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the kvb 2022 karolina kratochwil 5Alter Schlachthof, Dresden, Germany
12th November 2022
Cold Hearted Festival 2022 with Bedless Bones, Bragolin, Bleib Modern, Buzz Kull, Selofan, NNHMN, The KVB, Rue Oberkampf, Ash Code, Dark, Lebanon Hanover

Cold Hearted Festival took place for the very first time and I must say one could not think of a better kick-off than what the organizers did in 2022 in Dresden. Great line-up, fantastic venue, friendly, helpful staff, and great food and drink offer - what could one want more? I was definitely very satisfied, and I believe so were the other visitors from many countries who decided to travel to the event organized in the most enchanting capital of Saxony.

The only drawback that I need to state is the timing of subsequent concerts. Some bands played simultaneously at two stages, some with a 5-10 minute difference, so it was practically impossible to see all the bands from the line-up or to see just parts of particular concerts. Other than that - the variety and quality of the bands selected for the very first line-up of the festival were impressive! The night was opened by two acts - BEDLESS BONES playing in a big hall and BRAGOLIN (a Dutch Post-Punk / Dark Wave project by Edwin van der Velde) in the smaller one. The fact that the bands played at the same time made it impossible to see both acts, especially since the small hall was packed to its capacity, so it was practically impossible to enter at some point.

Bedless Bones

BEDLESS BONES, the Estonian project by Kadri Sammel, is a truly original and fascinating one. It was the second time I had a chance to see the band live (the first one was at Castle Party 2022) and I must admit the absolute power and magic Kadri creates on stage is exceptional. The hypnotizing and mesmerizing sonic matter is both powerful and fragile. Peculiar, extraordinary sound combinations deriving from both mystical and hardcore energetic plus a fantastic, a bit theatrical a bit shamanic performance make the concerts of Bedless Bones absolutely stunning and unique. The vocal line, powerful, yet delicate builds up a story one simply has to fall for. Melancholic or punching, it leads the listener through different routes and each one of them is fascinating and intriguing.

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Kadri was accompanied on stage by Anders Melts, whose drum artistry and the variety of techniques used added greatly to the sonic richness and dynamism of the entire show. BEDLESS BONES recently released their new album entitled ‘Bending the Iron Bough’ and we could hear some songs from the album in Dresden too, e.g. ‘Realign and Reign’ or ‘In Omnia Paratus’, and apart from that well-known song from previous albums like ‘Limbs Entwined’, ‘Sad and Alone’, ‘Creation’, ‘Where Is My Voice’, ‘Ostara’ and Nick Cave’s cover ‘Jack The Ripper’.

01. Realign and Reign
02. Sad and Alone
03. Creation
04. Where Is My Voice
05. Limbs Entwined
06. Jack The Ripper (Nick Cave cover)
07. In Omnia Paratus
08. Ostara

Music: 10
Total:10 / 10

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Bleib Modern

The next concert in the big hall was by BLEIB MODERN - dark Post-Punk / Cold Wave band based in Berlin. Their moderate, perfectly balanced show explored the music areas of shoegaze, and cold, pounding guitars.

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Buzz Kull

The small hall was absolutely taken over by the most smashing concert of BUZZ KULL, the project by Marc Dwyer from Sydney. Modern Cold Wave sound combined with rhythmic electronics characterized by a dance rhythm and the dominant sound of synthesizers stood for an absolutely stunning, energetic sonic storm. Dim lights and a scenic performance being somewhat minimal in means of expression contrasted with hard-hitting electronic sonicscapes, dancy melodies, and multi-layered electronic cascades. The richness of synth sound and the emotional variety of songs presented made the show truly spectacular. Fantastic concert!

01. A place (that’s meant to be)
02. Last in the club
03. Destination
04. Fascination
05. Burn it to the ground
06. We were lovers
07. Rise from your grave
08. Into the void

Music: 10
Performance: 8
Total: 8.3 / 10

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The theatrical, colourful show by SELOFAN is always both a visual and sonic feast. Greek duo by Dimitris Pavlidis and Joanna always offers a captivating performance (this time we were bathing the cascades of golden and purple lights watching Joanna wearing a lavish golden corset) and hypnotizing vocals, great guitar sounds, and artistic magic.

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NNHMN is a Berlin based duo created by Lee and Laudarg, living and creatively in Berlin. And the music is a blend of various Synth, Electro, and Post-Techno sounds. They set up the project to develop their own fascination with Gothic aesthetics and the desire for immortality. Absolutely amazing music and emotional performance stood for one of the best concerts of the entire festival. The mix of dancy, mesmerizing sounds, and extraordinary vocal power by Lee, created a space for both energy boost and trancey nirvana. Slowly evolving sonic machinery, hypnotizing, magical voice, and magnetic quality of the entire performance was exquisite. The music of NNHMN is both energy and mystery balanced in a perfect way for one to want more. The setlist included some tracks previously released and some not yet out so it was quite a treat for the fans of the project. Beautiful, invigorating shot, bravo!

