20th to 22nd June 2013
Blackfield Festival Day 2: Terrolokaust, Orange Sector, Slave Republic, Torul, The Other, Diorama, The Beauty Of Gemina, Diary Of Dreams, Front Line Assembly, VNV Nation
The second day started with mixed weather: sun, cloudy, a bit rain, sun, a bit rain and then sun. Anyway the temperature was comfortable, not too hot or cold and thus actually perfect for a festival. We were presented some great acts on this day, too. Many bands animated the audience to move their feet. But of course this year again you could watch with some bewilderment those people who already failed last year to dance to the rhythm. They are still searching desperately for it, or they just hear a completely different rhythm than the rest of us. And I better not start with the mortal sins of the style of dresses.
The Industrial- Electro duo Javi Ssagittar (vocals, lyrics) and Indio (synths & programming) from Barcelona, Spain, was founded in 2006 and quickly gained a big fan- base in their home country. But with touring with bands like GRENDEL, NACHTMAHR, COMBICHRIST, AESTHETIC PERFECTION and FADERHEAD helped them to receive more attention and recognition in the rest of Europe. Their current album ‘Spit the poison out’ entered the DAC (German Alternative Charts). For their live shows they have Aury on guitar with them. On the second day of the festival the band had the thankless task to be opener of the day and to wake the people up and though not many people showed up yet, they did a pretty good job. Besides some danceable Industrial songs, a slower song was performed where Javi impressed with good vocal qualities. Close to the end they performed a KORN cover of ‘Falling away from me’. // https://www.facebook.com/Terrolokaust // Rating: 7 / 10
Orange Sector [M]
It’s not hard to find out where this German EBM band got its inspiration from. Founded in 1993, disbanded in 1995 and reunited in 2005, they released 10 studio albums. Their music reminds you very much of DAF, NITZER EBB, FRONT 242 and the like. The lyrics of their songs are in German as well as in English language. On this morning they could not really convince the audience. Some of the people who were standing in front of the stage left the place. At least close to the end the number of the audience increased again as some came back to dance to their music. // http://www.orange-sector.de / https://www.facebook.com/OrangeSector // Rating: 6 /
Slave Republic [SK]
The two members of Slave Republic with DANIEL MYER (HAUJOBB, ARCHITECT) as special guest musician on the keyboard and electro- drums, are clearly here to enjoy themselves. Their music is like the weather today, however, cloudy and overcast at times with glimpses of sunshine. The main problem seems to be the singing, which sounds weirdly off key yet somehow true to itself, leaving their songs difficult to latch onto at times. You'd certainly struggle to sing along. Other than that, theirs is an energetic and spirited performance, the relentless driving beats and synth-heavy songs managing to sound both pretty and icy at the same time. The wide stage defeats them somewhat, as it feels like three individuals trying to pull together to create a whole, but the physical distances between them are simply too great. This is music designed for smaller spaces. On their slower songs, SLAVE REPUBLIC come into their own though, a patient building of atmosphere and far more focused singing showing when not trying to bang the hell out of their instruments they have a good grasp, or at least a potential one, of light and dark. And full marks for trying. // http://www.slave-republic.com / https://www.facebook.com/SlaveRepublic.Official // Rating: 7 / 10
Slovenia is surely not famous for being a country with some extraordinary Synth-Pop bands. And thus TORUL is surely an exceptional phenomenon. Eponym and founder of this band is Torul Torulsson who was already busy in the club scene with several releases, before he formed with Borut Dolenec (guitar, keyboard) and Jan Jenko (vocals) the band. Their first album ‘Dark matters’ was launched in 2010. In 2013 they were supporting act for the British Synth- Pop band MESH on their Europe tour and won some more new fans. Quite typical is their fat bass sound and the great vocal quality of Jan. Apparently not only I was pleased to see TORUL at this festival as a lot of people immediately started to dance when the band started to play. It’s a pity that their show was so early and still a lot of people were at home or in their tents. Anyway, those people who made it to the venue at this time of day enjoyed the show. // http://www.torul-recordings.net / https://www.facebook.com/torul // Setlist: 1. The sun / 2. Lonely N / 3. The Fall / 4. Waterproof theme / 5. Show me your city / 6. Try / 7. In whole / 8. Still here / 9. Wake up // Rating: 8 / 10
