24th September 2022
E-Tropolis Festival 2022 with Synth Attack, Vanguard, Mildreda, Grendel, Centhron, Leaether Strip, The Joke Jay, Faderhead, Winterkälte, Solar Fake, Agent Side Grinder, Combichrist (Oldschool Set), Aesthetic Perfection, Project Pitchfork
After the last E-Tropolis in 2019, unfortunately the festival in 2020 had to be cancelled due to the pandemic and the 2021 edition was postponed from spring to November. But now, in September 2022, all fans of dark electronic music could finally meet again in the Turbinehalle / Oberhausen under “normal” conditions.
Already in the morning, fans from all over Germany arrived with their cars or campers. People even made the journey from neighbouring Belgium, the Netherlands and France. The location from 1909 alone is an experience. The old industrial design of the building fits perfectly with the music that was playing that evening. In the entrance area, you could find beer stands as well as a merch stand from the E-Tropolis festival. More merch stands, drinks stands and also various food stands could be found in another hall which was well lit.
Synth Attack (Mainstage)
The band SYNTH ATTACK from Hanover / Germany started the day. With their fast and danceable electro beats, the band heated up the audience. A tough job when the hall is not quite filled yet. But the duo of Britta and Martin Schindler didn’t let that put them off at all. Martin used the entire space of the main stage and also stood at the front of the stage. Britta, on the other hand, stood at her keyboard most of the time, but sometimes came to the front for vocal parts. For support on stage, SYNTH ATTACK got two young ladies who danced on stage left and right. // Setlist: 01. One Force + Join Us / 02. Addicted to the Thrill / 03. Circle of Pain / 04. Insomnia (Dark Remix) / 05. Final Salvation / 06. Enjoy The Pain / 07. Call Me Insane (90s Tribute) / 08. Electro in my Bo / 09. We Are SynthAttack / 10. Life Is A Bitch
Since RROYCE had to cancel their appearance at E-Tropolis 2022 due to illness (and will make up for their appearance at E-Tropolis 2023), they found an excellent replacement in the band VANGUARD. In the middle of the big stage there was a big platform on which the keyboards of VANGUARD were standing. Rob Dust, who is also the producer of VANGUARD, pressed the keys there. While Jonas Olofsson played behind his drums, singer Patrik Hansson entered the stage and was immediately welcomed by the audience. The Swedes thrilled with their Synth Pop with insistent beats and Patrik’s very melodic voice. // Setlist: 01. Inside / 02. Grit / 03. Move On / 04. Open Sky / 05. Riot / 06. Ragnarök / 07. Unreachable / 08. Save Me
Mildreda (2nd Stage)
The Belgian band MILDREDA opened the 2nd stage at this festival. The duo, consisting of singer Jan Dewulf and his colleague Christophe Salvatore on keyboards, set the benchmark very high with their sound. The well-known song ‘Liaisons Dangereuses’ with its empathic choir loop could also be heard. // Setlist: 01. Dream machine / 02. Aborted / 03. Fire / 04. Reinvention Of Pain / 05. In The Vacuum Of Your Mind / 06. Liaisons Dangereuses / 07. Backfire / 08. Inner Judgement / 09. The Parting
The Dutch band GRENDEL then stepped in front of the audience punctually at around 4 pm. In the last few years, GRENDEL tended to be a four-piece on stage, but on this day, they took the stage as a duo. Besides singer JD Tucker, Ben Tourkantonis played the keyboard. With his black made-up eyes and an iron chain around his neck, Ben not only stood out, but also heated up the audience with his cape keyboard. JD Tucker, on the other hand, could be seen at the front of the stage with his microphone, giving everything, he had power.
Centhron (2nd Stage)
A band that is almost part of the standard line-up of the festival due to the many performances at E-Tropolis is CENTHRON with their Harsh-Electro. At the beginning, the band stood on stage with their arms folded behind their backs in a rigid pose. Shortly after the short intro, the guys started the show. As usual, two evil looking wolf heads were spiked on sticks, with their eyes glowing blue and then the screaming voice and the black made-up eyes of singer Elmar Schmidt, made quite an impression on the audience.
