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Het Arsenaal, Vlissingen, The Netherlands
03 November 2007
The Birthday Massacre, The Dreamside, Angels & Agony, Culture Kultür, Staubkind, XmH, Synopticon

Terra Gotha is a small, but well known festival in Vlissingen: the South-West of The Netherlands. The venue is called ‘Het Arsenaal’ a complex with a sea museum, a sea aquarium, a pub and a theatre. The theatre and the pub was where Terra Gotha took place. When we arrived it was easy to find a parking place, only a few steps from the entrance, where a big Terra Gotha flag showed us where to go. First we got in the pub, and apparently Terra Gotha wasn’t the only event for that day. A big group of Scottish dressed musicians, including there bagpipes were having a drink in the bar after their show. A hilarious combination when the dreadlocks, high heels and black make-up crowd for Terra Gotha tried to explain what kind of music they liked to hear. The venue was small, but nice and the stage wasn’t too high. During the band changes there was a DJ playing music, and from time to time we had a great time dancing with each other. (PK)


Synopticon (PK)

A new band from The Netherlands and they play “melodic, danceable synthpop with an aggressive edge”. They were formed by John Edwards who played with Generator 9 and Agnes Jasper from Clan of Xymox. Other band members are Merlijn Toussaint (percussions) and Joan Berger (Guitar and VJ-ing) They are currently working on their debut album. Tonight is the very first live performance of the band: the opening act of Terra Gotha.

Music
The band did play for the first time, but it didn’t sound like that. They must have done a lot of rehearsing before this gig, ‘cause it did sound professional already. The vocals of John Edwards were a combination of clean vocals, speeches and screams. It sounded very well, and gave the show the variety it needed, including the backing vocals of Agnes. The VJ performed some songs with her beautiful red guitar. It sounds great, but it wasn’t very special. Percussions by Merlijn Toussaint were really cool! Agnes and John changed positions from time to time and Agnes did her solo songs. She had some serious vocal problems, and had to stop for a few seconds. But she picked up her lines and managed to complete the song. From time to time it was clear to hear she has a great powerful voice, a shame she had the flu.



Performance

The show started with a dark and mysterious intro, which kept the audience’s attention. But after the intro they should have done their first song ‘Onward’. Instead of that, they walked on, greeted the audience and started the song. During that moment of silence the feeling of the intro disappeared. It would have been better when the band walked on during the intro, and immediately started the first song.
On the stage there was a big video projection with moving images of both religious and industrial themes. Factories, cities, mineworkers, churches, angels, etc. It looked very professional. The band didn’t use all the light equipment, so the drum kit and the drummer weren’t clear to see. But because of the background video the show didn’t look boring at all. The very last song was started with a speech of former president of the USA, Eisenhower. The band members moved around the stage and changed positions from time to time. But not all of them looked at the audience or had interaction with us. It was their first time on stage, but I hope not the last time. They need some more experience in performing, but I am sure they will grow into a very professional band.



Setlist
01. Intro
02. Onward
03. Voice
04. Declaration
05. Seeds
06. Last Hymn
07. Clouds
08. Renergence
09. Ministry
10. Eisenhower

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 7 (6.9)






XmH (JB)

From the deepest shades of the cellars XmH began in 2003, founded by frontman Benjamin Samson after he left the band Active Disorder. He also played in a band called Chupacabras. Benjamin had the need to create his own things, so he started experimenting with some side-projects. After some experiments, he let his eye fall down on a side project called XmH. After a period of time Benjamin felt the need to add some manpower for his live act. He searched and contracted DSD-singer Pieter Sperling. Pieter is responsible for the programming on stage. He is now a fulltime member of XmH. Not long ago Charlot Wever entered the band. She is responsible for the background vocals  an the live keys of the keyboard. Recently XmH stands number 1 in the Dutch Underground Charts with the song “Rape Your God” and with their album “Time To Play” on second place in the Dutch Underground Charts Album.

