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cc1Hugenottenhalle, Neu-Isenburg, Germany
28th December 2011
Christmas Ball: Combichrist, Front 242, Hocico, The Klinik, Solitary Experiments

In its yearly journey though the republic, the Christmas Ball was premiering in Neu-Isenburg, Frankfurt’s small neighbour, this year. Usually, the Hugenottenhalle does not hear and see such dark sounds, and on this day, even five bands were shaking the walls. For this new location, the stop in Würzburg was cancelled. Anyway, the choice of location was pretty good. The hall was traffic-wise well connected, had the perfect size with good sound and light. Additionally, the catering was really good. All in all perfect conditions to make this event a successful one.

Solitary Experiments

When the worlds of Dennis Schober and Michael Thieleman collided one day, they found out they were like-minded and made their first musical experiences under the name PLAGUE, before they decided to form the project SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS in 1994. By doing that, they were making the foundation for what was to become a successful story in the genre of electronic music, even though the way to getting that status was full of many stones. With every new album, they could enlist a bigger audience and a loyal fan base grew from that. Their newest album ‘In The Eye Of The Beholder’, which came out in late 2009 following a long time of dormancy since ‘Mind Over Matter’ in 2005, marked their triumphant return to the scene with powerful and melodic electro songs carried by a distinctive voice. The latest album ‘The Great Illusion’ was out in 2011. SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS is Michael Thielemann (sampling, programming, engineering, recording), Dennis Schober (lyrics, vocals, effects, performance) and Steve Graeber (programming, sampling) with live drums by Frank Glaßl. / /


Music & Performance
The concert evening was opened with fast Electro Future / Synth Pop of SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS. Right for dinner time, the four guys from Berlin and Leipzig were entering the stage, tinted in shining green LED-light, starting the show with ‘Pale Candle Light’ from the ‘Mind Over Matter’ album, accompanied by still reluctant applause. The audience was waking up during following ‘Immortal’ and started dancing. Even though the latest album ‘The Great Illusion’ dates only a few month back, the band presented already new songs from the next album during their show. ‘Epiphany’ was the first new song of the evening with catchy rhythms and likeable melodies, just as you know it from SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS. With ‘Glory And Honour’ in the 15th Anniversary Mix, the first show of the evening ended under considerable applause. Due to the early evening hour and considering the fact many people had to work, the hall was not too well-filled at the beginning. But this was not a negative thing, especially since it was filling up during the show.

01. Pale Candle Light
02. Immortal
03. Epiphany (New Song)
04. Delight
05. Homesick
06. Trial and Error (New Song)
07. Rise And Fall
08. Glory And Honour (15th Anniversary Mix)

Music: 6
Performance: 6
Sound: 6
Light: 7
Total: 6.2 / 10


The Klinik

THE KLINIK is a Belgian Industrial project that was formed at the beginning of the 1980s by the only constant member Marc Verhaeghen. In 1985, he brought Dirk Ivens (ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL, DIVE, SONAR), Eric van Wonterghem (ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL, MONOLITH) and Sandy Nys on board. After several line-up changes, Ivens and Verhaeghen remained as a duo. After the debut album `Sabotage´ (1985), THE KLINIK released full-length milestones such as `Face to Face´ (1989) and `Time´ (1991) that established its reputation as a groundbreaking formation in the Electro / Industrial genre. Since 2003, Ivens and Verhaeghen were playing again live shows together. After a show at Tinitus Festival in April 2009, Verhaeghen was replaced by Peter Mastbooms, also known as DJ Borg, due to health reasons.


Music & Performance
Ice-cold, gloomy and electronically the evening moved on. And before I even dig deeper into the show, I might add that THE KLINIK’s performance was my personnel highlight of the evening. Musically and style-wise, KLINIK is unique with an extremely high recognition value. The two protagonists were clothed with black leather coats. Their faces were covered behind white gauze bandages. The sound was cold, partly experimental with minimalist use of lyrics. During their Christmas Ball show, the duo created a dark, gloomy aura in the hall, presenting the songs under pale lights, covered in fog and supported by apocalyptic video sequences. THE KLINIK just know how to impress the audience. Still, their special kind of music does not meet anyone’s taste. Especially the younger audience was rather motionless, waiting for the end of the show. But the lovers of real art were completely excited. With ‘Cold as Ice’, followed by ‘Murder’, the ten song grasping set started.


