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intro danielavorndranLeipzig, Germany
12th - 16th May 2016
Wave Gotik Treffen 2016 (Day 4): Harpyie, Kyoll, Eric Fish, Christine Plays Viola, Lament, And Also The Trees, Machinista, One I Cinema, Exhibition “Leipzig in black – 25 years Wave-Gotik-Treffen”, Neuroticfish, Velvet Acid Christ, Aesthetic Perfection, Coppelius, Saeldes Sanc & Ernst Horn

Choices, choices, choices. As in life, the WGT is all about choices. Where to go, what to do. Five days seem a lot of time, yet everything takes place at the same time. Most people let themselves drift here and there and enjoy the moment. This is the true spirit of the WGT.

On Monday I let myself drift towards the “Heidnisches Dorf“, the renaissance feast-how the English mistakenly call medieval festival of the WGT. Friends “drag“ me along and I am glad about it. The stage at the Heidnische Dorf got bigger and bigger over the years. And more diverse. The audience is chain drinking met (mead), always charring, never putting the bottle down. A group of five drinking eight bottles of the delicious honey wine in 20 minutes.

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Harpyie - Heidnisches Dorf (Little Dead Boy)

HARPYIE turn out to be one of the true highlights of the WGT. With hurdy-gurdy, violin, double bass metal drum kit, heavy guitar and bass, HARPYIE from Germany blow the Heidnisches Dorf away! In the early hours of the afternoon, Aello, the front man, welcomes the WGT to their “Freakshow“. Their folk-metal is powerful and puts the audience on fire. Right from the start everyone is clapping along. All hands in the air. Amazing! The violinist, Mechthild Hexengeige (witch’s violin) plays a carbon violin with an acoustic corpus, which has the advantage, that it does not detune as easily as a wooden violin, but has clear advantages over an electric violin.

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They not only played songs from their sold out debut ‘Blindflug’, but mostly from their current LP ‘Freak Show’. Perfect, powerful, clear sound and sunshine, who can ask for more?! And it is nice to see the attractive hurdy-gurdy player, replacing the old bagpiper, banging her head. // / // Setlist: 01. Willkommen in der Freakshow / 02. Ich bin das Monster (Hey Ho!) / 03. Fauler Zauber / 04. Weil ich nicht anders kann / 05. Wer hat Angst vor´m Schwarzen Mann (Who´s afraid of the black man, based on the lyrics of a children´s song) / 06. Wahnsinn / 07. Blue (dabadidabadei) cover version / 08. Sturmvogel

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Kyoll - Heidnisches Dorf (Little Dead Boy)

Medieval EBM?! Is that even possible? Yes, it is! With hurdy-gurdy, violin and playback, KYOLL get the Heidnisches Dorf dancing. Two female singers, one blond, wearing top hat and belly top let them dance the revolution. And they teach us new words: “sterbensfroh“, derived from the German “lebensfroh“ and “sterbenselend“, meaning glad to be dying. They know no conventions, no limits, no boundaries. Their lyrics are highly political like the titles already hint: ‘Nahrung ist Mangelware’ (food is short supply), ‘Gegen Monopol und Kapitalismus’ (Against Monopoly and Capitalism). Their set features, among others, the songs ‘Legion’, ‘Tonspur’ and ‘Kopfschuß’. // / 

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Eric Fish - Heidnisches Dorf (Daniela Vorndran)

On the stage of the Heidnisches Dorf it got cosy now with ERIC FISH & FRIENDS, who presented an acoustic set. Eric Fish is best known as front man of Medieval Rock band SUBWAY TO SALLY, but he also has a less rocky, but more folky side being presented in his solo project. The calm moody songs were the right surrounding on the medieval village. Still the space in front of stage was not as crowded as in the years before, probably mainly due to the football celebrations taking place at the market of the city where thousands of inhabitants attended. // / 

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Christine Plays Viola - Altes Landsratsamt (Little Dead Boy)

After my medieval afternoon I made a short visit to the Altes Landratsamt where the evening was opened by CHRISTINE PLAYS VIOLA, playing among others ‘Bleed in silence’, whose vocals remind me of ASP. The sound is good. The crowd hardly moves. The hall is very wide, leaving a lot of room to each side of the stage… now. It will be packed later the day. The bassist plays a vintage thunderbird bass. 

