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ennlfrdeitrues
Flugplatz Borkenberge, Lüdinghausen, Germany
29th to 31st August 2008
Area4 Festival Day 2: Hutchinson, Paulus, The Kilians, Science Fiction Army, Smoke Blow, Mr. Virgin & His Love Army, Everblame, Less Than Jake, RainteaR, aVid*, Pennywise, Ghost of Tom Joad, Madsen, EL*KE, Serj Tankian, Disco Ensemble, Millencolin, Biffy Clyro, The Hives

After a good sleep at home in my own bed we made our way to the close festival are laying down in brilliant sunshine. Perfect weather for an open air festival! After THE HIVES were already present at last year’s Area4 edition they were headlining the second festival this year. But there were of course some more highlights on the schedule. I was especially looking forward the show of SERJ TANKIAN; most people might know him already as singer of SYSTEM OF A DOWN. [DV]


Hutchinson - Main Stage

Initially HUTCHINSON was intended to be a band where I could do whatever I wanted to - that we’ve become a real band was a cast of fortune” says singer and founder Nico Kozik. With the debut album ‘Boogey Down Babylon’, being released in 2006, brings them a lot of good press and some support slots i.e. on the tour of GODS OF BLITZ. During one year, the band plays over a hundred shows and in summer 2007, they enter the studio again for the production of what would eventually become ‘The Antidote’, on which they celebrate a whole new sound. The album then was released in October. HUTCHINSON are Nico Kozik (vocals), Thilo Jeß (drums), Sven Pschichholz (guitar) and Siad Rahman (guitar). http://www.myspace.com/hutchinsonde



Music & Performance
It was sunny without a cloud in the sky and no shadow by the time Hutchinson had to enter the main stage to open the Saturday “morning” for us. If you were still sleepy or hung-over - both types were represented - then you would be sober and awake as soon as the show started, because HUTCHINSON showed no sign of weariness and rocked the house at this early hour; it was especially front man and singer Nico Kozik who constantly dashed over the stage, did some saucy dances with the complete microphone stand, left the stage now and then and threw t-shirts and CDs into the crowd. But also the other band members were always on the move even if they’re probably not attracted so much attention as Nico did. With songs that had such well-sounding names like ‘Bring me the head of Boba Fett’ or ‘Stereo Mofo’ time flew. An unexpected but pleasing start of the second day! [SH]

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7.4






Paulus - Coca Cola Soundwave Tent

The history of PAULUS already began quite early with training sessions on the piano and guitar, followed by the first live and band experiences in the early 90s. Since 2001 intense song writing and live performances were the top priority until the now full-grown band signed a label deal with the small Hamburg based label Mijo Discount and released their first EP ‘Superkeit ist kein Zufall’ in October of the same year, followed by a huge festival tour and for autumn 2008 an own tour is planned. PAULUS are Aljoscha Paulus (vocals, guitar, keys), David Rieken (guitar), Ulli Meier (drums), Felix Neubauer (keys) and Jo Varain (bass). http://www.paulus-funk.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/paulusfunk



Music & Performance
The “open stage” that took place at the beginning of this Saturday at the Coca Cola Soundwave Tent is an interesting and welcome concept. The German band PAULUS, who “hosted” the show so to say, weren’t exclusively there to play their own songs. No, people out of the crowd could come up on stage to play bass, guitar or sing a song which they could choose out of a list of 50 songs; you only had to register yourself at a counter close to the entrance and choose your song. If you chose to sing you even got the lyrics if you didn’t know them already. At first the band played a song that I wasn’t familiar with. Apart from that they played ‘Sonne seh’n’. Then followed some showcases of people who were confident enough and we got to hear performances of BLUR’s ‘Song 2’ or ‘Killing in the name of’ by RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE; that were only a few but we had to leave again after about 25 minutes to be at the main stage right in time. However, Sunday would bring some partly even more spectacular performances. [SH]

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 7.3




The Kilians - Main Stage

They started out as a loose group of music mad students from Dinslaken, Germany. In 2005, the band's line-up stabilised and they recorded their first self-titled EP. In the following year their song 'Jealous Lover' reached number three of the German Campus Charts. For the release of the first “real” EP ‘Fight the Start’ they’ve shortened their name to KILIANS. In summer 2007 the band again toured Germany playing on various festivals such as Rock am Ring and in September of that year, they debuted with the album ‘Kill the Kilians’. THE KILIANS are Simon den Hartog (vocals, guitar), Dominic Lorberg (guitar), Gordian Scholz (bass), Arne Schult (guitar) and Michael Schürmann (drums). http://www.thekilians.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/thekilians



