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wulfband15Fuchs2 & Bike Jesus, Prague, Czech Republic
26th to 27th August 2022
Prague Gothic Treffen 2022 with Naturata Brutalismus, The Frozen Autumn, Paar, Selofan, Christian Death, Her Own World, Wisborg and Wulfband

Prague Gothic Treffen has always been one of my highlights when it comes to the festival landscape - a perfect closure of summer concerts. The atmosphere during the event is absolutely unique and liberating - great venues, amazing people, and impeccable line-ups - every time I learn something new and get the energy I need - both from the music and the people I meet there. The vibe brings people together, offers space for ideas exchange, and sets a good foundation for new friendships. Add to it very friendly organizers and staff at the clubs, and you’ll get the perfect recipe for a great event. Sanctuary.Cz team does a fantastic job, and I thank them for making an effort - with such an excellent result.

This being said, no wonder that year by year, at the end of August, I pack my bags and travel almost 300km to my most beloved and beautiful Prague to get my fuel and joy for the upcoming months. The 2022 edition witnessed yet another change in venues - this year, the entire festival took place in two clubs - Fuchs2 and Bike Jesus - located very nicely close to the city centre. The clubs are atmospheric and have great design, yet they seemed slightly small, especially when everyone wanted to see some bands. Add to it rather dim light and masses of smoke and you’ll get a maze that was sometimes difficult to handle. That’s the only disadvantage I may find about the whole thing - other than that it was very well organized, as mentioned before - the club staff was accommodating and friendly, and the timing of the events was fine.

The festival took place on Friday and Saturday; apart from the concerts the audience had a chance to participate in a Gothic Picnic where you could play with bats and meet the festival attendees in broad daylight.


Friday, 26th August 2022

Fridays are usually the days of the most intensive socializing at the festival. It’s a rare occasion to meet friends I see once a year at this festival, so I shared the time between stages and the open-air space where you could chat, drink, and rest. It is exceptional indeed to meet old and new friends and just enjoy the music, the venue and the fact we may meet face to face, shake hands and even hug. Even though the pandemic restrictions were eased some time ago, I still feel like I’m making up for these two long years when normalcy was put on hold. Still, apart from meeting friends, the main part of the night was the music of course.


Naturata Brutalismus

The first concert I saw - well, saw is probably too big of a word, because due to heavy smoke and the venue being packed to its capacity, I saw nothing. Still, I could hear fantastic music by NATURATA BRUTALISMUS. NATURATA BRUTALISMUS is a Berlin based project formed in 2020. Sound-wise the trio experiments with electronic-infused Death Rock, bringing fresh blood to the dark scene through its audio-visual approach. NB debuted with their self-titled album on online platforms, and three music videos were released in 2021. Currently, they are working on new visual content and recording the next album, which will be released in 2022. (Source: batcaveproductions.pl)

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Music & Performance
As I mentioned before, the show of Emilio Cordero was rather a sonic than a visual experience due to the huge amounts of smoke and general darkness that were set as an ambience for the concert. Nonetheless, the quality of the music presented was exquisite. Cold and yet emotional passages, harsh background, energetic, speedy, and vibrating guitar lead, plus scanning vocal stood for a mystic experience. I especially like how the harsh and soft notes intertwine in their music and how the emotional aspect of the entire output is presented via perfectly chosen notes and melodic matter. Great show!

Setlist
01. Intro
02. El Odio Perpetuo
03. Untitled
04. Dejarnos Caer
05. Apetitus Naturalis
06. El Orden del Caos
07. Sacro Santo
08. Interludio
09. Marginando el Día
10. Dislocando el Pensamiento
11. Untitled
12. Antropófago
13. Sacrilegio
14. Involución

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 8
Light: 1
Sound: 8
Total: 6.8 / 10


The Frozen Autumn

THE FROZEN AUTUMN is an Italian band inspired by the classic gothic rock from CLAN OF XYMOX and THE SISTERS OF MERCY (the first one is often compared to). In the music of TFA, you can also hear the fascination with synthpop and the music of the 80s. The band was founded in 1993 by Diego Merletto. Two years after the album was created, the debut album entitled ‘Blade Awakening’ was released. After concerts, performances, guest appearances on many titles, ‘L’Appel De La Muse’ came out. The band also includes Arianna “Froxeanne” for vocals, keyboards, samples, fx, and programming.