Lament - Altes Landsratsamt (Little Dead Boy)

The calm and hauling sound fits. It fits the WGT, it fits, because AND ALSO THE TRESS, which have a similar sound, are following later. LAMENT used to be opener to LETZTE INSTANZ, another famous German Goth Rock band. Then again at times they sound gay, upbeat, full of verve, cures. 

And Also The Trees - Altes Landsratsamt (Little Dead Boy)

The sound is just terrible. Probably due to bad monitoring. They often hit a wrong note. A lot of people are driven away, leaving before the end of the set, not only because of the sound but also because it was packed inside and the air was terrible. / 

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Machinista - Moritzbastei (Little Dead Boy)

After LAYMENT I changed over to Moritzbastei to see what’s going on there. A lot of bands playing the WGT will return for a gig at the Moritzbastei later this year, i.e. UNZUCHT at the 24th of Nov, HARPYIE on the 19th November. But now it was time for Swedish MACHINISTA opening the concert evening at the venue. Their sound is based on guitar, synth, vocals and accompanying drum backings. There were cool sample-intros taken from some old b-movies. MACHINISTA start with a “four on the floor“ stomper. This is modern dark dance-floor. The kind you hear in your every-day Goth club. Dark, danceable, catchy. The guitarist wearing a black mask, the singer his cool sunglasses. The sound is monotonous. Their single ‘Dar Heart of me’ well known. // / // Setlist: 01. Picture frame eternity / 02. Dark heart of me / 03. Surprised by death / 04. Take Comfort in Being Sad / 05. We are rockets / 06. Summersault / 07. Ghost / 08. Molecules and Carbon

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One I Cinema - Moritzbastei (Little Dead Boy)

I knew that ONE I CINEMA would be one of the highlights of this year’s WGT. I had encountered them before as openers for EISBRECHER in Cologne. The Moritzbastei is a much smaller venue than the club they played with EISBRECHER in Cologne. The vocals remind me at times of Trent Reznor of NIN and sometimes of MUSE, both of which Marco Meyer obviously loves. The guitarist plays an old Fender Telecaster, the bassist a 5-string Musicman. Marshall amps to the left and right. The band feels free and alive. Relaxed. The sound is perfect as always at the Moritzbastei and the show just great. The guitarists all bang and shake their heads and curly mane. Towards the end of the set, they all stand facing the drummer. All musicians have fun and it shows and it is highly contagious. Thank you guys for an outstanding performance and great night! // / // Setlist: 01. I will never say goodbye / 02. Insidious / 03. The mirror / 04. One to us / 05. Falling into deep / 06. Infinite eyes…

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The Moritzbastei has two dancefloors, the smaller of which starts early, when ONE I CINEMA play back in the hall. The DJ presents old classics, like Anne Clark, and Phillip Boa. Like every year thousands of WGT visitors will dance the last night away and return to their every-day lives some time later. For me, now another great WGT festival was over. We had a great time and I look forward to next year. A policeman said that this vast amount of people in black clothes would have every other city in fear and doubling their police force. Leipzig knows and embraces this peaceful crowd and does not need a single officer added to their troop.