Music & Performance
Next stop was the this band from Dinslaken and they were not willing to drop the tempo just the slightest; in fact they raised it even more with some very fast songs and moved quite a lot. In the meantime the crowd had “slightly” increased. Compared to the last festival day it was a mass. Anyway, just like the previous band they rocked like hell with such songs as the hit ‘When will I ever get home’ or a song simply called ‘Tacker No.6’ (working title) and were told we’ll hear why the song has become that name and let me just say, they were right about that. A small humoristic interlude came with homage to one of the “greatest” musicians in Germany: Hans Peter Baxter (SCOOTER). The audience joined into the choir and clapped their hands as well. The band said good bye with ‘Sunday’ as the last track and left a partly exhausted crowd… [SH]

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7.4






Science Fiction Army - Coca Cola Soundwave Tent

The army was founded in 2006 by three crazy guys with the aim to go into the war against silence and bad mood to spread love and noise in the world. After many exhausting rehearsal sessions, the self-produced EP ‘Science Fiction Army I’ was released, to be followed by Part II in 2008. SCIENCE FICTION ARMY is Baddo, Raabi and Hansolo supported by The Atomic Robot Man, Kink Könk and Gregoria Samsa. http://www.myspace.com/sciencefictionarmy



Music & Performance
At first sight, those guys there on stage looked like a rather ordinary band who would play us some decent Punk mixed with some Garage and Alternative, but these three were far from being a normal band. During that short performance, they steadily changed their instruments, so the guitarist suddenly played bass, or one of them suddenly became the drummer. Everything was possible, but the real secret of the SFA was revealed later when a guy costumed like a gorilla with a bone in his hand came on stage to dance around the protagonists and to go off stage later. The ape’s name is Kink Könk by the way.



But that wasn’t the end already. The next surprise came with the Atomic Robot man, dancing on stage in the typical robot style with these chopped movements. Then Kink Könk returned and angry as he was he knocked the robot down and hit him until the current song was over. An insecticide creature was the last thing I saw before I left the tent, a bit disturbed but with the memory of a truly wicked show… [SH]

Setlist
01. To the movies
02. Where do you go?
03. Upon my Soul
04. Warchild
05. Louisa
06. For the System
07. Survive?
08. Kid?

Rating
Music: 6
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 7.1




Smoke Blow - Main Stage

SMOKE BLOW started as a cover band playing songs of ZZ TOP and LYNYRD SKYNYRD at local gigs around their hometown in Germany, but soon it got more serious and they started to work on own songs. In 1999 they start to work with the label Loudsprecher from Hannover. "home of the raw power rock'n'roll action" The first result is a, as the band describes it themselves, “crappy” sound on the first album’ released on  a tape and recorded with very cheap equipment, but some of the songs got a bit polished by a producer who loved the songs. However, they got better over time and an even better live band. The years to come brought some label changes and line-up extensions and eventually they debarked with the label PIAS where they released ‘Colossus’ in this year’s March. SMOKE BLOW are Jack Letten (vocals); MC Straßenköter (vocals), Kentucky (guitar), Gerrard the J.R. (guitar), Greif Hellhammer (bass) and Fabrizio (drums). http://www.smokeblow.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/smokeblow



Music & Performance
They came to sing, but they talked quite a lot and frequently it was just nonsense, maybe that’s why they’ve labelled themselves as “Mittermeier” (“German comedian des Hardcores”) but I still didn’t like this forced bad boy’s attitude. They also had to compensate their missing second guitarist who was sick and had to stay in bed for meanwhile four weeks. Their music was hardcore and noisy. The drummer often maltreated his tools like a berserker and the before mentioned vocalists alternated with cleaner and more screamed vocal parts. Songs from the newest album ‘Colossus’ - like ‘Nuclear War’ - were just as well presented as ‘Dancing with the dead’ from ‘German Angst’. I wasn’t too impressed and not that disappointed that I had to leave for the next band at the tent quite early… [SH]

Rating
Music: 4
Performance: 6
Sound: 6
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 5






