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Tanzbrunnen, Cologne, Germany
18th & 19th July 2009
Amphi Festival 2009 Day 2 Main Stage: Front 242, Unheilig, Hocico, Saltatio Mortis, Diorama, Delain, Panzer AG, Mono Inc.

When we were looking out of our hotel window on the morning of the second festival day it was heavily pouring down. It looked bad for the day first but luckily it turned out much better than expected again with only very short slight showers. So, there was nothing keeping you away from watching bands such as FRONT 242 or one of my personal faves DIORAMA on the outdoor stage.

Mono Inc. (Carsten Leopold)

Before altering their name into MONO INC., the band was founded in 1998 under the name MONO69! Beginning of 2003, Manuel Antoni fills in the vacant position as bassist and hence completes the line-up. The self-released debut ‘Head under Water’ followed then in autumn 2003. The year 2006 brought one of the worst surprises a band is able to encounter. The departure from their former singer, however a proper replacement was to be found quickly with drummer and songwriter Martin Engler. Katha Mia would take over drum duties for him from there on. As it turns out, the idea to put Martin to the front wasn’t a bad one at all; ever since the band has grown more popular than ever expected. 2007 sees the release of the next record ‘Temple of the Torn’ to be followed only one year later, exactly in June 2008, with the third album ‘Pain, Love & Poetry’. MONO INC. is Martin Engler (vocals), Manuel Antoni (bass, vocals), Katha Mia (drums) and Carl Fornia (guitar, vocals). /

Music & Performance
Sunday noon, the rain had stopped and the sun came out. MONO INC. entered the main stage and opened the second day of the festival. Some people, who already were present on the festival ground, filled the space front of the stage and enjoyed the show. MONO INC. did a dedicated performance with songs such as ‘Temple of the Thorn’; it was powerful and pushing, sometimes the sound and the voice remembered me to the legendary SISTERS OF MERCY. Altogether a good start for this Sunday and I think MONO INC had found some new fans after this show.

Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7.2 / 10

Panzer AG (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)

You can’t say Andy LaPleagua is one of those lazy guys, resting on laurels earned with previous projects he’s part of or has initiated. 2004 was the year of birth for yet another project of the Norwegian musician: PANZER AG. The project released its debut already in the same year, entitled ‘This is My Battlefield’ and met with overly positive recognition of the music press. With no live dates in the pipeline, LaPlegua went back into the studio to start working on the follow-up ‘Your World is Burning’ and who thought he’d follow the same technoid industrial approach with this release found themselves confronted with a much rawer and organic sound even incorporating rock guitars. The release was followed up by the first PANZER AG live shows. PANZER AG is Andy LaPlegua (vocals, guitar, programming),
Jon Horton (drums) and Lauren Krothe (keyboards).

Music & Performance
Andy LaPleagua’s COMBICHRIST is among the most popular acts of the scene these days but LaPleagua has a lot more to offer than the Techno Body Music of his most successful project. PANZER AG is somewhere between standard EBM and Industrial Rock - and a surprisingly good live act! The guitar elements and the fact that PANZER AG does not simply rely on four-to-the-flour rhythms make them musically more interesting than certain other Electro projects including some of LaPleagua’s own ones actually! Add to this the fact that he’s indeed a great performer with a lot of energy and the right aggressive attitude, there’s a reason why he’s so popular no matter under which moniker he performs, and you get a hell of a show. Only downside: The daylight and the rather static audience. The gig really made you wanna see PANZER AG at a dark sweaty club!

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8.5 / 10

Delain (Dajana Winkel)

Martijn Westerholdt founded DELAIN in 2002 following the departure of his former band WITHIN TEMPTATION in 2001 over severe health issues. The band started recording the debut album in July 2005 after they had signed a contract with Roadrunner Records. The debut was named ‘Lucidity’ to which several well-known musicians contributed i.e. Liv Kristine (Leaves’ Eyes) or Marco Hietala (Nightwish). It was not before September 2007 anyone could get their hands on the debut record due to some delays. Around that time, the band had already started with preparations for the sophomore and the songs ‘Stay Forever’ and ‘Start Swimming’ had been integrated into some live sets already. The album would take some more time to complete and in March 2009 ‘April Rain’ was unleashed. DELAIN is Charlotte Wessels (vocals), Martijn Westerholdt (keyboards), Ronald Landa (guitar), Rob van der Loo (bass) and Sander Zoer (drums). /