Music

The musicians from XmH are influenced by bands like Combichrist, Grendel, The Prodigy, Xotox, Hocico, Crystal Method etc. They are combining these elements of their influences into their own music. Some electric/instrumental moments and then swops to the singing from frontman Benjamin. He also speaks at times in his music. He has a more heavier voice then I am used to in this kind of music. A powerful voice that does the deed good, but no suprises here. A few speeches from famous people pass in review in the songs. Also a very known sentence “You can’t handle the truth” from the movie “A few good men”. They played 7 songs. A bit on the short side, but hey, they just started and they already made a full successful album.



Performance
Frontman Benjamin was very enthusiastic. He waved to the audience to dance along with him and the rest of the bandmembers. The front row from the audience was jumping at times Benjamin waved to them. They also handed out champagne for the celebration of their song “Rape Your God” in the Dutch Underground Charts. Pieter also joined in and danced along with a dance that you can call “a light headbanging dance”. Charlot was the calm person on stage. She didn’t move much. That was a pity, but still it was a decent show and I think that XmH has a great dark future in the underground scene. It is the question if they will ever break through, because it is very impassable music.



Setlist
01. Abuse
02. Loser
03. Life is futile
04. Rape your God
05. Broken images
06. I found her
07. Truth

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 6
Light: 5
Total: 6,5





Staubkind (PK)

Staubkind (Dust Child) is a band from Germany, founded in 2003 by Louis Manke, the vocalist of the band. The lyrics are all German, and they just finished the new album: ‘Zu Weit’.

Music
After all the electronic bands it was good to hear a band with more guitars in their songs. The vocals were ok, but not very special to me, although it was getting better at the times the guitar player did some background vocals. A bit too much (drum) music from the audio tape. It felt like ‘why is there a drummer any way?’
They played a lot of new songs, but after a while it was getting a bit boring, and it was good to hear ‘Mein Herz’, finally something different.



Performance
The audience seemed to like it, and the band reacted to that. After a while everyone was listening, and enjoying the show. The singer moved a lot around the stage, and had some contact with all of us. But from time to time he was looking down at his feet: Next to the setlist there was a complete booklet with all the lyrics in it. Doesn’t look very professional to me.



Setlist
01. Intro
02. Abschied
03. Dein Engel schweigt
04. Ein Traum der nie vergeht
05. Königin
06. Erinnerung
07. Zu Weit
08. November
09. Mein Herz
10. Knie Nieder RMX

Rating
Music: 5
Performance: 6
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 6






Culture Kultür (JB)

Culture Kultür began its career in 1992 existing from Salva Maine (singer) and Josua (additional keyboards and programming). The band has its roots in Malaga, Southern Spain. Their music divers from eighties music like EBM in the beginning and in a later stage more electro with melodic beats and synths with some loud vocals. Until 1999 they published their own work, so they had the chance to experiment with all kinds of sounds. In 1999 they signed a contract with a German label “Out of Line”. They now have made six albums, the last one in 2005. That album is called “Reborn” and it’s their first album that reached the 3rd position in the DAC. According to the critics their best songs are “Wonder” and “The Analyst”. Recently, a 3rd bandmember entered the band. Her name is Distortiongirl. She plays on the keyboards during liveshows. Now, let’s move on to their performance.

Music
The singer Salva has a nice clean voice. The down side is that he has a voice that you hear frequently around you. Nevertheless, his voice was as clean as my own laundry. His lyrics were understandable enough though. The variation in the songs are a bit the same. The first song didn’t differ much from the 5th song. Also in this genre you must have a special something in your songs to get the crowd going. And their music lacks originality. The highlight for me was their song “War is over”. It was the best song that evening from their show. That song deserves an eight. With their experience you must have learnt to make more original music then they do now. I am sure they have the potential to make good music. So come on Culture Kultür, if you tinker your performance and music, you are on the good way.



