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vnv8Ringlokschuppen, Bielefeld, Germany
1st February 2012
VNV Nation & Destroid

2011 was probably VNV NATION's most successful year. The album ‘Automatic’ was selling like the best thing since sliced bread and even went Top 10 in the German album charts - the official sales chart, mind you, not some iffy Dance or Alternative charts! The respective tour sold out venues across the globe, so it's no surprise that VNV NATION use their success to full capacity by adding a few more European shows in early 2012.


The Leipzig based Electro act DESTROID is Daniel Myer and Sebastian Ullmann, who started the project together with former member Rinaldo "Ribi" Bite in 2004. As you will know, Daniel Myer is also busy with lots of other projects like HAUJOBB, COVENANT or ARCHITECT. Nevertheless he found enough time to produce three CDs and to play numerous shows with DESTROID. DESTROID is quite a mixed bag. Not in terms of quality, which is always top, but in terms of styles. The ingredients of DESTROID range from hard-hitting EBM, especially on the first release, to Synth Pop and Future Pop to Dance and Techno with the odd ballad thrown in. Daniel Myer is of course first and foremost known for his involvement in HAUJOBB and COVENANT and a list of musical activities which seems almost endless. DESTROID seems to be a nice playground for him and his partner in crime, Sebastian Ullmann, to toy around with ideas for sounds and songs. At least DESTROID is Myer's only project for something rather unusual for him - cover versions! / /


Music & Performance
The Ringlokschuppen is quite a huge venue but the place was already well filled when DESTROID entered the stage. Starting with the title track of their last release 'Silent World', DESTROID started their 40-minute set of intelligent electronic and quite dancy Pop music with a melancholic touch. The EBM/ Industrial influences seem to be pretty much a thing of the past now, as DESTROID significantly re-worked and re-arranged their old songs for their live gigs with VNV NATION. They probably had to do this anyway, as DESTROID performed as a duo in Bielefeld while they used to perform as a quartet including a live drummer before. The VNV NATION fans, most of them rather unfamiliar with DESTROID for sure, obviously enjoyed the performance. One thing which made it easy to enjoy the gig was the brilliant, crystal-clear sound at the Ringlokschuppen - kudos to the sound guy [editor’s comment: Krishan of ROTERSAND], at least where we stood the sound was perfect! 'Friend Or Foe' and 'Bird Of Prey' (including a groove sample from DEPECHE MODE's 'Enjoy The Silence') raised the spirits and made the first few people dance a bit. Apparently it took a while for vocalist Daniel Myer to warm up before he proved that there's also quite some showmanship in him.


Myer always seems to be such a laid-back, unboastful and modest guy - probably a bit too shy to let it go from the start? So at first he simply demonstrated that he has grown incredibly as a singer over the last few years before he was in the mood for some crowd interaction. The cover version of SISTERS OF MERCY's 'Lucretia My Reflection' did the trick, and during 'Judgement Throne' he got the entire crowd clapping along to the beat. However, Myer couldn't deny his deadpan humour by claiming “this is our VNV NATION break” before he asked the whole audience to join the fun. A sweet performance with perfect sound! I am very sure that DESTROID won over many new fans with this great gig.

01. Silent World
02. Friend Or Foe
03. Bird Of Prey
04. I Walk Slow
05. Leaving Ground
06. Lucretia (My Reflection)
07. Nothing To Say
08. Judgement Throne

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 10
Light: 7
Total: 8.2 / 10



Does VNV NATION really need an introduction these days? For many years Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson have been one of the most successful acts of the electronic underground scene but particularly in Germany they are not so underground any more! After a few minor entries in the German charts over the last few years, VNV NATION's last album 'Automatic' actually managed it into the top ten of the national album sales chart with an amazing No. 8 spot in the first week of the album's release. Who would have been bold enough to predict such a massive success back in 1995, when VNV NATION's debut album 'Advance & Follow' was released? Who would have thought that VNV NATION would ever sell out venues with 2000+ capacities in 1998, when the band toured Europe as COVENANT's support act? In 2012, VNV NATION play additional shows at major venues just to meet the demand, and these shows are sold despite the fact that the band will play this summer headlining shows at a number of festivals in the same area. The band has come a long way indeed! / /