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Music & Performance
THE FROZEN AUTUMN combine cold energetic synths with extremely emotional, heart rendering and powerful scenic and vocalic manner. Nostalgic, even romantic sounds intertwine with precise, punching notes that altogether give a fine, diversified, invigorating, and yet mesmerizing, hypnotizing effect. In Prague the band performed in dim light with beautiful visualizations in the background and on their faces that gave the impression of both the sound and light spectacle. An unforgettable experience indeed!

Setlist
01. Tomorrow’s Life
02. Second Sight (A)
03. Before The Storm
04. Sidereal Solitude
05. Grey Metal Wings
06. I Love You But I’ve Chosen Synthesizers
07. We’ll Fly Away (Radio Edit)
08. Venetian Blinds
09. Is Everything Real?
10. Wait For Nothing (FroxyVox Mix)

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

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Paar

Running by the name of PAAR, three German artists forged their public personae to one sonic canvas to paint their musical visions in sound. Soaked in layers of New Wave and post-punk, swathed by modern electronic sounds and experimental punk, PAAR have created a musical body consisting of beats and synths, refined with steady textures of guitar and bass, sanded with distinctive lyrics and vocals.

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Music & Performance
PAAR was yet another project I could hear rather than see because the artists chose to perform in very dark, dim lights. Their music is a fine combination of perfectly harmonized vocals and guitars that take what’s best in post-punk and season it very nicely with modern elements that add to the energetic quality of the entire music. Their scenic manner is relatively moderate, so the factor that draws the attention is the music itself.

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 6
Light: 3
Sound: 7
Total: 6 / 10

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Selofan

SELOFAN is a duo founded in 2012 in Athens. They have five studio albums released by their own label Fabrika Rec., one of the leading labels operating in the field of cold wave or darkwave. SELOFAN were formed 2012 by Joanna and Dimitris in Athens. Today SELOFAN is numbered among the protagonists of the dark electronic music scene.

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Music & Performance
The concert SELOFAN was one of the best of the festival for me and also one of the most theatrical. Joanna and Dimitris are indeed specialists when it comes to building up the vibe and the tension of an incredible spectacle where all elements: music, vocal, lights, and very expressive, particular mimicry play equal parts. Minimalistic electronics and yet very energetic, hard-hitting flow to their music plus the scenic manner being a bit like a mime show, a bit like a poetry slam, a manifesto, and a storytelling session build absolutely stunning effects. Extremely hypnotizing and beautiful show

Setlist
01. Grey Garden
02. The wheels of love
03. Shadowmen, Nichts
04. The one you wanted
05. Billie was a vampire
06. Sto skotadi
07. Mausoleum
08. Love is a mental suicide
09. Ist die Liebe tot?
10. Auf deiner Haut
11. Give me a reason

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

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Christian Death

Christian Death is an American band, a precursor of the death rock genre. It was founded in Los Angeles, California in 1979. The leader and founder of the formation was Rozz Williams. After problems with establishing the line-up, which resulted in the formation of two separate groups of the same name, in the mid-90s, the name CHRISTIAN DEATH was given to guitarist Valor Kand. No member of the original line-up is involved in this project anymore.

Music & Performance
The final show of the evening was the one by CHRISTIAN DEATH. Some say CHRISTIAN DEATH ended with Rozz Williams’ death and there might be a point to it. Their concerts are usually very emotional, theatrical, and a bit dramatic when it comes to scenic expression, and so it was this time. Deathrock combined with a specific scenic manner were up to the taste of some, but I’m sure very few liked the final comments by Valor regarding Covid-19 being a conspiracy theory. After the said statement one could hear whistling from the audience and many people left the concert. Perhaps something to think of for the artists giving such comments to people whose family members died because of this “conspiracy”.

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

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Saturday, 26th August 2022

Saturday was the day of the Gothic Picnic some people attended, and the concert night started in the upper scene Fuchs2  with a fiery and feisty show by the Polish project HER OWN WORLD.


Her Own World

HER OWN WORLD is  the Polish alternative music act  sounded in 2019 in Stettin , Poland. The band members are: Yu (vocalist, songwriter), ad-x (music producer & songwriter), Louve (performer) and Shai (guitars).

Music & Performance
It was the first time I saw the project playing live, and I must say I was fascinated by both the music and the amount of work they put into the preparation of the entire concert. I always appreciate the effort, and here I could see lots of hard work and excellent outcomes of these.

