28th November 2014
Pluswelt Festival 2014 Day 2 with Substaat, Blitzmaschine, Republica, De/Vision, Mesh & Apoptygma Berzerk
The second day of the festival had some surprises on hand both for audience and the bands. While the day before the music was more something for the Industrial/ Synth Rock lover, on this evening the sound was mainly melodic and somehow poppy. The event on this day was sold out. This was sensible in fact as the temperature rose quickly and the air condition was not good in fact. Nevertheless everybody enjoyed a fantastic time. And as many of the musicians were amongst the audience or could be met at the bar so that there was always the chance to have a little chat, it felt all very familiar.
The second day was opened by the Norwegian Electro band SUBSTAAT. Founded in 2008 they gathered lots of live experiences at several festivals in Europe, was supporting act for bands like COMBICHRIST, ICON OF COIL, DE/VISION and MESH. In 2011 they released their first self-titled album. The second one was just released this year. When they started to perform the venue was not completely filled but the audience enjoyed their music that reminded me a bit of a mixture between DEPECHE MODE and DE/VISION as each song was rewarded with applause and cheering. // http://substaat.bandcamp.com / https://www.facebook.com/substaat // Rating: 7.5 / 10
The duo from Hamburg was the next to entertain the crowd. Since 2009 they create powerful and energetic music definitely made for the dance floor, surely inspired by the music of DIE KRUPPS, DAF, FRONT 242 and NITZER EBB. Until now they have launched two albums. Their songs are in German and in English language. For their live performance they had a drummer on board which gave the whole performance more drive and energy for sure. With their powerful songs they heated up a great part of the audience successfully while the others seemed to take it more slow in order to keep their energy for the main acts. // http://www.blitzmaschine.com / https://www.facebook.com/BLITZMASCHINE // Setlist: 1. Burnout / 2. Gotcha / 3. Liebe auf den ersten Blick (DAF-Cover) / 4. Uncontrollable / 5. Useless Pain / 6. Blondes Mädchen / 7. Soviel mehr // Rating: 7.5 / 10
Actually this British band is an old stager, starting 20 years ago with their Synth Rock / Alternative Rock music. Their first self-titled album, released in 1996 with several hit singles, was critically acclaimed. Unfortunately the following albums didn’t get so much attention and it has become a bit silent around Saffron Sprackling and her guys. But especially since last year they started touring more again, mainly in the UK. Like a ball of energy Saffron entered the stage and started the party. Her vivid and charismatic performance was irresistible and soon she had the audience on her side. It was a great pleasure to watch the show and hopefully REPUBLICA will tour more often now in Germany. But the pleasure was not only on our side. When the band finished she thanked the audience and apparently she was very happy to have been invited by Jan Winterfeld to be part of the big anniversary celebration of Pluswelt Promotion. // http://www.republicamusic.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/officialrepublica // Setlist: 1. Russians / 2. Out of the darkness / 3. Drop dead gorgeous / 4. Try everything / 5. German accent / 6. Hallelujah / 7. Christiana obey / 8. Ready to go / 9. Holly // Rating: 8.5 / 10
Before Jens introduced the next band he informed the visitors that the festival is now, right in this moment, sold out and thus it will get warmer for sure. With a 25 years career in the back it is no problem for this German Synth Pop band to present a kind of “Best of” setlist. The show started with an instrumental intro and immediately the people started to cheer loudly when the guys finally entered the stage. And now you could watch almost everybody dancing and singing the refrain with Steffen. And Steffen himself danced, too, like we are used to. But at ‘Try to forget’ a young lady climbed up the stage, laid her bag down at Thomas’s keyboard and started to dance close to Steffen. Well, at the first moment he looked startled but then he reacted very professionally and kept on performing like nothing extraordinary has happened. After this song the young lady disappeared and the show went on without any incidents. Though the people were shouting for an encore it was not possible due to the time schedule. // https://www.facebook.com/pages/DEVISION/24741337633 // Setlist: 1. mAndroids / 2. Brothers in arms / 3. Rage / 4. I’m not dreaming of you / 5. Strange affection / 6. Try to forget / 7. Time to be alive / 8. Your hands on my skin / 9. Flavour of the week // Rating: 8.5/ 10
Since 1991 the band of Bristol, UK, produces Synth Pop/ Synth Rock music of high quality. Already during the stage rebuilding Mark and Lord- Richard started with an acoustic medley of ‘Not prepared’ and ‘Trust you’ with Mark singing and Lord- Richard playing the piano keyboard at the FOH (Front of house). For a lot of the MESH fans it surely was not a surprise now but at least they modify this concert opener with the choice of songs. For those who haven’t seen MESH before or not seen them in the last 2 years it was a stunner. Besides a nice choice of old songs and of their actual album, they performed the YAZOO cover which they haven’t performed live so often yet. But they also had another ace up on their sleeve as for ‘Firefly’ Saffron appeared and performed the song together with Mark as a duo.