Music & Performance
Eagerness and excitement was in the air of the packed Ringlokschuppen when the headlights turned off and an intro began to blast through the PA. The crowd was shouting out loud the numbers of the countdown on the big screen in unison, and then VNV NATION hit the stage with a storming version of their 2005 single 'Chrome'. From the first second Ronan Harris was dedicated to wrap the audience around his finger, and the fans were more than willing to give in. Perhaps it is a bit over the top to use half of your trump cards of crowd interaction during the first song already but the audience simply didn't mind at all and was into it from the start. After 'Chrome' chatty Mr Harris welcomed the Bielefeld audience and talked for over two minutes - something which would kill the atmosphere at any other show but Ronan Harris is a natural entertainer! And obviously he was in an excellent mood this night! His voice was not exactly in a similar good shape as Harris struggled a bit during the first few songs and had a weird “vibrato” effect over it - not sure if this was intended or technical effect or whatever - but after a while things got better in terms of vocal performance. Song number two, 'Space & Time', finally followed and was welcomed by a loud cheer. Surely one of the most popular song from the latest album 'Automatic'!


But VNV NATION performed a well-balanced set covering almost all albums of their career, from 1999's 'Empire' to 'Future Perfect' (2002) and 'Of Faith Power & Glory' (2009) and also a few 'Automatic' songs which were not performed during the first legs of the recent tour. I for one was very happy to hear 'Streamline', my absolute fave from the new album! The show was backed up by a great light show focussing on the huge LED screens in the back of the stage, and while the sound was a bit muddier at first than during DESTROID's gig things were sorted out soon enough. In terms of party mood this concert gets full points, though! Evidently everyone brought their dancing shoes, and the longer the evening the more Ronan Harris loved to banter about with the fans. He's a born comedian, and the pauses between songs are as entertaining as the songs itself. Ronan Harris' jocular side is a bit disproportioned to the often rather moody and contemplative lyrics of VNV NATION, but as true Irish soul Harris always manages to wind down a little for more serious moments - for example when he dedicates the ballad 'Illusion' to Sophie Lancaster, a UK Goth who was beaten to death simply for being an Goth. A VNV NATION show is a bit of an emotional roller coaster but it works because Ronan Harris pours his heart and soul into his live performance.


The new songs 'Resolution' and the robotic club stomper 'Control' finished the main set before VNV NATION returned for an opulent encore, opened up by 'The Farthest Star' from the 2007 long-player 'Judgement'. 'Legion' from the 'Empires' followed, a song I haven't heard live in ages and especially not in its album version and not the long version with the orchestral some may know from VNV NATION's live DVD. With 'Nova', an epic song with a very long build-up, one of the most touching moments of the show was next, before the traditional sing-along-song 'Perpetual' finished the encore. But the audience was still hungry, and so was the band! Hence the band performed 'Resolution' a second time as an unplanned special encore before the sweaty and happy fans had to leave the venue. Ronan Harris, drummer Mark Jackson and their two live collaborators Tom Lesczenski and Andre Winter surely know how to put on a great show and how to engage an audience, so there are good reasons to look forward to the European festival which bill VNV NATION this summer!

01. On Air (Intro)
02. Chrome
03. Space & Time
04. Tomorrow Never Comes
05. Darkangel
06. Illusion
07. Standing
08. Streamline
09. Honour 2003
10. Nemesis
11. Holding On
12. Epicentre
13. Resolution
14. Control
15. The Farthest Star
16. Legion
17. Nova
18. Perpetual
19. Resolution (reprise)

Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 7.9 / 10


All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / / /

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