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blancmange2Trix XL, Antwerp, Belgium
14th and 15th December 2012
BIM Fest 2012 Day 2: Peter Hook & The Light, Blancmange, The Invincible Spirit, Underviewer, 7JK, The Breath of Life, Simi Nah, Ulterior, Metroland

Has the first BIM festival day offered all in all six bands, we got even three more on the second day, which were all in all more guitar driven than all those electronic bands the day before. Highlight for many was surely the performance of ex-JOY DIVISION member Peter Hook with his bands.


Metroland

Being scheduled for 14:00, METROLAND were finally opening the festival day about 30 minutes later. The show at BIM Fest was the first ever live performance of this Belgium duo, consisting of Passenger A and Passenger S. No real names are known. METROLAND are strongly influenced by German pioneers KRAFTWERK and also their show began very KREAFTWERK-like with machine sounds and a vocoded voice saying – supported by videos – “Welcome Antwerp – Machine Music Men…”. Anything around the band, the artwork, music, lyrics and also the presented video animations, are somehow connected to the subway, or Metro, as you might call it. Within their show, METROLAND presented songs from their debut album ‘Mind the Gap’, such as ‘Enjoying the View’, ‘Inner City Transport’, Moscow Main’, ‘M-E-T-R-O’, ‘Harry Beck’ or ‘It’s more Fun to Commute’ – all having something in common: they take you on a journey through electronic landscapes, , layered with authentic warm sequences and robotic vocals, accompanied by analogue drum machines. Really a cool opener, I enjoyed the show. // Rating: 7.5 / 10 // http://www.metrolandmusic.com / http://www.facebook.com/metrolandmusic

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Ulterior

English Post Punk / Wave band ULTERIOR had some bad luck… they “forgot” their bass and accompanying amp and so, all of a sudden replacement had to be organized what extended the rebuilding break a bit. But finally, Simmons, Honey, Mickey and MCG were ready to take you on their ride. The band is quite young – it was formed 2006 and is based in London. After their debut single and touring with SISTERS OF MERCY in 2009, the band released a 10” vinyl single. Their debut album ‘Wild in Wildlife’ (2011) caused quite a stir and now the band comes up with a second album, ‘The Bleach Room’. But back to the show, when finally all technical issues were solved, the band impressed once more with its drum machine powered, energetic post-punk influenced rock. On some pieces, you could hear even influences from such bands as THE MISSION or THE CULT. Paul is without a doubt a good, if not excellent vocalist and impressed with a lot of passion performing. Also a pretty good show and today, you finally could see the bands performing since all those more guitar driven bands seemed to love standing in more light to show people what they are doing on stage. // Setlist: 1. The Locus Of Control / 2. The Emptiness We Share / 3. Sister Speed / 4. Skydancing / 5. In Vitro / 6. Psychic Chic / 7. Cool TV / 8. Body Hammer / 9. Sex War Sex Cars Sex // Rating: 7.5 / 10 // http://www.ulteriorlondon.com / https://www.facebook.com/ulteriorlondon

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Simi Nah

So far, SIMI NAH was a pretty unknown to me, even though I should have stumbled across her name since this French musician, songwriter & vocalist from Nice is also bass player in PRAGA KHAN. Her partner in crime for this project is Kenny AKA Scuzzy, a musician, songwriter & producer from Oostende, being also DJ, drummer and guitarist (in the '80's) and engineer at Samurai Studio’s London with various artists like The Mission, Boy George, Zodiac Mindwarp, etc. Since 1993, Simi and Kenny are working together in various musical projects. Simi started her solo project SIMI NAH in 2003, releasing as first output the ‘French EP’, gaining good reactions already. This EP was followed by a first album, ‘Sans se voiler la face’. In 2012, a new album, ‘5’, was released presenting itself fresh and powerful emerging all of Simi’s passions, with themes as Music and Fashion. The line-up of SIMI NAH is completed by Simi’s daughter Alice on keys and also on vocals. Simi’s love for fashion was also shown by her stage outfit being, despite her age, overall sexy. Visually, the show was furthermore supported by several videos, i.e. a lot of bats flying around during ‘Batcave’ presenting Alice mainly on vocals. Entertaining show indeed! // Setlist: 1. Coco ChaRnel / 2. Sans Se Voiler La Face / 3. Batcave / 4. Dressing Room / 5. Requiem Pour Un Chiffon / 6. Wardance / 7. Cabaret / 8. 100 Visages / 9. Alice // Rating: 7.5 / 10 // http://www.siminah.com / https://www.facebook.com/simi.nah.music

