4th - 6th September 2009
Nocturnal Culture Night 4 Day 1: Diary of Dreams, Klangstabil, Angels & Agony, Painbastard, Mantus, XP8
On Friday afternoon, after all work was done and still with good weather we made our way to Deutzen near Leipzig where the cosy Nocturnal Culture Night Festival was to take place once again. Already for the fourth time the festival was expecting its attendees at Deutzen’s Kulturpark with a top class line-up. The closer we came, all the worse became the weather and it was raining when we arrived at the venue a little later than planned, and entered the placid festival grounds.
XP8 (Small Stage - Daniela Vorndran)
The story of the Italian project began in 2001. Following the released of their first demo, they earned positive feedback and eventually signed a record deal with the Polish label Black Flames Records who re-released it with an altered title. Some time later, they switched to German label Infacted Recordings to which they’re signed to the present day. Their third and most recent album ‘The Art of Revenge’ has been released in January 2008. XP8 is Marco Visconti and Marko Resurrection. http://www.xp8.org/ / http://www.myspace.com/xp8
Music & Performance
Did anyone expect something else than rain in Deutzen (where it was raining through all the past festivals)? Of course not! And right in time for XP8 to open the festival also heaven opened its gates and rain was pouring down. But anyway, already a small crowd gathered in front of the stage to see the first band of the weekend. Last time I had seen the band was on WGT in 2006 (as a three-piece on stage) and so I was pretty curious who the band would do today.
Marco, who was doing synth and programming in the past, has taken over the vocal part of former member Paul Toohill. And I must say he’s doing pretty well as front man. The short set consisted mainly of songs out off the latest album ‘The Art of Revenge’ such as ‘Download Me’, ‘Ready2Go’ or the title track of the album. Besides that, two songs out off ‘Hrs:Min:Sec’ made it onto the setlist - ‘Cuttin’ n’ Drinkin’ (where the original version was mixed with the GRENDEL remix) and the final song ‘Seed’ - but also one very new song, ‘One true God’, which is to be released on the upcoming album ‘Drop the Mask’. All in all a good start into the weekend!
01. Download me (p2p Version)
02. Cuttin' n' Drinkin
03. One True God
04. The Art of Revenge
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7.8 / 10
Mantus (Main Stage - Daniela Vorndran)
The project was founded by Martin Schindler around 1998 and named after the god of underworld in Etruscan mythology. Existing as a solo project already for a certain time, the first album ‘Liebe & Tod’ wasn’t released before he added his sister Thalia to the line-up for realizing a dualism of alternating male and female vocals in the song. End of 2004, and after having released 6 albums by that time, MANTUS disbanded and were said to never return. They returned anyway end of 2008 and have released a new EP and album with ’Requiem’ so far. http://www.mantus.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/mantus69
Music & Performance
I have seen the band already this year during their first ever live performance at Amphi festival. Compared with that, the band seemed to be a bit more comfortable being on stage. But still it was not really my cup of tea… female fronted Gothic (Metal) can be good, but it is not always the case and it isn’t definitely the case with MANTUS presenting cheesy Goth Metal with sickly-sweet lyrics. Again for me the music sounds kinda boring too. As already said, the performance improved a little, but still singer Thalia looked much tensed up and also a bit bored. Maybe only some facial expressions are missing. You just did not have the impression that she loves being on stage. I guess some more live practising will improve their show and give them some kind of routine.
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 5.7 / 10
Painbastard (Small Stage - Cathie Niemann)
Alex P., the driving force behind PAINBASTARD; made his first musical steps in 1995. With his third demo release ‘Skin on Fire’ which wasn’t sent out before 2003, he attracted the interest of German label Accession Records who would go on to sign him and release the same-titled debut in May 2005. Throughout the years, and with a continuous and strong live presence, he acquired a large fan base. With ‘Borderline’ he’s released his fourth album in September 2007. But even though some time has passed ever since the release, you can be sure that works on a follow-up are already underway. http://www.painbastard.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/painbastard
Music & Performance
We reached the small stage just in time for the show of Leipzig-based PAINBASTARD. It was almost a home game for the duo that would have truly deserved better weather! Singer Alex P and keyboard player Alex K didn’t seem to bother and so the singing Alex had no problems stalking the unprotected stage edge to be as close to the audience as possible.