The Other [SK]
Germany's premier horror-punk outfit THE OTHER started as a MISFITS cover band, and they still sound somewhat in awe of them. Despite their ghoulish appearance and love of all things macabre, the expectation exceeds the result once they take to the stage. Admittedly an early afternoon festival slot in the now total sunshine is not ideal for such creatures of the night, but actually they are simply too ordinary to really ignite things. The crowd do join in, and the more “Yeahs” and “Whoas” a song contains the more lively the response, but there is a slight emptiness to their pogo-power-pop-punk that's been done before, and better, by others. The zaniness feels forced, but then the relentless bounding around and total self believe does give them some endearing qualities. But it felt too much, at times, like watching a cover band doing their best to ape THE OFFSPRING, GREEN DAY and dare one say, THE MISFITS. Still, the best fun with fake blood on offer today. // http://www.theother.de / https://www.facebook.com/theotherhorrorpunk // Rating: 6 / 10
Being founded in 1996 by Torben Wendt, the German Electro-Pop band belongs to the old stager. Not only produced Adrian Hates (DIARY OF DREAMS) their first album but DIORAMA had the chance to be supporting act on their tours all over Europe. They toured as well with VNV NATION. On their own headliner tours they performed besides Europe, in Russia and even in the Belarus. Until now they have released nine albums, including a re-release and three EPs. Opening song of their show was ‘Erase me’ which was surely a good idea, as this is one of the songs that is well known from the dance floors of the gothic clubs. Meanwhile the venue was filled up to 3/4. Lots of people could be seen dancing and enjoying the music. Quite remarkable was that now more young people joined the dancing crowd in front of the stage. To my pleasure they played ‘Synthesize me’, too. Altogether it was a nice show which was enjoyed by the people. // http://www.diorama-music.com / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Diorama/20921056622 // Rating: 8.5 / 10
The Beauty of Gemina [M]
Surely you don’t expect that cool and interesting bands are coming from Switzerland. And if you see a front man with extremely blond hair wearing dark shades, you rather think of a doppelganger of HEINO (a famous German Schlager/ folk musician) and not of some interesting Synth- Rock/ Dark Wave/ Alternative Rock band. Founded in 2006 by the multi-instrumentalist Michael Sele, the band soon draw the attention within the Gothic scene and their song ‘Suicide landscape’ was N° 1 at the World Gothic Charts. They were supporting act for THE SMASHING PUMKINS, DAF, ASP, RAMMSTEIN, HURTS and UNHEILIG and also appeared on big festivals like the Wave-Gotik-Treffen and the M’era Luna. While their sound reminds you a bit of THE SISTERS OF MERCY but with more lightness with the help of Synth-Pop elements, the composition of the songs are quite unusual for not having the classical structure of stanza and refrain.
While at the beginning the audience listened more attentively to the songs, they started to move more and more at the second half of the show, especially at one song that was almost VNV NATION- like. // http://www.thebeautyofgemina.com / https://www.facebook.com/TheBeautyOfGemina // Setlist: 1. Intro- Run run run / 2. All those days / 3. This time / 4. Last night home / 5. The Lonesome Death Of A Goth DJ / 6. Dark Rain / 7. Mariannah / 8. Rumours / 9. Seven-day Wonder/ 10. One Million Stars // Rating: 7 / 10
Diary of Dreams [M]
Starting as a Dark Wave band, DIARY OF DREAMS developed their style more to Electro-/ Synth- Pop/ Rock. In 1989 founded by front man and singer Adrian Hates, the band gathered with the release of their debut album in 1994 a continuously growing fan base. Nowadays the Gothic/ Independent scene is unthinkable without this German band. Until now DIARY OF DREAMS released 20 albums including 2 EPs, a live, a best of and a re-release album. The lyrics are alternately in German and English language. Due to health problems of the mastermind of SUICIDE COMMANDO, the band stood in for Johan van Roy at short notice. Even if you were disappointed not to see SUICIDE COMMANDO, the organiser of the festival couldn’t find a better replacement for sure. And so it is no wonder that the band was greeted cheerfully by the audience. Before the guys rocked the place Adrian insisted on sending recovery wishes to Johan.
