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introKulturpark, Deutzen, Germany
4th to 6th September 2015
Nocturnal Culture Night Day 2: Telemark, Herren, Sündenklang, Cryo, No Sleep by the Machine, Reading Axel Hildebrand, Deviant UK, Stein, Mundtot, Reading Lydia Benecke, She Past Away, MARS, The Beauty of Gemina, Ash Code, Whispers in the Shadow, Raison d’être, Conjure One, Sixth June, Agonoize, Kite, In Strict Confidence, Twice a Man, Oomph!, Henric de la Cour

During the first festival day, the weather god was really nice to us. Not so nice he was at the second day when it was pouring down during the show of WHISPERS IN THE SHADOW. Besides, the day was quite cold too. Nevertheless it offered some of my absolute festival favourites, like the shows of KITE or HENRIC DE LA COUR. Another surprise was the very first show of the day, delivered by TELEMARK. But of course the day had much more to offer…


Telemark – Park Stage (Dani)

The very first band on Saturday was already a very nice surprise to me. I did not know that Elliot Berlin whom I know as keyboarder in AESTHETIC PERFECTION had his own project. First surprise was him standing on stage, second was the stuff he and his companions delivered: Post Punk mixed with  Electronic, Dark Pop, Wave and Rock elements. TELEMARK was founded end of 2012 by Elliot Berlin. The first single ‘A Thousand’ was released in 2013, being produced all by themselves, just like the debut album ‘Cecilie’. First shows followed in 2013. After a club tour in spring 2015 through Great Britain, the band now finally entered German stages and I am sure you will hear a lot of them in future. Rightly you can call this band a “Swedish Dark Disco Band”. Their live show was based on melodic guitars, heavy bass lines and electronic club beats. Add a very vivid front man and you have a rousing live show. More of such surprises please! // // Rating: 8 / 10


Herren – Amphi Stage (Dani)

There are a lot of RAMMSTEIN cover bands out there. There are a lot of bands cloning RAMMSTEIN and there are a lot doing in and denying they are just RAMMSTEIN clones. For me, HERREN are much too close to RAMMSTEIN, not only in music and lyrics, but also in the movement of fronter Christian Reichel. The band emerged 2012 from the roots of Cross Over band WOODLAND. All musicians were already experienced in various musical styles. The first songs were recorded in 2013. In 2014, HERREN were support of OST+FRONT in Switzerland and played also some headliner concerts. End of 2014, finally their debut album ‘Lust’ was released. For their live shows, I wish for some more originality, away from RAMMSTEIN, developing own ideas for music and live performance. Since the band is still very young, I’ll watch the development. // / // Setlist: 1. Herren / 2. Lauf weg / 3. Schmied / 4. Wach / 5. Feuer / 6. Liebe mich / 7. Herzlos / 8. Engel // Rating: 5 / 10


Sündenklang – Park Stage (Dani)

SÜNDENKLANG is a side project of STAHLMANN’s fronter Martin Soer, being live presented currently with the very same line-up as STAHLMANN. The project was founded in 2013. Like STAHLMANN the musical genre is as well Neue Deutsche Härte, but more melodic and kind of softer than Soer’s main band. The album ‘Tränenreich’ was out in January 2014 and journey through the kingdom of tears is kind of tuneful, heartfelt and a bit enigmatic. Already at the early hour, a good crowd gathered in front of the Park Stage to celebrate with the band. SÜNDENKLANG already has quite a fan base and people clapped and sang along to songs like ‘Lieber sterben’, ‘Kreuzzug’ or ‘Die Welle’. Good start. /ündenklang/144525665735233 // Setlist: 1. Lieber sterben / 2. Kreuzzug / 3. Die Welle / 4. Brief an Gott / 5. Die Sehnsucht tanzt / 6. Krieger / Rating: 7 / 10


Cryo – Amphi Stage (Jan)

