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introKulturpark, Deutzen, Germany
4th to 6th September 2015
Nocturnal Culture Night Day 1: Perfection Doll, Severe Illusion, Naevus (solo), Blind Passenger, Oberer Totpunkt, Legend, Schloss Tegal, Stahlmann, Echo West, Merciful Nuns, Deutsch Nepal, Dismantled, Psyche, Die Krupps, Rose McDowall

It is always at the farthest end of the festival season in autumn when a little festival takes place that over the years has gained considerable recognition amongst dark music lovers: The Nocturnal Culture Night (NCN), already running in its 10th edition. And of course this birthday had to be celebrated (read HERE).

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The birthday edition of NCN was very successful. It was not sold-out like in the previous year, but that was due to the fact that there was more space now and more people could attend. Still, it was packed with nearly 3,000 people. As every year, the festival was taking place inside the boundaries of the picturesque landscape of the culture park in a little place called Deutzen (near Leipzig). It’s not only the familiarity of the atmosphere that has shaped its reputation, moreover it is the vast assortment of bands the organizer come up with every year anew that differs quite a bit from the usual. Unlike the last few years, this year we were sadly not blessed with good weather. It was quite cold, especially at night, and kind of rainy. But still, the weather did not get the mood down though.

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Perfection Doll – Park Stage (Dani)

Opening a festival is never easy and for NCN, the band PERFECTION DOLL who was founded only a short time ago, at the end of 2014, had the duty and pleasure. The young band from Leipzig consists of singer Laluna Mea Lux (formerly singer in ARISE-X), Loki on keyboards and Mirko for the effects. For their NCN show, they brought an additional dancer with them. They did their best to convince the NCN audience but at least convincing me failed since the vocals of singer Laluna were out of tune. We’ll see what the band can come up with in future. At the end they got some friendly applause. // http://www.perfection-doll.com / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Perfection-Doll/823949397670554 // Setlist: 1. Intro / 2. This is Electro / 3. You / 4. I Wanna Know / 5. Ghostlove / 6. Shadow Exchange / 7. Resurrected // Rating: 5 / 10

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Severe Illusion – Amphi Stage (Dani)

Swedish SEVERE ILLUSION opened the day at the Amphi Stage. All started in summer 200 when Fredrik Djurfeldt und Ulf Lundblad were accidently at the same place. And since then, they released several albums and more. After a longer break, the band celebrated its fulminant comeback in 2011 with the album ‘No More Alive Than You Deserve’ on the label Complete Control Productions. The latest output is called ‘Deliberate Prefrontal Leucotomy’. Who loves tracks by Synapscape, The Klinik or Abscess should also listen to SEVERE ILLUSION. First thing really hit you was the appearance of singer Fredrik Djurfeldt, who wrapped his body in transparent foil, ripping it away during the show while searching contact to the audience or crawling on the floor. Friends of 80s electro surely loved that band, even though they were suffering a little at the beginning by not-balanced sound. // https://www.facebook.com/pages/Severe-Illusion/75567054789 // Rating: 7 / 10

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Naevus (solo) – Culture Stage (Dani)

While SEVERE ILLUSION delivered the harsh electro sounds on the main stage, things calmed down on the little Culture Stage with a solo show of NAEVUS’ front man Lloyd James. British Neo Folk / Ritual band NAEVUS was founded in 1998 by Lloyd James (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Joanne Owen (bass, accordion) in London. Until 2004 the duo released four albums. Then, the band was enlarged by John Murphy (drums) and Greg Ferrari (E-guitar). Afterwards, several albums have need released, some rockier, some more experimental with electronic influences, some with folky moments. On the Friday evening at NCN, you could experience NAEVIS very pure with an acoustic solo performance of Lloyd. Very calm and really nice for people wanting to escape the loud main stage. // http://www.trufflesoflove.com / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Naevus/22994751603 // Setlist: 1. Aria/Acqua / 2. Odour / 3. Idiots (Let Me In) / 4. Bleat Beep / 5. Hasty Bastard / 6. Chairs are Men / 7. The Pit / 8. Frozen! / 9. Oracle, Oracle // Rating: 8 / 10

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Blind Passenger – Park Stage (Dani)