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Of course, the first thing one could probably pay attention to was the most magical fire show by absolutely stunning Louve, but the music, costumes, choreography, and vocals were terrific too. Yu is a great front lady, charismatic, strong and building fantastic contact with her audience. The theatrical aspect of the entire concert built upon particular scenes, and the choice of the right mood made it one of the top three best concerts of the festival for me. Musically it’s a combination of fantastic electronics with dancy, invigorating beat and melodious vocals. Bravo for the great The Birthday Massacre cover. I’m sure I’ll be following the band’s future career; they are certainly worth it!

Setlist
01. Autumn song pt I
02. Autumn song pt II
03. Jessie
04. Sin in my name
05. Mistrust
06. Stalker girl
07. Guarding angel
08. Happiness imperative
09. Walking with strangers (The Birthday Massacre cover)
10. This Fire (electronic version)
11. My darkling

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 10
Light: 10
Sound: 8
Total: 9.3 / 10

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Wisborg

WISBORG is a dark wave / goth rock / post-punk band that was formed in early 2017. The band creates music that draws from elements of dark wave and post-punk. Visually, they are influenced by the aesthetics of the German silent movie era. The band consists of Konstantin Michaely and Nikolas Eckstein.

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Music & Performance
WISBORG are surely fantastic when it comes to combining dark, punching, and romantic into one. Yet again there was a situation the band chose to hide in the comfy darkness and red lights, but their show was indeed spectacular. Konstantin Michaely, by all means, knows his skill of making his audience love him - joking around, playing the notes from high to low, spicing melancholic and dark notes with the sense of humour - a fine, diversified mixture indeed. The music by WISBORG is strong yet delicate, it oscillates around dark rock and metal notes, yet it adds the individual, fierce and powerful trait to it. Deep, heart-rendering vocals, fast-flowing music line, punching passages speeding to the maximum at times, a great blend of energetic and melancholic. Fantastic show, bravo!

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Setlist
01. Becoming Caligari
02. Fall From Grace
03. Don’t Dig Deep In The Shallow
04. In The Haze Of A Drunken Hour
05. An Erotic Funeral
06. Winter Falls
07. I Believe In Nothing
08. Perfume & Cigarettes
09. Spirits That I Called

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 8
Light: 4
Sound: 7
Total: 7.3 / 10

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Wulfband

A Stockholm-based duo, it’s inspired by the early post-punk DAF with 8 singles/EPs and two albums on their account, including the newest of 2017 entitled ‘Revolter’.

Music & Performance
WULFBAND was an absolute highlight of the festival for me - not only thanks to their most hard-hitting, ass-kicking music, but above all, absolutely stunning performance. Both artists appeared on the stage in darkness, wearing masks, with the frontman carrying a lantern, slowly setting the right mood, and only then did the most violent, aggressive, harsh, and shocking scenic drill start. I realize I usually attend much calmer gigs. Still, the audience reactions and interaction of the frontman with the audience was something that left me speechless (and running for life a bit, when the regular mosh pit commenced, I thought it would be better to evacuate myself to some safer areas). People dancing just on the verge of the scene (since it was pretty low, there was almost no barrier between the musicians and their fans.

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Exciting, yet a bit dangerous in my view, with all the flying water flooding the stage, for example) or on the scene, running completely wild was a view one of a kind. It is true their music is super speedy, harsh, aggressive, stimulating, and dancy, so I’m not surprised with the audience’s reactions to both the sounds and the frontman’s charisma. It takes some nerve to interact with people with this little distance and yet control them to some extent. I was impressed, indeed. It was a total energy vent, hardcore disco, and a display of sonic and scenic perfection I rarely see it these days. Congratulations, Gents, you left us drained and happy.

Setlist
00. Intro + Körpersprache
01. Jetzt
02. Panik, and then some technical issues cut out
03. Nein if I remember correctly
04. Aggressivität
05. Kpt Kaboom
06. Weg
07. Full Frontal Sabotage
08. Munition
09. Attentat
10. Lass Die Hunde Los
11. Separez
12. Pest
13. Konflikt
14. Amputieren
15. SMF

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

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The next concerts were by THE LAST DAYS OF JESUS and KAELAN MIKLA and I did not manage to attend. After the concerts, there were after parties in both clubs the audience could still participate in. The next Prague Gothic Treffen will take place on 25th to 26th August 2023; the first confirmed bands are GOLDEN APES and NNHMN. https://praguegothictreffen.cz


All pictures by Karo Kratochwil
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