8th to 10th September 2017
NCN 2017 Day 3 with Essence of Mind, Veit Factory (Veit Keller), Vuduvox, Empathy Test, Traum'er Leben, Lucifer's Aid, Saigon Blue Rain, Wulfband, Otto Dix, The Invincible Spirit, Spectra*Paris, Ash Code, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Of the Wand and the Moon, Elegant Machinery, Drangsal, Suicide Commando
After a powerful second day of the festival the third final day came. It did not look super attractive in the sense of bands to me, but interesting performances were still expected. So I walked again around the town suburbs on the daylight straight with the purpose to meet the music.
Essence of Mind – Weidenbogenbühne (Marco)
The opening act of the last festival day was the Norwegian band ESSENCE OF MIND. At 11:50 the Scandinavians took the stage. After two full days of concerts and short nights, one may have expected a lacklustre response to such an early start; but around 300 fans had gathered in front of the Weidenbogenbühne, some even waving Norwegian flags to show their support for the band. ESSENCE OF MIND played mainly titles from the 2015 album ‘The Break Up!’. The audience was really enjoying themselves and the seven-track set flew by. A successful start in the third day NCN Festival. // http://www.essence-of-mind.com / https://www.facebook.com/essenceofmind // Setlist: 01. Escape / 02. Hate / 03. The Great Unknown / 04. No Place To Hide / 05. The Other Side / 06. After The Break Up / 07. Disturbing Situations
Veit Factory (Veit Keller) – Kulturbühne (Dani)
The artist and author Veit Keller aka "Krähenprinz" presented an extract of his reading show to his actual work ‘Der Krähenwald’ (The Crow Forest) once again, just like during the previous edition of NCN. The audience was leaded to moments of this novel via reading, pictures and audio book examples. ‘Der Krähenwald’ is a modern fairy-tale. It is about a nameless hiker who is looking for the black rose of reason. He crosses all sorts of mystical forests and places inhabited by enchanted animals and archetypical monsters. From some point in the action, the protagonist leaves the earth and enters the forest of crows… // www.veit-factory.de / https://www.facebook.com/Kraehenprinz
Vuduvox – Amphibühne (Count_Death)
After an energetic start, the French-Belgian duo VUDUVOX came on the main stage. Relatively young project appeared on the dark scene in 2012 and two years later released the only album in the discography. I did not hear about this project and was not familiar with their music. And honestly will not do it in future. A vocalist appeared on the stage behind a malicious microphone with horns, and a guitar player shared the stage with him. The music can be characterized as an electroclashized EBM and quite monotonous and a bit boring. All the tracks sounded looped and monotonous and the vocals were just a background. Almost all the songs were in French, which was a little attractive, but it did not help. The show passed through and didn’t get into my head at all, although the idea of combining those genres is interesting. // https://www.facebook.com/vuduvox // Setlist: 01. Intro / 02. Fetiche / 03. Berlin / 04. Serenade (pour un Renegat) / 05. L’Usine / 06. Aboyer / 07. Kennedy / 08. So kalt / 09. Silex / 10. Paris Brûle-t’il?