01. Lovelorn
02. Magician
03. Unweise
04. Hypocrisy
05. Arabian Knights
06. Perigee
07. Your body
08. Unreal

Music: 10
Light: 8
Total: 9 / 10

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THE KVB is a British audio-visual Post-Punk duo originally formed in London in 2010 by Nicholas Wood and Kat Day. THE KVB’s sound has been described as a combination of Electronic, Psychedelic, Post-Punk and Shoegaze. The visual element of the band is created by Kat Day, who studied fine art at Goldsmiths, University of London. The very first impression I had from the show was how great both artists cooperate on stage, the chemistry between them was something I could feel from the very first note. Great, a bit melancholic and yet extremely energetic melodies formed a fantastic foreground to magnificent visualizations and the overall tone the concert was set in.

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Cold, precise synths, warm, a bit harsh vocal and the peculiar punk vibe omnipresent in the music by THE KVB, offered a quality that allowed the audience to do both: dance and get a bit nostalgic, too. I personally loved the variety offered by the project and the changeable line melody and sonic temperatures presented during the concert.

01. Sunrise Over Concrete
02. World On Fire
03. Always Then
04. Blind
05. Unbound
06. Never Enough
07. Hands
08. From Afar
09. Above Us
10. Unité
11. Dayzed

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 10
Light: 9
Total: 9.8 / 10

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Rue Oberkampf

RUE OBERKAMPF is a trio from Munich; was founded in 2016 by three DJs and since then offers a combination of electronics seasoned with the 80s vibe stylized on the synthesizer rawness. The concert of rue Oberkampf was one big energetic feast. The entire scenic setup evolved round the lit geometric figures so it was quite raw, but it corresponded very nicely with the futuristic look presented by Julia de Jouy, the sonic matter being the combination of cold electronics and powerful EBM and the entire performative mode. The vocalist presented a rather minimalistic way of frontwoman-ning and it contrasted with the dancy, sharp quality of the music.

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Cold electronic lines of speeding synths, rhythmical, hypnotizing beats, and chanting vocal manner plus the truly fantastic dynamics of music stood for a great show indeed. A fine mix of the 80s, EBM, techno, cold, and darkwave make a fine melting pot indeed and the stylistics presented on the stage corresponds with the sonic mater in a perfect way.

01. Intro
02. Hope and Fear
03. Negativraum
04. La Course
05. Kalt
06. Control
07. Glycine
08. Es Versucht

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 10
Light: 9
Total: 9.8 / 10

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Ash Code

ASH CODE is the Italian Dark Wave band formed in 2014 in Naples by the singer Alessandro Belluccio, the keyboardist Claudia Nottebella and the bass player Adriano Belluccio. ASH CODE’s music covers a wide range of genres including Dark Wave, Post-Punk, Synth-Pop and EBM. The first time I saw the trio was in Vienna during Shattenwelt Festival and I must say that since then the artists have progressed a great deal. Fantastic sound mixing bass line and synths plus emotional, captivating vocals create a great combination for the fans of dark wave. A minimal, rather moderate scenic expression combined with the engaged vocalic line created a fine contrast and stand for a great concert.

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Either steady or speeding sounds, cool tempo, and punching beat, and catchy passages make their music perfect for muscles and hearts drill. Great show!

01. Lie
02. Crucified
03. Nite Rite
04. Empty Room
05. 1981
06. Fear
07. Betrayed
08. Posthuman
09. Disease 
10. Oblivion
11. Icy Cold
12. Want 
13. Drama
14. Dry Your Eyes

Music: 10
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 8
Total: 9 / 10

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DARK, the closing act in the small hall offered cold, hard-hitting music and the most spectacular dance and light show. A newly formed project musically explores the areas of Dark Wave, Goth and Post-Punk.

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Lebanon Hanover

The concert night in the big hall was closed by British-German cold wave duo formed in 2010 by Swiss Larissa Iceglass from Germany and William Maybelline from Britain -  LEBANON HANOVER. LEBANON HANOVER’s music has been compared to 1980s Gothic Rock / Post-Punk acts such as SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES, THE CURE, and BAUHAUS. The band has a minimal, dark sound. Their songs have a signature light synth sound, deep bass, and melancholic lyrics. William Maybelline is responsible for the rhythm, synthesizer and bass, which add to the music like an ordered frame while contributing with more chaotic fragments.

If I was to sum up the first edition of Cold Hearted Festival, I’d use one word: a blast! The atmosphere created during the event was magnificent indeed and the perfect blend of art and fun. To make the demanding visitors feel welcomed and satisfied with the variety of the music offered is definitely not easy with the number of various events taking place in Europe, but I believe the new festival has every chance to become a fantastic finale to the festival year. It definitely happened in 2022 and I hope to see the next edition in 2023.

All pictures by Karo Kratochwil

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