Amphitheater, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
23rd and 24th June 2012
Blackfield Festival Day 2: Culture Kultür, Stahlmann, Solitary Experiments, Megaherz, Burn, Funker Vogt, Ignis Fatuu, Welle:Erdball, The Arch, Agonoize, Eric Fish, Combichrist, Secret Discovery, In Extremo
Better late than never! Here's our little round up of the second day of the Blackfield festival at the Amphi theatre Gelsenkirchen. To celebrate its 5th anniversary, the Blackfield had a second stage for the first time ever, so there were more bands to check out than ever before, of course. So here's our summary of the final day of this year's Blackfield, as usual with lots of pics by our photographer Daniela Vorndran.
Spanish Electro group CULTURE KULTÜR had the unpleasant job to open the second day of the festival. What it made even more unpleasant was that the weather had significantly worsened. While there were pleasant temperatures and nice sunshine with a few clouds here and there on Saturday, the Sunday morning started grey in grey and with quite some rain. And it got worse during the day! Later it would rain cats and dogs and the torrential rain drove many people away from the open air stage. However, CULTURE KULTÜR gathered a small but loyal fan base in front of the stage and the fact the first few meters of the front of house were also covered by the pavilion roof of the stage made it a clever idea to see CULTURE KULTÜR from the first rows. There was shelter from the rain, and lust but not least some nice Synth Pop tunes. Songs like 'Wonder' or 'Blind Man' warmed the heart while the cold rain got heavier, and after a short 5-song set CULTURE KULTÜR returned to their backstage room. // Setlist: 1. I Found You / 2. Wonder / 3. Blind Man / 4. Drum Machine / 5. Promised Land Blues // Rating: 7 / 10 // http://www.culturekultur.com / https://www.facebook.com/culturekultur [Niggels]
Next was STAHLMANN, something for all Metal heads. In particular for all Metal heads in love with bands like RAMMSTEIN or EISBRECHER. Founded 2008 in Göttingen/ Germany, STAHLMANN work their way through what German media pigeonholes as “Neue Deutsche Härte”. The most remarkable thing about STAHLMANN is the silver body paintings of the band members but apart from that they are too much a copycat of the above mentioned big sellers to make a long lasting impression. Rather weak and very clichéd lyrics don't help much to improve the impression. The performance, however, was solid and STAHLMANN does have its own fan crowd who enthusiastically celebrated the band's gig. But as the rain (you've guessed it!) got even heavier during the gig many people preferred to seek shelter in their tents, under a tree or at the catering stalls. // Setlist: 1. Willkommen / 2. Stahlmann / 3. Kaltes Herz / 4. Hass mich lieb mich / 5. Mein Leib / 6. Stahlwittchen / 7. Spring nicht / 8. Tanzmaschine // Rating: 7.5 / 10 // http://www.stahlmann.tv / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stahlmann/138756019513864 [Niggels]
Next on the main stage was melodic EBM from SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS. Although looking back on almost 20 years of existence and no less than 10 albums, SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS have only recently gained a wider popularity in the dark scene. Many festival appearances and support slots surely have helped to raise awareness. So they met a very welcoming audience despite the bad weather and early time of the day and club hits like 'Immortal' or 'Rise and Fall' went down well live. // Setlist: 1. Odyssey of Mind / 2. Delight / 3. Pale Candle Light / 4. Immortal / 5. Trial and Error / 6. Point Of View (deeper) / 7. Rise and Fall // Rating: 7 / 10 // http://www.solitaryexperiments.de / https://www.facebook.com/solitaryexperiments [Niggels]
At lunch time it was again time for some “Neue deutsche Härte” with MEGAHERZ on the open air stage. Since the Munich based band started in 1993, MEGAHERZ saw many changes in their musical directions as well as in their line-up. For the first ten years, Alexx Wesselsky was the singer of the band who then left MEGAHERZ to found EISBRECHER. Commercially, MEGAHERZ never could hold a candle to the new band of their former vocalist, which is by now a Top 10 act in Germany, but MEGAHERZ nevertheless draw a nice crowd to the main stage of the Blackfield. Oozing testosterone with sonic assaults as 'Miststück' or 'Feindbild' MEGAHERZ didn't fail to impress the crowd and there was even a humorous moment when the heavy wind knocked over the MEGAHERZ backdrop banner and buried the guitarist under it. What looked a little dangerous at first turned out as an amusing little incident in the end, and all band members had a good laugh. // Setlist: 1. Jagdzeit / 2. Feindbild / 3. Prellbock / 4. 5. März / 5. Mann im Mond / 6. Heuchler / 7. Herz aus Stein / 8. Miststück / 9. Das Licht am Ende der Welt // Rating: 8 / 10 // http://www.megaherz.de / https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMegaherz [Niggels]
German Wave Rock band BURN made their Blackfield debut last year when they played the main stage in the early morning. This time they opened the new second stage on the second day of this festival, and at least this made sure that BURN started their set at a much more agreeable time - lunch time! If this band continues to progress like this they will end up playing a night slot! And joking aside, it would be well deserved as the qualities of this band from Münster/ Germany are undeniable! These qualities would also have deserved a few more people at the tent stage when BURN entered the stage but apparently it didn't make the round that it does not rain inside a huge circus tent, so many people were addlebrained enough to get all soaked in front of the main stage instead of witnessing this marvellous young band. Well, not so young, to be precise: Mastermind Felix Friberg started his brainchild in the early 1990s and after numerous line-up changes and a few throwbacks the revitalized BURN finally released their debut album 'The Truth' in 2011.