Sweden, the first… and not the last for this day. The weather was lousy and I was tired, awaiting CRYO to cheer me up. There wasn't much people around, when Martin Rudefelt and Torny Gottberg entered the stage. For me it was their first concert, until now I just knew this dark-electro-music from several releases. The rolling bass lines, the pounding drums and the catchy hooks brought my feet to wriggle and attracted more and more people. Singer Martin stood far forward to establish the contact to the audience, while Torny moved ecstatically between the synths and e-drums, giving the second vocal support. To quote my neighbour, the performance was “some kind of cute”. It's a band I would like to see once again, but another time and in another location. But this wasn't the only time, I thought this to myself at the weekend. // / // Rating: 8 / 10


No Sleep by the Machine – Park Stage (Jan)

Sweden, the second. What should I say, the concert starts and I had an déjà-vu. The vocals too loud, the drums too loud and the music disappeared behind, although the music is already minimalistic. One cannot deny singer TB's certain qualities of entertaining and a good stage presence, but the selection and order of songs wasn't that good. In addition, it began to rain and some people left the area. For the last two songs, the guys from MRDTC entered the stage. Both groups had an collaboration on the last MRDTC album. Now, five people on stage and a danceable song, finally the mood rose. // / // Setlist: 1. Intro / 2. New Track / 3. Kerfuffle / 4. Incarnate / 5. New Ideas / 6. Humanity / 7. New Track / 8. Waywarder / 9. The Pit / 10. In It Shelf / 11. Splice (with MRDTC) (NSBTM vs. MRDTC) / 12. Watcher (with MRDTC) (MRDTC vs. NSBTM) // Rating: 7 / 10


Reading Axel Hildebrand – Willow Bow Stage (Dani)

Last year, the Willow Bow Stage was holding readings and fashion shows. Also this year, there were first some readings on Saturday on Sunday taking place on that stage before the concerts started there. The start was made by Axel Hildebrand, reading from ‘Aussen – Asgard – Tag: die unverfilmten Drehbücher von Loki & Thor’. The book means order meats chaos – protector of men meats chaos bringer – Thor meats Loki, two gods being very different. It happens very often, that uncle and nephew (that’s what both are) are on their own in front of the gates of Asgard and there they have conversations about this and that, resulting in philosophical questions like: Is it still allowed to smoke in Asgard? Are curly beards gay? Should vegetarians walk across meat? Any many more. The book seems and the reading was quite funny. If there are answers to all these questions? I think we maybe find out when reading the book… //


Deviant UK – Amphi Stage (Dani)

DEVIANT UK is called one of the leading bands of British Dark Alternative scene. The band, formed in 2004, is the one man project of Jay Smith who is joined for live performances by his wife Cheryl currently plus Hig on the guitar. The debut album ‘Barbed Wire Star’ was released in September 2006. The next album ‘Very Bad Things’ was out in January 2011. End of March 2015, the single ‘Cracks Starts To Show’ was released, being a first foretaste for the long-awaited third album, ‘In. Your. Face’. DEVIANT UK already entered the NCN stage for the second time in the festival history. Like during the last years, Jay’s wife was the eye catcher on stage, looking kind of artificial. But it seems, Cheryl as well as Jay love it that way. Like I know it from past concerts, Jay was visibly enjoying himself on stage, doing grimaces, playing the microphone stand or posing a lot for the audience. A quite entertaining show. // / // Rating: 7 / 10


Stein – Culture Stage (Dani)

STEIN was the first band playing the Culture Stage on Saturday. The band was founded in 2005 as musical project of Norbert Strahl (ex- Seelenthron and Dies-Natalis). Aim of the project was to set poems of his great-grandfather Georg Thom into music. First working together with different musicians, finally a steady line-up emerged around 2008/09 and the project became a real band. The debut album ‘Haldor’ was created in 2010 dealing with pagan-romantic pictures, “journey songs” or apocalyptic visions. Musically, the band moves between singer/songwriter and folk. The album with the before mentioned poems, called ‘Georg Thom’, was released in November 2012. In April 2015, the new album ‘Am Feld’ was released and of course the band presented some of its songs during the little show at NCN. The appearance was perfect for a cold autumn day. // // Setlist: 1. Am Feld / 2. Fahrende Schüler / 3. Gedenken / 4. Im Sturm / 5. Schwertfroh / 6. Versonnen / 7. Notwende / 8. Stille / Encore: 9. Abend auf Rügen // Rating: 8 / 10


