22nd February 2014
E-Tropolis Festival 2014: Die Krupps, Suicide Commando, Apoptygma Berzerk, Rotersand, Hocico, Pouppée Fabrikk, Agonoize, Dive, Aesthetic Perfection, Tyske Ludder, Faderhead, Xotox, [X]-RX, Steinkind, Chrom
“Darker - harder – louder” was the slogan of the festival that started successfully in 2010 in Berlin. This year it took place for the first time in Oberhausen with a great line- up so that I would like to add as slogan “No fillers - just killers”.
On two stages the concerts were performed, the main stage and the second one in the smaller hall. Fifteen bands/ projects - some real old- stagers - appeared to present a great variety of the Electronic music scene and 4,000 people came to see them and party at the after-show party. For me it was a chance to discover some bands I was not familiar with their music. So you hopefully apologize for not being able to list the songs that some bands played.
Opener of this festival on the main stage was the German duo CHROM. There was already a good crowd in the venue but during the show it filled quickly. With a nice and danceable Synth-Pop sound with English lyrics, they gave the audience already a good warm up and thus you could see a lot of people dancing, moving to the music and clapping their hands when invited by the singer to do so. As CHROM could convince with their show they got a big applause when the guys left the stage. // http://www.chrom-music.com / https://www.facebook.com/pages/CHROM/106585156057408 // Rating: 7 / 10
Another German duo, but this time with songs in German, made their way on the second stage to entertain the people. Now the music got a bit harder with Electro-Punk. The hall was not completely filled but this was good for all the fans, as they had some more space to dance and pogo. Although I am not familiar with the music of this band, I recognised some songs as they were played frequently on the dance floors. // Setlist: 1. Gottkomplex / 2. Kindgott / 3. Trink mich / 4. Deutschland brennt / 5. Arsch rein / 6. Hallo und schönen Tag / 7. Es wird Zeit // http://www.steinkind.de/index2.php / https://www.facebook.com/steinkind // Rating: 6 / 10
When the guys entered the stage they were greeted loudly by the audience. The German duo did their best to entertain the crowd with their Hardstyle sound and by addressing to them frequently and asking the people to party with them. And of course most of the people liked to move to the hammering beats. Personally I could not really get into their show. Hearing one song on the dance floor in the discotheque is nice but a complete concert is not really diverting. // Setlist (incomplete): Kein Herz / Tanz Schlampe / Hard Bass Hard Soundz // https://www.facebook.com/XRxmusic // Rating: 6 / 10
XOTOX is another German project founded by Andreas Davids who calls his music “Industrial for hyperactive people”. Their music consists of techno beats, underlined with some catchy melodies and short samples. Additionally they had video projections to create the right atmosphere. While the crowd in the venue obviously enjoyed the sound, I didn’t stay long as trying to get something took me longer than expected. // https://www.facebook.com/xotoxmusic // Rating: 6 / 10
The main hall was packed when the German project FADERHEAD came to give the audience a good party time and still more and more people entered the venue so that it was not much space for everyone. With the sound of Aggrotech / Electro Pop mastermind Sami got the crowd going immediately. He presented us a good mixture of songs from his older albums as well from the new one that has been released just two weeks ago as we learnt on that evening. // Setlist: 1. When the freaks come out / 2. Destroy Improve Rebuild / 3. Dancers / 4. Stand up / 5. Join us / 6. Champagne and real Pain / 7. Fistful of fuck you / 8. Take your Meds / 9. Tanz zwo drei vier // http://faderhead.com / https://www.facebook.com/faderhead // Rating: 8 / 10
By seeing two drum sets, an electric one and a normal drum kit, it was quite clear that powerful and driving beats will be a dominant part of the sound of TYSKE LUDDER. And of course we were presented a very energetic show by the German Electro band. And besides the usual lights they used some laser lights as special effect for their light show which underlined the music very well. I’m not familiar with the songs of the band but as the singer stated ‘Back to the roots’, they apparently played a lot of older stuff. Every now and then one of the drummers by turns came in front of the stage and invited the people to dance and clap their hands. The audience had a good time and thus there was a lot of dancing and pogoing. // http://www.tyske-ludder.com / https://www.facebook.com/tyskeludder // Rating: 8 / 10