Mr. Virgin & His Love Army - Coca Cola Soundwave Tent

The first big success for the band was the participation n the Coca Cola Soundwave Discovery Tour, where they became on of the Top 20 out of 1200 bands and had the honour to play at the Rock am Ring in a clash with the other bands. Eventually, the jury chose them to be one of 10 band to play a few other festivals (incl. the Area 4) and they come with a new CD called ‘1,2,3,4,5,6,6,6’. http://www.myspace.com/mrvirginandhislovearmy



Music & Performance
Back at the tent and I thought the upcoming band couldn’t be freaky enough to catch up with the SCIENCE FICTION ARMY. Well, maybe they couldn’t come up with strange creatures on stage, but their outfits were something special. Every member had something in pink, whether it was just a tie or pants. Pink as the colour of Love? Who knows. It’s not my intention to offend anyone but the keyboard player, according to the band a last-minute replacement for their regular one, looked a bit like a gigolo, maybe it was intended that way.



Musically, it was more like classic rock with sexually charged lyrics, so we could say their outfits were a visual embodiment of what the central theme in their lyrics was. In any case it was a powerful show with a very vivid guitar player throwing pink roses to some of the ladies in the audience and later he just went off the stage to take a short bath in the not so big crowd and play his guitar standing in-between the audience. Two shows with such crazy actors in a row at the tent. Would there be more like this, or even an augmentation. We’ll see… [SH]

Rating
Music: 6
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 7.1




Everblame - Coca Cola Soundwave Tent

It was about three years ago, when three German guys founded the Rock band EVERBLAME. Two years later, the first long-player of the band ‘Sina’ sees the light of day and journalists were quite enthusiastic about it. In 2008, they could prove their live qualities and their Germany tour. Lyrically, they deal with things that happen in everyday’s life, you can’t avert your eyes from, paired with a pinch of tongue in cheek. EVERBLAME is Raphael Isenhuth (vocals, guitar), Florian Rohlf (bass) and Tobias Heidinger (drums). http://www.everblame.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/everblame



Music & Performance
Now, some more metal-like sound would float through the tent as it was time for EVERBLAME from Ludwigshafen to enter the stage. Guitar walls were built up accompanied by the sometimes raw and sometimes clean vocals of singer / guitarist Raphael. But initially the spark didn’t spring over to the audience until Raphael asked them to sit down on the floor and then jump up and dance wildly on a special command and they really did it. Everyone sat down on the dirty floor and they leaped up short time later and couldn’t be kept from dancing anymore. Unfortunately, this already was the highlight of the 25 minutes show. No bad music but unspectacular in my opinion. [SH]

Rating
Music: 5
Performance: 6
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 5.6






Less Than Jake - Main Stage

The band's unusual name comes from the dog of drummer Vinnie Fiorello, Jake, who was treated better than the rest of the household, so everything was "less than Jake". In the beginnings their sound was rather a combination of heavy metal and Punk, the band evolved into a hybrid of Ska and pop punk, integrating horn and saxophone sections into their music which has become their trademark sound by now. The band debuted in 1995 with the album ‘Pezcore’. The title of the album stems from Roger and Vinnie's unexplained fondness for PEZ candy. Shortly following the release of ‘Pezcore’, the band was signed to the major label Capitol Records and released the next record ‘Losing Streak’ in 1996. Meanwhile the band has released seven studio albums with ‘GNV FLA’ as the latest, being released this year. LESS THAN JAKE are Chris Demakes (guitar, lead vocals), Roger Manganelli (bass, lead vocals, second guitar (occasionally live and while recording)), Vinnie Fiorello (drums, lyrics), Buddy "Goldfinger" Schaub (trombone (plays bass guitar when Manganelli plays second guitar at concerts)) and Peter "JR" Wasilewski (saxophone, background vocals). http://www.lessthanjake.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/lessthanjake



Music & Performance
The energetic Ska-Punk of the Americans LESS THAN JAKE now dominated the main stage. A short shout to welcome the crowd and then it started with four guys on the front  and one on the drums and very pacey songs in the setlist. If you were looking at those guys you could easily get the impression that they might have ants in their pants. Probably you would have been forced to nail them down on the stage floor to make them stop moving. Constantly some of the guys had a smile on their faces and you could feel that they had much fun with what they were doing; they played either the guitar or trumpet with so much verve you just had to move. Sadly I couldn’t see the whole performance because it was time for RAINTEAR at the Soundwave Tent…

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7.5






RainteaR - Coca Cola Soundwave Tent

There’s not much info available about this band from Athens, except for the fact that the whole thing started out with 4 guys in 2005 and just recently they’ve made available their very first self-produced EP ‘XXII’ as free digital download on their band website. The line-up is as follows: Nick22 (vocals, guitar), Geoo (guitar), The Joker (bass) and Nick (drums). http://www.raintear.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/raintear



