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dark electro festival dasich byAileenRitterIMG 4766Movie, Bielefeld, Germany
25th November 2023
Dark Electro Festival IV with Scheuber, Beyond Border, Alienare, Das Ich

For the first time after the pandemic, the team from Schwarzbrot Dark Event Solutions invites to the Dark Electro Festival at the Movie in Bielefeld. The special thing about tonight: DAS ICH, SCHEUBER, BEYOND BORDER, and ALIENARE - each act will have the same stage time of 50 to 60 minutes. Additionally, each pre-sale ticket will participate in a small raffle.

But wait a minute. Bielefeld? That doesn’t exist! At least that’s what a conspiracy theory born out of a party mood in the 90s claims, spread by the computer science student Achim Held in 1994. The sci-fi-like story about Bielefeld’s mysterious non-existence was meant to mock common conspiracy theories and quickly gained widespread attention. Nowadays, there’s a variety of theories about what’s actually up with Bielefeld. For instance, it’s supposedly just the access point to the lost city of Atlantis. Another theory suggests that alien “green men” disguise their spaceship as the University of Bielefeld to conceal their own existence from humanity. Maybe today we can finally disprove these and other theories and prove the existence of the largest city in the East Westphalia-Lippe region in the district of Detmold.

But wait a minute. Green men? Aliens? ALIENARE? Hm, maybe there’s something to these rumours after all? Where’s the Doctor when you need him, huh? Alright, then I suppose we’ll have to get to the bottom of this ourselves. Without a Tardis, our little investigative team has no choice but to embark on this journey into the unknown by car. We feed the onboard computer with the coordinates of the mysterious location and commence our expedition. It’s the 25th of November 2023, 5:00 PM. The computer guides our vehicle through hidden paths, never mentioning the name of our destination even once. Yet, the signs of its existence become more apparent as we near the coordinates. What might be waiting for us? Will we be led to nowhere? Might we stumble into the event horizon of a black hole, get pulled in, and vanish forever? Or will a portal between worlds lead us to another universe? Since you’re currently reading these lines, evidently none of that has happened, and we’ve safely returned home. But first things first, but not necessarily in that order.

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After a good hour, we cross the border of the legendary city without any incidents. And shortly after, we reach the city centre of Bielefeld, where the Movie is located directly at the Bahnhofsplatz. And there’s no Atlantis to be seen here. We’re a bit disappointed. But there’s still that theory about the “green men” that we’re supposed to investigate. Maybe something mysterious will happen today after all. In any case, we’re prepared and staying alert. Clues of extra-terrestrial presence start to intensify at the scene. At least, here and there, something green has snuck in among the predominantly black-clad visitors of the former cinema. Good thing I’m also equipped with a green tie for camouflage. One is prepared. Just don’t stand out. Our investigation isn’t over yet.

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If there really is a conspiracy here, we haven’t discovered any further signs yet. Even when they let us in shortly after 7:00 PM, there’s nothing unusual to note. Except that the charming location might seem a bit bigger from the inside. To the right of the entrance area, there’s a lovingly arranged event café with a bar and its own small stage. In the former cinema hall, there are several seating areas, another bar, and a small niche where the performing artists display their merchandise. Everything is very charming and lovingly designed. But we won’t be deceived by the cosy atmosphere and the friendly staff; we’ll remain vigilant.

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Above the small dance floor in front of the stage floats a glittering sphere, and several lights are attached to the structure. Could it be a secret communication device? Also, above the stage, lights are arranged in two rows. Some of them seem capable of movement. And what’s that? On the stage, there are two conspicuous boxes labelled “ALIENARE”. A clue? Perhaps we should split up. There’s something off about the floor here; it’s somehow slanted. At least our investigators positioned at the back of the hall can still keep an eye on everything. The rest of the agent team positions themselves at the front of the stage to observe the proceedings from here.

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The area in front of the stage gradually fills up. Yet, the visitors are still dispersing among the different spaces. Some settle down on one of the many seats or enjoy a cold drink at the bar, while others visit the artists’ market stands. On some of the offered goods, a strange inscription can be seen. “Moin” is written there. A secret alien greeting? The mostly black clothing is occasionally interrupted by green fabrics. We don’t let our tension show, mingle a bit more among the crowd, and try to extract some clues from the present attendees, among whom a few artists have also mixed. Unfortunately, we’re unable to expose any conspirators, so we proceed to our observation posts.

