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W-FestivalExpo, Waregem, Belgium
15th to 18th August 2019
W-Festival 2019 Day 3 with Schmutz, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Psyche, Rational Youth, Lene Lovich Band, The Human League, Sono, Portion Control, Tyske Ludder, Escape With Romeo, Mesh, Blutengel, Killing Joke, Nitzer Ebb, Definitivos, Little Nemo, Tiny Magnetic Pets, Then Comes Silence

It was late yesterday since VNV NATION entered the stage so late at night. And it would be late as well today since one of our favourite bands of the festival, NITZER EBB, would enter the stage not before 01:20 in the morning. But after the show we all were sure: it was well worth the wait. Early at the day, SONO were another highlight and as we learned the day before: it is always good to be up early for the first bands!

Synth Scene

After SONO already opened the day at the Wave Cave, the Synth Scene was opened by a Belgium classic, SCHMUTZ, who always had a great talent for writing catchy synth based songs. The band was founded in the early 80s and scored an international hit in ’84 with ‘Love Games’ which became since then a true Belgian classic, featured on multiple compilations. Sure that this hit was also played for the W-Fest audience. And there were already quite some people to see SCHMUTZ early on the day. It is always good to have some cool bands opening the stages so the venue is filled early. With SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK as next band there was another classic up on stage. Like always, the band impressed with their weird and colourful outfits. Not only something for the ears, but also for the eyes! SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK, described once at the time as “Hi-tech sex, designer violence and the fifth generation of rock 'n' roll” now operate as SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK ELECTRONIC, with original singer Martin Degville accompanied by Johann Weidemann on keyboards. New name or not, of course the band played all the fans’ favourite song like ‘Rockit Miss USA’, ‘Love Missile F1-11’ and of course ‘21st Century Boy’.

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Canadian-German project PSYCHE, who were next, is a Synth Pop project centred on singer Darrin Huss, who has been the only constant member, with various line-ups. PSYCHE are Canada’s best known Dark Synth Pop act, an enduring legend of independent electronic music, from cold harsh Industrial, through warm Synth Pop, dancefloor Minimal, Dark Wave, and beyond. Their catchy songs animated to dance and sing along and that did the people during such songs as ‘Misery’, ‘The Brain Collapses’ or the hit ‘Goodbye Horses’. Always great to see Darrin and company live on stage when he acts like his big idol, MARC ALMOND. The PSYCHE show was followed by the appearance of RATIONAL YOUTH, also from Canada, who are currently touring with PSYCHE. The Synth Pop / Post-Punk band is influenced by KRAFTWERK and was already formed in 1980 but disbanded in 1983. 1997 saw their return and they are still alive, today only consisting of Tracy Howe and his wife Gaenor Howe. It was great to see such legends still doing well.

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Another legend was following. LENE LOVICH and her band, already celebrating 40 years anniversary. English-American singer, songwriter and musician of Yugoslavian and English descent based in England, LENE LOVICH, first gained attention in 1979 with the release of her hit single ‘Lucky Number’, which peaked at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart and made her a leading figure of the New Wave music scene. Sure that this song was also presented to the happy W-Fest audience. It is amazing what great appearance this old lady still has on stage. Her show was surely one of the day’s highlights. Besides ‘Lucky Number’, the ‘Bird Song’ was my personal favourite of her show. Final band on the Synth Scene were Synth Pop legend THE HUMAN LEAGUE, already founded 1977 in Sheffield, England. They attained widespread commercial success with their third album ‘Dare’ in 1981 which contained four hit singles, including the UK/US number one hit ‘Don’t You Want Me’. This song and other hits like ‘Love Action’, ‘Mirror Man’, ‘The Lebanon’ or ‘Being Boiled’ took the happy audience back to their youth. Fantastic!

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Wave Cave

German project SONO opened the day at the Wave Cave. Singer Lennart was also celebrating his birthday on that day and of course people in the audience were aware of it, shouting their good wishes to the stage. The band from Hamburg, Germany and was started in 2001 by Lennart A. Salomon (vocals, guitar), Florian Sikorski (keyboards) and Martin Weiland (keyboards, DJ). Stylistically, SONO is somewhere between Pop and Electronica. And they have a lot of songs in their back catalogue making people dance, just to mention one of the all-time favourites ‘Keep Control’ which people at W-Fest enjoyed a lot. Their show was followed by British project PORTION CONTROL, the Electronic and Industrial band from South London, formed in 1979. The original incarnation of the group existed until 1987; they reformed in 2002. They have been cited as an influence on FRONTLINE ASSEMBLY, SKINNY PUPPY, ORBITAL and NINE INCH NAILS. With their hard-hitting rhythms, they were something for the lovers of the harder electronic sounds.