Music & Performance
For a change at the tent now something that didn’t come from Germany. RAINTEAR came all the way from Athens. I was wondering if the band name was an allusion on the German pronunciation of reindeer or a combination of “rain” and “tear”, but couldn’t find any hints on that. But let’s return to the music, a native fusion of rock with rebellious vocals and partly very catchy melody riffs. Performance-wise it was definitely better then the EVERBLAME show before with much more rhythm and movement, a feeling for the music, just like it has to be. I don’t mean to deny EVERBLAME the feeling for their music, but RAINTEAR definitely conveyed it better in my humble opinion and so it was much fun to watch that even though the music itself didn’t catch me, really.

Rating
Music: 5
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 5
Total: 6.2






aVid* - Coca Cola Soundwave Tent

Shortly after the foundation in 2005, the band secured a place with the John Lennon Talent Award and with the accompanying promotion, they hit the road. In 2006 they already played 60 shows and supported bands such as KLEE and 4LYN. Later on they won the audience award for best band at the John Lennon Talent Awards. In 2007, the band attended the support programme Coca Cola Discovery Tour, where they succeeded over their contenders and had the honour to play Rock am Ring. After a highly successful gig in Istanbul, they even won the finals of the Coca Cola Sound Discovery Tour and could start with the production of the first single, released in February 2008. The line-up is as follows: Chris (vocals) Steph (guitar) Julian (bass) and Scholle (drums). http://www.avid-music.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/avidmusic



Music & Performance
“Popaddicted rockmusic” is what you’ll read in the title bar of your browser when entering the band’s website and if you hear the music you can only agree with that. The music first and foremost lives on the clean and emotive vocals of Chris reminding me quite a bit of VIVID. When I was looking into the face of the guitarist on the left side I couldn’t get rid of the thought to see brothers, but couldn’t find any confirmation so far. But what really counts here is the music. Though I’d say that it’s radio compatible in some way, it’s far away from those pop stars and casting band trash. It appears fresh and honest and the band proved to have a sense for good melodies. But unluckily, there weren’t many people to see them, maybe due to overlapping schedules. Five people spread across ten rows so to speak. A pity but you can’t do anything about it. I for one really enjoyed the show. [SH]

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 8
Total: 7.6






Pennywise - Main Stage

This band, which is very well known in the punk scene, was founded in 1988 in California. They released two EPs - ‘A Word from the Wise’ and ‘Wildcard’ (both 1989) - before they signed to Epitaph Records (The label owned by BAD RELIGION guitarist Brad Gurewitz) in 1990, where they released their first self-titled album in 1991 to be followed two years later by ‘Unknown Road’ becoming an underground hit. The band refused several offers from major labels by the time when bands like THE OFFSPRING and RANCID hit the mainstream. After the tragic death of bass player Jason Thirsk in 1996, Randy Bradbury, who had played with the band already, took over his place and has that position ever since. To date PENNYWISE released nine studio albums. PENNYWISE are Jim Lindberg (vocals), Fletcher Dragge (guitar), Randy Bradbury (bass) and Byron McMackin (drums). http://www.pennywisdom.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/pennywise



Music & Performance
Right in time for PENNYWISE I reached the well crowded area at the main stage; you can say to pay a Hardcore legend a visit. After all, the band exists since 1988 and named themselves after the same-titled character from the clown in Stephen King’s novel ‘It’. Musically, it’s fast but not too hard and the vocals always stay melodic. Singer Jim insisted on recording the huge crowd on video for his home collection what appeared quite sympathetic to me. But then the set started with full throttle and opened with ‘Rules’ and ‘Can’t Believe it’ Sure, those four guys up there were not the youngest anymore but still quite agile and authentic on stage.