Mundtot – Park Stage (Dani)

Munich is mainly known for the Oktoberfest. But MUNDTOT shows a different side with melancholic sounds and without kitsch. Being founded in 2009 as pure electronic project, the band was enlarged in 2010 by classic rock instruments bass, guitar and drums, adding an organic counterpart to the sterile synthesizer sounds. During live shows (and so on NCN), the trademarks of the bands become visible: a pristine charisma, minimalist rhythms, atmospheric synth sounds and aggressive e-guitars. The vocals moved between haunting spoken words and pushing outbreaks. Influences of 90s Rock bands can be heard clearly (like PLACEBO) but also influences from Industrial Rock bands or British Post Punk are evident. MUNDTOT were already present at the last year’s NCN and were winners of the Newcomer voting, offering them a better slot this year. Once more, the good quality of the songs, great and expressive vocals and meaningful compositions worked very well. During their show, the band presented also some yet unreleased songs from the upcoming album, such as opener ‘Kalter Rauch’. // // Setlist: 1. Kalter Rauch / 2. Immer schon zu spät / / 3. Wir bleiben hier / 4. Unsere Zeit / 5. Schwarz/Weiß / 6. Zweites Gesicht / 7. So weit, so fern / 8. Einsamkeit und Zweifel // Rating: 8 / 10


Reading Lydia Benecke – Willow Bow Stage (Dani)

The second reading, or better called a lecture, was held by Lydia Benecke, a forensic psychologist. The book she was speaking about is called ‘Sadisten: Tödliche Liebe – Geschichten aus dem wahren Leben’ (Sadists: Deadly Love – Stories from real life). The lecture and the book are taking the listener onto a journey through the psychological profiles of sexual sadists. On one side it explains the “normal life” of all those having amicable sex with masochist partners. On the other side the listener/reader steps into the thoughts and emotions of dangerous and criminal sadists like Jack the Ripper or Ted Bundy. Many questions were answered like: What’s the difference between both kind of sadists? Which needs do they have? Which partners are they looking for? And many more. Based on popular ‘Shades of Grey’, Benecke also referred to that book and showed commonalities also with ‘The Beauty and the Beast’. Really interesting and it was sad that I could not listen to the whole lecture. I guess the book is very interesting too. //


She Past Away – Amphi Stage (Jan)

One of those bands I wanted to see this weekend was SHE PAST AWAY. So far, I had heard the duo from Turkey only on CD and was curious, how the two present their fusion of New-/ Dark-/ Cold-/ BlahBlah-Wave live on stage. Certainly the time was a bit inconvenient. Daylight and also the big stage just doesn't fit right for this kind of music. The rain does already better. Cold drum machine- and synth sounds to the weepy guitar and the pathetic voice of singer Volkan Caner - yeah, that was the melancholy of my youth. It doesn't matter that I didn't understand a single word, because all lyrics are written in their native language. The music and the voice carry the right mood. For me definitely a recommendation and I'm looking forward to a next concert, at a darker place. // / // Rating: 8 / 10


MARS – Culture Stage (Dani)

From Wave on the main stage to Apocalyptic Pagan Folk presented by the duo MARS on the Culture Stage. The band was founded in 2011 as follow-up to the Cold Meat band :Golgatha: to release archaic energies with shamanic inspired rituals. Inspired by American Folk and percussive Post Industrial, MARS cultivated a sound being based mainly on acoustic instruments and vocals. Latest since the 2014 album ‘Blood is the Food of the Gods‘, MARS has found an independent and recognisable style. Having said they are presenting Apocalyptic Pagan Folk it was sure that the stage appearance had to be something special. Pictures on a screen in the back accompanied the show. The microphone stands were aptly decorated with antlers. Really liked it. // / // Rating: 8 / 10


The Beauty of Gemina – Park Stage (Dani)