BLIND PASSENGER is the follow-up project of BLIND PASSENGERS consisting of Nik Page, Lady Rocketqueen and Angela Blackfield. Synth Pop band BLIND PASSENGERS dates back to 1987, founded by Nik Page and Rayner Schirner, and releasing several albums even entering German album charts with 1999 album ‘Bastard’. 2001 saw the last studio release ‘Neosapiens’. After the burial of BLIND PASSENGERS in 2005, Nik is now back with the solo project BLIND PASSENGER releasing the sci-fi Synth-Pop album ‘Next Flight to Planet Earth’ in summer 2010. Nik Page with his project was already guest at NCN in 2010 where he played, with a different line-up, the main stage. Now back at the festival on the smaller Park Stage, it became quite full in front. Just like in 2010, the band marched with waving flags through the audience to reach the stage. But it did not work as well as on the big stage back then. Anyway Nik and the girls delivered an energetic show performing several classics of the band as well as some cover versions which were loudly sang along. With the presented Synth Pop and several songs presented from the old BLIND PASSENGERS - i.e. ‘Born to Die’ and ‘Absurdistan’ - you felt moved back to the eighties.// http://www.blindpassenger.de / http://www.facebook.com/pages/Blind-Passenger/161725120529492 // Setlist: 1. Push! (The Invincible Spirit cover) / 2. Yes Sir! (Blind Passengers cover) / 3. Born To Die (Blind Passengers cover) / 4. A Forest (The Cure cover) / 5. Absurdistan (Blind Passengers cover) / 6. The Cross (Blind Passengers cover) / 7. Dein Kuss (Nik Page song) / 8. Electrocop / 9.More (The Sisters of Mercy cover) // Rating: 8 / 10

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Oberer Totpunkt – Willow Bow Stage (Dani)

Just like BLIND PASSENGER, also OBERER TOTPUNKT were already guests at the festival. Today, there were opening the new Willow Bow Stage, where in the last year only readings and fashion shows were taking place. Two years ago, Bettina Köster and her band presented a musical reading, and in 2011 the delivered a rousing show at the big stage. Much smaller but not less intense was their performance in 2015. The German trio entered the dark music scene in 2007 with their debut album ‘10 Grad vor OT’ and surprised both critics and music addicts with their unconventional musical approach. The unusual spoken word performance impressed me once more and was definitely fitting to the cozy surrounding of the Willow Bow Stage. // http://www.totpunkt.com / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oberer-Totpunkt/134593484112 // Setlist: 1. Es War Immer So / 2. Langfristig / 3. Sei Auf Der Hut! / 4. Wellensittich / 5. Teufels Lehrerin / 6. Rosemarie / 7. Blutmond / 8. Gevatter Tod / 9. Hamburg / 10. Meine Welt // Rating: 8 / 10

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Legend – Amphi Stage (Dani)

NCN promoters are not often inviting bands in two years in a row. But every now and then there is one band impressing the organizers that much that they just have to invite them once more in the following year, offering them an appearance at a bigger stage. And Exactly this was the case with Icelandic LEGEND. rummi Björgvinsson and Halldór A Björnsson were both well-known musicians in the Scandinavian music scene before they decided to form a common project in 2011. Their debut album, launched in April 2012, was critically acclaimed. For live shows they have Frosti Jón Runólfsson as drummer on stage. During the previous shows I have seen on this band I was never disappointed. And yes, once more LEGEND were not only one of my highlights of the first festival day but of the whole weekend. Their fusion of Electro, Industrial and Pop combined with an energetic live performance is breath-taking. Perfect, intense and consequent. // http://www.icelandmusic.is/music/artists/legend / https://www.facebook.com/Legendband // Setlist: 1. Benjamite Bloodline / 2. City / 3. Violence / 4. Runaway Train / 5. Devil in Me / 6. Lust / 7. Virgin / 8. Godless Fucker // Rating: 9 / 10

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Schloss Tegal – Culture Stage (Dani)

SCHLOSS TEGAL, performing on the Culture Stage, were stepping in for EKLIPSE who had to cancel their show short before. The influential American Psycho Ambient duo consists of Richard Schneider and Mark Burch, being officially founded in 1989. Some critics call them the founders of Dark Ambient. The band’s name is lend from a mysterious psychiatric hospital in a castle (German: Schloss) near Berlin. As mysterious as the hospital are also the issues the project is dealing with in its songs: aliens, mass murders, psycho sects and many more. Having said that, I just can tell you that the performance was also very mysterious. // http://www.schlosstegal.net / https://www.facebook.com/schlosstegal // Rating: 7 / 10

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Stahlmann – Park Stage (Dani)

STAHLMANN are really popular nowadays and in a short time, the band has become one of the trademarks of German Rock scene. The band represents a young generation of hard, German-tongued music, being compared often to RAMMSTEIN, and developing the so-called Neue Deutsche Härte to a new level. Since its foundation in 2008 the band has already released several albums, the latest being ‘CO2’ out in August 2015. STAHLMANN is known for pushing Metal rhythms and catchy Gothic melodies as well as striking lyrics. Combined with their spectacular silver look, they are always good for a powerful live show. And of course the band gathered a big crowd in front of the stage for their show where people celebrated with the quartet. If you like that kind of music, STAHLMANN shows are always worth to be checked out. // http://www.stahlmann.tv / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stahlmann/138756019513864 // Rating: 8 / 10

