2nd - 5th June 2017
Wave Gotik Treffen 2017 (Day 3) with The 69 Eyes, Peter Heppner, The Mission, Skinny Puppy
Today it was cloudy and about 24 degrees - weather simply made for us. So we visited some of the many exhibitions while also various museums were open to the WGT visitors. Firstly, we checked out the special exhibition “Creators of Legends” in the historic dining room in the train station of Leipzig.
Artists from all over the world are involved in this exhibition, a project paying tribute to the deceased artist H.R. Giger. Works by the artists Ingo Schleutermann, Janine Werner, and Marcel L’amour were also displayed. After the opening in Mexico, “Creators of Legends” goes all around the world. Before the exhibit was shown at the WGT in Leipzig, it had been celebrated at three events in Mexico City, at “Galería Botello“, at the “National Bibliothek”, and at “Hell & Heaven Festival”, and then in Switzerland at the “Museum HR Giger” in Gruyeres. Further exhibits are planned for France (Paris and Nantes), Spain (Barcelona), Italy (Milan), and the US (New York).
Furthermore, there were readings by the authors Isa Theobald, Luci van Org, Lydia Benecke, and Christian von Aster. What a shame that we didn't manage to attend those for time reasons. Secondly, we visited the exhibition titled “Goths, Punks and Co. - Alternative Youths in the Eye of the Stasi” at the “Round Corner“, a museum on the history of the Ministry of State Security of the GDR.
Then, at the photographer's studio of Michael Schreckenberger and Martin Hermeling an exhibition of various artists awaited us. The trademark of the artist Michael Schreckenberger is to hide a little matchstick in every painting. Benjamin Adler took part as a guest artist showing his metal sculptures. In addition, the photographer Giovanni Perna presented his work under the title of “Totenstill” (transl. “Dead Still”) while Sebastian Wildgrube showed his “Lost Places” photographs.
Now, let's talk music. The third WGT day will be remembered thanks to the following cult acts we picked from the festival's diverse line-up for a review: The Helsinki Vampires THE 69 EYES, the beloved German vocalist PETER HEPPNER and his band, British Goth rock legends THE MISSION, and Canadian post-industrial stars SKINNY PUPPY.
The 69 Eyes - agra-Treffenpark
The first show for us were THE 69 EYES who entered the stage of Agra at 20:40. The party started right from the first song. Some when in the early nineties, Jyrki 69, singer of THE 69 EYES, wanted to pre-listen to the new record of THE CRAMPS in his favourite records store. “Come on, Jyrki“, said the seller, “that’s the new album of THE CRAMPS!” All the same, Jyrki thought, ‘Universal Monsters’ must run. People should say: That’s the new record of THE 69 EYES, you don’t have to pre-listen. It is good anyway. That’s the Goth’n’Roll the Fins are producing for nearly 25 years now.
Or at least since 2000 when they developed their signature sound together with producer Johnny Lee Michaels. Today, the voice of Jyrki69 still carries the gloomy feel like his dark lyrics; and every song is different. Just this variety is very attractive. No question that during live shows, a lot of JOY DIVISION or SISTERS, but also Boris Karloff and of course many 69 EYES shirts are seen within the audience. // www.69eyes.com / www.facebook.com/the69eyes // Setlist: 01. Betty Blue / 02. Framed in Blood / 03. Feel Berlin / 04. Sister of Charity / 05. Dance d'Amour / 06. Never Say Die / 07. Jet Fighter Plane / 08. The Chair / 09. Brandon Lee / 10. Wasting the Dawn
Peter Heppner - Kohlrabizirkus
PETER HEPPNER is a cornerstone, and source of inspiration in the German synth-pop scene. Former vocalist and founder of legendary synth-pop band WOLFSHEIM, he keeps sowing and collecting the fruits of a prosper and original career. Steady playing throughout the years, he delighted old and new fans at the 26th WGT edition on Sunday, 4th June, at the imposing Kohlrabizirkus. Having to wait more than 20 minutes to actually get into the venue, once inside each attendee takes their place. The ones who want to be closer to the singer. The ones who want to dance in the middle. The ones who want to take it easy at the back. And the rest like satellites according to what they feel like doing throughout the gig. Suddenly, the lights go down. A few minutes after 22:20 o'clock the concert starts. The man of the hour takes his place together with the rest of his band. And to the acclaim of the audience, a cascade of greatest hits pours over and is filling the Kohlrabizirkus, mighty as it is, with sweet vibes, nice vibes. We are treated in the first set, with 13 tracks that can tell the story of this prolific artist. From his beginning as the other part of WOLFSHEIM, to his solo career.