It was at this year’s Blackfield Festival when I last time saw the Suisse band. There, they delivered one of the best shows of the whole festival, presenting some kind of semi-acoustic show with the addition of violin and cello. At NCN, the band presented itself in their usual Rock outfit. Founded in 2006, THE BEAUTY OF GEMINA already caused a stir with their debut album ‘Diary of a Lost’. Musically, the band combines elements from Synth and Dark Rock as well as Metal with electronic music, holding also influences from Goth Rock and Dark Wave. Even though I saw only a part of the show since I wanted to check out ASH CODE playing the smallest stage, the band could convince as always. The set contained songs from all periods of their career showing the often melancholic and dark tones of the group's songs. With a lot of joy in playing and a friendly attitude, they quickly reached the listeners’ hearts. // / // Setlist: 1. Run Run Run / 2. This Time / 3. Kings Men Come / 4. Suicide Landscape / 5. The Lonesome Death of a Goth DJ / 6. Hunters / 7. Last Night Home / 8. Dark Rain / 9. Rumours / 10. Seven-Day Wonder / 11. One Million Stars // Rating: 8 / 10


Ash Code – Willow Bow Stage (Jan)

And immediately the next act I wanted to see was entering the stage. Also ASH CODE to date I only knew from listening. In my opinion, the Willow Bow Stage originally had been intended for readings and fashion shows, for a good reason. It's almost at ground level, and maybe I needed a bit too long to change the localities. However, there was no empty space left and I saw nothing. But the sound was good and so I took a seat to listen at least to the music. During the concert, nobody left and so I remained with the intend, to see the three from Italy at another concert, in a bigger place. Musically, at least they have convinced me once again. // / // Setlist: 1. Self-Destruction / 2. Crucified / 3. Waves With No Shores / 4. Empty Room / 5. Unnecessary Songs / 6. Oblivion / 7. Night Rite / 8. Can't Escape / 9. North Banhof / 10. Drama / 11. Challenge The Sea / 12. Want / 13. Dry Your Eyes / 14. Out // Rating: 8 / 10


Whispers in the Shadow – Amphi Stage (Dani)

Austrian WHISPERS IN THE SHADOW was the unlucky one on that day. Right when the band started its show, it was raining cats and dogs and the space in front of stage quickly emptied since people were looking for a dry spot. Just a handful of die-hards remained in front of the stage to celebrate the really energetic performance of the band. Luckily, rain stopped in the course of the show and people returned to the stage. Founded in 1996 originally as solo project of Ashley Dayour, the band released its debut album ‘Laudanum’ in 1997 and soon was a steady component of Gothic and Wave scene. The WHISPERS quickly created their individual sound, a mix of Goth Rock, Death Rock Post Punk and Wave. The band, consisting nowadays of Ashley Dayour (vocals / guitar), Martin Acid (keyboards), Fork (bass) and Reinhard Schwarzinger (drums), absolutely convinced with its show. // / // Rating: 9 / 10


Raison d’être – Culture Stage (Dani)

From the main stage in the rain for a short visit at the Culture Stage where RAISON D’ÊTRE was just playing. Being founded 1991 by Swedish multi-talent Peter Andersson this project was an instrument of self-realisation for the eminently respectable sound artist. In more than two decades, the project released lots of great Dark Ambient albums. In the last years, Andersson mainly worked with several acoustic instruments which he recorded and digitally edited to create unique and perfect sound structures. It was really sad that also this band suffered from the rain, but on the other side, the weather fitted perfectly to the dark sinister sounds and a good crowd gathered in front of the stage. I even know people for whom the RAISON D’ÊTRE show was one of the main reasons to attend the festival. // / // Rating: 8 / 10


Conjure One – Park Stage (Jan)

Another act I wanted to see because I'm already there at the festival. Ok, mastermind Rhys Fulber was involved in “FRONTLINE ASSEMBLY, but I'm not a big fan of this music. A large part of the audience already was, how to recognize easily by their clothes. The first positive experience I had at the beginning was that the sound was finally balanced at this stage. The pleasant female vocals accompanied by guitar (played by Felix Gerlach who is a steady member in DIARY OF DREAMS btw.) and various synthesizer sounds and fx. The entire performance was gratifying unobtrusive and mellow. Even the rain couldn't really disturb the situation. I just closed my eyes and let myself be driven by the music. A beautiful concert experience, finally the stage, the act and the sound fitted together. // / // Rating: 9 / 10