Empathy Test – Weidenbogenbühne (Count_Death)
The London-based project EMPATHY TEST was formed in 2014 and at the moment does not have any full-length album in the discography, but five released singles/EPs have already made the project a name on the scene of synthetic music. Actually I’d like to start with them this show this third day, but they were not the first to perform. Very entertaining performance not only because of music, but also because of the vocalist and his talks with the audience. He immediately said that they have a hangover, so the performance could be slow. All the communication between the band and the audience went in this direction. Musically it was a quality cute modern sounding synth pop with cool male vocals. The musician was making fun of himself, of the audience, of his colleagues from the project, of situations of a different nature and generally behaving in a friendly manner as if all visitors were not just visitors to the festival, but his friends. And this is good. I like such performances with such an atmosphere. Most likely that the British guys played all their recorded material, performing some still unreleased songs from the upcoming album and then saying goodbye in English way. A good project with good music, and perspective future. // http://www.empathytest.com / https://www.facebook.com/empathytest
Traum'er Leben – Kulturbühne (Count_Death)
During the whole festival I did not visit the Kulturbühne, and now it's time to go to one concert there. The German project TRAUM'ER LEBEN appeared in the middle of the 00s and at the moment proved themselves on the neo-folk scene as a qualitative good project mixing neo-folk with dark folk, male vocals with female and English lyrics with German. In general there are five members of the project, but either because of the size of the stage or because of the impossibility of the other participants to come there were only three of them on stage. There were no live drums and there was no keyboard player. So for me this performance turned out to be a demo version of a normal concert with all the participants. And after this performance I understood that I want to see them in full line-up on the normal stage. Acoustic performance mainly in German language with melodic neo-folk and dark folk did not cause drowsiness, but interest. The band does not play classic dark folk, which lulls me. There was a soft percussion and a small amount of dark ambient music and even some elements of martial industrial, but very rarely and almost imperceptible. The performance turned out to be interesting for the demo-show. The full concert of TRAUM'ER LEBEN should be much more interesting, so I will look for their performances at other festivals in future to enjoy it in all senses. // http://traumerleben.de / https://www.facebook.com/traumerleben
Lucifer's Aid – Amphibühne (Dani)
The Swedish quality label Progress Productions reports a very interesting new addition. Although LUCIFER'S AID de facto is a completely new project, many years of experience lie behind mastermind Carl Nilsson, who has already worked for LITHIUM and THE OPERATING TRACKS. With LUCIFER'S AID the Swede wants to produce harsh industrial music without any limits - very direct and absolutely uncompromising. The bottom line is a mixture of Power Electronics and old-school Electro with references to THE KLINIK or the early work of FRONT 242 marked by dark minimalistic sounds. In combination with hard-driving sequencer beats, elements from classical EBM, power-noise and industrial are combined to form an uncompromising sound manifesto. Even though this was a one-man show, the audience was infected by the pushing beats and danced along. Recommended it you like old-school Electronics. // https://soundcloud.com/lucifersaid / https://www.facebook.com/lucifersaid
Saigon Blue Rain – Parkbühne (Anastasia)
SAIGON BLUE RAIN, ex STUPID BITCH REJECT, was created in September 2012 by Ophelia and Franck in Paris. The duo combines the French roots with the typical wavy sounds that remind of the classical Post Punk, melted with Shoegaze, Dream Pop and Ethereal wave influences. Ophelia comes up with a lot of passion and draws the listener away from reality with ease while the other instruments build an astounding wall of sound to perfect the whole. Rhythms of languid pleasure during the performance of the band. The singer admitted, it was very touching reception, and SAIGON BLUE RAIN is always glad to appear on the lands of Germany. // https://saigonbluerain.bandcamp.com / https://www.facebook.com/SBRofficial // Setlist: 01. Intro / 02. Bean Niochain / 03. What I Don't See / 04. Only / 05. Break the Disease / 06. The Unknown / 07. Fading Fantasies / 08. Mori Chimaeris / 09. Queen Ephemeria / 10. Fiue D’Hecate / 11. Inside My Asylum / 12. L'Offrande