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23rd of November 2023, 7:44 PM. Dirk Scheuber, also known as Scheubi, quietly steps onto the stage, almost unnoticed. He’s followed by Markus and guest keyboardist Heiko Lachmann (TOAL). And then, it begins. “Good evening, Bielefeld, our name is SCHEUBER, well, mine is.” They dive right into ‘Mindflux’. There’s still some space in front of the stage, but it quickly fills up. The sound at the front of the stage could be a bit richer. Conversely, there seems to be almost too much bass in the back rows. It’s not an easy task for the sound engineer to mix the right sound. And what about the lighting technology mentioned earlier? Only a few spots are operational on the stage. The moving heads are directed toward the rear screen and remain largely unused. Why the rest of the lights aren’t in operation remains a mystery. On the screen, there are peculiar symbols visible.

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However, all of this doesn’t diminish the atmosphere. ‘Tetatest’ and ‘Helium’ do their magic, and the audience is thrilled from the start. “So, next one is ‘Compulsion’ from the last album”, played today in the RUINED CONFLICT remix. It gets people moving, and hardly anyone is standing still. Songs like ‘Lotus’ and the DEAD OR ALIVE cover ‘You Spin Me Round’ not only make Scheubi sweat. He didn’t “intend to sweat that much”, and then takes it “a bit calmer” with ‘3AM’. Dancing is the order of the day, and Scheubi also receives vocal support from the audience, although he actually doesn’t need it. I find his live vocals even better than the recorded ones. “So, now the last song for tonight. Then I wish you a lot of fun and a wonderful evening with BEYOND BORDER, ALIENARE, and DAS ICH.” Then, Scheubi also wishes everyone Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. “Love each other! Kiss each other, hug each other, and have kids if you want.” After ‘Prediction,’ it’s time to say goodbye. Or maybe not?

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The audience is demanding an encore, forcefully. “Sorry, but I’m not allowed. I believe I’m not allowed. Or?” Boss Stefanie decides, “One more!” and earns a big round of applause. The audience celebrates once more to ‘Cosmic Voids’ and cheers the musicians off the stage at half-past eight.

01. Mindflux
02. Tetatest
03. Helium
04. Compulsion (RUINED CONFLICT remix)
05. Lotus
06. You Spin Me Round (DEAD OR ALIVE cover)
07. 3AM
08. Tempo
09. Prediction
10. Cosmic Voids

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Beyond Border

While the stage is being rearranged, the rows behind us clear up as if by magic. However, as the brief sound check progresses, it slowly starts to get crowded again, and somehow, it’s getting pretty warm too. We can definitely rule out ghostly activities. It’s still the 25th of November 2023, and it’s now 8:58 PM. Deity and K.T. come on stage, and singer Iggi follows them. The microphone seems to have a slight glitch, and at the beginning, it’s challenging to hear the singer’s distinctive voice. Sabotage? Did someone mess with it? That doesn’t seem to be the case, and after a few seconds, Iggi is fully present. The sound overall seems better to me now. Unfortunately, the available lighting technology continues to be more or less underutilized. Are they trying to deceive us? Was the lighting technician abducted and secretly replaced by a replicant? It remains mysterious.

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On the screen, there are once again peculiar symbols visible. They even move and travel from right to left in various colours. Are they trying to hypnotize us, perhaps? To achieve that, all it takes is Iggi’s distinctive voice and ‘What Makes The World Go Round.’ BEYOND BORDER mean business and immediately kick it into high gear. Deity and K.T. complement each other on the backings throughout the set, and the audience mostly joins in singing loudly. After the opener, there’s hardly any time to applaud, so everyone just continues clapping along to the rhythm of ‘Number 23’. Iggi amps up the crowd, who is dancing exuberantly in front of the stage, and Deity frequently joins Iggi at the front. Are they just trying to distract us from the actual events? Are they summoning an alien being? Maybe this is simply a wild party.

