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Castle Party 2023Bolkow Castle, Bolkow, Poland
13th to 16th July 2023
Castle Party 2023 Day 3 with Her Own World, Lyrre, undertheskin, NNHMN, The Beauty of Gemina, Forced to Mode, Deine Lakaien

On Saturday, the stage was even hotter than the previous day, and I couldn’t help but admire both the artists and the audience who braved the scorching 30-degree heat to be present at the castle and give it their all. Despite the sweltering conditions, a Gothic picnic was also organized in the city park, though the prevailing temperatures deterred many from donning their sophisticated costumes.

Her Own World

The concerts commenced with a performance by one of my favourite acts - HER OWN WORLD. I had the pleasure of seeing this band last year in Prague, in a more intimate setting, and I was absolutely thrilled. Although performing under the relentless sun and deadly heat was undoubtedly challenging for the „vampires from Szczecin”, it did not diminish the quality and power of their show. HER OWN WORLD delivered a fantastic musical experience, with breath-taking performances both vocally and musically, complemented by mesmerizing dance routines and captivating costumes and make-up. The entire presentation formed a beautiful and eye-catching spectacle, making it a truly remarkable concert. Kudos to them for pulling off such an impressive performance under such demanding conditions!

01. Autumn Song (part I)
02. Autumn Song (part II)
03. Jessie
04. Mistrust 
05. Stalker Girl
06. Guarding Angel 
07. Can’t Hear You
08. Happiness  Imperative
09. This Fire
10. My Darkling

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LYRRE is a band hailing from Krakow, founded by Michalina Malisz, a former lyre player of ELUVEITIE, and her husband Piotr Martuś, who handles the guitar. The band’s vision took shape in 2020, and two years later, after Michalina parted ways with the Swiss folk metal legend, Miłosz Buśka (bass guitar) and Tomasz Młóciński (drums) joined the ranks. Together, they released their first singles, showcasing the quartet’s collective talent. During their performance, the musicians delivered a truly phenomenal show, both musically and in terms of stage presence. Their energy, joy, and remarkable charisma were incredibly contagious, making it impossible not to be swept away by their enthusiasm. The powerful and spirited music resonated perfectly on the castle stage, effectively captivating the audience. The guitarists did an outstanding job - their performance was nothing short of exemplary! Great work overall by the entire band, as they showcased their musical prowess with remarkable finesse and passion.

01. Intro
03.North Star
04.Call in the Wind
05.Valley of Tears
06.Chariot of Sun
07.Forgive and Forget
08.Peaceful Chaos
09. Divide and Conquer

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UNDERTHESKIN is a new project led by Void, the vocalist and guitarist of the gothic band DEATHCAMP PROJECT. Since 2016, they have graced many stages, sharing them with renowned acts like THE SOFT MOON, DRAB MAJESTY, COLD CAVE, SOVIET SOVIET, and LEBANON HANNOVER. In their music, they skilfully blend the energy of post-punk with the precision of Coldwave. Both their 2019 album, ‘N E G A T I V E’, and their latest single, ‘Freezing Lights’, have been well-received and praised. In Bolkow, the gentlemen faced a challenging task - performing under the scorching sun and nightmarish heat was undoubtedly an unfavourable environment for their cold-wave music. However, their performance was flawless, displaying unwavering stage energy and top-notch quality.

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The great guitar sounds, Void’s distinct and resonating vocals, combined with a well-matched synth background, created a truly exceptional experience. Despite their minimalist approach to performance, their music spoke volumes for itself, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

01. Poison
02. Borderline
03. Cold
04. Undone
05. Drown
06. Burn
07. Nothere
08. Freezing Lights
09. Wave
10. Done
11. End This Summer

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NNHMN is a captivating dark electronic music duo based in Berlin. Comprised of Lee Margot and Michal Laudarg, they craft moody and thought-provoking compositions, infusing their music with rich and electrifying synth lines, pulsating rhythmic grooves, and hauntingly alluring vocals. Their sonic journey leads them to explore the boundaries of New Brutalist Theatre and experimental electronic music, firmly rooted in the techno culture. I must admit that I eagerly awaited the NNHMN concert, and my anticipation was well-founded. Their previous performance in Dresden during the Cold Hearted Festival, along with the release of their new album ‘Circle of Doom’, promised an exceptional musical experience, and they certainly delivered.

