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ZeromancerColumbia Theater, Berlin, Germany
2nd November 2019
Pluswelt Festival Day 2 with Scheuber, Adam Is A Girl, Priest, Empathy Test, De/Vision and Zeromancer

En route from Hamburg visiting the Pluswelt Festival in Oberhausen on day two and taking the train around 6am to Berlin also means about three hours of sleep on the train and a short nap at my accommodation in Berlin… which is not much, but we take, what we get, right? But everything was totally worth that glamorous line-up that Pluswelt Promotion has put together to celebrate their 20 years anniversary - in Oberhausen with a three-day-edition and Berlin two days full with great music artists from the range of Indie, Electro and Dark music scene. A few hours later, still not really awake, but extremely excited and looking forward to the last day of celebrations is was on the way to Columbia Theater, a venue full of memories and tonight on to creating some more with SCHEUBER, ADAM IS A GIRL, PRIEST, EMPATHY TEST, DE/VISION and ZEROMANCER.


The doors were opened at least an hour later and so also the first band of the evening, SCHEUBER, started later. Well, the venue was packed and the audience definitely ready to celebrate. With SCHEUBER we’ve got a great act to start with. Dirk Scheuber, also known well from PROJECT PITCHFORK, takes over the frontman role in his self-named project of course and presenting with SCHEUBER a very personal, engaging music project. The variety and quality of the bands that has been chosen for this festival showed already in the “opening act” that made the crowd dance right from the start and offered an amazing opening session with songs like ‘Reverent’ and more. Way too short, I’d say, but very cool and indeed worth being on time. // / // Setlist: 01. Smoker / 02. Human / 03. Helium / 04. Metabeats / 05. Tempo / 06. Spiritwalker / 07. Reverent

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Adam Is A Girl

I just had the pleasure to discover ADAM IS A GIRL at the Autumn Festival in Hameln two weeks before and was extremely happy to see them again (actually for the 3rd time in two weeks already, I wouldn’t complain!). ADAM IS A GIRL is a trio from Berlin, so playing a “Heimspiel” tonight was for sure a good feeling actually. The music of ADAM IS A GIRL is so varied and exciting to listen to. The energy on stage is captivating and just wow. The announcements in between are just very likable and as to cite someone else and I totally agree, you really notice when a new song starts. So you recognize them and while for sure they do not jump around between all kinds of styles you can imagine, there is an extremely impressive variety and creativity behind in the wide range of Indie and Synth Pop. A band that is a lot of fun to discover and their crowd-funding campaign for the second album is on until 17th November - check it out here! // / // Setlist: 01. Your Silence / 02. Shadows / 03. Downstream / 04. Daydream / 05. Chase Her Down / 06. Soldier / 07. Sky

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On to the Swedes from PRIEST. For me as I’ve seen them a few times already, not a surprise, for those who see them for the first time maybe a bit of a surprising look - leather crow and pike face masks, all black, no faces recognizable. But the first probably scepsis or confusion gives quickly way to the driving, danceable beats and exciting performance. The mix of black leather masks and religious references is, to say the least, provoking. Probably not for the Gothic scene, but still works great to catch the attention. The visual catchers work well with the audio ones and so it does not take long until the Columbia Theater is literally freaking out and dancing all the way. ‘The Pit’, ‘Nightmare Hotel’ or ‘Neuromancer’ - a potpourri of songs that don’t let the crowd stand still. The priest was blessing his disciples and the more he did, the more they became. It was quite impressive to watch how the atmosphere was heating up and the mass converted successfully. // // Setlist: 01. The Pit / 02. Populist / 03. Nightmare Hotel / 04. Vaudeville / 05. History In Black / 06. The Cross / 07. Private Eye / 08. Neuromancer / 09. Obey

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Empathy Test

On to the next highlights of that line-up that couldn’t have been more impressive. EMPATHY TEST who I was actually lucky enough to see also the last two days on stage in Hamburg and Oberhausen, reached the last day of their massive tour that started in the US weeks ago. The touring took its toll for sure, but the trio took all the energy from themselves and the audience that was awaiting them and turned also this gig in a beautiful treasure moment. When the world outside doesn’t mean anything for the time being, then it means that EMPATHY TEST have conquered the stage, the venue and everyone in there.


How something that sounds so fragile, can be also so strong at the same time; Isaac, Chrisy and Oliver are absolutely talented and know how to enchant the audience. I could try to name a few songs that were the highlights, but then I’d just end up copying the setlist, I guess. From ‘Holy Rivers’ to ‘Burroughs & Bukowski’, the more I get the chance to see EMPATHY TEST the more I fall in love with their signature sound and lyrics. And so do many more. I am sure that many people attending the festival were also here because of EMPATHY TEST, a band that we will hear a lot more in the next years, for sure. // / // Setlist: 01. Holy Rivers / 02. Incubation Song / 03. Bare My Soul / 04. Vampire Town / 05. Empty Handed / 06. A River Loves A Stone / 07. Demons / 08. Losing Touch / 09. Here Is The Place / 10. Burroughs & Bukowski

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Two more bands to go - here we are with the legendary DE/VISION. Founded in 1988, they just celebrated 30 years last year and so are officially the band with the longest history. Who does not know songs like ‘Your Hands On My Skin’, ‘Try To Forget’, ‘Synchronize’, ‘Where’s The Light?’ or ‘I Regret’? DE/VISION have added some of the most popular songs in our scene clubs and so are a fix part of many endless party nights throughout generations as we can say now. The down-to-earth-performance felt real, all the way positive, grateful and amazingly beautiful. The voice so remarkable, so soft, so one in a million recognisable.