As the tracks pass by one by one, I witness the identification of a voice with a generation. PETER HEPPNER is the poster child of a certain tune and timbre. Nasal and vocally constrained range that characterises a lot of German singers of his age. And although I would argue that at some point it sounds very plain and almost boring, the reception by the audience proves me wrong. Or at least, proves me that there is an actual niche for this voice-type and singing style that will melt the hardest of hearts. Especially when, through some of the songs, people would re-appropriate the metal sign of approval to give it out to their idol for the time being. Many horns are lifted and it makes me wonder how did that re-appropriation happen? At least the meaning has remained... somehow. Another interesting fact about this way of nasal singing is the fact that although it may seem to the ear that the performer is out of tune, in reality is playing with a spectrum of voice temperatures. Like a litmus effect that only a few will detect. It appears that most of HEPPNER’s fans are not bothered by this but enthralled song after song. You can feel this when `Once in a Lifetime´, a WOLFSHEIM classic, embraces our ears. People dance and whisper the lyrics. This is the dream of a performer. When the fans have internalised your music and experience their personal trip during the concert. This is the reward for the hard work a performer is delivering at a constant pace.
By the time ‘Deserve to be Alone’ hits the waves, a lullaby sensation has seized the core fans. Moving close to the front, and leaving the rest to text, talk, and drink in the back. More than 3/4 of the gig have passed at this point and something is becoming painfully obvious. As a theatrical performer, HEPPNER is missing the lot. He cannot be bothered to try to talk to the audience beyond “Danke schön” (transl.: “Thank you.”). Plus, he hardly moves from his spot... correction, he does not. He stays there and grabs the mic as a support, like a wall... Yet, when `The Sparrows and the Nightingales´ starts, not many recognise the first chords. With bigger and more robust arrangements, it suddenly dawns on the audience which song they are being delighted by. This is the way to turn a classic into a cult for the future generations. And what a change in energy when before, the couples were the only ones balancing from one side to the other softly. Now most of the attendees are taking and reclaiming their space to dance like in old times. The set ends with the eponymous track ‘Das geht vorbei’ and then they leave. But wait... Will he perform an encore? The audience claps and asks for it, the lights are still down and no other music is being played. The seconds pass... Less than two minutes later he´s back! This time to sing his contributions to other projects. First comes SCHILLER with ‘Leben… I feel you.’ The audience is grateful, they clap and dance, HEPPNER did good by coming back!
Following with the controversial ‘Wir sind wir’, and then another one from SCHILLER, ‘Dream of You’, and to end up a commendable night with JOACHIM WITT's ‘Die Flut’. During it a lighter brights somewhere in the middle. This is pure nostalgia at the risk of having a massive flame if the dreads of many catch fire. However, I´d rather run that risk than having to put up with the mobile invasion. The audience sings in unison! It has been a good night for HEPPNER, and a great night for many in the audience. They make two reverences before leaving the man of the hour do a tiny set of reverences on his own and the people love him. He´s given them what they expected and maybe more. // http://www.peter-heppner.com / https://www.facebook.com/peterheppneroffiziell // Setlist: 01. I won't give up / 02. Alleinesein / 03. Meine Welt / 04. Vielleicht? / 05. Being Me / 06. Once in a Lifetime (Wolfsheim) / 07. Künstliche Welten (Wolfsheim) / 08. Deserve to be Alone / 09. God Smoked / 10. Kein Zurück (Wolfsheim) / 11. Give us what we need / 12. The Sparrows and the Nightingales (Wolfsheim) / 13. Das geht vorbei / Encore: 14. Leben... I feel you (Schiller) / 14. Wir sind wir (Paul Van Dyk) / 15. Dream of You (Schiller) / 16. Die Flut (Joachim Witt) // Rating: 8.5 / 10
The Mission - agra-Treffenpark
At about 22:20 o'clock it was time for headliners THE MISSION to hit the stage. Needless to say, that the legendary rockers don't really need to be introduced being around since 1985. After Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams had left THE SISTERS OF MERCY their debut album ‘God's Own Medicine’ and countless hit singles were unleashed. Up to now, THE MISSION have eleven studio album under their belt and the band is widely celebrated as a first-class live act. It was dark, fog soared slowly into the air, and an extensive intro resounded: ‘The Dam Busters March’ composed by Eric Coates, the theme to the 1955 British war film ‘The Dam Busters’. Then the band, Craig Adams on bass, Simon Hinkler on guitar, guitarist and vocalist Wayne Hussey, and Mike Kelly on drums, joined by singer Evi Vine for background vocals, appeared under applause to open their show with ‘Beyond the Pale’.