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Echo West – Willow Bow Stage (Dani)

Electronic project ECHO WEST from Dortmund was founded 1994 already. With six albums and two singles in their discography and a good standing in the Minimal and Dark Wave scene, Thomas Bley and Dirk T. Klein are surely no nobodies. The minimalist sound the band presents is based mainly on the used instruments, meaning analogue or digital synthesizers, drum computer, effect devices, microphone, bass and guitar. The generated cool and melancholic atmosphere of the sounds fitted perfectly to the cold late-summer night at NCN. The genre ECHO WEST presents is often called Angst-Pop. ECHO WEST's style is clearly dark and experimental but their performance was perfect for the small stage and its cosy surrounding. // https://www.facebook.com/EchoWest.Musick // Rating: 7 / 10

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Merciful Nuns – Amphi Stage (Dani)

Just a few weeks before I saw the band already at M’era Luna Festival. And also at NCN they are not new. Emerging from the roots of GARDEN OF DELIGHT (who are btw. confirmed for NCN 2016!!!), MERCIFUL NUNS quickly moved to the spearhead of international Goth Rock scene. The band consists of Artaud Seth, his wife Jawa Seth and Jón. Instead of Jón, Ashley Dayour from WHISPERS IN THE SHADOW accompanied them on guitar for this show at NCN. MERCIFUL NUNS’ characteristics are that kind of cold, laconic drums, a growling bass, an echoing guitar full of yearning and that punchy voice of Artaud. He has something special in his voice, giving it a special kind of sound that I can´t describe. Paired with the abstraction of his lyrics, goose bumps are guaranteed. By adding the echoes to his singing, the atmosphere is perfect. Music and vocals, combined with the well-known screens on stage and their remarkable illumination, the band delivered a great show. Artaud was in best mood. In fact I never saw him like that. He even came down from stage to climb the fence in the pit and searching close contact to the fans. // http://www.mercifulnuns.com / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Merciful-Nuns/145696075454608 // Setlist: 1. Speed of Light / 2. Karma Inn / 3. Body of Light / 4. Genesis Revealed / 5. Exosphere / 6. Blackbody / Ultraviolet / 7. Supernovae / 8. Occvltation / 9. The Maelstrom / 10. God Aeon / 11. Hypogeum // Rating: 8 / 10

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Deutsch Nepal – Culture Stage (Dani)

DEUTSCH NEPAL were playing parallel to MERCIFUL NUNS and so I could have only a short glimpse into their show. DEUTSCH NEPAL is the best know musical project of Swedish Industrial and Dark Ambient musician Peter Andersson. In 1991, Andersson released his debut album ‘Deflagration of Hell’ under the DEUTSCH NEPAL moniker. Several more releases followed. The show at NCN was quite reduced and as Andersson commented later, also a bit stiff due to feedback issues and so he had to stand on the same spot during the whole show. // http://deutschnepal.bandcamp.com / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deutsch-Nepal-Official/114870861932547 // Rating: 7 / 10

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Dismantled – Park Stage (Jan)

Just in time with the band’s sound check I started my NCN weekend. Concerts of the music projects from the US are rare in Germany, so the first enthusiast were right in front of stage. From the beginning the place was well attended and mastermind Gary Zon started to take on, first the stage, then the audience, supported by TZA on keys and Jon Siren on drums. I really like it, when live-performances of electronic music is re-valued by other instruments, just to add new facets and gain an new dynamic. To my regrets, the performance was dominated by drums and main-vocals and it wouldn't change during the concert. After the first five songs, I would rather have gone to the stage Willow Bow Stage to listen to PSYCHE; but I was curious, if somebody would notice, that the microphone of Tonya, who was obviously trying to sing the background-vocals from the first song, was muted. Besides the technical problems and my personal taste, the crowd was in a good mood and offered the perfect setting until the last sounds of the hit song ‘Exit’ faded away. // http://www.dismantled.org / https://www.facebook.com/dismantled // Setlist: 1. Insecthead / 2. Kill Or Be Killed / 3. Disease / 4. The Swarm / 5. Purity / 6. Breed To Death / 7. Thanks For Everything / 8. Dead On Impact / 9. Get It Through / Encore: 10. Exit // Rating: 7 / 10

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Psyche – Willow Bow Stage (Dani)

