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andone1Leipzig, Germany
17th - 20th May 2013
Wave Gotik Treffen Day 1: Letzte Instanz, Das Ich, The 69 Eyes, Abney Park and And One

Another year has passed and again many thousand people made their way from all over the world into the darkest city in Germany that weekend: Leipzig. The 22nd Wave Gotik Treffen (WGT) took place during Whitsun and offered many concerts as well as opera and theatre performances, exhibitions and lectures. All kinds of dark people settled down all over the city in order to enjoy the bands and the people around them. For the 22nd time, the city turned into a melting pot of different kinds of gothics ranging from Victorian maids to colourful Cyber Goths. Again, the WGT proved why it is the most known dark festival in the world!

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The first day started at the Agra for us in order to see all the bands that were planned for the evening. Although weather forecasts didn’t promise nice things to happen, it only rained during the late night after we finished our last band, AND ONE. The Agra quickly filled up as the first band entered the stage, opening this year’s WGT and so it began…


Letzte Instanz – Agra [FS]

LETZTE INSTANZ was founded in 1996 in Dresden. After they approached some labels under the former name RESISTANCE they signed a record deal with the label Costbar and recorded their first songs which are included on the first album. Later the band then changed their name to LETZTE INSTANZ. Before they even released their second album, singer Hörbi and bass player Kaspar left the band. Sebastian Lohse aka Robin Sohn and Rasta F. took over as singer and bass player. After the release of their fourth album ‘Götter auf Abruf’, again three members of the band (incl. the singer) left the band. With him a new era began for LETZTE INSTANZ which culminated in the 2012 release of ‘Ewig’, the final album of a trilogy started with ‘Schuldig’ and continued with 'Heilig'. LETZTE INSTANZ is Holly (vocals), M. Stolz (violin), B. Cellini (cello), Oli (guitar), Holly D. (guitar), Micha (bass) and David Pätsch (drums). http://www.letzte-instanz.de / http://www.facebook.com/letzteinstanz

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Music & Performance
LETZTE INSTANZ indeed came very far over the course of their 15 year lasting history. After the very successful and critically acclaimed album trilogy the number of fans noticeably increased with each record and showed by the amount of people who made it to the Agra hall that Friday late afternoon. I suspect many of them did only recently, so the immediate request to “sing” at the start of their eponymous opening song was answered with some delay; the gesture of up and downwards bouncing metal horns didn’t help either. However the atmosphere heated up quickly and obviously the band members were very glad to be back at the WGT to perform the first of two shows. That was not only to be seen by the audience who more and more moved into gear, but by the action on stage as well. The band kept jumping and dancing across the stage and Benni Cellini banged throughout every song (even those which I wouldn’t consider bangable) while he was playing his cello. In the past sometimes I had some issues acoustically figuring out the string instruments. Fortunately they were very audible and even got a boost on their solos - i.e. in ‘Nur für uns’, the second song played, with a great cello part or on ‘Finsternis’ with the same for the violin, performed by M. Stolz including an extra gimmicky excerpt for ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe.

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The performance of each musician was solid and dragged to audience right into the music, which couldn’t have been picked wrong considering the great amount of hits in the band’s back catalogue. In between song there was a lot going on as well. Front man Holly loose animated the audience by asking for gender specific chanting or practicing sing-alongs which were used in the songs to follow. For ‘Dein Licht’ he encouraged the attendants to raise their lighters –for none smokers a mobile phone did the trick – and wave them during the chorus. There was also some backstory telling going on i.e. for the songs ‘Schwarzer Sand’. During ‘Maskenball’ the people paid homage to the band by forming their initials with their fingers held up. Holly also used the opportunity to promote the bands upcoming festival celebrating their anniversary and their earlier shot music video which got quite many clicks on the relevant video portals on the web. During the last song and fan favourite ‘Wir sind allein’ he dared to walk straight through the audience to get a beer from the concession stand to just walk the same way back to the stage while he kept singing. A show like that was a great start for the WGT and made us eager for the things to come.