Music & Performance
And again a female-fronted Gothic Metal band! Huuuuh! But, hailing from Holland and being somewhat of a little musical sister of WITHIN TEMPTATION, DELAIN at least deliver great and epic music, powerful and driving with awesome guitar work and some growls in-between to set accents. Only the voice I cannot stand… However, I already saw DELAIN last weekend at Forta Rock and so I was prepared of what has to come ;) Not that much has changed; setlist was the same, except for one song, and the performance as great and lively as always. They know how to enthuse their fans. DELAIN took the audience by storm. This time Charlotte was dressed in pure black (instead of pure white last weekend) and gained sympathies with German announcements.

Generally speaking this girl is absolutely lovely and it is a real pleasure to take photos of her and her band mates. Just the singing… Well, something personal, other ones love it. It was for sure a great show and the Dutch released the audience with happy faces.

01. Invidia
02. Stay Forever
03. Go Away
04. The Gathering
05. A Day for Ghosts
06. Nothing Left
07. Virtue and Vice
08. Pristine

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8.5 / 10

Diorama (Carsten Leopold)

DIORAMA was founded by Torben Wendt between 1994 and 1996. His long-time friend Felix Marc soon joined him as a co-producer and keyboard player. Sometime later, bass player Bernard le Sigue and guitarist Sash Fiddler, who were fellow students of Torben and Felix, gradually grew into the line-up and last but not least drummer Marquess became a member of the band. Unfortunately Bernard le Sigue left the Band in October 2006. In 2007, the band released their fifth and newest album ‘A Different Life’, preceded by the single ‘Synthesize me’. There was no tour, accompanying the album release (Still, I do think that was a mistake, but now it’s too late anyway).

The band, however, played some extremely energetic and compelling festival shows to present the album and kept playing various shows in the following time. Temporary peak were two acclaimed full live sets in February 2009 ono of which taking place within the scopes of D-Day III in their home base Reutlingen, presenting some material out off the upcoming album ‘Cubed’ which still has no official release date. But a release party end of September implies that it’ll be out around that time. We’ll see... DIORAMA is Torben Wendt (words and music, vocals, keys, percussion), Felix Marc (co-production, keys, vocals), Sash Fiddler (guitars) and Marquess (drums). /

Music & Performance
DIORAMA entered the stage in the afternoon and started their show with full power. The drum set and the keyboard were arranged in a kind of metal boxes in the background - cubes so to say as a hint towards the upcoming album named ‘Cubed’ - the foreground was dominated by the guitar player Sash and the dynamic, oratorical singer Torben who is always a pleasure to watch being extremely vivid on stage and making faces. The show was starting with ‘Kein Mord’ and right from the start the crowd was dancing, clapping hands and singing along. The melodic sound and the charismatic performance pleased the meanwhile well-filled area in front of the stage and even some rain in the middle of the set did not matter. The set list all in all consisted of eight songs, highlighted by two new unreleased songs - called ‘Acid Trip’, which was already played several times before, and ‘Apocalypse Later’. After about 45 minutes the show finished much too early and DIORAMA left the stage. Talking to several people afterwards proved that the band found the direct way into the hearts of many new fans.

01. Kein Mord
02. Why
03. Acid Trip (new song)
04. Advance
05. Said But True
06. Apocalypse Later (new song)
07. The Girls
08. Synthesize Me

Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8.5 / 10

Saltatio Mortis (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)

This band out off the medieval rock genre is amongst the spearheads of their scene. Formed in 2000 it was with their second album ‘Das zweite Gesicht’ (2001) that was causing a wave of popularity that spread even beyond the boundaries of the medieval genre and people would name them in one breath with big names such as IN EXTREMO or CORVUS CORAX. For a certain period of time, the band was incorporating synthesizer sounds into their music; but has abandoned those elements later to veer into more rock oriented territory with older tracks now being performed in the new sound as well. In October 2006, it was announced that four members of the band would leave the line-up, luckily for the band they quickly found some new minstrels. With ‘Aus der Asche’ they’ve pushed out their newest effort in 2007. /

