18th September 2009
VNV Nation, Rotersand, Frozen Plasma
On a sunny Friday afternoon we were heading towards Krefeld where VNV NATION would be playing a few hours later. The reason why we’ve arrived there so early was that we had a little interview appointment with Ronan Harris before the show. What he had to say can be read soon here on Reflections of Darkness. But now let’s get to the main topic of this article; the music and performances of the evening.
After the split of his very successful band NamNamBulu, Vasi Vallis founded FROZEN PLASMA in 2005 together with Felix Marc. The Debut Single 'Hypocrite' was released in November 2005, the first album 'Artificial' followed in April 2006. The EP 'Emphasize' was released later in 2006. The current album called ‘Monumentum’ and was released not so long ago. Vasi Vallis is also known for his band REAPER as well as a member of the live crew (keyboards) of VNV NATION, Felix Marc by the way is member of DIORAMA and runs a solo project under his own name too. http://www.frozenplasma.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/frozenplasma
Music & Performance
Contrary to apprehensions there wouldn’t be too much people present at this time, the club was already well-filled with people when Vasi and Felix hit the stage and without any further announcement started with ‘The End / Deliverance’ from the current album ‘Monumentum’. Spherical sounds spread around and soon Felix added his special timbre. ‘Earthling’ and ‘Irony’ were following it up and both of them, especially ‘Irony’, had the crowd dancing and singing along in no time. Now, according to stage devil Felix who had to cope with just little space today, they would be playing something slow. Shouts from the audience made clear what they were thinking about that. “I was just kidding” was the answer and just a spell later the unmistakable melody of one of my favourites ‘Murderous Trap’ started pulsating through the venue.
As soon as the beat kicked in no one would be thinking of standing still. Neither the audience nor Felix! The last two songs hit the audience just as well and with ‘Warmongers’ and the “Surprise” ‘Tanz die Revolution’, the duo ended a short yet powerful start-up of the evening, which could have been a little longer, and not just for me.
01. The End / Deliverance
04. Murderous Trap
06. Tanz die Revolution
Total: 7.6 / 10
ROTERSAND is a German Electro band the producer Gun and the THE FAIR SEX-member Rasc formed in 2002. They had met due their collaborations on various projects and then emerged the band’s sound by connecting brute beats to playful electronic sounds. While being on “Legends United Tour” in 2002, they were completed by the Techno producer Krischan E. Wesenberg who became the third man of ROTERSAND. In 2003, the threesome released the EP `Merging Oceans´ that straight entered the German Alternative Charts. Meanwhile, ROTERSAND can look back on three successful albums and many live performances that attracted a big following, but the next album with the title ‘Random is Resistance’ is already close to its release now. http://www.myspace.com/rotersand / http://www.rotersand.net/
Music & Performance
Next stop on the road to VNV NATION was the charismatic German trio ROTERSAND that always guarantees for an extremely good mood. They kicked the show off with ‘Almost Violent’ where Gun first showcased his guitar skills while roaming the stage until it was time for Rasc, the host of the show, to enter the stage and instantly start dancing. The crowd followed him suit and also helped him to do a stereo choir. For this, Rasc would be running across the stage from left to right holding the microphone towards the people screaming loudly. Asking people during the hard-hitting ‘Dare to Live’ “Are you in dancing mode?” would be generating a proper sonic response, but what Rasc saw apparently wasn’t satisfying enough. The only resolution for that was a thorough dance control, and if anybody wasn’t dancing they would be firmly encouraged to do so then.
