24th to 26th August 2007
Area4 Festival Day 1: Leo Can Dive, The Datsuns, Donots, Soulfly, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Eagles of Death Metal, NoFX
Promoters of Area4 festival seem to have a good connection to the weather god. After unbelievably bad, cold and rainy August, the first festival day welcomed us really with sun! Best conditions for the three days of festival fun at the airfield Borkenberge. The venue was perfectly situated lonely and far away from any residents who could moan about the noise. The festival was organised really well to welcome all the visitors - a nice venue, good camping and parking conditions and short ways included.
After the festival was taking place for the first time as a one-day event in 2005 in Oberhausen, now it was the premiere of the new location. Even though expected stampede of visitors was missing, about 10,000 music fans found their way to the second Area4 festival. The name of the festival comes btw from the zip-code of the area in West Germany where the festival is located now. During the first Area4 day, noticeably al lot of very young people gathered at the festival ground, probably caused by the very early hour the opener started to play - it was 14.15, a time, when many people still have to work, including me. But our colleagues of Terrorverlag were in time to bring also some impressions of the first bands to you.
Leo Can Dive
The band from Duisburg / Germany will release the debut album of the same name on 14th September on Virgin records. But before the album will hit the stores, a single - ‘Amazing’ - will be released on 31st August. Already the four guys have released a self distributed EP called ‘The Gatecrasher’. LEO CAN DIVE are Matthias Schmitz (vocals, guitar), Leonard Schupper (lead guitar), Guido Conrad (drums) and André Lapehn (bass). http://www.leocandive.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/leocandive
Music & Performance
The four guys from close Duisburg had the honour - or duty, however you will see it - to open the festival and heat up the still sparse audience. With ‘No Happy’ they hit the point right from the start. The alternative rockers indeed could fascinate the attendees also with the upcoming very rhythmical single ‘Amazing’. Here and there, people started dancing due to songs like i.e. drum dominated ‘Lonely Plan’ or crashing ‘Bored’. The short set was finished with ‘You’re Stereo (Good Things Come To An End)’ which brought firm bass lines to the listener’s ears. Without any doubt a good start of the musical weekend.
New Zealand’s THE DATSUNS are no new comers in the alternative music business. Dolf (bass, vocals), Phil (guitar) and Matt (drums) already met back in 1995 and started making music together. They called themselves THE DATSUNS from 1997 when Christian joined the band. In 2002, the band was supporting THE WHITE STRIPES during their US tour. The self-titled debut was released in 2002 followed by ‘Outta Sight / Outta Mind’ in 2004 and ‚Smoke & Mirrors’ in 2006. http://www.thedatsuns.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/thedatsuns
Music & Performance
The band is rocking the alternative music scene for some years now and also the show at Area4 was no exception. The powered out song like ‘Such a pretty Curse’, ‘Who are you Stamping for’ (from the current album ‘Smoke & Mirrors), ‘Girl’s best friend’, ‘Cherry Lane’ (released 2004 on ‘Outta Sight / Outta Mind’) or ‘Motherfucker from Hell’ from the debut album. During best coffee time they presented anything else than a coffee party with cake but bone dry Rock ‘n’ Roll in best 70ies manner. After fat guitar riffs, drum thunder storms and wild screeching the right working temperature was reached and it became time to compensate first ullages - also caused by direct and intense sun.