With the rocking ‘Met-Amor-Phosis’ from their latest record ‘Another Fall from Grace’ following, THE MISSION kicked it into high gear. The gigantic piece ‘Deliverance’ was the highlight of the evening - what a culmination! // http://www.themissionuk.com / https://www.facebook.com/themissionuk / http://evivine.com / https://www.facebook.com/evi.vine // Setlist: Dam Busters March (Intro) / 01.Beyond the Pale / 02. Met-Amor-Phosis / 03. Serpent's Kiss / 04. Swoon / 05. Can't See the Ocean for the Rain / 06. Garden of Delight / 07. Severina / 08. Only You & You Alone / 09. Like a Child Again / 10. Tower of Strength / 11. Wasteland / Encore: 12. Butterfly on a Wheel / 13. Marian (The Sisters of Mercy cover) / 14. Deliverance
Somehow we had to survive till the midnight special SKINNY PUPPY and therefore decided to visit the Agra Café. Unfortunately, it was too crowded there and the music too loud to be able to chat. A real bummer as the music was actually quite great.
Skinny Puppy - agra-Treffenpark
It was 1:00 am and SKINNY PUPPY's one and only show in Germany this year was to begin. It's been a long time for fans since they had the chance to see multi-instrumentalist and producer Cevin Key and singer/ performer Nivek Ogre and their varying guest musicians live. And anyone who ever saw one of the amazing SKINNY PUPPY performances knows that it's quite a bitter thing to miss out a SKINNY PUPPY show. That's not only because SKINNY PUPPY are legendary trailblazers of Industrial and Electronica who influenced vast array of other bands from NINE INCH NAILS, MINISTRY and MARILYN MANSON to FILTER, DEFTONES (who even contributed to a SKINNY PUPPY tribute album) and TOOL, plus a plethora of younger bands from the Goth & EBM scene.
The experimental project SKINNY PUPPY was founded by cEvin Key (IMAGES IN VOGUE) and vocalist Nivek Ogre. The duo evolved into an influential electro-industrial act creating over a dozen of albums and touring extensively all around. Since 2003 Mark Walk has been also on board. SKINNY PUPPY truly still know how to put on a mind-blowing show. From their start in the early eighties, SKINNY PUPPY as live performers have always been more than a standard Rock show, and that's even more true in the 21st century with modern-day technology, which makes a SKINNY PUPPY concert a multi-media attack on all of your senses with stunning visuals and video projections, and elaborate stage setups. It's arguably one of the most theatrical shows you will get to see, and Nivek Ogre switches roles (and often enough also costumes) from song to song.
Consequentially SKINNY PUPPY's concerts are no nostalgic parade of vintage songs, as many other bands nearing their fourth decade would do, but they rather pick songs old and new who fit the respective concept of a tour and help to transport the narration of the performance. So while the last three tours - the “Live Shape For Arms Tour” following the release of the album ‘Weapon’ and the “Eye vs. Spy” tour together with FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, HAUJOBB and YOUTH CODE - were exclusively North-American affairs, SKINNY PUPPY fortunately extend 2015's “Down The SocioPath” tour to Europe this year with one German show during the WGT. For many people it was clear that you simply should not miss to see SKINNY PUPPY live at the Agra since you never know when your next chance comes! And there's no doubt that it was an amazing experience!
I counted about 45 photographers who didn't want to miss this midnight special, a dark avant-industrial show at its finest. After a long intro, the opening track ‘Jahya’ from their 1996 album ‘The Process’, we got a classy and gruesome show including huge syringes and a ton of “blood”! SKINNY PUPPY captivated the WGT audience with their raw and innovative tunes, their gestures, and facial expressions. // http://www.skinnypuppy.com/ / https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSkinnyPuppy // Setlist: Jahya (Instrumental Intro) / 01. Dogshit / 02. Fascist Jock Itch / 03. Death / 04. Tin Omen / 05. T.F.W.O. / 06. Curcible / 07. Hardset Head / 08. Village / 09. The Choke / 10. Worlock / 11. Killing Game / 12. Assimilate / Encore: 13. VX Gas Attack / 14. Candle
Pictures by Betty & Karsten Schulze and Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)