Amphitheater, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
28th to 30th June 2013
Blackfield Festival 2013 Day 1: Full Contact69, Coppelius, Spetsnaz, In Strict Confidence, Deathstars, Blutengel
I am a person capable of being late to a festival in my own city. Gelsenkirchen indeed is a city. Not a village. Neither it is part of a Landkreis. This is important, as you will most certainly figure out later. More than that, Gelsenkirchen features one of the best open air locations available in Germany: The Amphitheater at Nordsternpark. Being suitable for about 5,000 people the theatre offers excellent sound and a great view of both the performers and the ships passing by behind the stage. In case people aren't completely freaked out by the mutant Hercules Statue in the park, there is a tendency to have an amazing weekend at Blackfield Festival.
The reason for me being late is complex. Basically it's about my bed. I bought it used, third hand, from a guy that bought it from the production team of a TERMINAL CHOICE video. I have reason to believe that I am shagging girls on a bed Chris Pohl once sat on. Then it's about my immortal love for a Los Angeles based arts teacher. I was making (likely sexually motivated) plans to impress her with live pictures from the BLUTENGEL front row. I was lost in my imagination, needed to change my underwear twice and was still in the shower when my British and Russian festival crew members arrived. After a brief discussion of international politics, the rain, the bad weather, how the weather would affect our festival experience and other important things we were on bus line 383 to the festival grounds.
We missed FULL CONTACT69 and COPPELIUS. I sincerely hoped that FULL CONTACT69 didn't need to buy their opening slot on eBay, as no one could give me any sort of qualified Information about their gig. "Yes there was some other band before COPPELIUS playing, but I have no idea who" summarizes my attempt to figure out what happened when Blackfield 2013 opened. Knowing how amazingly hard it is, especially for a not yet well known project, to open for an event like this, I'd at least like to point to the projects Bandcamp page, so you may at least get an idea about their sound. If you like stuff such as FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY this might be for you. // http://fullcontact69.bandcamp.com/album/man-machine / https://www.facebook.com/fullcontact69 // Setlist: 1. No First us Policy / 2. Out of Control / 3. Man Machine / 4. Under the false Flag / 5. Noting grows in Shade
We also missed COPPELIUS, which is a shame. I watched their show twice and even though their concept of Kammer-Metal (Chamber-Metal) is pretty alien to me, I always enjoyed them for their indisputable musical talent, their uniqueness and their butler Bastille. Past shows where packed with a beautiful and clever humour, the dead body of German romanticism and metal. Even drunk people I asked about that show I missed at least remembered the Butler, so I assume the show was somewhat comparable. I do not really understand the band's artistic scope and audience, but I am happy for Blackfield finding a spot for this weird project. // https://www.facebook.com/CoppeliusHilft / http://www.coppelius.eu // Setlist: 1. Ouvertüre / 2. Bitten Danken Petitieren / 3. Welt im Wahn / 4. Locked Out / 5. Reichtum / 6. Risiko / 7. Ade Mein Lieb
was the first show on this rainy Friday I actually saw. I noticed the front row to be free from half naked Swedes. Being slightly disappointed about that I spent some time contemplating about the bands setup. Pontus Stålberg and Stefan Nilsson cover two functions: 1. Start the backing track and beat the living shit out of two electronic drums. 2. Run across the stage, delivering the best vocals EBM has to offer when Douglas McCarthy isn't present. That's all cool. Problem is, that the timing on these drums is about as tight as catholic altar boys, so it was hard to understand why he was actually going through the hassle, when he could just have started the backing and have a beer. Perhaps the unknown drummer with the two drum-pads is some sort of EBM archetype that is required in a band to be sufficiently old school. SPETSNAZ played a rock solid set. All the hits, including ‘Apathy’. Despite the sort of minimalistic show the audience seemed to get the spirit and didn't seem to be too apathetic. // https://www.facebook.com/pages/SPETSNAZ/23395943282 // Setlist: 1. Ignorance is Bliss / 2. Allegiance / 3. Apathy / 4. Free Fall / 5. Fake! / 6. Grand Design / 7. Dead Man’s Eyes / 8. Who Made you God? / 9. Degenerate Ones / 10. Onwards / 11. Mine
The dildo intermission
While watching the show, rumours about a booth selling wooden dildos on Blackfield spread via Twitter. The statement of "If there is one place I wouldn't like to stick a piece of wood it's this." seemed to carry some truth. So I decided to investigate. Dominik from WaldMichlsHoldi answered all of my questions. Yes, these are guaranteed to be splinter free, all handmade from domestic spruce. The coating is easy to clean and so forth. His girlfriend's father invented these and the whole of the company is run by family members. All happening in Odenwald. And yes, some of the villagers freaked out when they started to engineer sex toys. I love Germany.
