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introStadthalle, Chemnitz, Germany
25th December 2016
Dark Storm Festival 2016 with Felsenreich, Heldmaschine, Accessory, Machinista, Sexorcist, Joachim Witt, Patenbrigade: Wolff, Das Ich, Rotersand, Combichrist, Suicide Commando, Diary of Dreams and VNV Nation

The Dark Storm Festival called for its 20th anniversary to Chemnitz and all came. I was attending the festival for the first time and have to say following according to the location: A very nice, cleverly constructed hall with a large stage and entrances right next to the front of the stage. So it was ensured that everybody could quickly go far forward and had a very good view of the huge stage. The rest was also very well organized. The food was delicious and served at a reasonable price. The only shortcomings were that the admission took quite a long time as apparently only one door was open and there were security missing at the entrance to the second area (More below).


Presented by DJ Elvis and the doctor (Mark Benecke), FELSENREICH was let loose on the slowly filling hall: Spherical Gothic Rock with wave-ish guitars and beautiful keyboard melodies (and individual trumpet lengths) formed the foundation for the male / female chant. Great show elements were not used, apart from a belly dancer on a song. Overall, a versatile start with a charismatic band. // // Rating: 6 / 10



After this, HELDMASCHINE were next and the hall filled very quickly with people who celebrated the Neue Deutsche Härte band. It was an energetic show with cool, fast-paced songs, but with its very own note and humour (A rolled-up Rrrr - may only be Till Lindemann as an announcement for the song R). Conclusion: Great show! // / // Setlist: 01. Wahrheit / 02. Gegenwind / 03. Auf allen vieren / 04. R / 05. Die Maschine spricht / 06. Sexschuss / 07. Radioaktiv / 08. Weiter // Rating: 8 / 10



After HELDMASCHINE, many went to the second, much smaller hall to the local matadors of ACCESSORY. The guys, for the fourth time attendees on the Darkstorm, then played hard, drifting Electro and Aggrotech a la GRENDEL and consorts into the audience and could animate the first people to dance. // / // Rating: 6 / 10



MACHINISTA entered the stage but the hall filled slowly during the first two songs since many people had to change over from the second floor. What was offered on stage was one of the positive surprises of the festival: the trio (the duo was supported on stage by guitarist BDR, spoken like “bird”) from Malmö around the singer John Lindqwister were the surprise-hit of the festival. They offered Synth Pop a la COVENANT with light rock guitar and original singing. This was supplemented by a beautiful light show and the outfits of the singer and the guitarist (keywords: a little bit of glitter, a feather outfit and a vulture skull mask for the guitarist). A great performance, which finally found a glowing audience. Mark my words, you will hear a lot more from this band. // / // Setlist: 01. Seconds minutes hours (new song never played) / 02. Picture frame eternity / 03. Surprised by death / 04. Salvation / 05. Dark heart of me / 06. Take Comfort in Being Sad / 07. Ghost / 08. Molecules and Carbon // Rating: 8 / 10



Next on the second stage was the SEXORCIST. Gunnar Kreutz and Chris L. (from Agonoize) plus an additional e-drummer offered Erotic Body Music. Somewhere between Future Pop, EBM and a little tougher Electro music settled and decorated with cartoon-like lyrics, the band (wearing all white, with black braces) could convince - even if the singing strongly reminded of Chris’ main band AGONOIE, whose blood-show was missing this year. // // Setlist: 01. Intro/ Pinky & The Brain / 02. Klugscheisserman / 03. Lebenslauf / 04. Tokio / 05. Klangkörper / 06. Brandenburg / 07. Hate Anthem / 08. Arschlochsong / 09. Schwarz / 10. Skandal im Sperrbezirk // Rating: 6 / 10


