here in Berlin he personally connected with each audience member (which was possible considering the small amount of people), using nearly every up-tempo song to get off stage and dance/party with or sing to someone. In result, literally everybody was floating on ROTERSAND’s dancing waves.

Even the un-living audience members were not ignored; fairly early in the concert, Rasc abducted a white poodle handbag called Fifi from the audience and made it the guest member of ROTERSAND for the rest of the gig, promising it a future career as the newest Broadway star. Except for the continuous stage presence of Fifi, the gig was a typical ROTERSAND gig, incorporating the entire audience into its dance ecstasy and leaving no single audience member disappointed. And for the first time since I’ve been in Berlin, I was utterly dance-satisfied. And I expected no less.
Oh, and I have a message for ROTERSAND: “Wraf wraf rrrrrrr!” *paws* Fifi (translation: “I love my piercing!”) (Don’t ask me what the hell that is about....)
01. Rushing
02. Electronic World Transmission
03. Last Ship
04. Almost Wasted
05. Don’t Know
06. One Level Down
07. I Cry
08. Lost
09. Almost Violent
10. Undone
11. Dare To Live
12. Exterminate Annihilate Destroy
13. Merging Oceans

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8.7

All pictures by Ilona van de Bildt and Daniela Vorndran ( / /

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