DONOTS were the first band on that afternoon I was able to see and I was happy that they had changed slot with THE DATSUNS, otherwise I would have missed them. The band has been together since 1994 and released the latest album 'The Story So Far - Ibbtown Chronicles' in November 2006. It's the seventh album altogether and sort of an anthology on two discs and features all 10 singles from the past albums. A new studio album is scheduled for 2007. DONOTS are Ingo Donot (vocals), Guido Donot (guitar), JD Donot (bass), Eike Donot (drums) and Alex Donot (guitar). http://www.donots.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/donots
Music & Performance
DONOTS maybe had the shortest journey to the festival. The band’s home town Ibbenbüren - or as the band calls it “Ibbtown Rockcity” is only a stone’s throw away. So, DONOTS entered the stage which was decorated with a big “Donots” backdrop very relaxed and without any travel stress to the JOHNNY CASH intro ‘Solitary Man’. With ‘We got the Noise’ from the homonymous album (2004) they came to business right away and in front of the stage immediately a circle pit was formed. The boys just played through their biggest hits; ‘Today’, ‘Saccharine Smile’, ‘Room with a view (Give me Shelter…)’ from the sound track to horror movie “Swimming Pool”, ‘Whatever happened to the 80s’ (including KIM WILDE’s ‘Kids in America’ interlude of bassist Jan-Dirk Poggemann) and of course ‘We’re not gonna take it’ could not be missed out. But also a new song named ‘This is not a trip’ was presented during the set.
Singer Ingo Knollmann was carried by the audience during the last mentioned song and sang the DONOTS hymn so to say standing over the heads of the audience before the energy bursting gig of the band already found its end after forty minutes. In this short time, people celebrated and moved hilariously on and off the stage, and Ingo was throwing his microphone through the air more than once. Besides that, he was testing odd hats of his fans and lent a “Hedgehog” cap consisting of a cord cap with numerous black straws and a velvet king’s hat which both were clothing him very well.
When Brazilian Mr. Cavalera and his former band SEPULTURA split up in 1996 it first looked like this would be the end of his musical career. But soon he started to work out his frustration in a new musical project - SOULFLY. Even though he has sold more than more than four million records so far, his sound is not liked by any Metal fan, maybe because he’s not caring about any genre borders. After a lot of line-up changes, SOULFLY today consists of Max Cavalera (vocals, guitar), Marc Rizzo (guitar), Joe Nunez (drums) and Bobby Burns (bass). http://www.soulfly.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/soulfly
Music & Performance
After a lot of “Good-Temper-Music”, now the evil side of Friday has come. The billing announced SOULFLY as next band whose front man was once mastermind of legendary SEPULTURA. A Brazilian flag on stage announced right from the start of which nationality Max Cavalera is. Furthermore, there were several camouflage nets and some kind of green shaggy shrunken head, connected to the microphone stand, visible on stage which was covered in wafting smoke when Max with a camouflage coloured guitar (fitting to the rest of the decoration) and the rest of the band entered the stage during the intro which was played from tape. Right afterwards, a guitar storm arose.
In the mean time, the space in front of stage was filled up quite well; last newcomers seemed to have left off work. So, there was a lot of movement within the audience when ‘Seek’N’Strike’ from 2002’s ‘3’ sounded through the day. Besides SOULFLY songs, containing besides classical Metal elements also Latin, Brazil and Tribal influences, also some SEPULTURA songs belonged to the set, namely i.e. ‘Roots Bloody Roots’, ‘Chaos A.D.’, ‘Arise’ (with a true high-speed interlude!) and ‘Dead Embryonic Cells’ - all heavily celebrated. But also ‘Jump the Fuck Up’ from the 2000 released ‚Primitive’ album, where very fitting the word „FUCK“ was glowing from the ceiling with help of big lamps, impressed with rapid beats and whining guitars.
During ‘Bleak’ from last album ‘Dark Ages’ suddenly a second singer appeared on stage whose identity so far could not be unveiled. After a fat drum solo - supported by three big cymbals built up on the stage rim, which also guitar players were hitting on - ‘Eye for an Eye’ from the SOULFLY debut was ending the impetuous journey into the Trash Metal genre.
