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Eiswiese, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
07th - 09th August 2009
Taubertal-Festival 2009 Day 1 (Main Stage): Zico & The Noisemakers, Aviv Geffen, Itchy Poopzkid, The Soundtrack of our Lives, The Rifles, Maximo Park

The first day of the Taubertal-Festival was very hot. When I arrived there in the early afternoon, I often asked myself how the fond-of-drinking young people I had met on the bus before would manage to endure the heat at the crowded Eiswiese. After a smooth admission procedure, I got my press ID and took a look at the beautiful location. As I had already planned to focus on the bands playing on the main stage, I climbed the hill on the left side and waited for the starting shot. http://www.taubertal-festival.de




Zico & The Noisemakers

The festival’s opening act is the young Bavarian formation ZICO & THE NOISEMAKERS. “Zico” Julian Knobloch-Krippner (guitar, vocals, keys), Max Mayinger (bass) and Flo Giesen (drums) are 17- years- old schoolmates whose musical style is influenced by BOB MARLEY, JIMI HENDRIX and SEEED. Recently, the band announced that they will record an album next year. http://www.myspace.com/zicoandthenoisemakers



Music & Performance
It was obvious that the guys of ZICO & THE NOISEMAKERS were pretty nervous facing their upcoming appearance as the opening act on this first festival day when they entered the huge main stage. They seemed to be a bit lost while they were standing on it looking down on their audience. Besides influences of Reggae and Pop, their music was dominated by a strong Bavarian dialect - a rather unusual combination, but also somehow charming. While ZICO & THE NOISEMAKERS was performing, some rows full of followers or friends loudly cheered for the formation. Other listeners were dancing with themselves in an absent-minded way. Due to the early afternoon hour, there wasn’t a big gathering in front of the stage. I would like to add that lead singer Julian is a good front man whereas his band mate Max seemed to be nearly lethargic while his was playing the bass. All in all, the performance was so-so and I blame it on the band’s nervousness.

Rating
Music: 6
Performance: 6
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 6.4 / 10




Aviv Geffen

Born in 1973, the son of the Israeli poet Jonatan Geffen and the nephew of the former Israeli general and minister Moshe Dayan grew up in a country that hasn’t found peace until now. Therefore, his lyrics have already been influenced by the everyday life in a war-torn place. In 1995, AVIV GEFFEN had to experience the most dramatic moment in his life, when he had an appearance at a peace rally the politician Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated at. AVIV GEFFEN has been a superstar in Israel for many years and released all in all eleven long-players. By completing the line-up of the band BLACKFIELD together with Steven Wilson (PORCUPINE TREE), he also became popular in Europe. On 7th September 2009, AVIV GEFFEN is going to release his first English language and self-titled album that was produced by none less than the famous Trevor Horn. http://www.myspace.com/avivgeffen / http://www.avivgeffen.com



Music & Performance
AVIV GEFFEN and his band were the next ones who should be playing on the main stage. Firstly, I thought that the vocals sounded a bit out-of-tune, but later on, it got better. The Israeli singer was a likeable entertainer who presented his English language songs such as the recent catchy single `It was meant to be a love song´, `It’s alright´, `End of the World´, `Never be the one´ or some older stuff, for example the touching `Cloudy now´. Although the tracks were wrapped in nice Pop and Rock melodies, one shouldn’t underrate the meaning of the intelligent lyrics. AVIV GEFFEN issues war, violence and desultoriness of the young generation in his mother country Israel. When he started his 45-minutes-show, he was rather restrained, but soon he became more outgoing. Displaying adjuratory (and sometimes histrionic) gestures, he knelt down and finally ripped his shirt off his body. One of his acoustic guitars didn’t survive the appearance too, as it was destroyed by AVIV GEFFEN in the old-fashioned rock star way. To sum up: I really liked his music, but in my opinion he would be better placed in a not too large and well-illuminated concert hall instead on a festival stage.

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7.7 / 10




Itchy Poopzkid

Founded in 2000 under the name NUTELLA, the German Punkrock threesome started as a student band. Firstly, they covered other bands´ pieces, but later on they wrote own songs and renamed the project to ITCHY POOPZKID. Soon, Sibbi (vocals, guitar, bass), Panzer (vocals, bass, guitar) and Sailor (drums) attracted the attention of several bands such as DONOTS who offered them the chance of being a support act on their tour. In 2001, the guys recorded their first demo album. After they had released the EPs `Two Thumbs down´ and `...Having a Time´ (2003), more and more people noticed the young band’s talent and its lively concerts.



The debut album `Heart to Believe´ followed up in 2005. By releasing the single `Silence is killing me´ taken from the second album `Time to Ignite´ in 2007, an ITCHY POOPZKID song reached the German charts for the first time. Since this year’s January, the recent album `Dead Serious´ has been available. http://www.myspace.com/itchypoopzkid / http://neu.itchypoopzkid.de/home.html

Music & Performance
The funny and energetic Punk-Rock band ITCHY POOPZKID turned out to be my personal favourite on that day - and not only mine, but also the one of many tour shirt wearing girls and boys who had already gathered in front of the stage even before the threesome started its show. When the guys walked on stage, it didn’t take a long time until everybody was screaming, clapping and jumping. The all in all 13 songs, for example `Try Try Try´, `It’s tricky´, `You don’t bring me down´ or `Drogenfrau´, made the audience going wild.