While it took them no less than 15 years to release their first album it required less than 12 months for the follow up 'Black Magnolia' to see the light of the day. These are busy times for BURN and the routine and experience shows when the four-piece enters a stage. Moaners might still moan that BURN are heavily influenced by Robert Smith and his THE CURE but Felix Friberg and his fellows do not need to prove anything any more. For their Blackfield appearance BURN decided for a darker and more melancholic set of songs, which meant that it focussed less on the freshest album but on a couple of old gems like the epic 'Ghost' and some songs which were released on cassette back in the day. But there were also smashers like the rocking 'Burn For You' and a lesson in crowd-interaction during the lovely 'Why Don‘t You Find Out For Yourself'. A wonderful way to open up the second stage, and let's see if BURN will ever co-headline the bloody main stage. It would be well deserved! // Setlist: 1. Ninety-Nine Floors / 2. Burn for you / 3. Colors I can’t see / 4. Ghost / 5. Ultraviolet / 6. Why Don‘t You Find Out For Yourself // Rating: 8.7 / 10 // http://www.burnmusic.de / https://www.facebook.com/burnmusicdotde [Niggels]
If there's some sort of redneck EBM band from Germany then it must be FUNKER VOGT. Their popularity did not decrease in their 17-year career but for me, FUNKER VOGT never hit the spot with their aggressive yet simplistic EBM tunes which they like to glossy up with generic dance beats. On the plus side, FUNKER VOGT do know how to put on a show, including some pyrotechnics here and there, and how to involve a crowd. But I still was rather unaffected by vocalist Jens Kästel bellowing out macho lyrics to the programmed rhythms of producer Gerrit Thomas and the other band members. And what can I do but being honest here? In my book, FUNKER VOGT's music is bland, sallow and uninspired and to my ears their melodies often sound simply awkward. To be blunt, there are nursery rhymes with a more complex structure! But at the Blackfield there were enough people who apparently saw this differently, and so FUNKER VOGT got a roaring applause when they bid farewell with their classic track 'Tragic Hero'. A well received gig but I for one didn't find it musically too appealing, unfortunately. // Setlist: 1. Fire and Forget / 2. White Trash / 3. Arising Hero / 4. Child Soldier / 5. The State Within / 6. Maschine Zeit / 7. Genozid / 8. Hard Way / 9. Gunman / 10. Tragic Hero // Rating: 5 / 10 // http://www.funkervogt.de / https://www.facebook.com/funkervogt.de [Niggels]
Hell broke lose outside with heavy wind and rain pouring down from the sky, and finally it became clear to many people that being inside a circus tent is much more comfortable than being left in heavy rainfalls. This bestowed on IGNIS FATUU a truly massive crowd in a tent stage that was packed to the shaking roof. The medieval Folk band didn't intend to let people go easily and gave all to deliver an entertaining performance. And they succeeded! Being less Rock and Metal and more on the traditional side of Mittelalter-Rock than, say, IN EXTREMO, the gleemen of IGNIS FATUU used every trick in the book of travelling bards. The mixture of genuine medieval music instruments and classical Rock obviously always works to keep a German festival audience happy, and more than a few people were happy to forget about the god-awful rain outside for a moment. // Setlist: 1. Intro / 2. Frühlingsreigen / 3. Wolfszeit / 4. Auf der Flucht / 5. Illusion / 6. Stille Wasser / 7. Spiel des Lebens / 8. Nordwind / 9. Wächter der Nacht // Rating: 7 / 10 // http://www.ignisfatuu.de / https://www.facebook.com/ignisfatuu [Niggels]