Setlist
01. Sing!
02. Nur für uns
03. Finsternis
04. Blind
05. Dein Licht
06. Schwarzer Sand
07. Der Garten
08. Von Anfang an
09. Maskenball
10. Flucht ins Glück
11. Komm!
12. Wir sind allein

Rating
Music: 9.5
Performance: 9.5
Sound: 9
Light: 8.5
Total: 9.1 / 10

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Das Ich – Agra [AK]

DAS ICH is a German electronic music group formed in 1989. The band, fronted by Stefan Ackermann and Bruno Kramm, was one of the prominent founders of and contributors to "Neue Deutsche Todeskunst" (New German Death Art), a musical movement in the early 1990s. Their first full-length album, ‘Die Propheten’, was released in Germany in 1991 and was reissued in the US in 1997, selling over thirty thousand copies. In 1996, the album ‘Egodram’ saw the group moving towards a more rhythmic, industrial dance-oriented sound, resulting in the club singles ‘Kindgott’ and ‘Destillat’. This was followed by 1998's ‘Morgue’, a concept album based on the work of Gottfried Benn. In 2001, DAS ICH released the album ‘Antichrist’, critically reflecting world politics. In 2002 the Best Of album ‘Relikt’ was released followed by different versions of Lava two years later. During the last years, the band released different best-of and remix CDs as well as a DVD. The band had to undergo a hiatus due to serious health problems of the lead singer, Stefan Ackermann. www.dasich.de / www.myspace.com/dasich ‎/ https://www.facebook.com/pages/DAS-ICH-fans/29654655347

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Music & Performance
DAS ICH is probably known for their song ‘Destillat’ which was released of couple of years ago and was also remixed by well-known bands such as VNV NATION. However, the band has been famous and successful within the gothic scene for many years. Sadly, they had to pause for some time due to Stefan Ackermann’s health problems. At this year’s WGT the band made its re-appearance and etered the stage accompanied by loud applause. Two years ago, the band was unable to perform due to Stefan’s diagnose. Now the band entered the stage again and was welcomed by a huge crowd of people. Of course, Stefan did not move as much as he was famous for the last years but everybody was glad he made it back safely. Immediately after starting the first songs, the audience was mesmerized by Stefan’s voice and songs like ‘Garten Eden’ and ‘Reanimat’. The band always knows how to attract the people, on the one hand with their music but on the other hand also with their looks. This time, Bruno showed off his well-known red hair-horns but Stefan surprised with a black and white make-up.

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The sound was not too loud which is the typical problem when it comes to concerts in the Agra. Since their music is mostly electronic based, DAS ICH did not have any problems with the mixing of different instruments. The band was happy to be back on stage which could be seen especially in the singer’s face. Stefan helped himself out with the lyrics by reading them from a folder that was put up in front of him. Here, this wasn’t a big problem due to the health background. Nevertheless, seldom have I seen somebody put so many emotions in his singing without moving a single step away from the microphone. Well done and nice to see you back on stage, DAS ICH!

Setlist
01. Dorn
02. Unschuld Erde
03. Mann und Frau gehen durch die Krebsbaracke
04. Schwanenschrei
05. Die Propheten
06. Schwarzes Gift
07. Das dunkle Land
08. Garten Eden
09. Reanimat
10. Von der Armut
11. Gottes Tod

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8 / 10


The 69 Eyes – Agra [FS]

THE 69 EYES is a multi-platinum selling Finnish gothic rock band founded in 1990. Initially their music style was of glam metal and sleaze rock. However, they began to incorporate more influence from gothic rock bands such as THE MISSION, THE CULT and THE SISTERS OF MERCY. Their sound was described as a mix of the gloominess of gothic rock with guitar-powered Rock’n’Roll. In 2012, THE 69 EYES release their 10th studio album. To celebrate that and their long existence, the band has decided to name the album as Roman tenth, ‘X’. www.69eyes.com / http://www.myspace.com/theofficial69eyes / https://www.facebook.com/the69eyes