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Just speaking of harder electronic sounds… with German TYSKE LUDDER we have a band marching into a similar musical direction. The EBM band was founded in the beginning of the 90s. The lyrics talk about technological evolution, the Yugoslav war and the military dominance of America. In the 90s, they produced two albums. In that time they rarely performed live but now, you can see them quite often. With their powerful sounds, they hit straight the hearts of their fans at W-Fest and having two drummers on stage added the extra pinch of energy. From EBM to something more romantic now, the Wave Rock of ESCAPE WITH ROMEO, who are currently on their final tour. The band was formed in Cologne in 1989. They describe their sound as “Post Punk meets modern electronica”. ESCAPE WITH ROMEO’s music is characterized by the guitar sound of Thomas Elbern in combination with electronic elements. 2018 did mark the start for the final tour as a classic 4 piece (guitar, bass, keys, drums). For W-Festival they played all their classic songs that made them so popular in the Dark Wave and electronic scene and of course also the all-time hit ‘Somebody’. It was great to see the band once again. Maybe this was out last time…

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Back to pure Synth Pop with MESH now! Mesh formed in 1991 after lead singer Mark Hockings and Richard Silverthorn (keyboards) met each other at a concert where Richard Silverthorn’s band was playing. In 2012 the band released ‘Automation Baby’ which became the band’s most successful album up to that point, entering the German charts at number 33, and topping the European Alternative Charts. MESH always works for me. I love their songs and sounds, always great to sing and dance along. With such songs as ‘Runway’, ‘Leave you nothing’, ‘The Fixer’ or ‘Born to lie’ they also convinced the Belgium audience. Something totally different followed with BLUTENGEL from Germany, formed by singer Chris Pohl. The themes of the songs usually centre around themes common in Gothic fiction such as love, vampirism, sexual fetishism, death, and immortality. The band calls their musical style “Dark Pop”. I must admit that this is totally not my cup of tea, but the audience liked it and their show draw a lot of people to the stage.

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Following KILLING JOKE were more my thing and they really nailed it! What a power, what a show! So much energy! With a reputation forged in fire, brimstone and magic, plus a fierce collective intellect, KILLING JOKE have long been one of Rock’s most iconic, influential and contrary outfits, with a string of revered recordings to their name… Their story dates back to 1978 and their ‘Love like Blood’ is a real Goth classic! They could fully convince with their W-Fest show. Also a highlight! And right afterwards late at night, another one would follow with NITZER EBB, whose current show was heavily discussed lately – we already talked a lot about it in previous reviews – but I think they current concept is becoming better and better. The show at W-Fest presented a quite different setlist than during the show before, starting quite “slow” with ‘Blood Money’ and ‘For Fun’ and releasing more and more energy in the course of the set with ‘Getting Closer’, ‘Fun to be had’, ‘Join in the Chant’, ‘Control I’m here’ and finally ‘Let your Body Learn’ and ‘Murderous’ at the very end. We were dancing from the first to the last sound. Fantastic!

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The Olivier Daout Stage

The outdoor stage presented four bands today, starting with a Belgian Punk band from Kortrijk, DEFINITIVOS, already being formed back in the end of the 70s. French LITTLE NEMO and TINY MAGNETIC PETS from Ireland were following before my personal highlight on that stage, THEN COMES SILENCE from Sweden presented their cool Post-Punk sounds. Sadly they were playing parallel to MESH, so I had to split my time a bit. The quartet from Stockholm is a fresh breeze of Gothic renaissance with a fascination for doom and darkness that pervades and influences every tune and word. Since their very first show, as the opening act for A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS in 2012, the band has toured frequently around Germany and Scandinavia and released three full-length albums. Their music attracts wide attention and is praised for its apocalyptic sound and dystopian message. Also at W-Fest they attracted a lot of people to the stage. It is always a pleasure to see them performing.

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Today it was even later than last night since we experienced the NITZER EBB show to the max. Full of adrenaline it still was hard to fall asleep even though it was already past three in the morning. Well, no rest for the wicked, there was another day coming up!

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /

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