The (International) Noise Conspiracy
THE (INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY (T(I)NC) is more than just a rock band, it is a political statement wrapped in total coolness. The band roots back to 1998 when Dennis (former REFUSED) formed the band in Swedish Umea together with Lars after REFUSED was no longer. After releasing the first songs, due to the fact that Dennis was former singer of REFUSED (people still remember the hardcore hymn ‘New Noise’), a hype around the band started - something the political correct band never was wishing for. But T(I)NC did not jump on the “Hype Train”, did their own thing and released several albums so far. In 2007, the band recorded several new songs and tested them on some live appearances. A new release is expected soon. T(I)NC are Dennis Lyxzén (vocals, tambourine), Ludwig Dahlberg (drums), Lars Strömberg (guitars, vocals) and Inge Johansson (bass, vocals). A yet unknown guy behind the organ replaced bailed out Sara Almgren. http://www.internationalnoise.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/internationalnoiseconspiracy
Music & Performance
Not less impetuous than during the SOULFLY gig it went on with the guys from Sweden - just in different musical orbits. While REFUSED were doing music more the hardcore way, T(I)NC are doing high quality Indie Rock. The band, dressed up in a bit strange looking black suits (Swedes seem to have a fable for a common and a bit odd band look - see THE HIVES), started a quite exalted show where especially singer Dennis was standing in the centre of attention. The set started with the organ based ‘Black Mask’ from 2004’s album ‘Armed Love’ which was recorded together with Rick Rubin (JOHNNY CASH, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, SLAYER), before it went on with brand new tunes, ‘The Assassination of Myself’.
Anyway, the quintet had lots of new stuff on the list for their festival show. To follow were the a bit cumbrous ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ accompanied by harmonica play of Dennis, on whose end he was sunk on his knees on the floor. Also during the groovy ‘Boredom of Safety’ he was laying on the stage planks while he was going into the audience – as previously promised - during ‘Child of God’ where he was carried on the hands of the audience and surfed the crowd. In-between the guys on stage took off their jackets and looked a little bit like members of the “Star Trek” crew in their black pants and red shirts. But they also could have passed for the crew of “Space patrol Orion”. Also the sixties sound, marked especially by the organ like at ‘Washington Bullets’, was very fitting.
Besides that, we shouldn’t forget the rhythm accentuated ‘Smash it up’ out off the 2000 release ‘Survival Sickness’, which came with a long instrumental part as well as the fast tracks ‘Let’s make History’, ‘The way I feel about you’ (both from the album ‘Armed Love’) and the song ‘Capitalism Stole My Virginity’ (released 2001 on ‘A new Morning, chancing Weather’) where the party was boiling again. Dennis was going into the pit again for closer contact to the audience who was thanking with long lasting applause for a great show based on powerful mix of Rock, Soul and Punk with influences of the sixties and seventies; a show that did not only want to spread good mood but also brought critical lyrics about the negative effects of globalisation, capitalism, imperialism, misogyny or racism.
Eagles of Death Metal
Some people are workaholics and Josh Homme seems to be one of them. He came up - besides his other projects (KYUSS, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE) - with the EAGLES OF DEATH METAL (EODM) in 1998 in the line-up consisting of Jesse "The Devil" Hughes (guitar), Loo Balls (vocals), Carlo Von Sexron (aka Josh Homme, drums), Craig Armstrong (bass) and T. Fresh (aka Tom Holton, turntables). The first album was released in spring 2004 when the line-up also included bassist Rex Everything (aka Nick Oliveri) who was just playing on the record and was later on replaced by Tim "Tipover" Vanhamel. Besides the music, a certain gay attitude plays a big role in the band’s image. http://www.eaglesofdeathmetal.net/ / http://www.eagles-of-death-metal.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/eaglesofdeathmetal
Music & Performance
Similar stuff to the previous band should not be expected of EODM. The band’s singer Jesse “The Devil” Hughes can be counted - without any doubts or overstatement - as the “poser of the day”! Unbelievable, what show this guy with porn-sunglasses, moustache and lots of hair gel was presenting! Just during the intro he was stalking like a cock on his chicken run across the stage looking for those ladies who could be introduced to the tall and well-built Confederate-guy after the gig (of course that did not happen, anything was only show! The guys had to leave right after the gig to catch the ferry to UK where they had the next show the day after). We just assumed that the cock affectation was part of the EODM show.