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During this ‘Journey’ through the band’s musical repertoire, both on and off the stage, there’s plenty of fun to be had. You get to hear “something bright” or better ‘Radiant’, something “from the 80s” (‘The Damned Don’t Cry’), and “the next single” (‘New Start’). Both the older tracks and the songs from the upcoming album ‘Gathering’, slated for release in January (mark your calendars for the 26th of January 2024), are consistently celebrated. Iggi frequently expresses his gratitude and joy by blowing kisses or bowing to us. And then ‘Immortal Stars’. If “we will reach the stars / leave the darkness / we will be illuminated” was supposed to be an attempt by extra-terrestrial forces to influence us, at least in one person in the room, it was only moderately successful.

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Nevertheless, the moving heads occasionally come into play now, and sometimes illuminate the stage. But people are here for the music, and we’re enjoying it to the fullest. Therefore, even after their last song ‘Stand’, BEYOND BORDER aren’t allowed to leave just yet and are loudly complimented back onto the stage. The encore ‘Cry Little Sister’ is dedicated by the trio to the organizer, Stefanie Heinovski. The encore and the organizer receive their well-deserved applause, and then Iggi gives all once again, pushing his vocal cords to the limit. With a collective bow, the three musicians bid farewell to the stage just before ten. In spring, they will be on tour with BEYOND OBSESSION, so keep your eyes and ears open.

01. What Makes The World Go Round
02. Number 23
03. Journey
04. Pry Open
05. Jump Into The Fire
06. Radiant
07. The Damned Don’t Cry
08. Aching
09. New Start
10. Immortal Stars
11. Stand
12. Cry Little Sister

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The signs pointing towards a possible extra-terrestrial existence are increasing. Clearly visible on the screen is “ALIENARE”. Then, peculiar packages are brought onto the stage. What could this mean? But let’s recall. All pre-sale tickets are eligible for a raffle. The three lucky winners will receive a SCHEUBER T-shirt, the current SCHEUBER album, and a high-quality BEYOND BORDER banner. Additional prizes will be drawn between the next two performances.

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We’re still on the 25th of November 2023. It’s 20 minutes past ten when Timo storms onto the stage. Tim follows shortly after, and now the disco ball above the dance floor shines in green light. Despite the green striking hairstyles, shimmering green jackets and neon-green ties, the two persons on stage don’t turn out to be “green men”. And “ALIENARE” is nothing more than the Italian word for “to alienate” or “estrangement”. So, this theory seems to be nothing more than a rumour. At least today, we don’t find any evidence here that confirms an extra-terrestrial presence. Therefore, we can focus on the stage action. And after all, ALIENARE is a “participation band”, as Tim and Timo like to call themselves.

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Tim whirls around the stage, crossing from side to side, while Tim engages in acrobatic workouts behind the keyboard. Both encourage the audience to participate continuously. Together, we all sparkle during ‘Crystalline’. There’s clapping, singing along, dancing and frequently, arms raised high. This dynamic duo delivers a highly energetic set. ‘Move’, not “Muh”, is the motto. And to avoid overwhelming us, it quickly turns into “Moin”, which isn’t a secret greeting from aliens but a standard greeting in Northern Germany. They quickly get warm too, shedding their glittering jackets. Yet, they’ve also woven in quieter, intense moments. For ‘World Away’ Timo leaves the stage, leaving Tim alone at the keyboard.

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The Hamburg based musician once again proves how much his vocal abilities have evolved over the last years. During ‘Mission Abort’ Tim ventures through the audience, and ‘#neon’ cranks up the tempo before Tim announces ‘Emerald’ as today’s final song. As a farewell gesture, Tim shakes hands with the front-row spectators. However, ALIENARE doesn’t quite manage to leave the stage. While Tim bids farewell, the audience loudly demands an encore. Tim notices that everyone “had a bit of fun after all” and the party continues with ‘Arrival’. Then, everyone raises a cheer for the “greatest backliner there is” because it’s his birthday today. Finally, Tim and Timo are escorted off the stage amidst the cheers and applause from the audience.

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At 11:30 PM, the rows briefly thin out once more, providing a short breather before the contrasted program. But before that, there’s the final part of the raffle. Organizer Stefanie draws three more winners, who will be pleased with a lanyard, a shot glass, and an advent calendar from ALIENARE, and wishes us “lots of fun with DAS ICH.”