Leaether Strip (Mainstage)
Another welcome guest at the E-Tropolis festival is Claus Larsen from Denmark. Among his many projects, he came to Oberhausen in 2022 with LEÆTHER STRIP. Claus opened his set with ‘Kiss My Deutschland’. On the big main stage, he seemed quite lost at first, but Claus managed to use the stage completely. Songs like ‘Strap Me Down’, ‘Crash Flight 232’ and ‘Japanese Bodies’ were also part of the performance. You could see from his happy face and his laugh that Claus was having a lot of fun. // Setlist: 01. Kiss My Deutschland / 02. Civil Disobedience / 03. Strap Me Down / 04. Black Gold / 05. Crash Flight 232 / 06. Japanese Bodies / 07. Desert Storm
The Joke Jay (2nd Stage)
Unfortunately, THE JOKE JAY weren’t so lucky on the 2nd stage, because the technology didn’t play along. So, we had to go to the next stage before the actual start. But we came back and were able to listen to at least the last two songs and hear some excellent Electro-Rock. Unfortunately, in the middle of the last song, the show was cut short due to time constraints. We keep our fingers crossed that THE JOKE JAY will be able to make up for their performance at E-Tropolis 2023. // Setlist: 01. Intro / Awake / 02. Moonage Daydream / 03. The Darkest / 04. Sometimes (Written for And One) / 05. Most of the Tears / 06. Outro / I know
On the main stage, a large table was set up for FADERHEAD, on which keyboard stations for three people were placed. From there, FADERHEAD singer Sami Mark Yahya got the beats for his Electro-Industrial music. The likeable Hamburg native with the mohawk haircut got his fans pretty much in the mood to dance, for example with the driving beats on ‘Destroy Improve Rebuild’ or ‘TZDV’. // Setlist: 01. Intro / 02. The Acid Witch / 03. Generation Black / 04. Know Your Darkness / 05. The Other Side Of Doom / 06. Escape Gravity / 07. No Gods, No Flags, No Bullshit / 08. All Black Everything / 09. From His Broken Bones / 10. Halloween Spooky Queens / 11. Better / 12. Sick City / 13. Destroy Improve Rebuild / 14. Too Dead for Life / 15. TZDV
Winterkälte (2nd Stage)
The duo WINTERKÄLTE consists of Udo Wiessmann (synthesizer) and Eric de Vries on electric drums. Both have been on the road since the early 90s, spreading their Industrial sound around the world. On this evening they used the 2nd Stage of the E-Tropolis Festival and you could see from the numerous visitors in front of the stage that they were very successful. // Setlist: 01. El Niño / 02. Love, Strength And Tanks / 03. Rebound Effect vs Sustainability / 04. Nuclear Free North America / 05. Greenwar Theme Three / 06. Protect Ecosystems / 07. Ban Depleted Uranium Weapons
Solar Fake (Mainstage)
A band that also knows no standstill on stage is SOLAR FAKE. Whether it’s singer Sven Friedrich or André Feller (keyboards and bass guitar), both sweep across the stage without a break. Only drummer Jens Halbauer seemed much calmer behind his drum kit. // Setlist: 01. Sick of You / 02. The Pain That Kills You Too / 03. This Pretty Life / 04. More Than This / 05. Observer / 06. Under Control / 07. Papillon (Editors cover)
Agent Side Grinder (2nd Stage)
The Swedish band AGENT SIDE GRINDER followed on the 2nd Stage. After a short delay, the trio from Sweden started. Peter Fristedt was at the keyboard, but at the beginning he replaced the second reel on a tape with his index finger. With their melodic Synth-Pop music, AGENT SIDE GRINDER created quite an atmosphere in front of the festival’s smaller stage.
Combichrist - Old-school Set (Mainstage)
Another Scandinavian guest was Andy LaPlegua, who has also played at the E-Tropolis several times. In 2022 he played an COMBICHRIST old-school set and came to the Oberhausen stage with only a keyboard player. Right at the start he tore the stage down with ‘What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?’ Dressed in a muscle shirt, he jogged across the stage and sometimes when he stopped, he grinned at the audience with his pale face. Songs like ‘Blood Royale’, ‘Get Your Body Beat’ or ‘This Shit Will Fuck You Up’ which was of course played as well. // Setlist: 01. What The Fuck Is Wrong With You? / 02. Without Emotions / 03. Are You Connected / 04. Blut Royale / 05. Feed Your Anger / 06. Get Your Body Beat / 07. God Bless / 08. Industrial Strength / 09. Fuck That Shit / 10. The Kill V2 / 11. This Is My Rifle / 12. Electrohead / 13. God Wrapped in Plastic / 14. This Shit Will Fuck You Up
Aesthetic Perfection (2nd Stage)
The last act on the 2nd Stage was the US-American Daniel Graves with his project AESTHETIC PERFECTION. His fans already know his penchant for unconventional headgear. This time he wore a black rain hat and a black oversized shirt with golden skulls. Daniel was accompanied by a drummer and a guitarist. Both wore black leather masks over their faces in addition to their black clothing. The identity of the two members of AESTHETIC PERFECTION has not been revealed to Daniel Graves at this point.
Project Pitchfork (Mainstage)
As the evening went on, the main act PROJECT PITCHFORK finally appeared in front of the fans in the Turbinenhalle Oberhausen. As it has been the case since the band’s beginnings, singer Peter Stilles again put a blue stripe on his face for his performance. Behind the synthesiser, Jürgen Jansen provided the appropriate melodies and beats. For this live performance, PROJECT PITCHFORK again relied on two drummers positioned to the right and left of the keyboard. As usual, Achim Färber and Christian “Léo” Leonhardt were seated behind their instruments. In the first songs, they unfortunately saved on light for the photographers in the pit. But afterwards the stage was brightly lit with many spotlights.
The audience saw and heard an outstanding performance, which also included ‘Alpha Omega’, ‘Rain’, ‘Timekiller’ and ‘K.N.K.A.’. After thirteen songs and three encores, a visibly exhausted band then left the stage. // Setlist: 01. Pitch-Black / 02. Alpha Omega / 03. Titânes / 04. Conjure / 05. Acid Ocean / 06. Existence v4.1 / 07. IO / 08. And The Sun Was Blue / 09. Rain / 10. Volcano / 11. The Queen of Time and Space / 12. Timekiller / 13. K.N.K.A. / 14. Beholder / Encores: 15. I Am (A Thought in Slowmotion) / 16. Onyx / 17. Souls
Also in 2022 we could listen to and see a lot of excellent bands, met many friends and got to know many new nice people. So, we hope that in 2023 we will again be able to meet at E-Tropolis in Oberhausen with many great bands. The date is already booked in any case.
All Pictures by Andreas Klüppelberg