While Jan was listening to DISMANTLED on the Park Stage, I decided for PSYCHE on the smallest of the stages. The band was guest at NCN before and I remember that one special show when it was raining cats and dog, there was a power loss and finally the band presented an all-unplugged set. Very charming! Technically, this time anything went fine. The band was in great mood and even included one more song into their set than planned before. PSYCHE is probably one of the most popular electronic duos from Canada. Their well-known hits ‘Unveiling The Secret’, ‘Sanctuary’ or ‘Goodbye Horses’ were of course also included into their show. Live, singer Darrin Huss as always impressed with his unmistakable voice and with his great mood, quickly infecting the fans. It was once more a pleasure to watch this show and today the sound was much better than when I last time saw them together with ECHO WEST in Dortmund. // http://www.psyche-hq.de / https://www.facebook.com/Psyche // Setlist: 1. The Crawler / 2. Krieg / 3. Uncivilized / 4. Angel Lies Sleeping / 5. The Outsider / 6. Eternal / 7. Misery / 8. The Brain Collapses / 9. Sanctuary / 10. Disorder / 11. 15 Minutes / 12. Tears / 13. Goodbye Horses / 14. Unveiling the Secret / Encore: 15. Gods and Monsters // Rating: 8 / 10

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Die Krupps – Amphi Stage (Janine)

The headliner of the first festival day, DIE KRUPPS, entered the stage at 22:40. Caused by technical problems the first songs could not been heard by everyone in the audience unfortunately since obviously only the monitor speakers did work. Jürgen Engler and his companions were really irritated by the calm crowd– but when the bass came back to the front speakers the party could start finally! They performed some classics in the first third of the show so early fans were caught directly. DIE KRUPPS heated up the round of Amphi Stage and let the people move. Their special mix of hard guitar riffs and driving beats - best described as “Metal Machine Music” - makes their hits timeless and is a guarantee for a dancing crowd. With great performances like ‘Risikofaktor’, ‘Machineries of Joy’ and ‘Bloodsucker’ the electro pioneers sent the exhausted people into the night. // http://www.diekrupps.de / https://www.facebook.com/diekruppsofficial // Setlist: 1. Crossfire / 2. The Dawning of Doom / 3. Kaltes Herz / 4. Risikofaktor / 5. Isolation / 6. Battle Extreme / 7. Scent / 8. Alive In A Glass Cage / 9. Black Beauty White Heat / 10. Fly Martyrs Fly / 11. Nazis Auf Speed / 12. Metal Machine Music / 13. Robo Sapien / 14. To the Hilt / 15. Fatherland / Encores: 16. Machineries of Joy / 17. Bloodsuckers // Rating: 8 / 10

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Rose McDowall – Culture Stage (Dani)

After the rousing show of DIE KRUPPS it was time to calm down with the midnight special at the Culture Stage: ROSE MCDOWALL, a Scottish musician being active in music business since 1978 in various bands and solo. 1978 she decided with her later husband to form the Punk band THE POEMS where she was playing drums. Following she worked in the Synth Pop band STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE. After both bands were disbanded, Rose was active in the London music scene in the eighties and nineties with guest appearances on albums and shows of various bands, like CURRENT 93 or NURSE WITH WOUND. In times, Rose i.e. was steady member in CURRENT 93, DEATH IN JUNE or ROSA MUNDI. Besides she was founding member of SPELL in 1993 together with Boyd Rice. Since 2004 she also releases music under her own name. Their late show at NCN presented songs from various of her former projects being influential for today’s music scene. It was definitely a pleasure to have the Grande Dame of music as guest on NCN.

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// https://www.facebook.com/rose.mcdowall.12 // Setlist: 1. Stone is Very, Very Cold (Priscilla Paris cover) / 2. Deep Water (Strawberry Switchblade song) / 3. Ruby Tears (Sorrow song) / 4. Crystal Nights / 5. Willow's Song (Magnet cover) / 6. Trees and Flowers (Strawberry Switchblade song) / 7. Sunday Morning (The Velvet Underground cover) / 8. Let There Be Thorns (Sorrow song) / 9. Soldier (Sorrow song) / 10. Since Yesterday (Strawberry Switchblade song) / 11. Cut with the Cake Knife / 12. April Skies (The Jesus and Mary Chain cover) / 13. Sleep Now Forever (Sorrow song) / 14. Voices (Sorrow song) / 15. To Drown a Rose (Death in June cover) / Encore: 16. Garden of Sorrows // Rating: 8 / 10

After the concert, the obligatory after show party was held in front of the Park Stage. And especially people staying at the camp ground decided to party. Was a good way to stay warm instead of laying in the cold tent.

Written by Daniela Vorndran, Janine Rumrich & Jan Moritz
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet


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