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For the other team of our crew, the Monday started once more with a tour through the city. We visited the special exhibition “Leipzig in Schwarz - 25 Jahre Wave-Gotik-Treffen” (Leipzig in black – 25 years Wave-Gotik-Treffen). 25 years is a long time. The festival was born 1992 at the Eiskeller (today Conne Island) at the Connewitz department. Around 2,000 visitors attended this first edition, to see a handful of bands and meet like-minded people. No one ever thought that the festival would expand that much in a few years. End of the nineties, already around 20,000 international fans regularly visited Leipzig at Whitsun to celebrate together at Gothic concerts. The exhibition tells not only the history of the Gothic festival but also stories around the WGT. Visitors and organizers speak about their experiences, their disappointments and happy moments. They tell what to be Goth means for them. How they deal with the questions of everyday life. And of course, the exhibition deals with the main topics of the festival: music and fashion. Extravagant dresses were shown, accessories and original stage outfits. The variety of concert recordings presents the artistic bandwidth of the WGT.

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Today, no one can imagine the city without WGT. First the inhabitants were sceptical, but today they admire the international flair full of fantasy and the extravagant dressed Goths. And they are happy about the money the fans bring into the city. In 2014, the WGT was rewarded with the Leipzig Tourism Award. The exhibition invited to feel the fascination of the Wave Gotik Treffen and to experience the scene at it is presented by itself: open, full of life and peaceful, but also provoking and sometimes disturbing, in any case creative. Info: It really was a very good exhibition, very detailed, explaining anything around the scene and the annual Wave Gotik Treffen. There were a lot of text banners and illustrative material – mostly as a loan – such as flyers or tickets from all years. The exhibitors really made a great effort.

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After the exhibition, we headed to the Heidnische Dorf where our beloved cherry beer was already waiting. There was the great medieval market with a stage for the musicians we were going to see later at the evening. Strengthened we moved over to Agra to give the shopping mall a visit and have some meetings with friends and good conversations i.e. with Denise from Puderblond, who was selling her handmade stuff at the mall. Also at the booth of Torben Schmidt, owner of the Infacted Recordings label, we made a short stop. The label is specialized on electronic music and alive for 13 years now. Finally it was time for the concerts at the Agra.

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Neuroticfish - Agra (Betty Schulze & Daniela Vorndran)

NEUROTICFISH started their show at six pm. The German Future Pop project consists of Sascha Mario Klein (music, lyrics, vocals and production) and Henning Verlage (keyboards and production) today. Verlage joined as steady member in 2005 after being live keyboarder and co-producer from 2001. The project was initiated in early nineties. Musical idols were SKINNY PUPPY, NINE INCH NAILS or DEPECHE MODE. The first record was released in 1999. In 2002, the project was signed to the Strange Ways label. On WGT 2008, Sascha Mario Klein announced the preliminary end of NEUROTICFISH to make a break and adjust his musical priorities anew. Already in March 2013, the band performed their long-awaited comeback at the Matrix club in Bochum with the “A Sign of Life” concert. Sascha started the WGT show with the words: “2008 we played our farewell concert at the WGT and now we are back!”

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The show was full of power from the beginning and many of the well-known songs were played. The audience was excited and clapped, sang and danced during the whole show. // / // Setlist: 01. Intro "Rose" / 02. Silence / 03. Former Me / 04. Bomb / 05. Behaviour / 06. Wake me up / 07. Suffocating Right / 08. Agony / 09. Is it dead / 10. M.F.A.P.L. / 11. Illusion of Home / 12. Somebody / 13. Velocity / 14. A greater Good / 15. They´re coming to take me / 16. Need

Velvet Acid Christ - Agra (Betty Schulze & Daniela Vorndran)

After NEUROTICFISH, VELVET ACID CHRIST (VAC) cared for another party. The US band from Denver / Colorado was founded around 1990/91 by Bryan Erickson und Grigory 'Grig' Bilham. Musically, the style combined a lot of influences and the spectre reaches from Electro-Industrial and IDM over Trip-Hop and Goa Trance to Metal. Artistically interesting seems the virtuous play with electronic effect and voice samples. The overall mood is combatively-aggressive and marked by fast rhythms and distorted vocals. Topics of the lyrics are despair, mendacity, drugs, betrayal but also love and hope. Sometimes, there is a big mess in the songs, being surely a mirror of the mental condition of mastermind Erickson. But there is also room for melancholic melodies in the music of VAC. For their show, VAC of course brought also the harder pieces of their history and male and female vocals alternated during the show. // /

