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Philipshalle, Düsseldorf, Germany
30th December 2010
Unheilig, VNV Nation, Apoptygma Berzerk, Diary of Dreams, Waves Under Water

We were closing the year up with a very special event which was the mega event Unheilig & Friends. When I reached the venue, the queue was still incredibly long, even though the doors were already open a while. I started wondering how many already had gotten inside.

Waves Under Water

WAVES UNDER WATER formed in Sweden in autumn 2007. Right on the day of inception the first songs were created. The young band meanwhile has out two releases. The first one of called ‘Serpents And The Tree’ and the second, download-only, release goes by the name of ‘Red Red Star’. WAVES UNDER WATER is Angelica Segerbäck (voice, glockenspiel, cello, lyrics and composing), Johan Svärdshammar (synth, guitar, bass (with a sickle), voice, composing and lyrics), Rickard Kretschmer (synth, drum pads) and Ursula Ewrelius (bass, synth).

Music & Performance
This was actually the replacement for the replacement which was BEATI MORTUI. Well, ok then we would see what this band had to offer which I knew as little as the other mentioned one. The music of WAVES UNDER WATER is full of electronic soundscaping of an ethereal way, soaring over slow or rather danceable and rocking patterns. The performance was limited however to singer Angelica gliding like an elf over the stage and the attached catwalk, adding her vocals which were not that impressing if I may add that little remark. But the audience really seemed to like the mixture and applauded when possible.

Music: 6
Performance: 6
Sound: 6
Light: 6
Total: 6 / 10

Diary of Dreams

Since 1989, DIARY OF DREAMS enchants a still growing fan base all over the world with beautiful and at times fragile tunes. Already 1.5 years after ‘Nekrolog 43’, the latest album ‘(if)’ was released on 13th March 2009. In October 2009, the ‘King of Nowhere’ MCD including a brand new video clip has been released. In early 2010, the band was supporting UNHEILIG on their "Große Freiheit" tour. As a vanguard to the upcoming new album ‘Ego:X’, slated for release in spring 2011 the track ‘Echo in Me’ was released digitally  with the fans being able to choose what they’d like to pay for the download. /

Music & Performance
Time for the next chapter, the second “support” band of the evening: DIARY OF DREAMS who gathered already experience while being on tour with UNHEILIG earlier in 2010. Other acts might be starting slow to up the tempo gradually, but DIARY OF DREAMS in Düsseldorf did the contrary in starting full throttle with ‘Nekrolog 43’ right after the intro and the band members giving it their energy, adding energetic movement to the track. Next track ‘the Wedding’ followed the theme and the audience was surprisingly responsive when approached. A change of moods followed with ‘Requiem 4.20’, the anthem for a lost friend. Nothing to dance but strictly to feel the grief vibrating in its lines! As with the previous shows of their own tour, songs of the upcoming new album ‘Ego:X’ were presented during this gig. The straight-forward ‘Undividable’ started it all incorporating splendid piano work and a fair base for rocking out totally to that one, which was actually done by some I could spot.

Makes at least me even more excited for the release of the record in spring, just as the following ‘Immerdar’, expressing hope in a profoundly melancholy way that simply touches. For this show DoD had to employ another drummer on short notice who did a great job, just on ‘King of Nowhere’ he started a little too early. The powerful anthem ‘Kindrom’ and ‘Traumtänzer’ wrapped up the show. Especially with those, the band gave it their all and when it was time for the mutual chant to ‘Traumtänzer’, much more people than I expected joined in to bring the show to a great closing.

01. Nekrolog 43
02. The Wedding
03. Requiem 4:20
04. Odyssey Asylum
05. Undividable
06. Immerdar
07. King Of Nowhere
08. Kindrom
09. Traumtänzer

Music: 10
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 9.1 / 10

Apoptygma Berzerk

Founded in 1989 by Stephan Groth and Jon Erik Martinsen, APOPTYGMA BERZERK is one of the biggest export hits in the matter of Scandinavian Alternative music. Starting with dark up-beat Electro anthems such as `Burning Heretic´ and `Bitch´, the Norwegians caused quite a stir in European clubs. The third studio album `Welcome to Earth´ (2000) was even more danceable and can be attributed to Future Pop, as well as the recording `Harmonizer´ (2002). In 2005, APOPTYGMA BERZERK released the long-player `You and Me against the World´ that featured a Rock-oriented sound and was also able to attract mainstream listeners. This year, the recent full-length release `Rocket Science´ was brought into the stores and followed up by a tour of the same title. Though the stylistic change has caused various debates, the band fronted by Stephan Groth remained on its path The latest release is the DVD ‘Imagine There’s No Lemmon’. /

Music & Performance
The next act on the list was not less popular in its own right and their albums spawned plenty of hits so far. The set started off with a blistering presentation of ‘Love Never Dies’ with Stephan doing the runner from left to right just as back and forth on the catwalk. He used everything extensively so to say. The HOUSE OF LOVE cover of ‘Shine On’ followed it right up and you could see several people around singing happily to the, admittedly, simple chorus. Another more recent track came along with ‘Love To Blame’. Overall, the band chose to emphasize their rockier side and mostly neglected anything from the purely electronic past. One surprise track for the audience was presented with the English pendant to the immensely popular ‘Major Tom’. Some kept singing the German lyrics over the English chorus all the time. Close to the end, they should be getting the chance to sing it together with the others when new keyboardist Olga started chanting that one, and Stephan only encouraged people to get even louder. The anthemic ‘Until The End Of The World’ made the end of an enjoyable set.