Since the dawn of time so to say, the band releases on Epitaph Records and in 2008, the newest coup with the name ‘Reason to Believe’ hit the shops. ‘Western World’ from it was presented for instance. Traditionally, the gig was closed with ‘Bro Hymn’, a tribute to the deceased Jason Matthew Thirsk, a founding member of PENNYWISE. In the HC, those virtues still are very important and not just because of this, the band was release under thundering applause. [TV]

Setlist
01. Intro
02. Rules
03. Can’t Believe it
04. My own Way
05. My own Country
06. Straight Ahead
07. Cover Song
08. Pennywise
09. F@#k Authority
10. Living for Today
11. Western World
12. Every single day
13. Society
14. Perfect People
15. Same old Story
16. Die for you
17. Bro Hymn

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7.8




Ghost of Tom Joad - Coca Cola Soundwave Tent

Probably the band with the biggest home advantage, hailing from Münster, the band came to life in February 2006. The band’s name derives from a BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN song. They describe their style as follows: “Imagine Elliott Smith, Marvin Gaye and Ian MacKaye would have founded the EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN”. That explains everything doesn’t it? Their debut EP ‘Is This What You Call A Fronterlebnis?’ was only sold at concerts and via the band homepage and the first album ‘No Seep until Ostkreuz’ was unleashed in 2008 via Richard Mohlmann Records. GHOST OF TOM JOAD are Henrik Roger (vocals, guitar), Jens Mehring (bass, vocals) and Christoph Schneider (drums, vocals). http://www.ghostoftomjoad.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/welovetomjoad



Music & Performance
GHOST OF TOM JOAD were the first ones to appear more known after the newcomer roundelay of the Coca Cola Soundwave Discovery. I knew hardly more than the name and so I could go unbiased into the topic. Now, in hindsight I can say, this stage was definitely too small for these energy bundles and if you haven’t seen three people playing a drum kit at the same time before, you had your chance here. Not only it was a very cool show element, it also was prove that this gentleman can handle more than their respective instruments and with statements like “We’re so happy to be back here where all people are so fuddy-duddy and we really don’t want to do without” they turned out to be very sympathetic as well and broke the spell very soon. Apart from that they were jumping and circling all over the place so that you had to be very fast sometimes to follow them with your eyes. [SH]

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 7.8






Madsen - Main Stage

The Madsen brother began quite early to play music. In the early nineties each of them had a project ALICE’S GUN (Hard Rock) and HOERSTAURTZ (Hip Hop/Crossover). In 2004 the two joined forces under the moniker MADSEN and started to play lots of local gigs. Beginning of 2005, the first single ‘Die Perfektion’ was unleashed, followed by the self-titled debut full-length just a few months later. After touring all the big festivals like Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, the second album ‘Goodbye Logik’ saw the light of day in 2006 again followed by an intensive touring period. ‘Frieden im Krieg’, the third album was just released a few months ago. MADSEN are Sebastian Madsen (vocals, guitar), Johannes Madsen (guitar), Niko Maurer (bass), Folli Jahnke (keyboards) and Sascha Madsen (drums). http://www.madsenmusik.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/madsenband



Music & Performance
It was not the first performance of the Madsen brothers and their two companions on the Area4; actually they performed on every Area  since the beginning. But how do they say: The best things come in threes and so the band invited for their performance at 19:00 at the main stage and countless people followed the call in hopes for a great party and they should get one. Jubilation and applause as well as (often female) screams sounded when the band came on stage. From the very first minute with the opener ‘Vielleicht’ they controlled the crowd and to songs like ‘Ja oder Nein’ or ‘Goodbye Logik’ everyone was jumping up and down and at the latest with latter one literally everyone was singing and celebrating.



After a short “trip” to Mexico followed the hymn ‘Die Perfektion’ and if you’re wondering whose voice it was in the intro to ‘Nitro’, it was Christian Brückner, the German voice of Robert DeNiro. A highlight surely was the pyro show during ‘Panik’ The fans insisted on an encore which came with ‘Nachtbaden’ but then the show was definitely over, probably much to the dislikes of many fans who could have seen them all night… [SH]

Setlist
01. Vielleicht
02. Ein Sturm
03. Ja oder nein
04. Goodbye Logik
05. Verschwende dich nicht
06. Die Perfektion
07. Nitro
08. Liebeslied
09. Du schreibst Geschichte
10. Panik
---
11. Nachtbaden

Rating
Music: 6
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 7.5




EL*KE - Coca Cola Soundwave Tent

Founded in 2003, the band has become famous through their live gigs at the Boarderweek or as support for DIE TOTEN HOSEN in 2005. In August they debuted with the album ‘Wilder Westen’, followed by ‘Wir müssen hier raus’ in 2007. Before they pushed out the third album ‘Häuser stürzen ein’ in July 2008, they’ve contributed a cover version of the RAMONES song ‘Rock ’n’ Roll High School’, to the German movie Die Welle in March. EL*KE are Peter Bolmer (bass, vocals, guitar), Martin ‘Mücke’ Krüssel (vocals, bass, guitar) and Hubert ‘Hubi’ Deters (drums). http://www.alleselke.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/alleselke