Performance
When the show began, I immediately noticed that the members who operated the keys weren’t very enthusiastic. The singer Salva was a bit more enthusiastic but still no sparks there from the stage. They moved liked wooden puppets, as a trunk tree that comes to life. That was very disappointing. Furthermore there was no chemistry between the bandmembers. For example: their eyes were constantly pointing into the dark as the meaning is to play music with each other. They played their own music part without thinking that there are also playing other bandmembers with them. The outfits from the members were a bit standard. Note: Distortiongirl had the best clothing (from all the members) that fits the festival. Their music consists of a lot of electronics, so that the members had some short intermissions (because on that moment the keys did all the work) which they could use for their benefit to make the crowd enthusiastic. All in all the show was a bit on the poor side. The line-up consists of Sallva Maine (vocals), Josua (additional keyboards and programming) and Distortiongirl (keyboards)



Setlist
01.  Wonder
02.  Promised land blues
03.  Glimpse   
04.  Love will tear us apart (cover, new)
05.  Forever
06.  Fading away
07.  The analyst
08.  Drum machine (new, unpublished)
09.  War is over

Rating
Music: 5,0
Performance: 4,5
Sound: 6,0
Light: 5,0
Total: 5,0






Angels and Agony (PK)

Angels and Agony is a Dutch band formed in 1995. They just did a tour through Germany and tonight, after the release of ‘Unison’ they finished the tour at Terra Gotha.

Music
They played a dark but powerful and danceable show, the audience reacted by dancing, jumping and singing a bit. The sound quality was crappy, they had several problems with the microphone. Two band members (drums and keys) changed their positions by getting two guitars. And that was the extra element the show needed.



Performance
Although they had to deal with the technical problems: they did it! Never lost the spirit to keep the show going. They seem very experienced and know how to interact with the audience. I was already a bit tired, but that wasn’t stopping me to dance.
They had no extra lights on stage, they used the equipment of Terra Gotha.



Setlist
01. Stronghold
02. Wreckage
03. Traveller
04. Inner Light
05. Into the Sun
06. Forever
07. Forward
08. Unison
09. Darkness

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 5
Light: 7
Total: 7 (7,1)






The Dreamside (JB)

The Dreamside exists since 1994, founded by half Italian-half Dutch singer Kemi Vita. This band combines a lot of styles, like Darkwave, trip hop, industrial and even a spark of early music. The music that the Dreamside plays can be compared with Tori Amos to some female metal bands. You can’t really say which kind of music they play. In 1994 the Dreamside recorded their first album called “Pale Blue Lights". Pretty much a solo album with help from other musicians. To get the tour going, Kemi contracted Fried Bruggink, now an important person for the band. In 1995 they released an album called “Nuda Veritas”, an album that contains elements from dance to techno. In 1996 they released their 2nd official album “Apaika”. This album is an album that you listen when you are sitting on your couch and dream away. One of the most influenced bandmembers is Roman Schoensee. This member was contracted when the Dreamside started making the 3rd album “Mirror Moon, recorded in 2001. Roman is a bassplayer, producer and songwriter. After that they released a best of album “Faery Child”. The fourth album “Spin Moon Magic came out in September 2005. The 3rd of November 2007 they released their 5th album “The 13th Chapter”. This is their anniversary cd.

Music
The music from the Dreamside is very nice to hear. Kemi has a voice as if you were constantly floating on a cloud watching the stars. A very calming voice, at times a bit harder. The variation of the songs is good. It was too bad they didn’t play “Open Your Eyes”. A very good song. They played some songs from their anniversary album “The 13th Chapter”, that was presented this evening. You could compare this cd with “Mirror Moon”. It has the most difference with the album “Apaika”. They also played “Dreaming all of You”. Such an amazing song. It dwells through your body. Also the guitars in the tracks, when playing a solo sounded very nice. A great variation of song, drums and guitars. They have the experience since 1994 and they made great progress. Also if this music isn’t really your thing, I guarantee you: you will have a good time when watching them. They don’t perform much, but really take the opportunity to watch them sometimes.