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The concert took place on a somewhat stuffy park stage, lacking fans to mitigate the temperature. I’d like to suggest to the organizers to consider closing the tent to create a separation between the catering zone and the concert area while also providing some form of cooling, such as windmills, to make the space more comfortable, especially during crowded concerts like NNHMN’s. NNHMN’s music is an explosive blend of contrasts, with Lee’s dreamy, delicate, and poetic vocals juxtaposed against strong and uncompromising electronics. The catchy and vibrant energy of the beats infuses the music with an amazing dance charge. Lee’s wonderful and somewhat theatrical stage presence adds to the overall allure of the performance. Their sound is a fusion of dynamism and delicacy, taking the audience on a dreamy and imaginative journey.

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The project received a warm and enthusiastic response, leaving us hopeful for more future visits to Poland. Kudos to Black Ibiza for bringing this outstanding performance to the audience.

01. Der Unweise
02. Vampire
03. Arabische Ritter
04. Magic Man
05. Lush Longing
06. Hungrige Liebe
07. Gloomy Heart
08. Soldier of Beauty
09. Schizophrenic Vitamin
10. Omen

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The Beauty of Gemina

After a brief chat with the artists at the park stage, I made my way back to the main stage, where THE BEAUTY OF GEMINA, a Swiss electronic /alternative rock band founded by Michael Sele in 2006, was already enthralling the audience. Their performance at Castle Party was nothing short of brilliant, with powerful guitar riffs, velvety yet slightly rough and deep vocals, and a beat that reverberated through every fibre of the body. The fast and sparkling melodies were a perfect fit for the grandeur of the castle stage. I was particularly captivated by their renditions of ‘Suicide Landscape’ and ‘One Step To Heaven’, which showcased the band’s impressive musical range and richness.

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Notably, the frontman’s excellent connection with the audience was a huge plus, elevating the overall experience of the concert.

01. Rainbow Man
02. When The Night Is Back In Me
03. Friends Of Mine
04. Suicide Landscape
05. End
06. Rumours
07. Endless Time To See
08. Darkness
09. One Step To Heaven
10. Nine While Nine
11. One Million Stars

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Forced to Mode

FORCED TO MODE evoked extreme emotions among the audience - on one hand, there was undeniable enthusiasm, which, in my opinion, was completely deserved given the spectacular show they delivered. On the other hand, there was some controversy surrounding the idea of a “cover band” attempting to replace the authentic experience of witnessing the real Dave Gahan and DEPECHE MODE. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and fans are free to attend concerts from both FORCED TO MODE and DEPECHE’s “Memento Mori Tour”. Regardless of the controversy, it’s difficult to deny the impressive stage presence, energy, and commitment displayed by the Force To Mode project. Their performances exuded an undeniable sense of joy, captivating the audience effortlessly.

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The combination of beautiful lighting, dynamic showmanship, and a high-class performance ensured that the concert-goers had a fantastic time during the show. While some may argue about the authenticity of a cover band’s performance, the emotional impact and joy they brought to the audience cannot be denied. Ultimately, attending a concert is a personal choice, and each individual’s experience and enjoyment are subjective and valid.

01. Dangerous
02. World In My Eyes
03. Walking In My Shoes
04. Shake The Disease
05. Stripped
06. The Things You Said
07. I Want You Now
08. Everything Counts
09. A Question Of Time
10. Clean
11. Personal Jesus
12. Enjoy The Silence
13. Photographic
14. Never Let Me Down Again

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Deine Lakaien

This project requires no introduction. When I reflect on their concert in Bolkow, which was the pinnacle of Saturday’s performances, the word that comes to mind is “magic”. Their music embodies a perfect blend of strength and delicacy, evoking feelings of romance and nostalgia, all with a subtle touch of humour. The electrifying arrangements breathed new life into their songs, enhanced by a beautiful and spectacular light show, creating an incredible concert atmosphere. Undoubtedly, it stood out as one of the best - if not the best - performances of the entire festival. Alexander Veljanov, with his mesmerizing voice and captivating stage charisma, is like a wizard who effortlessly charms, seduces, and magnetizes the audience. He leads listeners on a transformative journey, where returning to reality becomes a challenge, yet he does it with the utmost class and in a perfect style, compelling everyone to surrender to the magic and applaud with fervour.

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The band’s signature hits like ‘Where You Are’ or ‘Dark Star’, as well as their remarkable covers of songs by PINK FLOYD and THE CURE, culminated in a fantastic setlist, providing a truly enchanting conclusion to the evening. DEINE LAKAIEN showcased their impeccable form, leaving no doubt about their musical prowess. Bravo!

01. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (Pink Floyd cover)
02. Nightfall
03. Over and Done
04. Where You Are
05. Gone Farewell
06. Because the Night (Patti Smith Group cover)
07. Dark Star
08. Reincarnation
09. The Walk (The Cure cover)
10. Return
11. Sick Cinema
12. Because of Because
13. Love Me to the End

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All Pictures by Karo Kratochwil

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