13th November 2021
E-tropolis Festival 2021 with Zweite Jugend, Torul, Fïx8:Sëd8, Eisfabrik, Absurd Minds, [X]-RX, Xotox, Solitary Experiments, Intent:Outtake, Hocico, Chrom, Covenant, Diorama and Front 242
What was originally planned for March 2020 and postponed several times due to this well-known C-virus took finally place on 13th November 2021. Still, not everything was “normal” yet. Access was only allowed with 3G, means recovered, vaccinated of tested. But once inside the venue, things felt quite normal. Not much distance, no masks, just excitement. People were standing together, chatting, hugging… just happy to celebrate together and to forget the pandemic for some hours.
Speaking of the venue, the Turbinenhalle used the time of the long Corona break for extended renovations. The look of the halls slightly changed, the toilets were completely renovated and the biggest plus: it was finally warm in the hall. No freezing anymore. How nice! Slowly from 13:00 on, people entered the hall. If you were not tested yet, you had the chance for Corona test right in front of the venue, where a tent was built up and you could get tested for just 10 euros. After entering, it was time to welcome friends, grab a drink and finally gather in front of the main stage for the first band of the day.
The hall was already very well filled for ZWEITE JUGEND, which was of course announced by Jens Domgörgen, our beloved host. I was really surprised how full the space in front of the stage was… Eli van Vegas and Marcel Lüke, aka Electro-Punk band ZWEITE JUGEND, could gather quite a fan base during the last years. They started the show with their new single, ‘Herbstsonate’, which was just released a week ago. During their 40-Minute show, people were dancing and you could already see first mosh-pits in the hall. Amazing! What a start of this wonderful festival day. Next band, also on the main stage, was TORUL from Slovenia who convinced with their danceable and melodic Synth Pop.
From the main stage now to the smaller second stage, which was opened by FÏX8:SËD8 and one of the best performances of the day and also one of the best Dark Electro performances for years. Martin Sane plays with a certain SKINNY PUPPY look on stage and people love it. If you haven’t seen the new show so far, you really missed something. While the winter was coming on the main stage with EISFABRIK, ABSURD MINDS delivered their Electro Pop. The band already exists for more than twenty years and still has a big fan base. Harsher sounds were following now on the main stage with [X]-RX, who jumped in for GRENDEL, who could not make it to the festival on the new date. My first impression when the band was entering the stage: Pascal is now looking like a young Jared Leto… More harsh sounds on the small stage with the Rhythm ’n’ Noise project XOTOX before it finally got more melodic on the big stage again.
SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS are in the business also for more than twenty years. The Synth / Electro Pop band had lots of fans in the audience who loudly sang along during the show. Hits like ‘Delight’ or ‘Stars’ always work. Even though Dennis is not the best singer, the songs just work and make you escaping from normality for a while. INTENT:OUTTAKE on the second stage then animated to dance with a completely different sound. The dark electronic beats still were not really my cup of tea. Dark and loud was also the motto on the main stage fir HOCICO. Erk Aicrag wore as always his remarkable face paint and people loved the energetic show. More melody was the headline on the second stage with CHROM before one of the highlight of the evening followed with COVENANT on the main stage. The band gained real cult status and delivered, like a friend called it, one of the best performances of the last years during E-Tropolis. As always, the stage was covered with lots of smoke and created a mystic atmosphere.
I did only see a few songs of COVENANT’s show, since another highlight for me, DIORAMA, were closing the second stage. And what an emotional show was this again. Anticipation was high and when the band finally entered the stage, people were screaming their lungs out. Torben took a seat at his piano and started the show with some calmer tunes before stage and audience area were bursting with energy. Sadly, Felix was ill and could not be in Oberhausen, but with Helge Wiegand, a good replacement was found. During the show, there were some new songs from the latest album of course, but people loved the “hits” like ‘Child of Entertainment’, ‘Synthesize me’ or the crowd pleaser ‘Why’ with the well-known “ohohohoooo” fan choir. During half of the show, all restraints were forgotten and Torben just jumped from stage into the pit to shake hands with the fans in first rows. One of my festival highlights!
From one highlight to the next one - FRONT 242 now entered the main stage to close the festival. Just to let you know what to expect… during the show a friend was really excited and just said over and over again “The played ‘Red Team’, the played ‘Red Team’! OMG!”. Yes, the setlist was “quite unusual” and had a few surprises in stock for the excited audience. FRONT 242 are icons with so many years of experience. The set started with ‘First In/First Out’ just followed by ‘Take One’. While the first songs were all from the eighties, the band later surprised with some news songs. And this is “quite unusual” since the band has not released new material for many, many years. But ‘Generator’ or ‘Deeply Asleep’ could convince the fans. The band just celebrated a big party with their fans. But finally with ‘Until Death (Us Do Part)’ and ‘Welcome to Paradise’ the show was over.
While lots of fans were too tired to party now and started their way home, others used the chance to dance until late at the after show party. What is left to say? Thank you to organizers, promoters, band, crew and fans for this amazing day at Turbinenhalle. It was a while ago since we all could celebrate (nearly) without restrictions. It was such a relief and we just hope that someday normality is really back. So let’s look forward to next year’s E-Tropolis Festival, taking place on 24th September 2022. CU!
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)