Wulfband – Weidenbogenbühne (Count_Death)
After acoustic fruitiness of neo-folk I went to the fourth scene after the Swedish project WULFBAND. And honestly it would be better not to know them. The project was formed in 2014 and already managed to release a full-length album on the label Progress Productions in the year of creation. In the studio recording the Swedes play a mixture of EBM and Electro-punk, which sometimes sounds interesting. And at the concert it was a mess of sounds and genres. The EBM part got lost in the punk elements, the lyrics were drowning in music and in general the show was formless. The vocalist in a strange mask ran around the stage and just screamed. The interesting thing is that if not this punk mood in the performance and the same, apparently, in tuning the equipment and sound on stage, then the music and the performance of the project could have turned out not worse than POUPPÉE FABRIKK. And so the Swedes became a vivid example of how not to experiment with genres. Sometimes it's better to play classics and not to look for evolution. // https://www.facebook.com/Wulfband-684108748299493
Otto Dix – Kulturbühne (Anastasia)
OTTO DIX is a Russian dark wave music trio led by Michael Draw. OTTO DIX is always a show on stage, and in the texts of post-apocalyptic scenes, psychology, morals, and BDSM. Every song has a tiny solo performance and original image which is made by music, lyrics, and Draw’s movements. A special feature of this group is a voice that is difficult to confuse with others. OTTO DIX is a Darkwave group with EBM and Industrial tunes, and a drop of dark ambient. Androgynous appearance of the vocalist has long attracted the curious views of Russian listeners. Now the band is on the German stage also. For the whole history of the group’s existence it was distinguished by its expressive appearance and elements of the show. And this happened on the stage of the NCN fest. // http://ottodix.ru / https://www.facebook.com/ottodix.official
The Invincible Spirit – Amphibühne (Count_Death)
The old German project THE INVINCIBLE SPIRIT was formed in the year 1986 and can be considered an old-timer of the EBM scene. And although its hits were never bombs of dance-floors, its work is known and appreciated. The most interesting thing is that the music of the formation, which released only four full-length albums for all time, did not always remain old-school. The Germans followed the new technologies and played the actual EBM sound for the present, so in their music you can hear the same mechanical dry old-school EBM and modern danceable massacre. Yes, and THE INVINCIBLE SPIRIT was not always bound by EBM sound, but also added guitars, clean voice and even a soft variations of future pop with a light touch of even gothic electro. But in general it was EBM of course. And not always the best EBM. So I did not expect a super-powerful show from the project. And it happened. There were three participants on the stage including the founder Thomas Lüdke, who warmed the crowd. The project was that exact EBM with variations in different genres of the dark scene, but it sounded dry and without energy. As I said before there are not so many hits on the project, and their main hit ‘Push!’ after an amazing crazy performance of that track the day before with DORSETSHIRE it sounded too calm and too simple. However, interesting rhythmic tracks still were present, but not as much as I would like to hear. Therefore, it was not so easy to be on that show till the end. // http://www.invincible-spirit.de / https://www.facebook.com/InvincibleSpiritOriginal
Spectra*Paris – Weidenbogenbühne (Count_Death)
The Italian project of the famous singer Elena Alice Fossi, known for her work in KIRLIAN CAMERA and a number of other projects, appeared from another of her brainchild SIDERARCTICA in the middle of the 00s. The project from the very beginning attracted the attention not only of Elena's fans, but also of the dark scene lead labels. The first album was released in 2007 at the Trisol Music Group and next albums were released on Out of Line and Dependent Records. In total the discography of SPECTRA*PARIS has four full-length albums and performances at various festivals and concerts all over Europe. The band plays a soft danceable rhythmic electro pop with female vocals in English language. And the action on the stage has begun. The music began to play, the keyboard player came on the stage followed by the rest of the band, including Elena herself. Fossi looks great not only on the stage, but her charisma was felt from the very beginning to the very end. Her behaviour can be called cute and sociable, although the singer herself didn’t communicates with the public from the stage so often. She always smiled, laughed and enjoyed the show, it was clear.