They were gathering in front of the little stage armed with rain coats and umbrellas, and listened to the driving EBM and Electro sounds of the opener ‘Borderline’. Harsh, electronic sound and deep, distorted vocals were showcased with the following ‘Nervenkrieg’. The angry, aggressive song as well as the imposing shape of the singer, coupled with the respective mimics apparently impressed the audience and were rewarded with applause. Extremely powerful songs full of melancholy and desperation followed with ‘Nyctophobia’ and ‘When the rats desert the sinking ship’. Within the first rows you could spot several EBM heads catering for lots of mood. After only seven songs followed ‘Sternentanz’ which is amongst my absolute favourites! Despite harshness and speed, you’ll find melancholy and wonderful lyrics in this song, whereas all lyrics of PAINBASTARD are worth listening attentively.
04. Psychological Disintegration
05. When the rats desert the sinking ship
06. BCM (Binary coded message)
07. Poison for your soul
Total: 7.7 / 10
Angels & Agony (Main Stage - Cathie Niemann)
ANGELS & AGONY formed in autumn 1995. Four years later, the band released a first MCD with ‘Unity’; including the club hit ‘One’. Another two years from there the band inked a deal with renowned label Out of Line and released the debut album ‘Unity’, produced by Ronan Harris. The following years had nothing but success in stock for the formation which had grown together to a real band by now. Their meanwhile third and most recent album ‘Unison’ hit the stores in January 2007. ANGELS & AGONY is Reinier Kahle (electronics, lyrics & vocals), Erik Wierenga (electronics & guitars), Marco van Belle (management, live synths & vocals) and Fried Bruggink (live drums). http://www.angelsandagony.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/angelsandagony
Music & Performance
We headed to the main stage now and at the same time got a good overview of the available catering. The next band on the main stage was the Dutch formation ANGELS & AGONY. Founding member Reinier Kahle entered the stage together with Eric Wierenga, Marco van Belle and Fried Bruggink.
The four-piece started into a very danceable and moody set that excited the audience from its very first minute. The next song ‘Wreckage’ off the current album ‘Unison’ was an invitation to dance as if there’s no tomorrow. The ingenious electro pop tune went straight into the limbs and spread fun all around. Definitely amongst the highlights was ‘Forever’ from the eponymous EP released in 2002, where Fred switched from drums to guitar just as Erik. The excited audience clapped and danced along to the tunes, while the four-piece partied on stage. Due to it being completely dark now, the lightshow and fog had an even deeper effect and bathed the stage in moody colours. Marco supported Reinier on vocals. All in all, it was a refreshing, sympathetic performance.
Total: 7.2 / 10
Klangstabil (Small Stage - Cathie Niemann)
KLANGSTABIL formed in 1994; the same year the two protagonists Maurizio Blanco and Boris May met as they soon realised they’re communicating on the same level. Soon they started producing without ever having the intention of getting anything of the material released. Over the years, KLANGSTABIL carved out a very own niche in alternative electronic music by taking elements of its very beginning adding to it a contemporary, sometimes experimental edge. October 2008 saw the release of the duo’s newest album, a conceptual work called ‘Math & Emotion. http://www.klangstabil.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/klangstabil
Music & Performance
A very special performance was expecting us now at the small stage which was headlined by KLANGSTABIL this evening, who let us watch the preparations for the set. The unconventional and unique Electro project consisting of Maurizio Blanco and Boris May makes music together since 1994, and ever since enchants their audience with grandiose and experimental sounds. Boris got rid of his shoes as usual, while Maurizio took his place behind the machines. With the calm sounds of ‘Fighting Colours’ the always unique and special mood spread. Well-known sounds came across to us with ‘You May Start’. Once again, Boris delivered a plethora of emotions with his movements and vocals. Pain, rage and aggression were almost palpable and I tried to internalize the entire mood.