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The Breath of Life

On we go with more Dark Wave and another band from Belgium, THE BREATH OF LIFE, who already started back in 1985 and released its first album, ‘Taste of sorrow’, in 1992 on Hall of Sermon label. With it, the band developed an unique sound, complemented by, as the press describes, the “magical voice” of Isabelle Dekeyser being sometimes compared to the vocal talents of Kate Bush and Siouxsie Sioux. Starting small, the band soon played on big scene festivals like Zillo, M’era Luna or Eurorock. After a few years without a new album, the band released finally a new one, ‘Whispering Fields’, in September 2012 on Danse Macabre, taking the listeners back into the band’s own specific realm of emotion, enhanced by the addition of a new band member on drums. With its long history, the band also attracted a lot of listeners during their BIM Fest show. Musically, their songs blend mostly conventional guitars and bass with electronic and violin sounds taking care for emotional depth and an ethereal and melancholic tone. Isabelle’s voice - she sings mostly in high tones with a little mischief - might not be convenient for anyone, but it presents live the same qualities as on CD. The band gained so much applause that they even came back for an encore. // Setlist: 1. Intro + Impromptu / 2. The Dark Side / 3. Noamina / 4. To the Wild / 5. Cutting Wings / 6. Nasty Cloud / 7. Forgotten Sins / 8. Waving to Shades / Encore: 9. The Souls Remain // Rating: 7.5 / 10 // http://www.the-breath-of-life.com / https://www.facebook.com/TBOL.official

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7JK

7JK is the co-operation of two bands. 7 stands for SIEBEN (UK) and JK for JOB KARMA (PL) who you could see already the see before. 7JK is looking violin sounds whereas warm vocals are mixed with electronic and industrial sounds. I saw fronter Matt Howden (in 7JK with violin instead guitar) a few years ago supporting DIARY OF DREAMS in Sheffield and was already impressed by his musical qualities and his stand-alone show when je looped his guitar several times to accompany his singing. And also at BIM, 7JK did not disappoint at all. The band was recently given the comparison “Coil meets Massive Attack” and yes, this is indeed a comparison I can agree to. The first album of the band, ‘Anthems Flesh’, was out in May 2012 and presents powerful, intense music full of emotions. For their live show, they chose eight songs from the album presenting all its variety and beauty. You had the songs ‘Krau’, ‘End of the Year’ or wonderful ‘Boxed in Green’ which musically reminded me of ‘Inglid’ by Estonian band SININE. The fantastic set, wonderfully illuminated, ended with ‘Dirt City’, the opener of the band’s debut album. // Setlist: 1. Dear Claire / 2. Krau / 3. Organ madness / 4. End of the Year / 5. Boxed in Green / 6. 47 Words for Sheffield / 7. The World’s Pain / 8. Dirt City // Rating: 8 / 10 // http://www.7jk.eu / https://www.facebook.com/7JKband/

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Underviewer

Since there is somehow no Belgian Festival with FRONT 242, we also got our fair dose at BIM Fest with the pre-FRONT 242 project UNDERVIEWER consisting of singer Jean-Luc de Meyer and keyboarder/ producer Patrick Codenys. Before Patrick and Jean-Luc joined FRONT 242, they already made music together from 1978 to 1981 - on the first ever emerged analog synthesizer. Result were minimalistic, experimental electronic track with a catchy tunes which were rather based on sound collages than on real melodies. With their show at BIM Fest, UNDERVIEWER took us back to the very early times of electronic music, when no prefabricated rhythms existed, a time when electronic music still sounded intimate. UNDERVIEWER shows were very rare in the past because FRONT 242 turned to the main project. So we enjoyed this rare chance. Visually, this show was also attractive. Codenys was with his keys hidden behind a transparent curtain which was – together with the screen in the back – used as big projection screen for several video animations showing either abstract pictures or animated sequences. I enjoyed the show a lot, especially ‘Kampfbereit’ I only knew as FRONT 242 song so far. Rating: 7.5 / 10 // http://www.front242.com

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The Invincible Spirit

1984 was the year when mastermind Thomas Lüdke (vocals, keyboards), Ralf Schauf (bass), Andreas (drums, keyboards) and Marion Küchenmeister (vocals) founded THE INVISIBLE LIMITS. With the early singles ‘Love Is A Kind Of Mystery’ and ‘Devil Dance’, they gained a lot of fame right from the start. Thomas left the band and founded a new project, initially under the name THE INVINCIBLE LIMIT, re-named soon to the now known THE INVINCIBLE SPIRIT. EBM classic and probably the band’s most known song ‘Push!’ was released in 1986. After some more albums the band disappeared in 1994 after releasing ‘Showdown’. ix years later the band started to play live again and released the EP ‘Faster Life’. The release of a best-of compilation followed and since then, we are waiting for some new stuff to be out. Fronter Thomas and his band came to Antwerp to prove that THE INVINCIBLE SPIRIT is still alive, kicking and invincible! Lots of people willing to dance gathered in front of the stage and accompanied with strobe lights, Thomas was kick-starting with ‘Love is a kind of mystery’. With upcoming songs like ‘Provoke you’, ‘Devil Dance’ or ‘Contact’, he kept people moving. The show was mainly focused onto him, even though there were more people on stage, but both keyboarders were hidden in the dark and also the dancer was not too present for people mainly concentrating on Thomas operating in front. Of course, it was the hit ‘Push!’ most people were awaiting. With ‘Make a Device’ the band said goodbye, but loud screams for encores brought them back for one more song, ‘Your God in me’. // Setlist: 1. Love is a kind of mystery / 2. Floating / 3. Take as normal / 4. Showdown / 5. Provoke you / 6. Devil Dance / 7. Alphasex / 8. Contact / 9. Deeper / 10. Push! / 11. Make a Device / Encore: 12. Your God in me // Rating: 7.7 / 10 // http://www.invincible-spirit.de / http://www.myspace.com/theinvinciblespirit