With the next live act the music stayed electronic but yet it was a completely different beast: WELLE:ERDBALL are infamous for their minimalistic Synth Pop composed on old Commodore C64 computers. Retro galore, and not only regarding the instruments but also in terms of lyrics, image, and stage outfits! Interestingly WELLE:ERDBALL 1980s computer music with a 1950s flavour in the imagery. Meanwhile the rain capes which one of the Blackfield sponsors handed out for free at their booth had become the most popular thing on the festival ground. The rain simply did not want to stop, quite the contrary! And if you weren't completely soaked already those rain capes were very helpful little things. WELLE:ERDBALL didn't want to stop either and blasted a best of set through the semicircle of the Amphitheater Gelsenkirchen. From ' Schweben, Fliegen, Fallen' to 'Arbeit Adelt!' to 'Starfighter F-104G' they played a selection of their most popular tunes and finished the performance with 'Monoton & Minimal' - the song title really sums up the fundamental idea behind WELLE:ERDBALL! // Setlist: 1. Funkbereit! / 2. Wir wollen keine Menschen sein / 3. Deutsche Liebe / 4. Schweben, Fliegen, Fallen / 5. Ich bin aus Plastik / 6. Arbeit Adelt! / 7. Der Telegraph / 8. 23 / 9. Starfighter F-104G / 10. Ich bin nicht von dieser Welt / 11. Monoton & Minimal // Rating: 8 / 10 // http://www.welle-erdball.de / https://www.facebook.com/WelleErdball [Niggels]
This band would have deserved the heaviest rain of the weekend so that as many people as possible would witness their gig at the tent stage. But oh well, unfortunately the circus tent was cleaned out after the packed IGNIS FATUU show so that THE ARCH performed in a less than half-filled venue. Disappointing! Especially as THE ARCH, best known for their 1980s Wave classic 'Babsi ist tot', were among the musical highlights of the weekend! While FUNKER VOGT still hammered their tedious beats through the PA of the open air stage, THE ARCH started their journey through their 20+ years career. From old synth-driven gems like 'Ribdancer' or 'No Noise' to the songs of their fantastic comeback album 'Engine In Void' it was simply a pleasure to see THE ARCH performing, even though there were a number of technical issues like the backing singer's microphone not working and overall muddy sound mix. Still this was a true highlight for me, and if you have the chance to see THE ARCH live or to get hold of their new album, you simply should not hesitate to do so! // Setlist: 1. Let it beat us / 2. Wait / 3. Waterfall / 4. Individuals / 5. Seminary / 6. Coward / 7. Revenge Revival / 8. Skinny Meadows / 9. Babsi ist tot / 10. Ribdancer / 11. No Noise // Rating: 8.3 / 10 // http://www.thearch.be / https://www.facebook.com/thearchband [Niggels]
The funniest thing about AGONOIZE, who were up at the main stage next, is that they are so serious about what they do. The self-proclaimed godfathers of Harsh Electro surely have a couple of sure-fire club smashers in their programme and their lyrics are always kinda provocative and touching the dark side of humanity. In my book it's not as intellectually stimulating as the band might hope for, though. And spilling fake blood over the first few rows of the audience and pyro technics may be a lot of fun but let's be honest, these things have been done to death before by many other bands of this scene. Anyway, the fans obviously enjoyed the blood bath and even hours later you could still tell who was in front of the stage during AGONOIZE's gig. // Setlist: 1. Femme Fatale / 2. Staatsfeind / 3. Dafür / 4. Sacrifice / 5. Glaubenskrieger / 6. Wahre Liebe / 7. Schaufensterpuppenarsch / 8. Bäng Bäng Goodbye / 9. Koprolalie / 10. Bis das Blut gefriert // Rating: 6 / 10 // http://www.agonoize.de / https://www.facebook.com/pages/AGONOIZE/275733936009 [Niggels]
While on the main stage AGONOIZE were spilling their fake blood and sperm, it got cosy in the tent with ERIC FISH & FRIENDS, who presented an acoustic set. Eric Fish is best known as front man of Medieval Rock band SUBWAY TO SALLY, but he also has a less rocky, but more folky side being presented in his solo project. The friends performing with him on stage were Uwe Nordwig (guitar, vocals), Rainer Michalek (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Gerit Hecht (piano) and B. Deutung on cello. The calm moody songs were the right surrounding to find anything good in the rainy weather outside while enjoying the concert in the inside. // Setlist: 1. Intro / 2. Lasset und teilen / 3. Mantra (short) / 4. Utopia / 5. Lilly of the West / 6. The cruel Brother / 7. Was immer du willst / 8. Anders sein / 9. Message / 10. Cathedral / 11. Zwilling / / 12. Prinzessin / 13. Scheissegal / Encore: 14. Glaub an dich // Rating: 7 / 10 // http://www.ericfish.de/ / https://www.facebook.com/DieTraumfaenger [Dani]