The audience moved to the powerful sound and seemed equally intrigued, which resulted in excited applause. Positions were switched again and Maurizio now sang the emotional, Italian song ‘Perdere per Vincere (The Italian Opening)’. Fitting to the projected chess figures on red ground, the title track of the current album ‘Match & Emotion - The square root of one’ followed! Already the first well-known sounds made us cheer altogether. Boris’ spoken-words to the still soft sounds increased the anticipation for the upcoming powerful parts that rained down on us like an explosion. Many knew the lyrics inside-out and I forgot the slight rain over all those impressions. Soft sounds and a focused and emotional Maurizio was what we experienced on ‘Gloomy Day’ with powerful outbursts. Roused and with thick goose bumps, ‘Love has too much audience’ went by much too fast. To the last moment, Boris sang with consistent and incredible intensity. ‘Vertraut’ made the closing of the set. But an exciting and radical encore followed with ‘Kill all Lifeforms’. KLANGSTABIL raised the bars to such heights on Friday evening I was wondering how this could be topped by anyone.
01. Fighting Colours
02. You may start
03. Perdere per Vincere (The Italian Opening)
04. Math & Emotion - The square root of one
05. Push yourself
06. Gloomy Day
08. Twisted words
09. Love has too much audience
10. Math & Emotion - The square root of three
12. Kill all Lifeforms
Total: 8.8 / 10
Diary of Dreams (Main Stage)
Since its foundation in 1989 by Adrian Hates, this project or better band (project doesn’t do it justice anymore) mesmerizes a continuously growing international following with beautiful and at times fragile tunes, whose central element was and still is the deep melancholy. It’s hard to describe what makes this music so intriguing, you just have to experience it yourself on one of their intense live shows or on one of the various album the band has released over the time with ‘(if)’ being the latest one, released in March 2009 which will spawn the single release ‘King of Nowhere’ in October. DIARY OF DREAMS on stage is Adrian Hates (vocals, guitar), Gaun:A (guitar), D.N.S. (drums) and Torben Wendt (keyboard) or Daniel Myer (keyboard). http://www.diaryofdreams.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/diaryofdreams
Music & Performance
Still before midnight, and on a meanwhile dried stage, it was time for the highly anticipated headliner DIARY OF DRAMS. Through the whole weekend it struck you that so many DIARY OF DREAMS fans were present at the festival. Daniel Myer (who was responsible for the keyboards today) and D.N.S. took their places now. So much for the question whether Daniel or Torben, or both would come on stage. Gaun:A and Adrian Hates also entered the stage to a fantastic view on the well-filled amphi theatre. The weather remained dry and so you could celebrate to well-known songs like ‘Butterfly: Dance!’, ‘Chemicals’ or the crowd pleaser ‘Soul Stripper’. With songs from the current album ‘(if)’ like ‘The Chain’, ‘King of Nowhere’ or ‘The Saint’ (photographer’s note: much to my likes because I desperately wanted to hear this song live), the band brought new drive into their set and met with heavy enthusiasm by the crowd who proved their profound knowledge of the lyrics.
Adrian convinced once again with charisma and the interaction with the other band members. It was perfectly clear that the audience wanted more after the end of the regular set. Then, the first encore followed with ‘The Wedding’ and ‘The Plague’, both of which very powerful and made the crowd dance. The audience partly stood on the ranks of the theatre and celebrated to the last rows, which raised the wish for another encore, especially since the fan favourite ‘Traumtänzer’ hadn’t been played this far. We had to wait for the song until the very end. But then we experienced a memorable finale with loud sing-a-long choirs and a pleased and smiling band. With this concert experience, the first festival day ended for us and we were already looking forward the things to come on the following day.
01. Butterfly: Dance!
03. The Chain
04. Reign of Chaos
06. King of Nowhere
07. Soul Stripper
08. The Saint
13. The Wedding
14. The Plague
15. Poison Breed
Total: 9 / 10
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com/ / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography)
Written by Daniela Vorndran (Overall editorial, XP8 and Mantus), Cathie Niemann, Translations and Intros by Sebastian Huhn