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Blancmange

This British pop duo, consisting of singer Neil Arthur and keyboarder Stephen Luscombe, was founded 1979 in Leeds and took its name from a sweet dessert. After releasing a song on the famous ‘Some Bizarre’ compilation they signed a record deal with London Records. First single and debut album ‘Happy Families’ were released in 1982. With two more albums and single hits like ‘Feel Me’, ‘Living on the Ceiling’ or ‘Blind Vision’, the band had quite some success within the charts. In 1986, the band split up. But now the band is back! In March 2011, a new BLANCMANGE album, ‘Blanc Burn’, was released followed by several live shows since the album was highly acclaimed. After I had seen their stunning performance at the Sinners Day 2011 I was looking forward a lot to the BIM Fest show, a show which was a throw-back into the youth of the older guests and kind of Oldie show for the younger ones… well, BIM fest was anyway more the festival of the older ones. During the BIM show, singer Neil had some problems with a cough, not really getting better with smoke on stage, which also affected his voice slightly. But anyway it was a cool show ending with a cover of ABBA song ‘The Day Before You Came’ being more successful in several countries when it was released 1984 than the original version. All in all it was a good show, delivering big hits like ‘Blind Vision’ and songs from the new album. I just missed ‘Don’t tell me really’ which did not make it onto the setlist today. // Setlist: 1. Game Above My Head / 2. I Can't Explain / 3. WDYF / 4. Drive Me / 5. Radio Therapy / 6. The Western / 7. Living on the Ceiling / 8. Don't Let These Days / 9. Blind Vision / 10. Starfucker / 11. Feel Me / 12. The Day Before You Came // Rating: 7.5 / 10 // http://www.blancmange.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blancmange/116356598425703

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Peter Hook & The Light

Peter Hook is known as founding member and legendary bassist of JOY DIVISION and NEW ORDER had come with a pack of hand-picked musicians (forming his band THE LIGHT) to perform JOY DIVISION classics in all their glory by giving people the opportunity to hear both of Joy Division's masterpiece albums, ‘Unknown Pleasures’ and ‘Closer’, live and in their entireties. It all started when Hook played ‘Unknown Pleasures’ first at the Factory club in Manchester on May 18th & 19th 2010 before he was taking the show through Europe and overseas. One year on, on May 18th & 19th 2011, the band recreated ‘Closer’ for the first time ever, followed by more world-wide dates. Before BIM Fest, I was really looking forward the show I had already seen before. But then came the downer… we were offered a photo contract by the band’s management, allowing us only to present pics for one year among other rules. But the worst of all: it was a total rights grab, demanding the photographer to send ALL taken pictures to the band to let them be used for whatever the bands wants… of course not paying anything, just crediting the photographer. So, I did not sign and therefore, you won’t see any pics of the show here. Downed by this, I could not enjoy the show as I wished to. Anyway the show was cool, it just did not touch me as before… // Setlist (containing JOY DIVISION songs only): 1. Dead Souls / 2. No Love Lost / 3. Leaders of Men / 4. Digital / 5. Disorder / 6. Day of the Lords / 7. Candidate / 8. Insight / 9. New Dawn Fades / 10. She's Lost Control / 11. Shadowplay / 12. Wilderness / 13. Interzone / 14. I Remember Nothing / Encore 1: 15. Heart and Soul / 16. Isolation / 17. Twenty Four Hours / 18. Decades / Encore 2: 19. Walked in Line / 20. Transmission / 21. Love Will Tear Us Apart // Rating: 7.7 / 10 // http://www.peterhook.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/peterhookandthelight

Like known from previous BIM Fest editions, the after show party started after the last concert where people were celebrating until morning. BIM Fest promoters once more organized a fantastic festival with a great line-up, offering some bands you rarely see anywhere else. Besides, it is always a pleasure to come to Belgium festivals since the mood and the audience is somehow special.

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)


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