Sixth June – Willow Bow Stage (Dani)

It was really very hard to decide which band to watch: CONJURE ONE at the Park Stage (being overall great) or SIXTH JUNE, a berlin based Dark Synth Pop duo. Well, I watched half of each show and I did not regret moving over to the Willow Bow Stage since SIXTH JUNE were really good. The band was founded in 2007 in Belgrade by Laslo Antal (musician and visual artist) and Lidija Andonov (singer and actress). In 2010 the duo moved to Berlin and released the first album ‘Everytime’. I really liked what was presented at NCN. The music was melancholic and dark, but at the same time catchy and danceable. Synth Pop how I like it. You could hear that the band was inspired by such 80s bands as DEPECHE MODE, BAUHAUS, THE CURE or JOY DIVISION. On stage, Laslo was acting more in the background (even though the stage was so small that there was not really a “background”) on the keys while singer Lidija is the centre of attention. I really have to check out a full show of the duo someday. // / // Rating: 8 / 10


Agonoize – Amphi Stage (Dani)

Oh yeah, me an AGONOIZE. We are no friends musically spoken. But the band has a great fan base and is always good for an energetic live show with lots of blood or other substances. That it would become bloody was already recognisable before the show when the photo pit was covered with foil and people in the front rows put on rain protection against the blood. The Amphi Stage was now packed and it seemed anyone wanted to see the band. I feared that the space in front of Culture Stage could be empty where KITE were playing now. But luckily I was very wrong since also the space at the Culture Stage was really (and I mean really) packed what I recognized when I squeezed through the crowd to reach the photo pit over there later. But back to AGONOIZE. Welcome to the splatter disco! Already for the second song, the Berlin based band flooded the area with blood and people freaked out. I was told later that the show was great. For myself I decided to watch the KITE show instead since I never saw the band so far and really love their records. // / // Setlist: 1. Glaubenskrieger / 2. Sacrifice / 3. Dafür (Version) / 4. Deutsch / 5. Vollrauschfetischist / 6. Koprolalie / 7. Bis das Blut gefriert / 8. (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!) (Beastie Boys cover) / 9. Bloodqueen / 10. S.F.P.A. / 11. Femme Fatale / 12. Endstation:Tod / 13. Blut Sex Tod / 14. Odium / 15. Staatsfeind // Rating: 8 / 10


Kite – Culture Stage (Jan)

Sweden, the third. Actually, however, after CONJURE ONE I needed first a refreshment in form of Lángos. Similarly to the band selection, there were also food from different region. This is not quite a matter of course and should find a positive mention at this point. Thereby I came a little later to the concert and had a similar problem as at Willow Bow Stage earlier. The stage at low level here too and many people in front of it, despite heavy rain in the meantime. But I really wanted to see the band, so I took a deep breath and got to it. For me it was one of the best experiences at this weekend. The fluffy pop sounds with catchy melodies and the expressive voice of Nicklas Stenemo sounded across the square and I think even the rain has supported the overall mood. Meanwhile it became dark, I saw a bit of the video screen, but unfortunately little of the equipment, which the guys have brought manifold. But I'll have a closer look at another concert, and that's a fact. (photographer’s comment: KITE tours Germany in October, don’t miss them! My favourite show of the whole festival!) // // Rating: 10 / 10


In Strict Confidence – Park Stage (Janine)

Dennis Ostermann and Jörg Schelte entered the Park Stage at 21:25 without the girls presenting a vintage set. For some people in the audience it was not vintage enough because of the new sounds added to the old stuff. Despite of that – it was pure fun! Sing alongs, emotions, all-time favourites bringing up youth time memories, a lot of dancing and celebrating. A happy crowd is the best evidence for doing a good job as entertainers. And of course we did not have to miss big hits like ‘Zauberschloss’ or ‘Kiss Your Shadow‘. // / // Setlist: 1 The Truth Inside of Me / 2. Seven Lives / 3. Alles in mir / 4. Hidden Thoughts / 5. Prediction / 6. Zauberschloss / 7. Become an Angel / 8. Industrial Love / 9. Kiss Your Shadow / Encore: 10. Herzattacke // Rating: 8 / 10