Being old stagers and provided with lots of great songs the band knows how to entertain the people and get the crowd going. Thus I’m sure no one was disappointed at the end of the concert. // http://www.diaryofdreams.de / https://www.facebook.com/officialdiaryofdreams // Setlist: 1. Malum / 2. Kindrom / 3. O’ Brother Sleep / 4. A Dark Embrace / 5. Haus der Stille / 6. Daemon / 7. StummKult / 8. King Of Nowhere / 9. Dogs Of War / 10. Lebenslang / 11. Undividable // Rating: 9 / 10
Front Line Assembly [M]
After leaving SKINNY PUPPY, Bill Leeb founded the Canadian project FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY in 1986. Naming bands like DAF, PORTION CONTROL, SPK and LIAISONS DANGEREUSES as inspiration their own sound ranges from EBM, Post Industrial, Electro-/ Industrial Metal to Drum and Base Electronica. Being very productive they released 17 studio albums, 10 compilation/ live albums and 22 singles/ EPs. Besides mastermind Bill Leeb (vocals, synthesizer, programming), Jeremy Inkel (synthesizer, programming), Jared Slingerland (guitar) and Jason Basinet (drums) complete the band. It is always nice to see bands of the EBM genre performing with a real drum set instead of using the drum machine from the synthesizer or electronic drums, as it gives the performance much more energetic touch. And this powerful energy was brought forward to the audience in front of the stage who danced or pogoed.
Unfortunately this energy didn’t reach many people on the seats of the amphitheatre as lots of them seemed to be quite unimpressed. Personally I found them quite good and I liked the extra energy and power of one song, where besides the drummer at his drum set, all other members were playing on big drums. // http://www.mindphaser.com / https://www.facebook.com/frontlineassembly // Rating: 7 / 10
VNV Nation [SK]
If ever a band had been created to headline summer festivals as the light starts to fade and balmy evening turns into night, then VNV NATION would be that band. That they seem to headline every festival across Europe these days is a double edged sword however, showing their pulling power and popularity, but displaying a lack of adventure and variety on the part of the promoters. But you can’t blame VNV NATION for that, as turning up and putting on a real show is what they do so well. And tonight at Blackfield Festival was no exception. Opening with ‘Retaliate’ from recent album ‘Transnational’ is a shrewd move. It has the classic VNV sound, but makes it clear newer material is not going to be passed over in favour of the oldies. And the crowd waste no time getting straight into the set, with fist pumping, singing and every type of dancing yet invented on display. ‘Sentinel’ and then ‘Chrome’ increase the feverish response, no time to pause here, Ronan strutting and bounding across the stage like a man possessed, his singing punctuated with enthusiastic “Yeahs”, safe in the knowledge every time he does this the crowd will respond. He’s an excellent show man. Change of pace arrives with the gorgeous ‘Illusion’, the familiar piano intro getting a huge roar. The delicate and vulnerable singing, as the sky turns dusky, makes this a joyously shivery moment in the set, many people simply swaying with their eyes closed, others quietly singing along. It’s a very special song, and absolutely made to be performed outdoors under a vast sky.
As the rest of the set unfolds it becomes clear just how many memorable and uplifting anthems VNV NATION have as they trawl their albums for gems and inspirational moments. There’s the weary melancholy of ‘Legion’, the pure driving pop of ‘Farthest Star’ and the fury of ‘Control’, a song even more irresistible when blasted out live. A good time to exit then, and the crowd are desperate for more. They return with the space opera ‘Nova’, all futuristic wonder and starry eyed emotion, and it’s a beautiful moment. Which just leaves ‘Perpetual’ to end a stunningly good set. They may be everywhere right now, but VNV NATION have earned that honour, and they never fail to deliver a performance of the highest quality. Tonight was one such performance. Sublime! // http://www.anachronsounds.de / https://www.facebook.com/VNVNation // Setlist: 1.Retaliate / 2. Sentinel / 3. Chrome / 4. Space & Time / 5. Primary / 6. Illusion / 7. Everything / 8. In Defiance / 9. Fearless / 10. Legion live / 11. Homeward / 12. Honour 2003 / 13. Farthest star / 14. Resolution / 15. Control / Encore: 16. Nova / 17. Perpetual // Rating: 10 / 10
All Pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)
Written by morTICIA [M] and Stephen Kennedy [SK]