Not much of a “show”, just the music, good vibes all the way and a lot of connection with the audience - that’s how you do after so many years - and everyone is dancing, despite it being almost midnight soon. ‘A Storm Is’ Rising’ and DE/VISION are leaving behind a satisfied, relaxed audience that is just getting ready for one more, a special one in between the most wonderful line-up one could have wished for. // // Setlist: 01. Intro / 02. Synchronize / 03. Rage / 04. They Won’t Silence Us / 05. mAndroids / 06. I Regret / 07. Where Is The Light? / 08. Time To Be Alive / 09. Try To Forget / 10. Addict / 11. Your Hands On My Skin / 12. Flavour Of The Week / 13. A Storm Is Rising

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A moment after midnight the doomy ‘Intro Of Hell’ is floating over the Columbia Theater, the stage covered in darkness and fog, first silhouettes appearing behind its wall. Tensed silence. Excited in-between-calls. If you tried, you could have cut the excitement in the air tonight. First chords of ‘Need You Like A Drug’ and I rarely experienced an audience exploding like that, not even in Oberhausen the day before which was already insanely good - what a blast! Breath-taking view from the pit. They’ve been awaited, it’s been a while! The last time ZEROMANCER from Norway played in Berlin was almost to the exact day five years and eleven months ago at the Postbahnhof on the co-headlining tour with DREADFUL SHADOWS. And as six years ago, the song that got stuck in my head afterwards the most was ‘Need You Like A Drug’; I still remember the feeling that this gig left behind.


What a great coincidence to hear it now back in Berlin right at the beginning. During the last years there were for the most part only festival shows and very rare full-time gigs, and so every ZEROMANCER show felt like an exclusive gem. But no matter how long they haven’t been on stage, ZEROMANCER are a band that needs the stage and the stage needs them. What happened during the next 90 minutes is hard to describe if you haven’t been there, but a look into the setlist will reveal for sure how it went on - how about the smashing ‘Doppelgänger I Love You’, ‘Split Seconds’ that literally broke hearts into pieces, the mighty ‘Clone Your Lover’ or the fragile ‘Mint’ that was performed just by Alex and Lorry. The fan hymn ‘Sinners International’ was celebrated by the well-observed international fan base that came together also tonight and went over in, if you’d force me to name three, one of my highlights: ‘Hollywood’, a really rare and special one from the ‘ZZYZX’ album that was released in 2003 and is probably one of the most underrated from the band’s discography.


Kim and Alex showed openly their appreciation for the crowd’s enthusiasm and gratefulness for such an enthusiastic welcome and were truly touched. The challenging “Seid ihr bereit?” call was not really necessary, because, I mean, we were ready to tear down the Columbia Theater and not much was missing to actually do so. The aggressive ‘The Hate Alphabet’ (I remember having written down the lyrics on the wall of my first student apartment, rebellious times many moons ago), one of the most beautiful songs ever composed ‘Cupola’ or ‘Ammonite’ that ends with Norwegian lyrics and always gives Goosebumps - an emotional rollercoaster that ZEROMANCER master like no one else.


Hard to tell that the show in Berlin was only the 3rd one with the new guitar player Per Olav Wiik who joined the band for the first time this year at the M’era Luna Festival. The dynamics and interplay between all band members appeared like they’ve been together for a long while and Per Olav is absolutely in the spirit of the band’s strong live performance. The encore was consisting of ‘The Tortured Artist’ (keep calm, my heart!), ‘Dr. Online’ that Kim announced during the first chords just with a “Do you know that one?” - for sure we do! - and the DEPECHE MODE cover ‘Photographic’ that closed the band’s performance and also the Pluswelt Festival’s 20 years anniversary Berlin edition with a bang. A night to remember.


Indeed that was just the warm-up for the upcoming gig in Oslo on 16th November and everything that is about to come in 2020 - the band just announced an own anniversary gig for 20 years of the debut album ‘Clone Your Lover’ on 14th March 2020 in Hamburg and was also confirmed for the Amphi Festival 2020 in Cologne. Along with that some concrete becoming rumours about a new album in autumn 2020 reached us from Norway. Watch out! Loyalty to the end. // / // Setlist: 01. Helvetesintroen / 02. Need You Like A Drug / 03. Auf Wiedersehen Boy / 04. Doppelgänger I Love You / 05. Split Seconds / 06. You Meet People Twice / 07. Clone Your Lover / 08. Flirt With Me / 09. Mint / 10. Sinners International / 11. Hollywood / 12. The Hate Alphabet / 13. Cupola / 14. It Sounds Like Love / 15. Fade To Black / 16. Ammonite / 17. The Tortured Artist / 18. Dr. Online / 19. Photographic

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All pictures by Nastja Iz

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