Twice a Man – Willow Bow Stage (Dani)

Since I already knew the vintage set of IN STRICT CONFIDENCE I decided to watch the show of a band you rarely could see on German festivals, TWICE A MAN. Being founded 1981 in Gothenburg, TWICE A MAN belong to the protagonists of dark Synth Pop music in Sweden. In their home country, the band counts to the pioneers of electronic Pop music and also out of Sweden, they soon gained big success. The breakthrough came with the album ‘Driftwood‘ in 1988. In the nineties, the band dealt with psychedelic collages and the following decade with Ambient sounds. Besides, the project was involved in compositions of film and theatre music, exhibitions and more. 2014, 30 years after the release of the ‘From A Northern Shore’ album, TWICE A MAN played a few concert in original line-up of the years 1983-86. 2015 saw more live shows in this line up and end of 2015, so far on 6th November, the band will even release a new album. The space in front of the Willow Bow Stage was not as packed as I imagined. Seems not many people remember this band and their great songs. I enjoyed their show, recognising that I know many songs of the band I did not know they were playing it. Nice surprise. Seems I have to go back myself into the past of the Swedes to explore long forgotten gems. // / // Rating: 8 / 10


Oomph! – Amphi Stage (Janine)

As the headliner of Saturday evening, OOMPH! presented a representative cross section of their 25 (!!!) years of artwork. The beginning with the new single ‘Alles aus Liebe’ caught the crowd immediately. A very enthusiastic Dero (like a Dervish as we know and like him) motivated the audience to jump and mosh – quite challenging on the stairs at the Amphi Stage, Mister! Besides the chart climbers, the band (with seven live musicians) played a lot of older tracks matching the early birds’ hopes and wishes. Thank you for ‘Wunschkind’, ‘Das weiße Licht’ and ‘Gekreuzigt’ – this was kicking ass as usual. The set was closed by an a-capella performance of ‘Der neue Gott’ and ‘Mein Herz’ by little drummer boy Dero. What a fantastic lullaby! // / // Setlist: 1. Alles aus Liebe / 2. Labyrinth / 3. Träumst Du / 4. Mein Schatz / 5. Das weisse Licht / 6. Wunschkind / 7. Jetzt oder nie / 8. Unter diesem Mond / 9. Jede Reise hat ein Ende / 10. Niemand / 11. Mitten ins Herz / 12. Sandmann / 13. Gekreuzigt / 14. Gott ist ein Popstar / 15. Der neue Gott / 16. Mein Herz // Rating: 8 / 10


Henric de la Cour – Culture Stage (Dani)

Sweden the last, to stay in the wording of my colleague Jan. Seems like the day really was in Swedish hands and this was good. The late-night performance of HENRIC DE LA COUR was my second-favourite of the festival. It was already my third clash on the Swedish artist. The first was a few years ago at WGT when I was blown away. Second was at this year’s Amphi Festival where I could not see the whole show, much to my regret. But today I had the chance to experience the concert from the first to the last second. For nearly two decades, singer Henric counts to the most exposed representatives of Swedish Dark Wave scene, starting his career as imposing front man of YVONNE in the early nineties and afterwards with the Post Wave 7 Gothic band STRIP MUSIC. Finally in 2011 it was time for his first solo album, impressing with its emotional richness and Henric’s charismatic voice. The follow-up album ‘Mandrills’ was out in 2013, offering melancholic, dark hymns. The albums are in my opinion real master pieces and his live shows are intense. Even though it was very cold at night and kind of wet, the space in front if the CULTURE STAGE was really crowded. Seems Henric enlarged his fan base, much to my pleasure. During his show, there was nothing holding me back from dancing and drowning deep into his wonderful songs. When the encore was faded and the band had left the stage, long-lasting applause and cheers were trying to bring the trio back. I could have listened to his music much longer. Fantastic! // // Rating: 10 / 10


Like the day before, after the concerts you could celebrate at the party in front of the Park Stage. After the long day and so many bands we decided to sleep rather than party and rest a little before the final festival day comes up with more great bands.

Written by Daniela Vorndran, Janine Rumrich & Jan Moritz
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /

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