Except the regular line-up of the band another cellist was added, which periodically entered into the general sound. And the sound was pretty strange honestly speaking. Very sonorous tunes sounded somehow wrong. I do not even know how to explain, but in my opinion there was something wrong. The cello sometimes did not fit. When the girl took the lower notes, it sounded like an overloaded microphone. I just thought about the microphone from the very beginning, until I realized that this is not really a microphone thing. In addition to it all band members were not very lucky with the weather. The visitors were of course delighted with the sunny cloudless sky and the sudden warm weather, but this sun shone directly into the faces of the musicians throughout the whole performance. And even with all these drawbacks and nuances, SPECTRA*PARIS' performance turned out to be good and fervent. And I would like to see their concert again in a different atmosphere in a different place. // https://www.facebook.com/spectraparis.official
Ash Code – Parkbühne (Anastasia)
When you hear ASH CODE, then a dozen comparisons of music come to mind, but musicians are noteworthy - they are two twin brothers. ASH CODE is an Italian Dark Wave band formed in 2014 in Napoli by the singer Alessandro Belluccio, the keyboardist Claudia Nottebella and the bass and drum player Adriano Belluccio. ASH CODE’s music covers a wide range of genres including post-punk, Synth pop and EBM. This is a sound to the drum machine, powerful synthesisers and benefitting from the versatility of a bass. Dances of death among melancholic lights and shades. Time for dancing half-dead bodies for synthesizers of the last century and a drum machine with binding black hair. // http://www.ashcode.eu / https://www.facebook.com/ashcodemusic // Setlist: 01. Intro / 02. Nite Rite / 03. Crucified / 04. Empty Room / 05. Tide / 06. Rivers / 07. Unnecessary Songs / 08. Posthuman / 09. Oblivion / 10. I Can't Escape Myself (The Sounds cover) / 11. Icy Cold / 12. Want / 13. Fragments / 14. Drama / 15. Dry Your Eyes / Encores: 16. It’s time ti face the Abyss / 17. Try to be me / 18. Waves / 19. Last Stop
Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Amphibühne (Count_Death)
The British band with a very strange name SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK was born many years ago. Breaking up from time to time and reuniting the British band found their fans among crowd of post-punk, pop music, glam rock, electro clash, new wave and even Rock’n’Roll lovers. Two year after the founding of the project a contract with the well-known label EMI was signed and in 1986 the first full-length album was released. The project has six albums in total, the last of which was released in 2003. Many single at hits were done during all those years. The project performed at many events of various scenes and genres from rock and punk-oriented festivals to VIP-concerts. The music of the band is an explosive mixture of electro clash, electro pop, new wave, electro punk and many more. I would characterize their style synth’n’roll or glam-synth, although, of course, there are no such music genres. The female keyboard player, who looked like a vamp lady, was joined by a guitar player, which looked like the guy from Blue Oyster club from the famous 80s movie ‘Police Academy’. The tail and bare ass immediately made it clear that the performance would be hot. The bass player looked less crazy near the guitarist, but then Martin Degville joined them and it became totally crazy.
Already a middle-aged vocalist was dressed in a bright orange elegant suit, high-heeled shoes and the colourful shirt. Pink hair with shaved temples completed the picture of crazy non-formal glamour. In addition to such a colourful image the band played the same colourful music. It was glam-rock by atmosphere and electronic Rock’n’Roll turning into electro punk, electro pop and electro clash and other styles of the old-school synthetic music by the sound. Except playing their famous songs and cover to DAVID BOWIE, Martin was talking to the audience, telling different stories from his life, said compliments to the standing in front visitors, making fun from other band members, but also didn’t forget to let them speak as well. Very cosy good performance by experienced super professionals can objectively be called the best performance of the festival. And I'm not saying this as a fan of a band that I never thought of myself, but as just a music lover. I'm not going to buy all their CDs after this show and download all their discography to my player, but I enjoyed this show without special effects and even without the background video. I expected a good show from them, and I’ve got it. // http://www.sputnik2.com / https://www.facebook.com/Sigue-Sigue-Sputnik-Electronic-141302092594741 // Setlist: 01. Rockit Miss USA / 02. M.A.D. / 03. Planet Boy / 04. Success / 05. Atari Baby / 06. The Jean Genie (David Bowie cover) / 07. Ghost Rider (Suicide cover) / 08. Sci-Fi Lover / 09. Boom Boom Satellite / 10. Alien Christ / 11. Dancerama / 12. Teenage Thunder / 13. 21st Century Boy / 14. Hey Jayne Mansfield Superstar! / 15. Sex Bomb Boogie / 16. Love Missile F1-11
Of the Wand and the Moon – Kulturbühne (Dani)