After three electronic bands in a row on the main stage it was time for a change. SALTATIO MORTIS, who define their style as “medieval Punk”, are no newbies to the Blackfield festival and their impressive live show in 2010 should be remembered by all regular Blackfield attendees. Formed in 2000, it was SALTATIO MORTIS’ second album ‘Das zweite Gesicht’ (2001) that was causing a wave of popularity that spread even beyond the boundaries of the Medieval Rock genre. 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. SALTATIO MORTIS' 2009 album “Wer Wind Sät” even went top ten in the official German sales chart. So SALTATIO MORTIS meant to pull out all stops, defend their reputation as a sweeping live band and to fight the continuous rain. And they were successful in every respect! Even the rainfall stopped for a moment - miracle, oh miracle! - and a yellow thing appeared above the clouds in the sky - the sun! With a big grin in his face singer Alea asked the crowd to welcome the sun, and what followed was the happiest and biggest roar of the weekend!
The performance by the seven multi-instrumentalists was as stirring, intense and jocular as you would expect when you witnessed these guys live on stage before. Front man Alea was again very talkative and pretty unstoppable on stage, he must be quite a challenge for photographers as he rarely stops moving, running and jumping. With songs like 'Tod und Teufel' or 'Koma', SALTATIO MORTIS rocked the Amphi theatre but they also offered more introspective moments with songs like 'Prometheus'. To wrap up their gig, SALTATIO MORTIS played the fan faves 'Falsche Freunde', 'Wild und frei' and 'Spielmannsschwur' in one go, a line of songs which was a condign climax of the performance, full of bursting energy, lots of fun and massive sing-a-longs by the crowd. While the stage hands already rushed to prepare the next gig already a playback of Joan Jett's 'I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll' blasted through the speakers, and singer Alea didn't hesitate to grab the microphone to sing a long to the playback together with the audience. The first encore of the day, so to speak. // Setlist: 1. Intro / 2. Ode an die Feindschaft / 3. Habgier und Tod / 4. Tod und Teufel / 5. Halt mich fest / 6. Koma / 7. Prometheus / 8. Wir säen den Wind / 9. Spiel mit dem Feuer / 10. Nach Jahr und Tag / 11. Eulenspiegel / 12. Falsche Freunde / 13. Wild und frei / 14. Spielmannsschwur // Rating: 8.5. / 10 // http://www.saltatio-mortis.com / https://www.facebook.com/saltatiomortisofficial [Niggels]
Not only the main stage offered medieval tunes now, also the program on the tent stage was moving in the same direction, just less rockier but calmer and with folk and traditional influences. It was time for FAUN now and the band itself calls its sound “Paganfolk”. The members of FAUN - Oliver S. Tyr (vocals, and various instruments), Fiona Rüggeberg (vocals, bagpipes, flutes), Sonja Drakulich (vocals, hammered dulcimer percussions), Stephan Groth (vocals, hurdy-gurdy), Rüdiger Maul (darabouka, davul & other percussion instruments) and Niel Mitra (computer sampler & synthesizer) - combine ancient instruments with modern influences to create an enchanting and powerful atmosphere. With such songs like ‘Rosmarin’, ‘Da Que Deus’, ‘Tinta’, ‘Rhiannon’ or final song ‘Hymn to Pan’ they impressed the audience. // Rating: 7 / 10 // http://www.faune.de / https://www.facebook.com/FaunOfficial [Dani]