As I heard later from my friends, who were tough enough to stay in the first row though the air was already quite bad, the young lady who had her appearance on stage during the DE/VISION show, tried once again to climb up the stage. Bad luck for her that my friends didn’t let her. But one of my friends told her that she should try her luck again at the APOPTYGMA BERZERK show. So at least this show was undisturbed and the whole audience had a big party and lots of them knew the lyrics by heart and sang along with the guys. // http://www.mesh.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/meshtheband // Setlist: 1. Not prepared (acoustic version) / 2. Trust you (acoustic version) / 3. Flawless / 4. You didn’t want me / 5. From this height / 6. Crash / 7. Step by step / 8. You want what’s owed to you / 9. Tuesday (YAZOO cover) / 10. Firefly (duet with Saffron Sprackling from REPUBLICA) / 11. Just leave us alone / 12. Born to lie / 13. Friends like these / Encore: 14. Taken for granted // Rating: 9 / 10
Due to some severe technical problems, the beginning of the show was delayed and demanded a lot of patience of the audience. But finally the Norwegian band could start with their brilliant show. Since 1989 the band delights the fans with fine Synth Pop/ Electro Rock/ Future Pop. The shows are notorious for thrilling the audience. And on this evening they had the audience in their hands in an instant. Meanwhile it was really hot and stuffy in the venue and the excessive use of fog didn’t make it any better. Nevertheless the audience partied as hard as possible and sang along with the band. At ‘Kathy’s song’ they, too, had the young lady crawling up the stage where she tried to dance again. But Stephan didn’t show so much tolerance for this interference and thus she was led off the stage before the song was over.
Of course the guys performed some cover versions including ‘Major Tom’ though this time the band has finally learnt that we like to sing the refrain in German language and so the last one was sung this way. Anyway the whole set list was chosen perfectly to get the crowd going. The time flew by but fortunately we got an encore that contained a special surprise as ‘Mourn’ was not only presented as MESH remix version, but with the special guest appearance of Mark Hockings, the singer of MESH. Definitely a perfect final for the festival and APOPTYGMA BERZERK proved once again that they deserve to be the headliner. // http://www.theapboffice.com / https://www.facebook.com/ApoptygmaBerzerk // Setlist: 1. Starsign (long intro) / 2. Deep red / 3. Love never dies / 4. In this together / 5. Shadow / 6. Apollo (Live on your TV) / 7. Something I should know / 8. Kathy’s song (Come lie next to me) / 9. You keep me from breaking apart / 10. Major Tom (PETER-SCHILLING cover) / 11. Paranoia / 12. Until the end of the world / 13. Love will tear us apart (JOY-DIVISION cover) / 14. Non-stop violence / Encore: 15. Untitled too / 16. Eclipse / 17. Mourn (MESH-Remix) / 18. C64 – outro // Rating: 9.5 / 10
The festival did not end with the concert of APOPTYGMA BERZERK but all of the guests who were still in the mood for dancing could do so as DJ Steffen (DE/VISION) and DJ MSTH did their best to animate the guests to fill the dance floor. For me this festival was the highlight of this year’s festivals. Not only because of the fantastic bands and shows, but because of the familiar atmosphere where you met many musicians and friends who came from all over the world. It was indeed a big Birthday party. And so I like to thank Jan Winterfeld and his team from Pluswelt Promotion for all their hard work to make this all happening.
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)