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Music & Performance
The next band to play the Agra hall was the self-acclaimed Helsinki vampires, which played the WGT several time before. This year, I thought very confidently, should stand under the sign of the recently released album ‘X’. Having seen them not even one year ago I expected a brought mix of songs of their 23 year on-going history with focus on the newer tracks. But just like Thorin Oakenshield concluded infamously: I have never been so wrong. Not that THE 69 EYES excluded their recent release from the show, the opener ‘Love runs away’ as well as ‘Tonight’ are great songs, which worked out very well and seemed to please the audience - maybe better songs they have written the last 6 years. Either the band has as much greatness to admit that as well or the setlist was pure fan service for those who can’t get over nostalgia: There was neither a single song included from the album ‘Angels’ nor from ‘Back in Blood’, which in my ears just floated above the level of average. Instead the band pleased their audience with six(!) whole songs from the unanimous best found record ‘Blessed be’ from the year 2000, including the rarely performed ‘Sleeping with Lions’. I also was very happy to hear ‘Wasting the dawn’ back in the set.

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That circumstance alone is basically a reason to be pleased - if it were not for the sound with lacked a little bite and could get the energy – as darkish cheesy it may be – across. There seemed to be some issues on stage as well, as there was a lot of adjusting on the tops and the mixing going on in the first songs. However the band gave a good performance. Front man Jyrki danced across the stage looking cool like the rest of the band in their extra dark sun glasses, arousing the female audience. That escalated in a stunt of at least a dozen bras flying to the stage during the chorus of ‘Framed in blood’. While the band failed in pinning them to their equipment they succeeded in playing a quite entertaining hour of their best songs, finishing off with their best-known song ‘Lost Boys’.

Setlist
01. Love runs away
02. Forevermore
03. Gothic Girl
04. Tonight
05. Sleeping with Lions
06. Betty Blue
07. Stolen Season
08. Wasting the Dawn
09. Feel Berlin
10. Framed in Blood
11. Dance d’Amour
12. Stigmata
13. The Chair
14. Brandon Lee
15. Lost Boys

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 8.5
Sound: 7.5
Light: 8
Total: 8.3 / 10

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Abney Park – Agra [FS]

ABNEY PARK was founded around 1997, while their popularity came with the internet in the early 2000’s. ABNEY PARK’s unique style draws inspiration from fairy tales and nightmares, and recollects a past that never was. In 2005, the band morphed from a more Darkwave/ Industrial inspired act to a Steampunk inspired act. ABNEY PARK’s music has been featured on a number of movie soundtracks and many compilation CDs. Their fans form a near-cult following, and have been known to travel from as far as New Zealand and Mexico City just to see them perform. In 2012, they released their latest records ‘Ancient World’ and ‘Through Your Eyes on Christmas Eve’. http://www.abneypark.com / http://www.myspace.com/abneypark‎ / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Abney-Park/312292093741

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Music and Performance
As another band with quite a history and a remarkable number of outputs the steam punk band ABNEY PARK stepped next onto the stage that Friday night. I have to admit only a few months ago I only knew about the band one thing, which is the above mentioned shtick, a trend circulating the gothic scene more and more in the last years: bronze applications, cogwheels, apparatus tubes, intricately glowing devices and aviator goggles. What that would mean musically, I found out just shortly. ABNEY PARK plays often beat-dominant folk dance-rock, while there is definitely more emphasis on the first two attributes, hence the first thing that was noticeable was the absence of a drum kit. While the beats were canned, the other instruments were real and a fest for the eyes: with adornments and appliques they emphasized the appearance of their players who came in costume – or better said alternative identity – as well.

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The stories which the lyrics told of zeppelins and airships completed the overall image, which might have dragged the people to the site. In response to the question how many people have seen the band before a considerable amount of hand were raised, so it was up to the band to win over a lot of potential fans. As much as I wanted to be won over, they didn’t get to me, for it was not really my cup of tea. The beat often was very monotonously stomping without offering only little diversion over a good part of the set. The songs structurally had the problem as well and even made the impression of being unfinished to me, although the violin, guitars and keys themselves worked very well with some great tunes and melodies. Especially the vocals from Robert Brown and Jody Ellen came across very powerful and carried the concert beautifully. From goblet drums to accordion many other instruments were used to give the music depth, which worked out very well. The sound did the genre and the songs justice and animated many people to dance and jump along with the band. I’m very confident that ABNEY PARK gathered a lot of new followers that night.