Actually, the stage was too big for three persons, but ITCHY POOPZKID was able to fill it completely. It was nice to watch how Sibbi and Panzer got in touch with the fans in the first rows. The band didn’t only play the songs; it also convinced its audience due to some crazy actions and announcements. For example, Sibbi ordered the listeners who were sitting on the hill to stand up, as he told that he wanted to feel like ELTON JOHN once in a lifetime. Furthermore, he did a spectacular crowd-surfing on a guitar case. What an entertaining and forceful show!

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8.4 / 10




The Soundtrack of Our Lives

The Swedish Rock band was founded by lead singer Ebbot Lundberg, Björn Olsson and Ian Person in 1995. One year later, THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES released its debut album `Welcome to the Infant Freebase´. While the band was recording the second long-player `Extended Revelation for the Psychic Weak´ (1997), Mattias Bärjed had to replace Björn Olsson. Since that time, the formation plays in the following line-up: Ebbot Lundberg (vocals, harp), Mattias Bärjed (guitar, vocals), Martin Hederos (keys), Kalle Gustafsson (bass, violin, vocals), Ian Person (guitar, percussions, vocals), Fredrik Sandsten (drums). The meanwhile six albums stylistically base upon 1960s Psychedelic Rock and Pop. In April 2009, THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES´ latest piece of work, the long-player ´Communion´, was brought into German record stores. http://www.myspace.com/officialtsool / http://tsool.net/



Music & Performance
After his band mates had already started playing their instruments, lead singer Ebbot Lundberg walked on stage in a dignified way. It was like a time travel, as he wore a caftan that could have been made in the Woodstock era. The sextet was very heterogeneous: The front man strongly reminded me of a hippie guru, whereas the young man on the keys, Martin Hederos, totally looks like a scenester. The music of THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES is as complex as the band members´ outfits. It contains psychedelic stylistic elements taken from the Sixties as well as modern guitar-driven Rock and Pop. The audience listened attentively and seemed to appreciate the playful soundscape, but there was a kind of dampening change in style after the furious ITCHY POOPZKID show.

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






The Rifles

After Joel Stoker (vocals, guitar), Rob Pyne (bass), Grant Marsh (drums) and Lucas Crowther (guitar) had formed THE RIFLES in 2003, the London-based Indie Rock band released its first album `No Love Lost´ three years later. The BBC Radio One-DJs Zane Low and Lamacq were key to the formation’s breakthrough, when they played the debut single `Peace & Quiet´ over and over again. This year and with the second long-player `Great Escape´ up to its sleeves, THE RIFLES is touring the USA and Canada as well as some European countries. http://www.myspace.com/therifles / http://www.therifles.net/



Music & Performance
In my opinion, they sounded like a young and reborn version of THE CLASH; especially the vocals of front man Joel Stoker are very similar to the passed away voice of the British Punk-Rock legend, Joe Strummer. The audience seemed to be divided concerning the THE RIFLES´ appearance. Many listeners criticized a lame performance - but I didn’t so. THE RIFLES came up with its typical London sound and an appropriate live performance. I enjoyed the great light show accompanying the entire appearance and the huge flag-like backdrops as well as the innovative and at the same time simple melodies of Rock songs such as `Repeated Offender´, `Local Boy´, `Spend a Lifetime´ and `Fall to Sorrow´.

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 9
Total: 8.2 / 10






Maximo Park

The British Rock band MAXIMO PARK was founded in Newcastle in 2003. After the line-up had been completed by lead singer Paul Smith, the formation recorded its first 7“ single including the two self-written songs `Graffiti´ and `Going Missing´ on its own and was able to convince the label Warp Records. Soon, the debut single `The Coast is always changing´ (2004) was followed up by the second one `Apply Some Pressure´ (2005). The latter surprisingly entered the British Single Charts on #17. That unexpected success had been one reason for the band’s appearance at the big Rock am Ring-festival even before the debut album `A Certain Trigger´ (2005) was available. Until now, MAXIMO PARK has recorded four long-players. The recent one, `Quicken the Heart´, was released in May 2009. http://www.myspace.com/maximopark / http://maximopark.com/



Music & Performance
It was 35 minutes past 10 pm, when it was time for the first day’s headliner MAXIMO PARK. According to that, more and more people arrived and filled up the venue which was beautifully surrounded by trees and illuminated old buildings. It was hard to find a nice standing place for those who arrived then, as the hill was as close-packed as the area in front of the stage. Visually, the MAXIMO PARK appearance was pure eye candy due to a wonderful light show and the moves of the nearly hyperactively dancing front man Paul Smith who was extraordinarily dressed in a pale blue frock coat and a black hat. Acoustically, it was disappointing, as the sound was way too quiet, even when I took photos in the press ditch. What a pity! Songs such as `Books from Boxes´, `Our Velocity´, Apply some Pressure´ and `The Kids are sick again´ would have deserved a better sounds. Generally, I was pleased by the show and I can imagine visiting a concert of MAXIMO PARK again.

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 6
Light: 8
Total: 7.7 / 10





All pictures by Katrin Renner (http://www.creavision-webdesign.de/)
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