Anyway, the posing definitely was fitting to the fat Garage Rock sound of the Californian eagles who delivered a very entertaining show with songs from their both albums ‘Death by Sexy’ (2006) and ‘Peace Love Death Metal’ (2004). Besides that, Mr. Hughes proved during the ‘Brown Sugar’ cover, that he could take up with Mick Jagger’s hip swivel and chant easily. All the guys on stage are good musicians anyway, even though the string artists offered also a memorable look: (Dracula? VILLAGE PEOPLE anyone?). The appearance was just a well made Rock ‘n’ Roll persiflage with deadly good music and a look to smirk. The guys even could have played a little longer (well, they did at least five minutes), because afterwards scheduled SILVERCHAIR were cancelled without replacement.
Setlist (without notice of completeness)
01. Don’t Speak (I Came To Make A Bang!)
02. Kiss The Devil
03. Bad Mama Dream
04. I Like To Move In The Night
05. English Girl
06. Stuck In The Middle With You (STEALERS WHEEL-Cover)
07. Chase The Devil
08. Flames Go Higher
09. Cherry Cola
10. I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News)
11. Brown Sugar (ROLLING STONES-Cover)
12. I Only Want You
13. Speaking In Tongues
Scheduled SILVERCHAIR who are presenting their current album ‘Young Modern’ at the moment, could not enter the stage at Area4 duo to food poisoning - already the Paris show could not take place. So, the show sadly had to be cancelled. Due to lack of time, no replacement could be found, but NOFX were flexible enough to move up their gig by 90 minutes so no long breaks were annoying the audience.
The roots of NOFK date back until 1983 when two punks decided to found a band. The name of the band was reminiscence to another punk band – NEGATIVE FX – and can stand for "No Effects" on one hand side and also for "NO Fucking straightXedge" on the other side. The first released hit the streets back in 19985. With ‘White Trash, Two Heebs And A Bean’ the band hat its breakthrough in 1992. Late 90s and the years until today are marked by political paroles especially against the US government. NOFX are Fat Mike (vocals, bass), El Hefe (guitar, vocals), Eric Melvin (guitar) and "Mel Yell" Erik Sandin (drums). http://www.nofxofficialwebsite.com/ / http://www.nofx.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/nofx
Music & Performance
The large audience appreciated the band’s decision to play earlier without a big break and scanned loud NOFX-chants to get their heroes up on stage which was in the hand of the punk rockers until midnight. Singer Fat Mike Burkett (also active on bass in ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES) did not miss to make some ironic comments into the SILVERCHAIR direction because rumours said at this time that they disappeared without a trace. During the course of the show, also Mr. George W. Bush was dismissed more than once. Besides racism also politics (especially of Bush) are a common topic in NOFX songs of which on this Friday night dozens have been presented.
The start was done with ‘Dinosaurs Will Die’ - maybe the band sees it similar with the US government whose resignation is longingly awaited (the date is counted backwards) - that much according to ‘A perfect Government’! But I think, for the Area4 fans, joy in music was the main issue on that evening and they really were not disappointed. Band and audience just celebrated a big party where also THE NOFX song ‘Kill all the white Man’ could not be missed out!
Setlist (not complete!)
02. Dinosaurs Will Die
03. Franco Un-American
04. A Perfect Government
05. Leaving Jesusland
06. What’s the Matter With Parents Today
07. Eat The Meek
08. Liza & Louise
09. Can’t Get The Stink Out
10. I Gotta Pee
11. Fuck Da Kids
12. Juice Head
13. I’m Telling Tim
15. Leave It Alone
16. Seeing Double At the Triple Rock
17. The Brews
18. Straight Edge
21. She’s Nubs
23. Bottles To The Ground
24. Whoops I Od’d
25. Kill All The White Men
26. Idiot Son Of An Asshole
Who was still not satisfied so far could enjoy the after show disco at the hangar, BBQ at the camp ground or just taste more of the beverages brought to the festival. I was too tired to stay longer and besides that, two more long festival days were ahead, so I drove home - what was not too far away - to get some good sleep in my own bed.
Written by Daniela Vorndran with friendly help of Ulrike Meyer-Potthoff (Terrorverlag)
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com/ / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography) except LEO CAN DIVE and THE DATSUNS by Karsten Thurau (Terrorverlag)