Performance
In a few words: they gave a good show, not supreme, but a well done show. Roman reminded me from a cynobyte from the movie “Hellraiser 3” right from the start.  I loved his outfit, also his make-up was supreme. He had the best and most beautiful outfit I had seen. Also his skill to play the bassguitar with one hand, was masterful, because he has one hand and one arm with no hand. And he plays the strings with the arm with no hand. I liked that very much. There was a good communication between the members. And an average communication with the audience. Kemi did a few mini dances on the stage. She also had a nice headbang moment. She is the only one with long hair in the band who could manage that. The effects on stage could be a bit better. There was only a screen behind the band with the letters of their bandname. But the clothing and the make-up were above average from all the members. Very well done. Roman made a funny comment to the audience: Are you still there? Applause from the crowd. Response Roman: That is what I needed. Cees and Fried played well on their guitars. Merijn also played nice on the drums. No great flaws there. But the (bass) guitars were adjusted too heavily. Kemi could barely manage to sing over the violence of the (bass)guitars. Also we waited a long time when the Dreamside started to perform. There were some technical sound problems. During the show the problem still occurred. The boxes reformed at times. But later on the performance went better. The people who had seen the Dreamside before were a bit disappointed, because the sound wasn’t very good. On other performances the sound had been much better. The current line-up is: Kemi Vita (vocals) Roman (Bass Guitar), Cees (Guitar) Fried (Guitar), Merijn (Drums)



Setlist
01. Intro
02. Spin Moon Magic
03. In Longing
04. The Feast is Set
05. Into a Frenzy
06. Sticks an Stones
07. Dreaming all of You
08. La Tempesta
09. Forsaken
10. Nuda Veritas

Rating
Performance: 7,5
Music: 8,0
Sound: 6,0
Light: 5,0
Total 7,0






The Birthday Massacre (PK)

The Birthday Massacre from Toronto, Canada has recently released their new album: Walking With Strangers. The new catchy rock album has influences from metal, industrial and a little touch of punk. The last time they played in The Netherlands was at Summer Darkness last year, and now they are the headliner of Terra Gotha. They use some remarkable artist names, like Chibi, Rainbow and O.E. Finally the curtains opened after the program of tonight was delayed for more than an hour.

Music
After a short mysterious intro, the band members walked on, and played ‘Video Kid’ from the album Violet. Everything seemed to go well, and Chibi walked on. Her vocals were strong, and clean during the first songs, but the keyboards seemed to disappear because of the strong bass and guitars. After ‘Video Kid’ another older song ‘Lovers End’. A bit of a strange choice, after a recent release of a new album. But after the first two songs there was finally a new song ‘Goodnight’. During the concert O.E. (Bass) and Rainbow (Guitar) did some background vocals. The voice of Chibi is strong enough, with a bit of a Canadian accent, but it gave a bit more variety to the show. The songs they played were very powerful, including heavier songs like Red Stars and Blue.



Performance
It’s easy to describe their performance, by using only one word: powerful!
The crowd enjoyed the show, and was head banging, jumping, screaming and singing during the whole show. When Chibi walked on she pointed at the familiar faces, and waved at the small girls standing in the front. She kept eye contact with all the people during the show, and sometimes she was sitting at the front of the stage to have a closer look. The other band members jumped, danced and ran around the stage, but had more fun with each other than with the audience.
The band used the lights of Terra Gotha, but it was not remarkably good.



Setlist
01. Video Kid
02. Lover's End
03. Goodnight
04. Falling Down
05. Violet
06. Unfamiliar
07. Red Stars
08. Looking Glass
09. Remember Me
10. Walking with Strangers
11. Weekend
12. Horror Show
13. Kill the Lights
14. Blue
15. Happy Birthday

Rating
Music 8
Performance 9
Sound 8
Light 7
Total 8 (8.3)





More photos on page 2

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