OF THE WAND AND THE MOON is a Neo folk project by the Danish musician Kim Larsen (former SATURNUS). The music is characterized by the sounds of acoustic guitar and keyboard as well as an often whispering form of the singing. Various other instruments are often used, such as flute, cello, various drums and bells, accordion, bass or violin. Also strong dark ambient influences can also be observed. Larsen is regularly supported by many guest musicians such as Albin Julius (Der Blutharsch) and John van der Lieth (Sonne Hagal) and of course also for NCN he brought some guests The texts are mostly English, partly also Danish and German, and deal with themes such as runes, Nordic mythology, natural romance and the Scandinavian world of life. The Dane uses every (neo) folkloric clichés and skilfully plays large-sounding violins, bonfire guitars and threatening-smouldering synthesizers. Wonderful calming show short before the end of NCN 2017. // https://www.facebook.com/wandmoon // Setlist: 01. Intro / 02. Here's an Ode / 03. Tear It Apart / 04. Hold my hand / 05. Absence / 06. Time’s out of Reach / 07. Immer Vorwärts / 08. Caught in winters weave / 09. Lost in Emptiness / 10. Time Time Time / 11. A song for deaf ears in empty cathedrals / 12. I Crave for You / 13. We Are Dust / 14. I Called Your Name / 15. Sunspot / 16. A Tomb Of Seasoned Dye / Encore: 17. My Devotion Will Never Fade / 18. The Lone Descent
Elegant Machinery – Weidenbogenbühne (Count_Death)
Swedish synth poppers ELEGANT MACHINERY announced the disbanding of the project in the year 2011. After that Robert Enforsen continued to make music by himself collaborating with other bands and giving solo performances with session musicians. The musicians gathered together again with an updated line-up in 2016. In the same year they released EP and in 2017 became one of the headliners of NCN festival. Old Swedish synth pop project exists since 1988 and has only four full-length albums, but is appreciated by the audience thanks to charisma and voice of Robert. I was on a solo show with a solo program with songs of ELEGANT MACHINERY of course at the small local mini-festival in Leipzig a couple of years ago, but then I did not feel the full power of his voice and the energy of the famous Swedish project, though charisma of Robert was there. I hoped to see and hear all this now.
But it did not work out for me. The standard music of the standard synth pop did not really catch on. And Robert lost his talent a bit, because his vocals were not always part of the music. The only thing left is charisma. But only with charisma you will not go far. Unfortunately the show of the famous Swedes became one of the main disappointments of the festival for me. First of all it was too simple and famous songs did not help much. Second, the voice and it was not as energetic as other headliners. Maybe for the fans of ELEGANT MACHINERY the show was good, but for regular visitors it was just one more show and nothing special. // https://www.facebook.com/Elegant-Machinery-176101722542118 // Setlist: 01. Shattered Grounds / 02a. Entwined / 02b. Hard to Handle / 03. Watching you / 04. Myself With You / 05. Strange Behaviour / 06. Black Town / 07. Process / 08. I Say / 09. Feel the Silence / 10. Repressive Thoughts / 11. Fading Away / 12. Bounce (Hype cover) / 13. Cheap Girl / 14. Safety in Mind / 15. Love to Cry / 16. Move / 17. Say Goodbye / Encore. 18. Words of Wisdom / 19. Save Me
Max Gruber with the pen name DRANGSAL is young and fearless. DRANGSAL appear on stage with “Greetings from the 80's” in characteristic clothes and a devil's mix of New Wave, Post-Punk and Indie-Pop. Max's words about himself: I'm not so muscular, but I have a big mouth. Max Gruber is a Wave-Pop-Poet, and the music of DRANGSAL rapidly strokes, cutting bass lines, gloomy and synthetic layers. // http://www.drangsaldrangsal.tumblr.com / https://www.facebook.com/frucadeodereierlikoer // Setlist: 01. Der Ingrimm / 02. Will Ich Nur Dich / 03. Zur blauen Stunde / 04. Und Du? (10.000 Volt) / 05. Hinterkaifeck / 06. Moritzzwinger / 07. Do the Dominance / 08. Love Me Or Leave Me Alone / 09. Allan Align / 10. Schutter / 11. For Whom the Bell Tolls (Metallica cover)
The headliners of the whole festival were the Belgian project called SUICIDE COMMANDO. Johan Van Roy has been making music since 1986 and his main child SUICIDE COMMANDO has experienced ups and downs, creative crises and hit series, a change of sound and a lot of shows at the leading festivals of the dark scene. The Belgian has more than 10 full-length albums, a lot of hits that once blew up the post-industrial and Gothic dance floors all over the world having written the name of the project into the history of the dark electro music genre. I was three times on the SUICIDE COMMANDO show, but never wrote about a report. Apparently time has come. The performance in Prague was rather weak and without much drive, most likely because of the passive audience, but two performances in Germany were better, but I still cannot call them genius or the best in my life. Van Roy uses a live drummer for live performances for a long time (Mario Vaerewijck) and the keyboard player on this show was Torben Schmidt, the owner of the Infacted Recordings label and the frontman of the LIGHTS OF EUPHORIA project and recently a fulltime member of SUICIDE COMMANDO.