Not only musically and vocally, Dirk and Peter convinced. It was especially the extravagant moving of Dirk underlining the lyrics, melting with the music to reach a powerful overall meaning. Once more, visitors were part of a enthralling KLINIK show.

01. Cold As Ice
02. Murder
03. Walking With Shadows
04. Quiet In The Room
05. Hours And Hours
06. Mindswitch
07. Obsession
08. Black Leather
09. Moving Hands
10. Memories

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



The Mexican cousins Erk Aicrag (vocals, lyrics) and Racso Agroyam (programming) started with making music at a young age. Finally, their interest in EBM sounds led to the founding of HOCICO in 1993. Four years later, HOCICO released the debut album `Odio Bajo El Alma´ that stood out from the crowd of other EBM long-players due to the especially flaming temper and raw-edged sounds that were perfectly in line with the explosive lyrics dealing with religion, sex, death and abuse. The rousing and exhausting live appearances of the guys excited a large audience in Germany in particular. Aicrag and Agroyam reached their final breakthrough on `Aqui Y Ahora En El Silencio´ (2000) and `Signos De Aberracion´ (2002). In 2008, HOCICO played in Japan for the first time. As the Osaka show was a very special experience, they recorded the live album `Tora! Tora! Tora!´ that delivers a great insight into the spectacular concert atmosphere of HOCICO appearances. Besides two early self-releases and two live albums, HOCICO has released several full-length albums so far, of which ‘Blood On The Red Square’ (Out Of Line, 2011) is the most recent. / /


Music & Performance
The duo, whose name always causes discussions about its pronunciation, was duty-free imported from Mexico. At the beginning of the show, the audience firstly was seeing… nothing. At least not much. The stage was covered with fog and permanent darkness. Just like during several shows before, some old-fashioned TV set were soon sending out flickering lights, shows the close-up of a dirty mouth singing ‘Breathe Me Tonight’ with a vocoded voice. When the light were brighter, Rasco appeared behind his keys and Erc stormed the stage, taking his place behind the torso of a display dummy with an animal skull. The first rows were pushing against the fence, ‘Where Words Fail, Hate Speaks’ made hands and feed moving. Excited cheers were soon be heard. With lots of energy and totally restless, Erc was running across the stage during the whole show. In the background, videos with severed pictures were accompanying lyrics and music. Some people were reacting with disgust and lack of understanding about some of the videos. Maybe there was a bit too much of provocation?


The overall sound was good, just in times it was too loud and dull. Bright LED spots blinding the audience were in times also a bit too much, you could only see shapeless shadows acting on stage. Anyway, the entertainment was not destroyed and so, the audience was celebrating to ‘Instincts Of Perversion’, ‘About A Dead’ or ‘Dog Eat Dog’ until sweat was running down their backs.

01. Intro
02. Breathe Me Tonight
03. Where Words Fail, Hate Speaks
04. Instincts Of Perversion
05. Spirits Of Crime
06. Altered States
07. About A Dead
08. Dog Eat Dog
09. Bite Me
10. Untold Blasphemies
11. Poltergeist
12. Tiempos De Furia

Music: 6
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 6.8 / 10


Front 242

Belgian local heroes FRONT 242 were the evening’s headliner. Initiated in 1981 by Daniel Bressanutti and Dirk Bergen, 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’. 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 came back together in 1997 but it still took them another 6 years to release a new album with ‘Pulse’. Their most recent release is called ‘Moments in Budapest’. FRONT 242 on the BIM Fest stage was Jean-Luc DeMeyer (vocals), Richard “23” Jonckheere (percussion, vocals), Patrick Codenys (keyboards, programming, samplers) and Geert Michiels (drums & guest musician). / /