Music & Performance
Bagpipes instead of synths and keyboards! Placed between bunches of electronic bands, SALTATIO MORTIS surely stuck out on this afternoon. Drawing a good crowd to the main stage, SALTATIO MORTIS did not lose time and kicked off their show with the heavy ‘Tritt ein’. Blaring bagpipes, crunchy guitar riffs and a singer with an almost aggressive in-yer-face attitude also dominated the rest of SALTATIO MORTIS’ set. Crowd participation is always an important thing when a medieval Rock band plays, so no surprise that the audience was in high spirits soon. One may argue that many bands from this genre, which seems to be an exclusively German phenomenon, sound all the same after a while, but on the other hand they are all excellent musicians who know what they’re doing. SALTATIO MORTIS are probably more on the Metal side of things compared to some of their fellow bands, in the second part of the song ‘Varulfen’ there are even classic Black Metal growls.

Otherwise not too many surprises at the gig of SALTATIO MORTIS, you always know what you will get with a band like this billed for a festival. And perhaps that’s why so many people loved them. However, SALTATIO MORTIS considerably raised the party factor among the Amphi audience - fun gig!

01. Tritt ein
02. Uns gehört die Welt
03. Wirf den ersten Stein
04. Varulfen
05. Salz der Erde
06. Koma
07. Prometheus
08. Tod und Teufel
09. Wir säen den Wind
10. Falsche Freunde
11. Spielmannsschwur

Music: 7
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7.9 / 10

Hocico (Carsten Leopold)

Somewhere within the concrete landscapes of Mexico City there were two cousins forming a project named HOCICO DE PERRO in 1992 whose name would be shrunk to HOCICO eventually. Until 1996, whilst releasing 3 tape demos, mostly given out to friends and locals at parties, the duo would be devoting most of its time to training itself. Around that time, they’re entering the preparation phase for their first full-length ‘Odio Bajo El Alma’ released in 1997 now signed to German label Out of Line. The following years, which would see such destructive efforts as ‘Cursed Land’ (1998) or ‘Sangre Hirviente’ (2000) established and cemented their reputation as being a major force in what is labelled ‘Hellectro’ by now. After releasing their fourth album ‘Wrack and Ruin’ in 2004, both said they will put HOCICO to rest for a while to pursue their respective side projects and nearly four years pass until the world sees a new HOCICO album in 2008 with the name ‘Memorias Atras’. HOCICO is Erk Aicrag (lyrics, vocals) and Racso Agroyam (synths, programming). /

Music & Performance
Announced by the anchor man as the most bizarre band of the festival, HOCICO entered the stage and ran their crazy show. The additional dancers with their big feather-costumes like Incas or sachems were very pleasing for the eyes. This surely added a big visual effect to the usually very pure electro two-man show. The pushing and powerful rhythms, perfected by the characteristic voice of singer Erk, satisfied the crowd and quickly the spirit went over to the crowd which was dancing and clapping hands. The set ran about one hour inclusive one encore. At the end, Erk destroyed the keyboard on stage and HOCICO left the stage. Altogether it was a great show and surely one of the highlights of the second festival day. I don't like the music of HOCICO at home usually, but the crazy performance during their live shows every time is always a great experience and that's why I really enjoy their shows.

Music: 8
Performance: 10
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8.7 / 10

Unheilig (Carsten Leopold)

In 1999, the name UNHEILIG appeared for the first time when the single ‘Sage Ja’ came out in the same year. The track was and still is an immense crowd pleaser when played on UNHEILIG live shows. Then, in 2001 the debut album ‘Phosphor’ is released and massively promoted with shows on numerous big festivals like Wave Gotik Treffen or Doomsday Festival. With ‘Frohes Fest’ in 2002 came a Christmas album with well-known songs re-interpreted in the band’s very own style. Shrunk to a one-man project, that is, Der Graf writes and produces all the material alone from now on, the second instalment ‘Das 2. Gebot’ surfaces in 2003, promoted with a tour through 11 German cities. Following up the timeline to the year 2006 and the release of the already fifth UNHEILIG album ‘Zelluloid’, the music of this project has reached a popularity that couldn’t be expected in such an extent.