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Aesthetic Perfection - Agra (Betty Schulze & Daniela Vorndran)

American electronic music project AESTHETIC PERFECTION was founded in 200 by Daniel Graves in Hollywood. Stylistically it can be put in the Aggrotech drawer, even though it is influenced by commercial Pop and alternative music. During the last years, the band made a big career. Hard beats and trippy aggressive vocals took care for the perfect mood in the audience from the very start. Sadly we had to leave after only a few songs to see COPPELIUS at the Heidnisches Dorf. / 

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Coppelius - Heidnisches Dorf (Betty Schulze & Daniela Vorndran)

COPPELIUS is a Berlin based band, playing Chamber Core (as they call it) on drums, double bass, cello and clarinet. Cello and bass are often distorted. Also the sound of the clarinet is changed by various effects. COPPELIUS is creating a fictive identity. According to the band members, the band is from the 19th century. The identity is presented on the website or in interviews. Also during live shows, the band remains faithful to its style by choosing appropriate clothing as well as with the appearance of a butler and with the help of Absinth. Usually, the audience adapts the clothing style. And instead of “Encore”, they scream “Da Capo”. COPPELIUS is an extraordinary live band. They lyrics are influenced a lot by von E. T. A. Hoffmann. The area in front of the stage at the Heidnisches Dorf was very well filled when COPPELIUS entered the stage at 22:40. Once more, the musicians convinced with a musical professional appearance. The mix of Steampunk, Rock and Folk excited the audience.

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COPPELIUS is Le Comte Caspar (vocals & clarinet), Max Coppella (vocals & clarinet), Graf Lindorf (vocals & cello), Sissy Voss (double bass), Nobusama (drums), Butler Bastille (vocals, drums, refreshments, correspondence, duties of daily life ) // / // Setlist: 01. Intro / 02. (Zuckerfee) / 03. Bitten Danken Petitieren / 04. Der Luftschiffharpunist / 05. Time-Zeit / 06. Zu dir / 07. Urinstinkt / 08. I'd Change Everything / 09. Reichtum / 10. Phantom / 11. Moor / 12. To My Creator / 13. Locked Out / 14. Contenance / 15. Killers (Iron Maiden cover) / 16. Gumbagubanga / 17. Ein Experiment / 18. Handschuh / Encores: 19. Operation / 20. Risiko

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Saeldes Sanc & Ernst Horn - Schauspielhaus (Daniela Vorndran)

At the end of our review I want to mention a concert taking place on afternoon in the fantastic surrounding of the Schauspielhaus. SAELDES SANC is a Medieval Gothic Folk band, being supported on big piano by Ernst Horn, knows as one half of DEINE LAKEIEN. Head of the band is Hannah and her handmade music takes you on a journey to another world, full of dreams. She and musical companion Georg present songs in Middle High German, Old French or Early English. So, the venue was really perfect chosen, so old-fashioned fitting perfectly to the songs. The venue was crowded and a lot of people wanted to see the special performance. SAELDES SANC transforms poems into compositions. Hannah’s soaring vocals are accompanied by Georg’s violin play whereas guest musician Ernst Horn infects the audience with his virtuous piano play. // / 

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Pictures by
Daniela Vorndran ( / Machinista, And Also The Trees, Intro
Sven Bähr: Eric Fish, Goppelius Gallery
Peter Heymann: Saeldes Sanc & Ernst Horn
Betty Schulze: Coppelius, Aesthetic Perfection, Velvet Acid Christ, Neuroticfish
Kaschy Schulze: Impressions
Silvio Pfeifer: Harpyie
Anna Christina: Kyoll

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