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impressionMarkthalle, Hamburg, Germany
12th to 13th July 2013
Nordstern Festival 2013 Day 1: Empire in Dust, Binary Park, In Good Faith, Patenbrigade:Wolff, Terrolokaust, Neuroticfish, FabrikC, Icon of Coil, Noisuf-X, In Strict Confidence, Winterkälte, Hocico

Hamburg is known for lots of musicians, the Reeperbahn, St. Pauli, its harbour… and of course the Nordstern Festival, taking place for the third time now. Also in 2013, neuWerk made it to organise a great in and outdoor festival. On 12th and 13th July, attendees were invited to the Markthalle on first, and to the open air stage at the Stadtpark on second day. All in all, 18 bands from Electro to Goth were awaiting the music lovers, coming from all over Germany, but of course mostly from the North.

Summer temperatures were awaiting us on both days, but the first day at Markthalle you could compare to a crowded sauna. 1,100 visitors were fighting their way through the sold-out location. On Friday evening at seven, the duo EMPIRE IN DUST was opening the festival in the small hall of Markthalle, the MarX club. The electro project, consisting of Alina H. and Manuel M., was supported on stage by an e-drummer and a bassist. The duo makes music since summer 2000. Wave sounds with pushing rhythms and vocals by Manuel or Alina welcomed the still small crowd. But already after the first song – during the show, the band presented ‘Always Blue’, ‘Cut’, ‘Retrospective’, ‘Libria’ and ‘Silent World’ – the audience came closer to stage. With the second show on the evening, the hopping from room to room started. In the big hall, the evening was opened by BINARY PARK. Normally consisting of three people – Huw Jones (voice, lyrics), Alfred Gregl (music) and Torben Schmidt (music) – the appearance at Nordstern was made only by Torben and Alfred.


Both musicians were standing behind a huge desk with lots of cables, notebooks and other technical equipment, presenting a pure electronic set without much further action on stage – the duo was standing behind the machines and only rarely were looking for audience contact. Sadly, there were also technical problems and so, the planned videos could not be shown. Anyway the light engineers tried his best to make the scenery more exciting and the audience danced to the really clubby songs. Before BINARY PARK ended, in the small hall IN GOOD FAITH started their also electronic set. The band was founded in 1998 by Mark Damke, Ulf Wartelsteiner and Mai Németh. Two years later, it all was already over, before the band started a new try in 2006 with own studio and new material. Musically, IN GOOD FAITH – now as duo – move between groovy Synth-Pop worlds with subtle Industrial references. The chant was quite surprising since from time to time you really though that Alexander Spreng (ASP) was standing on stage. Back in the big hall, a big construction area was awaiting you. Yellow warning signs and a troop of brigadiers on stage could only mean that it was time for PATENBRIGADE:WOLFF now.


Brigadier S. Wolff and brigade head Lance Murdock were preparing their construction side and then the show started with shining warning lights. While the apprentices were building a concrete wall or brought the beer, the duo behind the desk was spreading its musical message. As always, the show of PATENBRIGADE was a big spectacle. And the audience celebrated! Many electro bands could take this show as a good example when it comes to entertainment. When Antje Dieckmann, the inspector, entered the stage, it even went more exciting… and hotter. Her charming presence made not only the brigadiers sweat. At the end, there was of course the obligatory drinking from a drainpipe together with the first row and the common dancing and destroying of equipment. And as a good band, the brigade also cleaned up the stage after their show. Big fun! While at the MarX TERROLOKAUST was making the audience sweat, I was inspecting the offered merchandising, the local beer offerings and enjoyed some fresh air, what was definitely necessary. But just for the by far most exciting and entertaining show of the evening I was back – NEUROTICFISH was waiting!


The re-union of the band can be called, without any doubt, as THE come-back of the year. Sascha Mario Klein and Henning Verlage are making music again after years of silence. And their fans at Nordstern were thanking them (like during the show in Bochum or at Blackfield before) with huge applause. From the very beginning until the very end, there was a huge party in the hall. The mood within band and audience was highly charged and full of excitement, you could nearly grasp is with your hands. The same setlist like at Blackfield Festival - Former me, Bomb, Behaviour, Wake me up, Suffocating right, They’re coming to take me away, Music for a Paranormal Life, Illusion of Home (new), Velocity – made the hall boiling. Sascha was really excited and thanked anyone for the fantastic evening, having nearly tears in his eyes. Electronic pop touching your heart, fantastic! Half of the evening was over now and at the small hall, the Industrial-Techno project FABRIKC followed now, while the big stage belonged to Andy LaPlegua’s “old” project ICON OF COIL, being re-awakened after a time of silence. But what is really obvious now, the music of Andy’s project COMBICHRIST seems to have too much influence now onto the presence of ICON OF COIL.


Especially when it comes to the live performance, there is not much difference between those two projects anymore. But anyway the audience enjoyed the show a lot. At the MarX in the meantime, it was getting loud again with Jan L.’s project NOISUF-X, making the audience sweat when dancing along to such classics as ‚Hit me hard‘. Calmer it went on at the big stage with IN STRICT CONFIDENCE. The electro rock band was bewitching the audience also during their Nordstern appearance, just like they did short before at Blackfield Festival. The presented setlist was the same like during the show before, just the last two songs were changed: My Despair, Promised Land, Justice, Seven Lives, Set me Free, Morpheus, Silver Bullets, Engelsstaub, Zauberschloß. Singer Dennis Ostermann and female counterpart Nina de Lianin in their duets were telling stories about the promised land and magic castles – music to dance and sing along. During the last song, Haydee Sparks and Nina were wearing additional “wings” to perform a beautiful dance. Once more a really solid show.


Headliner slot of this evening was taken by the Mexican Dark Electro group HOCICO. But the audience very soon recognized that only 50% of the duo were present. Singer Erk Aicrag had to do the show without his cousin Rasco Agroyam. Instead, Grigory Feil, who was already playing with Erk in RABIA SORDA, was jumping in at the keyboards. Erk himself was running across the stage in his well-known speed and turning the Markthalle in his personal mad house. But even though the mood was good and the audience loud, in my opinion it did not reach the level as during the NEUROTICFISH show. While HOCICO were ending the evening on the big stage, last band at MarX was WINTERKÄLTE. The Drum’n’Noise project was making the small club dance from first to last place. Rhythmic hypnotic noise was taking care for trembling tummies. Wet through with perspiration and eshausted by seven hours Nordstern we returned to our overnight accommodation to get some sleep and prepare for the next day.


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

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