01. Love Never Dies
02. Shine On
03. Love To Blame
04. In This Together
05. Back On Track
06. Shadow
07. Major Tom
08. Until The End Of The World

Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 7.5 / 10

VNV Nation

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’. /

Music & Performance
No, we’ve still not reached the part where UNHEILIG comes in, but to calm the fans, we’re close. As the last one in the line of support bands this evening, VNV NATION would enter the arena to stir people, and if it’s one particular ability to highlight in front man Ronan Harris’ repertoire it’s the one to control a crowd no matter how big. ‘The Farthest Star’ proved as being the perfect opening and giving Ronan all the time in the world to be the whirlwind he is. A classic of the VNV NATION back catalogue picked up the thread with ‘Legion’, guided by anthemic choirs. Even though there must’ve been many people in the room this evening not knowing the band up to now the reaction was extremely good. Perhaps, Ronan’s charisma as performer contributed to that a little as well. After ‘Chrome’ offered another chance to dance, the time was obviously right for something calm with ‘Illusion’. It’s been the only very calm moment in a mostly rhythm-driven set that ended with something, having become a tradition to end a VNV NATION concert with, as Ronan put it: ‘Perpetual’! And the mutual chanting worked just as well as on one of the band’s own shows.

01. The Farthest Star
02. Legion
03. Chrome
04. Illusion
05. Standing
06. The Great Divide
07. Beloved
08. Perpetual

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


When the project UNHEILIG started over 10 years ago, no one would've guessed in which way it would be turning out in the end. One of the first rack to appear 'Sage Ja' already caused a stir within the dark music scene and following albums such as 'Phosphor', 'Das 2.Gebot' or 'Zelluloid' would make sure the popularity of the project around the mastermind and main protagonist Der Graf was bursting into popularity. The number of fans he won over became endless, just like the queues at one of the famous autograph sessions at festivals. Meanwhile, UNHEILIG has released the newest album 'Große Freiheit' which has broken all records and is the most successful release for UNHEILIG this far, gaining them high chart positions. A new single with the title 'Für Immer' came out in May 2010. Due to constant demand, a live album of the current tour ‘Große Freiheit (Live)’ has been released. But the latest thing put out was a winter edition of the recent album ‘Große Freiheit’. /

Music & Performance
Well, well, haven’t we all been waiting for this? Not every single one I suppose, but the majority of the people here were in a fever to see UNHEILIG and their main protagonist Der Graf finally. Prior to starting the show, as has become sort of a tradition, vintage songs were played to tune everyone for what’s to come eventually. ‘Das Meer’ heralded the start of the show with the musicians walking in. Der Graf rushed in from the back to the start of ‘Seenot’ and did this erratic movement thing he uses to do when entering the arena to the big audiences he’s playing for now, and the people who’ve partly come from far away to see the guy and his band were with him instantly. They couldn’t resist the charisma he’s apparently radiating for long. But the more times I come to see his reactions the more they’re appearing fake to my eyes. With ‘Spiegelbild’ followed another highly emotional piece of his repertoire that convinced and got to people.

While the main man was doing his show, the band played their instruments very focused, but I wonder if anyone even noticed. They should get some attention for what they’re doing as well, instead of getting pushed to the side-line. Quite fitting for this time of the year, the next track ‘Winter’ followed up alongside a video shown on the wall, before ‘Ich Gehöre Mir’ went for some upbeat rock momentum again. It’s been a celebration of 10 years of a band whose popularity has come to a peak in 2010, and which is most likely to grow in the following years I guess. UNHEILIG presented a mixed bag of pieces like a cross-section from several stations in their career, and when everything came to an end, an encore needed to follow with ‘Geboren um zu Leben’ and ‘Unter deiner Flagge’ before the overly excited audience left into the cold night.

01. Das Meer
02. Seenot
03. Spiegelbild
04. Winter
05. Ich gehöre mir
06. Sternbild
07. Astronaut
08. Freiheit
09. Sage ja!
10. Halt mich
11. An deiner Seite
12. Grosse Freiheit
13. Abwärts
14. Maschine
15. Für immer
16. Geboren um zu leben
17. Unter deiner Flagge
18. Mein Stern
19. Neuland

Music: 6
Performance: 6
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 6.6 / 10

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / /


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