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nep castle party 2022 80Bolkow, Poland
7th to 10th July 2022
Castle Party 2022 Day 2 with Nitzer Ebb, She Past Away, Haujobb, XIII Stoleti, The Fright, Electro Fear

Saturday was rather cold and rainy, but there were no major delays on that day - in fact, some bands played earlier than scheduled, so it created a bit of confusion amongst the audience, but altogether it was one of the best festival days with a strong line-up featuring NITZER EBB, SHE PAST AWAY and the last minute replacement for PSYCLON NINE - HAUJOBB.

The day opened with the Polish duo ELECTRO FEAR show, who served us a fantastic, energetic and dancy set.

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Then there was a total change in the music atmosphere when the metal prodigies of THE FRIGHT took the stage over. Genuinely charismatic vocalist Lon Fright established fantastic contact with the audience through his impressive engagement in the performance. The music itself - compelling, rich and uplifting was of excellent quality. A powerful, profound, and heart-touching vibe made the concert one of the best on that day.

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XIII STOLETI is a band with a special place in many hearts among the Polish audience - they are a regular guest at Castle Party and numerous concerts in Poland. Their music is like the best evergreen - catchy guitars, scenic energy, and the cult songs ‘Elisabeth’ or ‘Fatherland’ - every time they manage to engage the audience who simply runs crazy on hearing their favourite songs. They tend to keep the quality of their performance through the years and actually liven it up every time. Fantastic show, bravo!

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Just as the Czech masters were finishing their concerts (still in the golden sun), I noticed dark clouds approaching the castle, and I started worrying that my umbrella was resting comfortably in the room. I have a long history of getting utterly wet during Castle Party rainstorms, and I seriously did not want the history to repeat in 2022. The rain and storm are rather dangerous for the castle stage since it is not covered or protected from the rain too much. There were editions when the concerts had to be cancelled for that reason (not to mention the year when the stage simply flew away from the castle when the thunderstorm struck).

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I decided to take the risk since it was the time for one of my favourite bands to start their concert. HAUJOBB made it to Castle Party really quickly, and honestly, some people were quite happy with the change in the line-up. Daniel Myer is a specialist in mastering sounds; no surprise then, the concert was a perfect display of electronic virtuoso and the magic the music may create. HAUJOBB gigs are minimal in their visual aspect, and the music they play is cold in its precision. However, the vocalic and scenic manner add inner fire and a massive number of emotions to the whole. It’s hard to stay indifferent to such multitudes of various shades and tones that reach out straight to one's heart.

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Unfortunately, just after the fourth song, the rain started to pour, and the area in front of the stage changed into one big umbrella field. The unlucky ones (with no umbrellas) run for cover under the trees; some had to give up (myself included) and go for warmer clothes and/or umbrellas or coats. The rain did not last long, though, and we could enjoy the remaining two concerts dry - even if not warm.

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SHE PAST AWAY was my personal discovery of the festival – I’ve heard a lot of good about the band but never saw them live. Indeed, I was not disappointed. The group was founded in 2006 in Turkey by Volkan Caner and Idris Akbulut. Both musicians had previously been active in other less-known bands, but they were unsuccessful until SHE PAST AWAY was formed. As Akbulut explained, they wanted to change their style from Death Metal to Indie Rock. With the creation of SHE PAST AWAY, a decision was also made to present the works in Turkish - not English. The concert they gave at Castle Party was, on the one hand, a beautiful display of absolutely stunning light show that enhanced the magnificence and charm of the music they played and, on the other, of absolutely incredible sounds.

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They were not into wild movements, dancing or chatting with the audience too much; in this sense, the concert was relatively static. But the music… I swear, just after I left the photo pit, I did not stop dancing for even a minute. Brilliant guitar running smoothly in the soundscape built upon fine, dancy electronics, combined with dark, velvety vocals, and pulsating rhythm created the whole that just struck the ears and heart with full force. They proved that it does not take much to play amazing concerts - no fancy costumes or decorations or freak shows are necessary; fantastic music does the job.

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And then, ladies and gentlemen, there was time for the headliner I was personally waiting for - NITZER EBB. I missed their show in Warsaw, then at Wave Gotik Treffen - so when I heard they would be playing at Castle Party, I could finally dry my tears and stop whining. Of course, the first question that one could hear from the audience when the concert started was - where is Douglas? Indeed, Douglas McCarthy was absent, and even though the information was provided earlier on - both by the organizer and the band that he would not be playing at Castle Party for health reasons -  there was still controversy related. Taking into consideration that the alternative was no show at all, I guess we ended up with quite a treat on a positive note. Bon Harris is a stage animal indeed, and his way of leading the concert is one of a kind. Energetic, intensive, very sexy, and sensual, it gives quite a new tint to NITZER EBB music.

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I have a very personal attitude to their music since it was one of the first bands that attracted me to the so-called “Alternative, EBM, Industrial” genre. So, the happier I was to learn the music kicks just the same as - well - many years ago. To experience the exceptional energy and simply delve into the most favourite sounds was like a sonic feast. Bon is very theatrical in his scenic way - movements, dance, and expressive mimicry gave a fantastic performance. Of course, one cannot forget NITZER EBB is, above all, a solid dancy kick – I’m happy to report it was as strong as expected - my muscles still hurt a bit after their set. Beautiful show, thank you!

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All Pictures by Karo Kratochwil

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