Music & Performance
I stayed in homelike climes so to speak; and entered the tent fort he first time this Saturday, where EL*KE prepared for their performance. As already known, the band name originates from the license plate number on the car with which they moved to Berlin in 2002. As usual, the car sign EL-KE 573 was mounted on a guitar amp, so they always carry a bit of home feeling with them. If you now think EL*KE are some dreamy romantics, then you’ve never seen a live concert of the band. If you literally grow-up with high-proof booze (already 3 corn distilleries in the nearer environment) is not only predestined for the Jägermeister Rock League where they only had to surrender to DEICHKIND with about 0,3 dB, but also knows what Rock’n’Roll means. Peter Bolmer, Martin “Mücke” Krüssel und Hubert “Hubi” Deters therefore wasted no time and with a long instrumental, provided for a hard start.



The trio stayed on this level for the coming 60 minutes none of which was boring and while they slowly lumbered the woods around the airfield. Even if many left the formerly full tent for the performance of SYSTEM OF A DOWN front man SERJ TANKIAN, the party didn’t stop in the red tent. Staccato sounds rained down on the crowd during ‘Easy Reiner’ from the new ‘Häuser stürzen ein’ while a guitar roll commando were sweeping across the listeners during the title track of last year’s ‘Wir müssen hier raus’. If you could stand still here, you were definitely in the wrong place. To calm the people down again, they had ‘Elke sein’ from the debut ‘Wilder Westen’ as closing song which starts comparatively slow to go for the final strike then. What a great start at the tent, to be followed half an hour by the grandiose DISCO ENSEMBLE. But now SERJ TANKIAN… [TV]

Setlist
01. Spuck nicht in mein Essen rein
02. Halt mich fest und ich werd verrückt
03. Adrenalin
04. Tanz ab
05. Aufstand
06. Bleib wach
07. Liebe oder Wahn (Sexy)
08. Häuser stürzen ein
09. Ich mag dich
10. Verboten scheißegal!
11. Easy Rainer
12. Wir müssen hier raus
13. Wilder Westen
14. Elke sein




Serj Tankian & The F.C.C - Main Stage

The Lebanese-born Armenian-American singer, songwriter, poet, activist, and multi-instrumentalist TANKIAN is probably better known as the leading voice of the alternative metal band SYSTEM OF A DOWN with which he released five albums. In October, he released his first solo album ‘Elect the Dead’ on which he plays most of the instruments himself. The album has been met with very positive reception by both critics and fans alike and was accompanied by a tour, commencing in Chicago. SERJ is already working on his second album due out in 2009. On stage he’s supported by his backing band, the F.C.C (Flying Cunts of Chaos). http://www.serjtankian.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/serjtankian



Music & Performance
The mob now prepares for an absolute highlight on this year’s Area4. SERJ TANKIAN stood there on the backdrop in huge letters and 99.9% of the attendees should at least know the Beirut born musician as singer of SYSTEM OF A DOWN who are currently on hiatus. With his album ‘Elect the Dead’, the widely read, eccentric SERJ had some big success; for instance in Germany where he reached the Top 10 of the charts. But the sound doesn’t differ that much to the one of SOAD, the typical hard / soft game, theatrical melody lines, manifold breaks, but all with a bit more pop. As even a TANKIAN can’t do all the music on his own, he’s backed by a five-piece called the F.C.C - “The Flying Cunts of Chaos”. While those started to rock the Area4, completely dressed up in black with top hats, the master himself appeared in a white jacket with a same-coloured, slightly worn-out top hat.



Without much movement only mimics and gestures were enough to cast a spell on the audience. Here SERJ kneeled down on the ground, there he rolled his eyes in a lightly psychopathic way; and of course, the system critical statements couldn’t be missed out either, so he preluded ‘Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition’ with a fitting critic on religion. ‘Lie, Lie, Lie’ on the other hand was announced as a mixture of Borat and Romeo & Juliet; especially the chorus was quite catchy. Of course he played his way through the constantly strong album, but also included a nice little ABBA homage into ‘Money’. That wasn’t far to seek, considering the title. With the probably strongest title ‘Empty Walls’ the set ended earlier as planned and regardless of loud encore shouts and enough time left, it wasn’t granted. I had secretly hoped for a SYSTEM OF A DOWN track as last song at least. [TV]