In Strict Confidence
was way more decorative than SPETSNAZ, especially guitar-girl Haydee Sparks on the left. I think these spiky bras are a little bit last year, but it seemed to be truly fitting the given context. Sparks. Spikes. You get it. Singer Ostermann did what he does best and puked his trademark voice into the excited audience. His overall performance was good, his appearance and aura was charismatic and powerful. Singer Nina de Lianin fought with some monitoring issues in the first few verses she performed, but quickly found to her Sandra Cretu like voice I fell in love with. IN STRICT CONFIDENCE performed as advertised: A bunch of scene hits, the hint of dark wave romanticism, pretty good vocal performance and pretty girls. Well, Ostermann himself doesn't look too bad either. The weird "OMG they suddenly have these wing like shiny things and do the Bundesadler dance!" performance at the end of the set felt like it was somewhat over the top, but at least it prepared the audience to see the same stuff all over again at BLUTENGEL.
De Lianin addressing the audience with "Ihr seid meine schwarzen Sonnen" at the farewell was sort of wrong and yet adorable. At least it felt more likely that she was talking about the weather and about her love for her audience than it is likely for the WGT organizer talking about music when putting Wagner on their festival Ticket. // https://www.facebook.com/instrictconfidence / http://www.instrictconfidence.com/ // Setlist: 1. My Despair / 2. Promised Land / 3. Justice / 4. Seven Lives / 5. Set me Free / 6. Morpheus / 7. Silver Bullets / 8. Zauberschloß / 9. Engelsstaub
The Bundesadler intermission
The new [:SITD:] shirts sold extremely well, likely because they looked like iron sky merch. Except for one found a band logo where a swastika was to be expected. Achim Schönen, Munich's master promoter commented verbosely on the subject. I told him, that Hipster-Hitler-Stuff sells and that I'd do Nazi music now. For a short moment I thought about asking Nina De Lianin for a guest appearance and then advertise her to be the Eva Braun of Darkwave. But just for a second. Not only because it would get me killed, but also because it's too wrong to be right. It felt sexy though.
were amazing! The singers announcement and statements in-between songs where fabulous. Talking about spreading the audiences muscular legs and asking them whether they are ready to lick their partner was finally something less family friendly. The show was a powerful display of Swedish horror rock and bad hair dresses. If it wasn't for the lack of hairspray, singer’s Whiplasher Bernadotte (Lucifer, what a name!) head was very 1984, yet in an absolutely adorable way. The band, well known for their modesty, played all their greatest hits on earth, or at least most of them. The show, mostly dealing with glitter and death was fun to watch and perhaps the most down to earth contribution at the first festival day. You can't really go wrong with a rock show, when the bright daylight makes the usage of all the fancy lights rather difficult. However at sunset the time appeared to be right for a bit of BLUTENGEL… // https://www.facebook.com/deathstars / http://www.deathstars.net/ // Setlist: 1. Blitzkrieg / 2. Semi-Automatic / 3. Blood Stains Blondes / 4. New Dead Nation / 5. Motherzone / 6. Cyanide / 7. Chertograd / 8. Trinity Fields / 9. The Mark of the Gun / 10. Revolution Exodus / 11. Tongues / 12. Metal / 13. Death Dies Hard
My feelings towards this band are ambiguous. On the one hand I feel like BLUTENGEL shows are musical pieces for Twilight fans and spotty Goth teens, which is all sorts of wrong, on the other I feel like BLUTENGEL shows are musical pieces for Twilight fans and spotty Goth teens, which is all sorts of right. When I revert my heart to a time when I believed in everything I read in PROJECT PITCHFORK lyrics, I still do not understand BLUTENGEL, but I somewhat feel like I should be in the front row celebrating all the glorious nonsense. So I did. A giant throne in the middle of the stage. A drummer that is trying hard to look like Joe Letz. Candles. Chris Pohl standing in a stiff pose behind next to a music stand. A violinist and an cellist, so elaborately hidden behind a veil of smoke and dancing girls, that I felt like winning a treasure hunt when I spotted them. Torches. Girls dancing with torches. On a giant throne. Other random thing to set aflame, none of them dangerous.
Without a doubt this isn't a rock show. The sheer amount of props give the whole scene something theatrical. A little bit of musical and a large chunk of vaudeville show presented by a vampire. I could say the BLUTENGEL show is detached from the world, but then again, it seems like BLUTENGEL fans go wherever that is. And close to the end of the show, I felt like my mind could comprehend and follow the mind of that guy with the Russian gas mask that stood in front of me. The beer I stole helped. Unfortunately Chris Pohl broke the spell himself by asking whether Gelsenkirchen is a real City or rather a village or part of a Landkreis. Chris Pohl. If you are reading this, through your contact lenses: Gelsenkirchen is a city of 250,000+ people. Once the city of a thousand fires. Dammit, this should be a fucking song title for your band! You ruined the show for me even though it was the first BLUTENGEL show I managed to enjoy. What is wrong with you? Couldn't you just talk about black tears or something? Or even black suns, if you really must?
Over your statement I missed out on hitting up your fans by telling them stories about my amazing bed. Also I missed out to send pictures of the shows finale to my love forever lost in L.A.. Tonight, when I violently masturbate on my TERMINAL CHOICE bed, I will think of you. Chris Pohl. I swear, I will think of you. // https://www.facebook.com/BlutengelOfficial / http://www.blutengel.de
This concludes day one.
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran except the "dildo" pic by Jörg Lütkemeier (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)