Following a vibrant piece of the new EP ‘War on Error’ with ‘Bastards Screaming’ we went straight back to the past, back to where the success story began with ‘Merging Oceans’. A very important song for the band, as well as audibly and visibly a popular one amongst the attendees, starting to sing and dance along immediately! The evolving monster ‘Exterminate, Annihilate, Destroy’ started with Gun wonderfully accompanying the strings with the piano before the track jumps headfirst into deep club territory. As usual Krischan and Gun joined Rasc at the stage front raising their fists to the sky and shaking them to the rhythm! A symbiosis of melancholy and power, feelings all united in ‘Undone’ made the final act of a show that had even more pumped up the crowd for the things to come. Another brilliant performance by ROTERSAND
01. Almost Violent
03. Dare to Live
04. Bastards Screaming
05. Merging Oceans
06. I Cry
07. Exterminate, Annihilate, Destroy
Total: 8 / 10
An Irish guy called Ronan Harris created VNV NATION in 1990, releasing two Vinyl albums ‘Body Pulse’ and ‘Strength of Youth’. Initially, the music was a mixture of orchestral and electronic influences. Suffice to say, that it’s become much more than just a compound of these two elements over time. But first things first! The first album ‘Advance & Follow’, a real and usually expensive rarity nowadays, emerged after signing a record deal with German label Discordia in July 1995, but it was 1999’s ‘Empires’ - the third full-length - that became their breakthrough album gaining them widespread commercial success (topping the German DAC charts for seven weeks) which did even increase with the following ‘Future Perfect’ while scaring away some fans who liked the older sound much more. By now VNV NATION has released 8 albums in total with the newest one being the incredibly successful ‘Of Faith, Power & Glory’. VNV NATION live on this tour is Ronan Harris (vocals), Mark Jackson (e-drums, keys), Vasi Vallis (keys) and Gabriel Shaw (keys). http://www.vnvnation.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/vnvnation
Music & Performance
The air was getting thicker and the venue had gotten packed in the meantime and everybody now was waiting for the main act, and when finally the powerful marching drums of ‘Pro Victoria’ sounded, the words “Faith, Power & Glory” appeared on LED screens in the back and Vasi Vallis, Mark Jackson and Gabriel Shaw took their place on the big pedestal. Ronan was entering the stage as the last one and received a very warm and loud reception before the show finally started with ‘Tomorrow Never Comes’ and ‘Darkangel’. Even though there was just little space for everyone to move (the show was sold-out) it was used properly so that you could release all your accrued energy. Another classic from the much-loved album ‘Empires’ followed after the hard-hitting ‘Fearless’ with ‘Standing’ and just like on the other tunes before, Ronan ran back and forth over the stage generating an enormous amount of energy for the people to take in and transform into more dancing fuel.
“Serious lyrics, deep message, acting like idiots on stage” said Ronan after performing ‘Chrome’ together with the audience who shared vocal duties with him. What followed after the mentioned statement now was what I’d like to call “Spotlight jumping”. Ronan made the start and the other three jumped from the pedestal into the spotlight. It didn’t make any sense but it was big fun for everyone. But now enough joking around and on with the program! This time with ‘The Great Divide’ which is going to be the new single, and equally invites to dream and dance. The next two songs were to give a little more respite to the audience. Firstly, the mournful ‘Illusion’ bathed the stage in dark lights and all eyes were fixed on Ronan who gave us a heart-wrenching performance; then it was the turn of ‘Homeward’. The main set ended with an insane showcase of ‘Nemesis’, but there would be more, and in my opinion they could have just stayed on stage and keep on playing.
Anyway, the four-piece returned and presented ‘Standing’ which at the same time was a birthday serenade for one member of the German VIP Nation forum. The next encore held a surprise for me, and I suppose for everyone else either: ‘Still Waters’ that has just been performed one time before and Ronan promised us he would fuck it up a little less for us than last time and except for a little lapse it went indeed flawlessly. Well, let’s jump forward a little to what everybody was anxiously waiting for: The “Football Song”, or to call it by its other title ‘Perpetual’. Of course there was the stadium chant again and even besides that the audience was heavily involved. The emotional spectacle got topped off by a spectacular lightshow, and fantastic is also the perfect word to describe this whole evening with the VNV performance being the undisputed pinnacle.
01. Pro Victoria
02. Tomorrow Never Comes
05. Legion (Live Version)
08. The Great Divide
11. The Farthest Star
14. Still Waters
Total: 9 / 10
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com/ / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography)