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Front242Klein Strand, Oostende, Belgium
25th August 2021
Sinner’s Day Special 2021 with The Obscure, Ramkot, Suicide Commando, Whispering Sons, The Young Gods, VNV Nation, Front 242, The Neon Judgement

Imagine - you are standing in the middle of a huge crowd, no distance between people, smiling faces everywhere. You close your eyes, feel the warmth of the sun, wind playing with your hair, sand under your feet and suddenly you hear those familiar tunes: SUICIDE COMMANDO is entering the stage with ‘Cause of Death - Suicide’. People are screaming, shouting, trying to reach out to the stage. They dance, jump, sing, smile at each other and enjoy themselves. A dream? No!

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This is actually a vivid description of the first few minutes of the SUICIDE COMMANDO show at Sinner’s Day Special in Oostende. If tested, recovered or vaccinated you were able to be part of this amazing crowd that made every band feel so welcome at Klein Strand in Oostende. No restriction, no face-masks - a real festival like in good old times. For many of the 6,000 participants a very much needed getaway from these weird Corona-times.

Due to an accident in the Gent-area, we arrived unfortunately late and missed out on the performances of the EBM-Project PESCH, that features members of RED ZEBRA and DER KLINKE. We were also late for the post-punk-cult-band THE NAMES, we have heard so much good about beforehand. But with tunes from THE CURE performed by one of the best cover-bands THE OBSCURE we arrived at the beautiful festival side and were able to dance and sing along to ‘A forest’ and many other classical hits. What a start!

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Up next were RAMKOT from Gent. The guys started so great, with Rock mixed to electronical tunes - but apparently that was only their intro. If they have kept up like the first two minutes, they would have been my hidden festival gem for sure. But what came after the genre-mix, that got under the skin of so many participants, was a bit, sorry, boring. It might have been well-crafted as well, but the crowed decided to move a bit further away from the stage. Belgium Dark Electro heroes SUICIDE COMMANDO followed next. The band replaces ZANIAS, who cancelled their appearance on short notice. But SUICIDE COMMANDO was a great replacement. A very powerful show which was celebrated by the audience. One of the highlights on that day. WHISPERING SONS, great musicians by the way, experienced the same like RAMKOT after the SUICIDE COMMANDO show. As their performance always works better in dark and cosy clubs, their sound was blown away by the wind and they looked a bit lost in the bright sunshine. People went to the bars or to the Batcave, where you could dance all day long, leaving only die-hard fans in front of stage, who were as happy as me, that they were added last minute to the program.

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Even before Sinner’s Day started, Ronan Harris from VNV NATION was very clear about what he thinks about the next band, that was sharing the stage with him. “It’s an honour”, he wrote. And of course, he was standing in the middle of the very small crowd, right in front of stage when the Swiss legend THE YOUNG GODS entered the stage. By that time many people experienced a feeling I call hangry - food-stalls were closed due to a power-failure and the one and only food truck couldn’t deliver fries as fast as needed. The special dishes, you were able to prebook, weren’t available and the steak-restaurant was closed. So many people left the festival in order to hunt down a meal (or to deliver it to hungry journalists. Thanks!).

But by the time it was stage-time for VNV Nation most people were back and the FOS was packed. The audience waited patiently - the band was already 20 minutes delayed. Apparently, there was a short circuit in the PA, which was fortunately fixed, so VNV were able to deliver. And they sure did. Ronan seemed to be very excited because sometimes he shouted the lyrics more than he sang. I guess it was due to the happiness we all experienced in this beautiful setting with this beautiful crowd. Light designer Martin Heining left us speechless from time to time. We knew beforehand that he is able to perform pure magic, but how he lit up the Belgium sky was just stunning. And the setlist - unusual and perfectly picked for the audience.

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Mosh pits, happy faces everywhere, a setlist that was superb and rare: people started right away to move along to the tunes of legendary FRONT 242, who started the night with ‘First in/first out’. They had energy for ten bands and the audience appreciated much to be finally able to dance to their favourite live-songs again. Not only to ‘Headhunter’ the whole festival danced - in front, but also in the back behind the FOH-tower. From all of the FRONT 242 shows I have seen, this was the one, with the best energy flow between audience and stage. Afterwards the crowd had the final chance to see the EBM pioneers THE NEON JUDGEMENT live. They celebrated a reunion just for the festival and many people were happy to experience the live show of their heroes - one night only.

All in all, it was a superb day! Even if you experienced some hiccups within the infrastructure of the festival. Everybody was super nice and tried to help - typical for Belgium.

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /

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