Disco Ensemble - Coca Cola Soundwave Tent

Mikko Hakila and Jussi Ylikoski came up with the band under the name DISCO in the late 90s. Later on they extended the name to DISCO ENSEMBLE due to the name equity with the finish pop duo DISCO. In 2000 Miikka Koivisto joined in as singer and keyboardist. Following the release of the first album ‘Viper Ethics’ which included a Top 20 chart hit in Finland with the single ‘Videotapes’ the band started touring intensively and in 2005, the second album ‘First Aid Kit’ was released. In 2006, they played on several European festivals like Rock am Ring/Rock im Park in Germany, Nova Rock in Austria or the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. In January, they supported LINKIN PARK on some gigs and at the moment are on tour with the DONOTS. ‘Magic Recoveries’ is the newest album and was released in May 2008. DISCO ENSEMBLE are Miikka Koivisto (vocals, keys), Jussi Ylikoski (guitar), Lasse Lindfors (bass) and Mikko Hakila (bass). http://www.discoensemble.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/discoensemble



Music & Performance
I was a bit confused when reading that name. What should I expect from that band? A freaky show in 80s style with weird costumes and lots of poppy disco gems. I was curious and except for me, many others seemed to be snoopy as well, because the tent was more than well filled. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to place them in the tent, but I guess no one did expect such a mass of people would come to see them. Anyway those guys are far away from being an 80s revival band because what we got there was a wild melange of variable drumming and driving guitars, mixed up with electronic sounds. Actually, those electronics were much more prominent than with any other band I’d seen on the festival so far, but some gadgets can never hurt.



They started with a track called ‘Drop, Dead Casanova’. But especially the track ‘Worst Night Out’ was accompanied by frenetic screams and was insanely celebrated. It was a rather slow song with powerful guitar parts on top of slow drumming and melancholic overtones and mostly clean vocals. The track ‘We can stop whenever we want’ also from the current album ‘Magic Recoveries’ which came a bit earlier was the exact opposite. Faster, more driving and with a more screaming Miikka Koivisto, sweeping over the stage. Something that was nice to watch, but probably a real challenge for every photographer was the intense lightshow during the performance. But as much as I liked the show I needed to switch to the main stage again. MILLENCOLIN called! [SH]

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 9
Total: 8.3




Millencolin - Main Stage

All the four members of MILLENCOLIN have a passion: The skateboarding and sometimes fate rings together some like-minded people like in this case. So they founded MILLENCOLIN in 1993, named after the skateboard trick “melancholy”. With the second demo tape ‘Melack’ the band sent out in 1993, they get signed with Burning Heart Records, a new record label formed earlier that year and put out their first major release ‘Tiny Tunes’ in 1994. Coinciding with the release of the second album ‘Life on a Plate’ in 1995, the band began to tour outside of Scandinavia. However, their popularity really burst with ‘Pennybridge Pioneers’, an album with more of a rock influence than the band's previous Skate punk sound, directly followed by the first world tour of the band. In this year’s April, the band released their meanwhile 8th album ‘Machine 15’ MILLENCOLIN are Nikola Sarcevic (vocals, bass), Mathias Färm (guitar, backing vocals), Erik Ohlsson (guitar, backing vocals) and Fredrik Larzon (drums). http://www.millencolin.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/millencolin



Music & Performance
That band from Sweden as another calibre and regardless of the band being in the business for quite a time and probably equipped with a large fan base, it was not so crowded than before. Well, a problem with the performance was that there wasn’t much to see at all. Of course the band was on stage, but there was hardly any movement there. Three guys stood there quite static behind their mics, played their instruments or sang. The two guitarists wore red shirts and the singer a blue one. Besides that I really liked the music that was coming from up there. The vocals blasted clean through the PA and the voice wasn’t bad at all. Apart from the rather weak performance, the people moved regardless of what was happening there on stage (including me). But anyway I left the show quite early because on a long run it was a bit tedious… [SH]