The concert started with an intro before it turned to ‘Antibody’ and Daniel Graves and his live band appeared on stage. In his tried and tested way with theatrical gestures and diabolical smiles Daniel entertained the audience, as well as with a good mixture of energetic songs from his albums. The light show was a bit disappointing for my taste as it was too dark. But in the end you weren’t distracted by other effects and focused more on Daniel’s performance. The audience definitely enjoyed the performance. // Setlist: 1. Intro / 2. Antibody / 3. Inhuman / 4. The Siren / 5. Big bad Wolf / 6. The great Depression / 7. Spit it out // http://www.aesthetic-perfection.net / https://www.facebook.com/aestheticperfection // Rating: 8 / 10
DIVE is an Industrial Music project of the Belgian musician DIRK IVENS, also known from his projects ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL, THE KLINIK and SONAR. His trademark is the experimental sound of abused drum machines pulsating through crackling distortion on almost every song. Which sounds quite technically was presented very intensely at his performance. The bass sound was partly so extreme that you could feel it vibrating in every cell of your body. This sensation was underlined by fast flickering lights mainly in cold colours like white, a pale yellow and blue. The audience enjoyed definitely the music full of hammering beats and thus they gave big applause after each song. // Setlist: 1. Snakedressed / 2. Sidewalk / 3. Sinner / 4. This is me / 5. Bloodmoney / 6.Power of passion / 7. Waiting and burning / 8. Machinegun Baby / 9. Pain and Pleasure / 10. Back to Nature / Encore: 11. There’s no hope / 12. Blindness // http://www.dirkivens.com / https://www.facebook.com/TheKlinikDiveSonarAbsoluteBodyControl // Rating: 8 / 10
Besides the provoking - mainly - German lyrics and danceable Electro/ Aggrotech sounds, the band is known for their extreme performance with spraying artificial blood or semen. So you should think twice if you like to stand in the first rows at their concerts. But their energetic songs and shows invites definitely lots of people to party hard and thus it is no wonder that the venue was crowded. Of course we didn’t have to miss ‘Glaubenskrieger’. After the concert you could see who of the fans was standing in front of the stage. // Setlist: 1. A King Returns / 2. I Am / 3. I Against Me / 4. Staatsfeind / 5. Opus Dei / 6. Bis das Blut gefriert / 7. Vollrauschfetischist / 8. Kind der Nacht / 9. Glaubenskrieger / 10. Femme Fatale / 11. Schaufensterpuppenarsch / 12. Paradox / 13. Pornomagcenterfold / 14. Koprolalie // http://www.agonoize.de / https://www.facebook.com/pages/AGONOIZE/275733936009 // Rating: 7 / 10
The next EBM/ Industrial Metal band that thrilled the audience of the packed hall came from Sweden. Actually I got the information that the band consists of four members but on this evening it was a duo. The driving beats animated the crowds to dance and pogo. The singer performed very enthusiastically and sometimes he even joined the crowds. To me the music was new but I definitely enjoyed the concert very much, too. // https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pouppée-Fabrikk/100329766260 // Rating: 8 / 10
With a female opera like vocals the show started quite theatrically before hammering sounds set in and people started immediately to dance and move. Although the venue was already packed, still more and more people entered the hall to see the show of the Mexican band. With their fiery temper they got hold of the audience. The music of the duo with catchy melodies and driving beats definitely invites to move your feet and so did the audience. // Setlist: 1. Entra en el Fuego / 2. Tales From the Third World / 3. T.O.S. of Reality / 4. It doesn't exist / 5. Forgotten Tears / 6. Bite Me! / 7. Bloodshed / 8. Dead Trust / 9. Dog Eat Dog / 10. Polarity / 11. Tiempos de Furia / 12. Poltergeist // http://www.hocico.com / https://www.facebook.com/hocicoofficial // Rating: 8 / 10