01. Life (Is Too Short)
02. Departure
03. Diamonds
04. My Shadow
05. The Book of Life
06. The Colour of my Soul
07. Never Too Late
08. Crystalline
09. World Away
10. Wrong
11. Move
12. Mission Abort
13. Freedom
14. #Neon
15. Emerald
16. Arrival

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Das Ich

DAS ICH have been shaping the black scene for about 35 years and are accustomed to much larger stages. For their performance in this relatively small venue by their standards, the pioneers of the Neue Deutsche Todeskunst (New German Death Art) return to their roots. Three microphones and two “wheeled walkers” as Stefan later calls Bruno’s and Sven’s mobile keyboards, are more than enough for the trio to captivate the audience. The stage lighting remains true to its minimalist approach. However, just the striking makeup of the three musicians, the wild dance of the keyboards, and Stefan’s extraordinary facial expressions and performance are more than sufficient to catapult us into the circle of hell.

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And yes, we’re still (albeit just for a few more minutes) on the 25th of November 2023. It’s 11:54 PM when the room fills up again. For a moment, I consider if there are shape-shifters in the room. The faces around me are mostly entirely different from before. But I quickly dismiss the thought. The intro begins. Five minutes later, Bruno, Stefan, and Sven are enthusiastically welcomed, igniting the fires of hell. The set, drawing from the band’s entire body of work, immediately captivates the audience. Stefan makes faces, performs ecstatic dances, encourages the audience to join in, and repeatedly holds the microphone in front of the faces of those in the front rows, urging them to sing along and scream. An eccentric, expressive performance, completely crazy yet still endearing. During ‘Lazarus’ the artist can’t stay on stage any longer and moves clapping through the audience, while Bruno on stage also encourages the audience to clap along. He, too, repeatedly prompts the viewers to shout along and gets them fired up.

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Bruno and Sven make the mobile keyboards dance. The instruments, fixed on wheels, practically glide back and forth across the small stage, performing occasionally wild dances. Amidst all the darkness and seriousness of the performance, the musicians radiate plenty of joy and warmth. Stefan expresses his gratitude repeatedly by forming a heart over his chest. Bruno doesn’t miss the chance to thank the organizers of “this wonderful festival” either. These “small, lovingly arranged events” are so important for our scene. After tracks like ‘Die Propheten’, ‘Der Schrei’, ‘Sodom und Gomorra’, ‘Kain und Abel’ and many more, it’s shortly after 1 AM when they bid, “Bielefeld! Thank you very much and good night.” But these three musicians aren’t released from duty so quickly either.

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Intense applause, loud cheers, and ongoing calls for an encore fill the room. After a few minutes, the musicians return for one final song. What might that be? ‘Destilat’ resounds loudly through the air. However, the gentlemen are "all a bit hard of hearing", so Bruno asks again which song they should play. “Destilat!” shouts everyone as if speaking with one voice, and that seems loud enough. Stefan steps forward onto the small staircase in the middle in front of the monitors, and Sven and Bruno make the “wheeled walkers” dance once more. Everyone in the hall sings the last song together. “Thank you! Thank you very much for coming. Thank you for this wonderful festival. And if you feel like it, you can meet us right there at the merchandise stand. See you in a bit. Bye.”

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After the show, some continue to dance on the dance floor or enjoy a cold beer in the event café. Others make another visit to the merchandise stand for a chat with the artists still present.

01. Intro / Die Propheten
02. Der Schrei
03. Kannibale
04. Lazarus
05. Krieg im Paradies
06. Garten Eden
07. Sodom und Gomorra
08. Uterus
09. Engel
10. Kain und Abel
11. Gottes Tod
12. Destilat

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As we start our journey back around half-past one, it seems certain: Bielefeld does indeed exist. However, an extra-terrestrial conspiracy, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to exist either. But wait a minute. Somehow, I don’t remember anything about the journey home. Could we have been abducted after all? Okay, okay. I probably just fell asleep and woke up again shortly before reaching the front door. It’s a good thing I didn’t have to drive today for myself.

All Pictures by Aileen Ritter

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