Joachim Witt

Back to the main stage where the stage was now ready for an absolute primordial element of German musical history: the golden rider JOACHIM WITT! And he was greeted with enthusiasm by a very packed hall. With a subtle, silent joke regarding his own age, the old master first played new songs somewhere between the quiet ‘Gloria’ and WITT’s personal favourite song, following after the rocking ‘It rains in me’. In some way you can call the “Herbergsvater” - due to his funny announcements, the increasingly visible age (Give me just the barstool), a lanky dance performance and genius spherical songs - the German JOE COCKER. The great performance ended with the two great hits ‘Die Flut’ (the keyboarder of the excellent backing band took over HEPPNER's lyrics, while WITT sang a bit at a time) and the crowning conclusion of the concert was of course ‘Der Goldene Reiter’ which was celebrated by the whole hall by a great sing-a-long. // / // Setlist: 01. Über das Meer // 02. Jetzt und ehedem / 03. Es regnet in mir / 04. Gloria / 05. Olé / 06. Die Flut / 07. Der goldene Reiter // Rating: 9 / 10


Patenbrigade: Wolff

PATENBRIGADE: WOLFF entered the stage of the second hall. And showed directly showed how to mix a wonderful “Ostaltische Bauarbeitershow” (East-German worker show) with hard Electro. The band was unique and refreshingly different. Parts of the show were a lot like the “Biertrinker-Version” (beer drinker version) of DEICHKIND (even if this one is musically extremely far apart) with NVA (Nationale Volksarmee – East German Military) troops parading during the video show in the background. In some cases, live pictures of the stage and the audience were streamed into the video show. Also the lent flags (which gave the band to the audience prior to the show) and the filling of beer mugs via a thick sewage pipe transformed the act to an interactive event. The construction outfits made it easy to recognise the band members later after the show, to take photos, to chat a little or to enjoy a cool beer together. Thumps up - Great service! // / // Setlist: 01. Unsere Patenbrigade / 02. Feind hört mit / 03. Stalinallee/ Tanzveranstaltung / 04. Fehler 404 / 05. Im Eis / 06. TU144 / 07. Schusswechsel / 08. Volksarmee / 09. Bier / 10. SPU / Demokratischer Sektor // Rating: 8 / 10


Das Ich

The grand masters of the New German Death and the hard Electros, DAS ICH, started with some delay. On the stage stood the large stage set-up with the movable keyboard-holder, reminiscent of a huge spider, as well as the cruciform micro-stand of singer Stefan Ackermann. Here comes something great! According to Dr. Benecke, it was the 666th gig of DAS ICH. With a new live keyboardist Kevin (dressed up and in a heavy leather jacket), the program was routinely performed. The performance was a little more settle due to Stefan’s long lasting illness; also Bruno seemed a little bit groggy too; (much less interaction with the audience and less pacing); so they concentrated on delivering great versions of their songs. After the performance of WITT it was difficult to keep the mood level at that peak, but still DAS ICH did a great show! // / // Setlist: 01. Kannibale / 02. Kain und Abel / 03. Die Propheten / 04. Sodom und Gomorrha / 05. Bruder vergib mir / 06. Lüge und das Ich / 07. Destillat // Rating: 7 / 10



Back in the small hall where ROTERSAND played out their strength. While Rascal was in the front to address the crowd, Krischan seemed - hidden in his castle made of keyboards, synths and laptops - to be in tune with his music. Along with the video show and hits like the opening ‘Merging Oceans’ or new songs like ‘Torn Realities’, ROTERSAND inspired and offered a solid, danceable and charismatic show, but with few surprises. // / // Setlist: 01. Merging Oceans / 02. Waiting to be Born / 03. About us / 04. Electronic World Transmission / 05. Disagree / 06. I Cry / 07. Torn Realities / 08. War on Error / 09. Exterminate Annihilate Destroy // Rating: 7 / 10



COMBICHRIST called now to the main stage and the pit opened, in this case the mosh pit. So hold your teeth. The question that the band brought on stage: Are they still the COMBICHRIST which everyone knows and loves, or rather a metal band with the name COMBICHRIST presenting cover versions of a hard Electro band called COMBICHRIST? No, no, that was already the right band - but with their last album ‘This is Where Death Begins’ they reinvented themselves. This style change was not well received with everyone, but was well-implemented live: no keyboards on stage, long-haired guitarists, sweat and Rock’n’Roll. While some wish for the "old" COMBICHRIST to return, nevertheless, the area directly in front of the stage centre looked like a pond full of eels, into which someone threw a power cable... // / // Setlist: 01. Slakt / 02. Skullcrusher / 03. Can’t Control / 04. Throat full of Glass / 05. Blut Royal / 06. Fuck that Shit / 07. Exit Eternity / 08. Maggots at the Party / 09. What the Fuck // Rating: 8 / 10