ROTERSAND is not only a famous lighthouse at the North Sea but also a well- known German Future Pop band. Due to some health problems the band had to cancel some concerts in 2013. Even greater was the pleasure now to see them perform again. Actually they were a band of three but now it is the singer Rascal Nikov and Krishan J. E. Wesenberg. With a classical intro the show started before it turned to ‘Merging oceans’ and the party started. The audience shouted of joy when they were greeted by the singer. Amongst other songs they played ‘Waiting to be born’ and ‘I cry’. Every now and then Rascal asked the crowd if they really like to be here which was answered by them with loud cheers. For me it was definitely a good concert. // http://rotersand.net / https://www.facebook.com/rotersand // Rating: 8 / 10
One of the headliners of this festival was APOPTYGMA BERZERK and truly deserved as mastermind Stephan L. Groth and his band know how to rock the place. Starting quite rocking with electric guitar they then continued with more Synth- Rock/ Pop sound and allured the crowds to dance from the first song on. They performed mainly older songs that really work well for live shows, but they performed ‘Major Tom’ as well. In the eighties it was a German hit single of PETER SCHILLING. APOPTYGMA BERZERK translated the lyrics in English. While Stephan L. Groth sang the refrain only in English at the M’era Luna last year, he was now clever enough to sing it with the audience in German this time. // Setlist: 1. Unicorn / 2. Starsign / 3. Non-Stop Violence / 4. Something I should know / 5. Eclipse / 6. Love never dies / 7. Kathy's Song / 8. Major Tom / 9. Until the end of the world / 10. Burning Heretics / 11. Shadow / 12. Paranoia // http://www.theapboffice.com / https://www.facebook.com/ApoptygmaBerzerk // Rating: 8 / 10
Another highlight for me was to see the Belgian project SUICIDE COMMANDO live again. With video projections and the support of a live drummer (Mario Vaerewijck) and keyboarder (Torben Schmidt), mastermind JOHAN VAN ROY presented us an energetic show of Electro / Industrial sound. The mood of the crowd was excellent and thus you could see most of them dancing. Unfortunately there were some technical issues and for a short moment you could hear nothing, but this was fixed very quickly and after JOHAN apologized for the inconvenience the show went on and all were happy. // Setlist (incomplete): Severed Head / God is in the rain / Cause of death / Dein Herz, meine Gier / Massaker / Love breeds suicide // http://www.suicidecommando.be / https://www.facebook.com/IIXIII // Rating: 8 / 10
Perfectly fitting to the industrial scenery of the venue and the Ruhr area, the final act of this festival was no less a band than DIE KRUPPS. With a career of more than 30 years they are for sure some old stagers but they still rock with their music of Post Industrial / EBM / Industrial Metal sound and songs in English as well as in German. Though some people went home already and thus the main hall was not packed anymore, a great crowd was still enthusiastically partying with the band. The band presented us a good mixture of songs, performing in the well- known manner of steel, sweat and industry. // Setlist: 1. Ein Blick zurück im Zorn / 2.The Dawning of Doom / 3. Risikofaktor / 4. Im falschen Land / 5. Essenbeck / 6. Der Amboss (Visage cover) / 7. The Machinist of Joy / 8. Part of the Machine / 9. Industrie-Mädchen / 10. Schmutzfabrik / 11. Robo Sapien / 12. Metal Machine Music / 13. To the Hilt / 14. Nazis Auf Speed / 15. Fatherland / Encore: 16. Machineries of Joy / (17. Crossfire) // http://www.diekrupps.de / https://www.facebook.com/diekruppsofficial // Rating: 8 / 10
The premiere of the E-Tropolis Festival in the location Turbinenhalle in Oberhausen was for sure a great success. The former machine halls fit perfectly to this kind of music. Most parts of the venues were accessible for handicapped people. The after show party with five different DJs has been a success as well, as I was informed. Only the gastronomic service was not organized well so that the waiting just took too long and the quality of the alternative food was awful. Hopefully next year it will be better.
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.black-cat-net.de / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)