Next on the open air stage was Industrial/ Techno strength as hard as nails and with a hint of brutality, delivered by COMBICHRIST. It was their second try at the Blackfield festival after last year's flop when their backup system crashed momentously after just a few songs, and ultimately an Industrial band like COMBICHRIST is nothing without the controlling laptop delivering the backing sounds. Actually that gig wasn't a flop per se but rather interesting as COMBICHRIST spontaneously performed two or three tracks acoustic after the breakdown. A quite rare experience! Anyway, COMBICHRIST returned to make up for last year's misadventure with a true powerhouse performance. The live performance of the guys around Andy LaPlegua is still like a horror cartoon show from hell and songs like 'Blut Royale', 'Follow the Trail of Blood' or 'Get Your Body Beat' are the perfect soundtrack for that. Despite the rain (yeah, again!) the energy of the show translated well, causing a near riot in front of the stage and wild dancing everywhere else. A wild pandemonium, nothing for the faint-hearted and nothing for deadly serious who look for musical innovation or deeper meanings. But a wild pandemonium, after all! // Setlist: 1. Intruder Alert / 2. Like to Thank My Buddies / 3. Are You Connected / 4. Blut Royale / 5. Get Your Body Beat / 6. All Pain Is Gone / 7. Just Like Me / 8. Follow the Trail of Blood / 9. Throat Full of Glass / 10. They / 11. Never Surrender // Rating: 8 / 10 // http://www.combichrist.com / https://www.facebook.com/combichrist [Niggels]
Local matadors SECRET DISCOVERY had the honour to headline the Sunday evening at the tent stage. The band was founded already in 1989 by brothers Kai (vocals) and Falk Hoffmann (guitar) plus Michael Gusky (guitar) and Mattes Glathe (bass), releasing the first EP ‘Way to Salvation’ in the same year. Up to now, numerous releases followed and the band gained some kind of cult status. With their heavy rock show and a lot of good mood and great interaction with the audience, they were perfectly ending the program on the second stage with their “best-of” program. // Setlist: 1. Another life / 2. Execution Day / 3. Western World / 4. Just for Living / 5. Flower in the Dust / 6. Into the Void / 7. Evil Feeling / 8. Part of me / 9. Feel the Time / 10. Hello Goodbye / 11. When does it end? / 12. Colour my Life / 13. Mein kleiner Tod / 14. Love Kills / 15. I don’t care / 16. The same Way / Encore: 17. I turn to you // Rating: 8 / 10 // http://www.secretdiscovery.de / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Secret-Discovery/87679153511 [Dani]
IN EXTREMO was the band of choice to finish the 2012 edition of the Blackfield festival. This seven-headed band is one of those German music groups who combine Rock and Metal with medieval music and historical instruments such as bagpipes, harp, hurdy-gurdy and shawm. In fact IN EXTREMO are together with SUBWAY TO SALLY the most popular act of this genre, so the headline position is surely no surprise. But noticeably the headline position on the last day of a festival also has disadvantages as quite a few people already get ready for their trip back home during the very last gig. This is especially true when you got soaked and drenched by cold rain for most of the day! Anyway, IN EXTREMO still had a nice crowd to play to. And IN EXTREMO were eager to put on an assault on all senses with fire-spurting effects and explosives and an elaborate light show.
Thankfully, with beginning sundown a light show finally made sense, after all. IN EXTREMO performed songs from their latest album 'Sterneneisen' as well as old ones such as 'Nymphenzeit' or the traditional 'Herr Mannelig', and their gig raised the party level for the last time at this year's Blackfield festival. 'Mein rasend Herz' finished the main set but IN EXTREMO still weren’t done yet as they all got back on stage for a one-song encore with 'Der Erdbeermund'. // Setlist: 1. Intro / 2. Sterneneisen / 3. Frei zu sein / 4. Zigeunerskat / 5. Herr Mannelig / 6. Sängerkrieg / 7. Flaschenpost / 8. Unsichtbar / 9. Liam / 10. Zauberspruch No. 7 / 11. Viva la vida / 12. Siehst du das Licht / 13. Nymphenzeit / 14. Küss mich / 15. Vollmond / 16. Mein rasend Herz / Encore: 17. Erdbeermund // Rating: 7 / 10 // http://www.inextremo.de / https://www.facebook.com/officialinextremo [Niggels]
Links to the extended galleries
Impressions / Signing Sessions / Bands Day 1 / Bands Day 2
Written by Daniela “Dani” Vorndran and J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)