Some may add it can’t be understood why this is the case and to be frank, I’m one of them. Nevertheless, UNHEILIG’s on an upward spiral that is likely to continue with the seventh album release ‘Große Freiheit’, announced for 2010. /

Music & Performance
UNHEILIG is one of those bands who polarize the people, one part loves them and the other part hates them, anyway over the last years, UNHEILIG had got a lot success with their releases and their emotional live shows and this time again the space front of stage was filled completely and the crowd welcomed “The Count” and his band with cheers. The stage was decorated with the obligatory church candles and the show was performed dedicated with much soul and emotions. The audience followed the animation prompt and was clapping hands and singing along at the most songs. The set list consisted of some calmer soulful songs like ‘Astronaut’ or ‘Mein Stern’, alternated with up tempo songs like ‘Maschine’ or ‘Sage Ja’.

The emotional performance made a romantic atmosphere in the venue, particularly at the calmer songs and the swinging arms of the crowd were nice to been seen. After 55 minutes finished the show by ‘Freiheit’, but the crowd requested an encore and UNHEILIG had to play two more songs before they left the stage finally.

01. Intro
02. Lampenfieber
03. Spiegelbild
04. Astronaut
05. Tanz mit dem Feuer
06. An Deiner Seite
07. Feuerengel
08. Sage Ja
09. Maschine
10. Freiheit
11. Mein Stern

Music: 6
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7 / 10

Front 242 (Carsten Leopold)

Front 242 was initiated in 1981 by Daniel Bressanutti and Dirk Bergen, who wanted to create music and graphic design using emerging electronic tools and in the same year, the first single ‘Principles’ was released. In 1982, Patrick Codenys and lead singer Jean Luc de Meyer would complement and complete the line-up and in that constellation they recorded and released ‘U-Men’ and the debut ‘Geography’, both are named as being influential for the works of many electronic music artists. But it’s not before the release of ‘No Comment’ in 1984 that they’d earn their place in the annals of electronic music history by laying the foundation stone for the Electronic Body Music, a term that came up first with this album.

The single ‘Headhunter’ taken off the accompanying album ‘Front by Front’ in 1988 should become a widely popular track and now is an absolute classic. Following releases couldn’t remotely relate to the past success and started the slow decay of the band, peaking in Jean-Luc De Meyer’s departure in 1995. To the surprise of many, the band comes back together in 1997 but it still takes them another 6 years to release a new album with ‘Pulse’ which stylistically goes way back to their roots. 2008 marks the release of a live album called ‘Moments’. FRONT 242 is Jean-Luc De Meyer (vocals), Daniel Bressanutti (keyboards, programming, live mixing), Patrick Codenys (keyboards, programming, samplers) and Richard “23” Jonckheere (percussion, vocals). /

Music & Performance
Sunday evening 8:30 o'clock - time for the headliner at the main stage. After two years ago FRONT 242 had to finish their set before it was over due to time limitations, many fans were really sad and some annoyed. So, the promoter promised to get them back to play a whole set. And here they were, presenting old-school electro music at its best. Like Saturday, Honey again conferred the announcement for the headliner to a fan who was picked up from the crowd. FRONT 242, who entered the stage during the intro, were welcome with “242” shouts and started their show hidden behind a wall of fog. The stage still was hidden for the most time in dark and fog, only during the clearer moments, the drums and the keyboards in the background became visible as well as the videos shown on a screen in the background.

The show ran about 75 minutes and included all in all 17 songs. Right from the start, the temper in the crowd was great and the powerful rhythmic performance was responded with a jumping and dancing crowd who enjoyed the rousing show.

01. Intro / Shout It Loud
02. Tragedy >for you<
03. Together
04. Funkahdafi
05. Moldavia
06. Circling Overland
07. 7 Rain
08. Religion
09. Welcome To Paradise
10. Commando Mix
11. Triple X Girlfriend
12. Quite Unusual
13. No Shuffle
14. Take One
15. Im Rhythmus Bleiben
16. Kampfbereit
17. Headhunter

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 7.9 / 10

After the program on the main stage was finished, there was still bands, to be exact THE GATEHRING and CAMOUFLAGE running in the theatre. So, people were either having some drinks outside or walking over to the second stage to enjoy the rest of the festival.

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / /
Written by Daniela Vorndran (common parts and overall editorial), J. “Niggels” Uhkenbruch, Carsten Leopold, Dajana Winkel ( and Sebastian Huhn for all band intros

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