Suicide Commando

For their show, clearly the disadvantages of the small hall showed - especially for the headliner SUICIDE COMMANDO, many spectators wanted to be present (which was exactly what happened in the entrance area, it got a bit rough due to the lack of security). And so the interior of the hall resembled a sardine cane and in the front you were definitely ankle-deep in your own sweat. A short attempt to get into the hall ended just behind the entrance, a second attempt at the other entrance ended in the midst of a group of sweaty man with a bad view at the stage. So only a few fragments of the show could be enjoyed - Johan van Roy was lucky enough not to be down in the crowd and paced across the stage like a tiger in the cage, while his co-workers laid the foundation. He screamed and barked his lyrics aggressively into the audience which increased gratefully the degree of humidity in the small hall. As far as I recognizing (and to expect), songs such as ‘Die, Motherfucker’, ‘Die’ or ‘God is in the Rain’ really pushed the audience. As more and more spectators wanted to enter the hall, the author preferred to leave the oil-sardine auditorium and listen to the more subtle tones of DIARY OF DREAMS. // / // Rating: 7 / 10


Diary of Dreams

This was a direct coincidence that, in contrast to the autumn tour, guitarist Gaun:a was missing. Instead it was demonstrated that even keyboardists can rock and pose live. No matter how hard or quiet the song was, DIARY OF DREAMS seemed like a spherical breather between COMBICHRIST and VNV NATION. Nevertheless, the audience hung on the lips of the charismatic singer Adrian Hates and celebrated the performance of the band accordingly. He seemed introverted as always, but however he interacted much more with the audience than it was often the case earlier. Overall, Adrian can be said to be mature and charismatic with increasing age (as was still with men and good wine - both will be better with age - even if Adrian is not yet old). For most of the audience, the concert was over far too fast and some would have wanted to hear the beloved ‘Traumtänzer’. // / // Setlist: 01. Schwarz / 02. Sinferno / 03. the Wedding / 04. Butterfly:Dance! / 05. Grau im Licht / 06. the Plague / 07. Endless Nights / 08. Kindrom / 09. Undividable / Rating: 8 / 10


VNV Nation

With a "You can make your light, we have brought our own" (to someone in the audience who had just watched the light of his cell phone), Ronan and Mark stormed the stage. Immediately, the two had the audience firmly under control with ‘Space and Time’. People were dancing, singing and everyone was having fun (can one do that as a Goth at all?). Ronan played with the audience a stop and go arm swing game and showed impressively why the band has such a reputation in the scene - because they are just good, have mega-great sing-a-long songs and make a hell lot of fun. Ronan ran nonstop over the stage, while Mark (partly with a black and white Christmas cap) grinned behind his drums like a Cheshire cat. It's just unbelievable as the two (as well as their two live keyboarders) manage to get the audience going wild at almost every performance. This is sometimes dependent on the current mood - today everyone wanted to have their fun with VNV NATION (and also the band wanted to have fun).


Ronan ran from one side to the other and the whole band showed an incredible playfulness. Perhaps this is, besides their great songs, one of the reasons that the band almost always convinces live. Authentic and full-featured and yet funny and emotional at the same time, VNV had a lot of fun together with the audience and offered a crowning ending for the 20th Dark Storm Festival. Afterwards, we went through the Christmas-decorated foyer of the Stadthalle with a few people chatting and thinking: Nice festival! // / // Setlist: 01. Space and Time / 02. Sentinel / 03. Darkangel / 04. Carbon / 05. Epicenter / 06. Legion / 07. Great Divine / 08. Off Screen / 09. Control / 10. Illusion / 11. Standing / 12. Homeward / 13. Everything / 14. Farthest Star / Encores: 15. Nova / 16. Resolution // Rating: 9 / 10


All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /

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