Rating
Music: 6
Performance: 4
Sound: 6
Light: 7
Total: 5.6






Biffy Clyro - Coca Cola Soundwave Tent

Also a band from the later 90s is the Scottish ensemble BIFFY CLYRO. Singer and Guitarist Simon Neil once said that the band name came from a biro-pen he had in school with a picture of Cliff Richard on it. Jestingly they called it Cliffy-Biro. Biffy's sound is characterised by a heavy but melodic mixture of guitar, bass and drums, with all three band members contributing to vocals. They are known for complex and interwoven guitar picks, strums and melodies that change many times within each track. Since the very first album ‘Blackened Sky’ from 2001, the band could expand their following with every new release and relentless touring, but significant for their commercial success was the 2007 release ‘Puzzle’ because it is said to be more accessible than the previous works. BIFFY CLYRO are Simon Neil (vocals, guitar), James Johnston (bass, vocals) and Ben Johnston (drums, vocals). http://www.biffyclyro.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/biffyclyro



Music & Performance
So, it was only half an hour to go until the highly anticipated HIVES would enter the main stage and it was the time to head to the tent for the Scottish band BIFFY CLYRO. You already saw amps with microphones mounted at ton them standing on stage and an awful lot of guitars in the background. Seriously, who needs so many guitars for one single show? But when the clock struck 23:00, nothing happened and it should take another 15 minutes for the show to start. But then they finally came. All dressed up in tight jeans and topless. No kilts or something similar; and had really hoped to see something like this. ;-) After a short reception in remarkable accent-free Germany, they started two unleash a real rock storm with the next two songs, while rushing over a stage, immersed in blue flickering lights. Following this was a more balladry type of song which turned out to be ‘A whole Child ago’ from the most recent album ‘Puzzle’ released in 2007. Because of the delay, I only could see a short part of the show as it was already high time for running over to the main stage… [SH]

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




The Hives - Main Stage


The history of THE HIVES began in 1993, when the band was founded in the Swedish city Fagersta. The band claims to be brought together by a mysterious person called Randy Fitzsimmons, who is also claimed to be responsible for writing all the songs. Nicholas Arson, the brother of singer Pelle Almqvist is registered in the archives of the STIM, which is the equivalent to the German GEMA under the exact same name, what implies him to be the sole songwriter even though the band still denies that this is the case. The HIVES are “Howlin” Pelle Almqvist (vocals), Nicholaus Arson (guitar, vocals), Vigilante Carlstroem (guitar, vocals), Dr. Matt Destruction (bass) and Chris Dangerous (drums). http://www.hives.nu/ / www.myspace.com/thehives



Music & Performance
A huge red backdrop with the shadowy shapes of the band members on it announced that it was now time for the headliner of Saturday evening to arrive. Still they were wearing stylish and elegant suits in black and white (which are specially-tailored for them by the way). As I’ve seen the crazy Swedes who call themselves “The best band of the world” in the past, I already knew, the band would deliver a cool show and I was prepared for what should happen there on stage in the following 90 minutes. As soon as the band started their set, the whole venue turned into a madhouse with the band leading the way. Especially Pelle was absolutely incredible again and I could have sworn he wouldn’t be able to hold that energy level all the way through this time but he proved me wrong again.



He was moving and jumping over the stage like a whirlwind and spinning around his microphone. Soon the stage became too small for him and so he just “extended” it a tiny bit stepping onto the stage rim or the speakers or the pedestal where the cameras stood which were filming the action. The audience probably would have liked it a lot if he’d do some crowd surfing but that didn’t happen. But also his brother Nicholaus couldn’t resist moving a lot and showed some awesome tricks with his guitar. Pelle proved to be a master in controlling the whole crowd again. If he addressed the “ladies” all women screamed and if he called the “gentlemen” they did it as well. Again an absolute bombastic show, but with not much surprises as it was almost the same as what I’ve already experience. Anyway, I can only recommend watching a show of THE HIVES, you won’t be disappointed. [SH]



Setlist
01. Hey Little World
02. Main Offender
03. Try It Again
04. A Little More For Little You
05. Walk Idiot Walk
06. No Pun Intended
07. Square One Here I Come
08. Won’t Be Long
09. Die, All Right!
10. Diabolic Scheme
11. You Dress Up For Armageddon
12. You Got It All Wrong
13. Two-Timing Touch And Broken Bones
14. Return The Favour
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15. Bigger Hole To Fill
16. Hate To Say I Told You So
17. Tick Tick Boom

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



So, the second festival day found its end with lots of impressions and lots of nice musical surprises, especially in the tent. Some of the newcomers impressed me musically even more than the bands on the main stage. Pretty cool! [DV]

Written by: overall editor Daniela Vorndran [DV] and Sebastian Huhn [SH] with friendly support of Terrorverlag (http://musik.terrorverlag.de/)

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com/ / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography)

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