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 9.5
Sound: 8.5
Light: 7
Total: 8 / 10

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And One – Agra [AK]

And One is a German New Wave, synthpop and EBM band founded by Steve Naghavi and Chris Ruiz in 1989. The duo became a trio with the addition of Alex Two, prior to the release of their debut album, Anguish in 1991. Going into the release of Anguish they had already garnered a decent following through touring and appearances at various parties. Chris Ruiz left in 1992 (he would later return in 2001) while Steve Naghavi remained with the band. AND ONE released three more albums with Machinery Records, Flop! (1992), Spot (1993) and I.S.T. (1994). The band left Machinery around 1996–1997 and signed to Virgin Schallplatten. And One would release four albums on this label between 1997 and 2003: Nordhausen (1997), 9.9.99 9 Uhr (1998), Virgin Superstar (2000) and Aggressor (2003). The next And One album, Bodypop, was released on 1 September 2006. The very famous single "Military Fashion Show" preceded the album. In November 2007 the band announced the release of Bodypop 1½, an EP featuring different covers. Three weeks later, the EP was cancelled and a full length cover album announced. On June 4, 2011 Chris Ruiz and Gio van Oli announced they were leaving AND ONE and formed a new band entitled PAKT. Four days later Steve Naghavi announced the return of both Joke Jay and Rick Schah via the band's official Facebook page. The band's new album S.T.O.P. was released on 25 May 2012. A couple of months later, Steve Naghavi announced a farewell tour, followed by the band’s breakup. www.andone.de / www.myspace.com/andoneofficial / https://www.facebook.com/ANDONEoffiziell

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Music & Performance
After the official announcement of the band’s breakup, it was exciting to see that the band were part of the WGT’s midnight specials and ended our first festival day in the Agra. The band started around 1am and welcomed a nicely filled concert hall. It seemed almost as if the whole camping ground found its way to the concert. AND ONE quickly got the audience dancing with their synth-pop sound and seemed to be in a really good mood this night. During the second song, ‘Stop the Sun’, Steve had to read the lyrics from a piece of paper that was attached to the ground which was a shame since he only sang and did not play an instrument at the same time. If you only have to “play” your voice, at least get the lyrics memorized. Before the next song he apologized and laughed about it which put a funny tone to the incident. Nevertheless, it left me with a disappointing one. With the following songs, the band presented a cross section of their musical past and encouraged choirs during songs like ‘Metalhammer’ and their club hit ‘Steine sind Steine’. The audience, including me, surely had a great time dancing along the club sounds and enjoying Steve’s voice. However, from time to time he hit some false notes. This didn’t ruin the experience for me but was definitely not enjoyed by some of the people in the crowd.

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Summarizing, the band put up a solid show and gave a nice touch to the ending of the first day. If you haven’t used the chance of seeing them this night, make sure to attend their upcoming tour in fall 2013!

Setlist
01. Back Home
02. Stop the Sun
03. Wasted (incl. Personal Jesus Cover of Depeche Mode)
04. Stand the Pain
05. Love You to the End
06. Missing Track
07. Metalhammer
08. Steine sind Steine
09. Traumfrau
10. Mirror in Your Heart
11. Electrocution
12. Deutschmaschine
13. Seven
14. The Walk (The Cure cover)
15. High
16. Sometimes
17. Für
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18. Techno Man
19. Get You Closer
20. Military Fashion Show
21. Shouts of Joy

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

All pictures by Anne Kuhfuß (Letzte Instanz, Das Ich, And One), Florian Schürmann (Abney Park, The 69 Eyes) and Daniela Vorndran (Impressions)
Written by Anne Kuhfuß [AK] and Florian Schürmann [FS]


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