The gloomy and enigmatic into became a calm before the storm. After the first rough sounds Johan ran out onto the stage dressed in something reminding the Ku-Klux Klan clothes, but in black. Gothic style, yeah. The Belgian project has released a new album in 2017, so they started the performance with the new stuff. With it they also continued. Van Roy decided to charge the audience with new material before unveiling his greatest hits from the past, so the first part of the show consisted of a new one. But when it came to the well-known tracks, the audience joined not only physically moving to the beat, but also with vocal cords starting to shout the lyrics. SUICIDE COMMANDO has tracks in which there are not so many lyrics, so Van Roy just ran around the stage like insane and warmed up the audience incidentally breaking the microphone stand almost at the very beginning of the performance. I do not always like the live drums in electronic music, but in SUICIDE COMMANDO it fits completely. The drummer played very cool always harmoniously fitting into the atmosphere. By the end of the performance the people were heated to such a degree that there not enough space for everybody, and after the ‘Die Motherfucker Die’, when the performance suddenly ended, did not stop calling the Belgian encore.
Johan, of course, went out and sang ‘See You in Hell’, smoothly passing into the part of ‘Hellraiser’. On this it would be quite logical to finish the festival, but the audience did not calm down forcing Van Roy to come again for the last time for one more track. Well, after that the insane Belgian said goodbye to the audience for the last time and left the stage, leaving space for the organizers to summarize the festival and say thanks to all the visitors and the performing bands. I will not say that SUICIDE COMMANDO's performance was bad. But I hope that I will not have to write a report on his show again, because most likely it will be a copy/paste from here. But still, hope dies last. And this festival ended on quite a positive note. Well, if it is possible to call so the tracks named ‘See You in Hell’ and ‘Dein Herz Meine Gier’. // http://www.suicidecommando.be / https://www.facebook.com/IIXIII // Setlist: 01. The Gates of Oblivion / 02. My New Christ / 03. Too Far Gone / 04. The Pain That You Like / 05. Schizotopia / 06. God Is In The Rain / 07. Cause Of Death: Suicide / 08. The Devil / 09. Unterwelt / 10. Bind Torture Kill / 11. Love Breeds Suicide / 12. We Are Transitory / 13. Die Motherfucker Die / Encore: 14. See You in Hell / 15. Hellraiser / Encore 2: 16. Dein Herz Meine Gier
Nocturnal Culture Night 12 is over. There was a lot of interesting, informative and memorable shows and nice people. The second day of the festival was for me the best of all the festivals I had been to in my whole life. The weather also did not disappoint, although it was a light short rain once. Many projects have been heard, whose shows were looked by me on the different festival all over Germany and other world. Old “friends” did not disappoint, although there were some unpleasant surprises. Nocturnal Culture Night is a varied festival in sense of genres, that’s why I like it a lot. And I hope that this will always stay so. And we'll meet you on the internet, music and everywhere. Stay tuned and listen to music!
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet) and Anastasia Filippova (Impressions, Ash Code, Drangsal, Of the Wand and the Moon, Otto Dix, Saigon Blue Rain)