Music & Performance
During the other three Christmas Ball shows, FRONT 242 were headlining the evening. In Neu-Isenburg, they changed slots with COMBICHRIST, meaning fans of Oldschool EBM could start their way home earlier or just have some beers afterwards since during the FRONT show, there was no time for it. With well-known sounds out off a dark wall of fog, the Belgians were announced. After the intro, ‘Shout if Loud’ was electrifying the audience which started dance at once, even though the live set of FRONT 242 know only little variation. ‘Moldavia’, ‘Tragedy For You’ or ‘Body To Body’ too care for wet shirts and dry throats for years now. But no one is moaning about this monotony - the passionate EBM fan loves listening to good stuff over and over again. Sound and mood kept their high level during the whole show. Traditionally, the main set was ended with ‘Im Rhythmus bleiben’. But after long-lasting applause, the band came back.


With ‘Kampfbereit’ they presented a “quite unusual” song as first encore. Another gem and in the same time the last song of the set was ‘Punish Your Machine’. For some, this show was “the same procedure as very time”, for others it was just pure fun.

01. Intro (98)
02. Shout it loud
03. Together
04. Moldavia
05. Tragedy >For You<
06. Master Hit
07. Headhunter
08. Commando Mix
09. Loud
10. Don't Crash
11. Lovely Day
12. Body to Body
13. Religion
14. Welcome to Paradise
15. Take One
16. Im Rhythmus bleiben
17. Kampfbereit
18. Punish Your Machine

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



COMBICHRIST is one of the other faces of well-known singer and ICON OF COIL mastermind Andy LaPlegua who’s presenting a much more hard-edged side of industrial with this project. The two first releases, the album ‘The Joy of Gunz’ and the limited Halloween special ‘Kiss the Blade’ both being released in 2003, conquered the clubs and dance floors in a storm. Only a year later Andy unleashed the next assault entitled ‘Sex, Drogen und Industrial’ which marks a change in the sound of COMBICHRIST to more electro and less distortion dominated sounds, yet the tracks remained as energetic as ever. In Spring 2005 it was finally time for the new album ‘Everybody Hates You’. 2006 saw the release of a new EP that even took the project to the Hot Dance Billboard Charts and as Andy is a workaholic, he released the next album ‘What The F*&$ Is Wrong With You People?’ in March 2007. Right in time for the summer, Andy released the ‘Frost EP’ at the end of June 2008 with new tracks as well as remixes.


The most recent album is called ‘Making Monsters’ and came out in 2010. COMBICHRIST is Andy LaPlegua (vocals, lyrics, production), Joe Letz (live drums), Trevor Friedrich (live percussions), z_marr (live keys, synths) and Abbey Nex (live guitar). For the Christmas Ball shows, Trevor was replaced by Tim van Horn. / /

Music & Performance
With the evening’s headliner, it turned hot, loud and heavy. COMBICHRIST were up to make the hall and the attendees shake. Harsh blue and red light on a white wall of smoke was awaiting. and blinding… the audience. With ‘’ Shut Up And Swallow’, COMBICHRIST came over the audience. When the eyes finally got used to the bright staccato of lights, a unusual look was awaiting the audience. Andy, whom you might have seen with several looks and haircuts already, now was wearing full beard. Furthermore, z_marr had cut his dreads and was hardly recognizable. Song by song was fired against the fans. ‘Rain of Blood’ and ‘Follow The Trail Of Blood’ kept the mood high. There was no time to rest. Also in-between the songs, there was no rest. People sang, jumped and danced in ecstasy.


Everywhere on stage was movement. Just like you know it. Andy, Joe or Tim, who did an equally good job as Trevor usually does, anyone was jumping around, hitting keys or toms. As used to, Joe was smashing parts of his drum set across the stage. After a quite short set of only ten songs, the headliner already left the stage.

01. Intro
02. Shut Up And Swallow
03. I Woke To The Rain Of Blood
04. Follow The Trail Of Blood
05. Just Like Me
06. Throat Full Of Glass
07. Get Your Body Beat
08. Slave To Machine
09. Fuckmachine
10. Blut Royale
11. They
12. Fuck That Shit
13. Never Surrender
14. What The Fuck Is Wrong With You

Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 7.5 / 10


All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / / /
Written by Daniela Vorndran & Ben Blaschke (

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