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Tanzbrunnen, Cologne, Germany
19th to 20th July 2008
Amphi Festival Day 1 Main Stage: Mina Harker, Cinderella Effect, Zeromancer, Welle:Erdball, Zeraphine, Covenant, Deine Lakaien, Oomph! 

The weather forecast promised nothing good but the man up in the clouds showed some sympathy for all the Gothic people gathering at the Tanzbrunnen in Cologne for the fourth Amphi Festival. This time, the festival was totally sold out with about 12,000 people each day and so, it was partly pretty packed. Anyway, all the fans of dark music were celebrating a festival with a peaceful and friendly attitude that doesn’t fit to their dark look at first sight. With 34 bands on 2 stages - Open Air as well as in the theatre - the fest offered anything for anyone. The main stage on the first festival day was headlined by OOMPH! who will release their new album soon. Furthermore such big names like DEINE LAKAIEN or COVENANT were on the bill besides some newcomers. [DV]

Amphi Cup [DV]

In the extended frame of the Amphi Festival 2008, respectively on Friday, 18th July, the very first Amphi Cup took place. In the hall of the Cologne “Indoor Soccer Wessels Ltd” the biggest indoor football arena in Europe, five teams consisting music notables, Amphi attendees, sponsors, organizers and representatives of the media were stepping up for the hunt after the rolling ladder. On the side of the musicians you could COVENANT, members of FUNKER VOGT or ZERAPHINE. More musicians were playing in the “Devotee Team” – Torben Wendt and Felix Marc of DIORAMA were part of the lucky winner team. But in fact, there was another winner: the cologne children’s hospice under the sponsorship of pole vault Olympia winner Heike Henkel, who has dedicated her work to the care and support of handicapped children and their relatives since April 2006. The hospice was supported with every ticket by.

Mina Harker [JU]

Opening the first festival day is a band, whose history remains in the dark, hidden behind a curtain of the blackest night. The only clear thing is that MINA HARKER is working on material, together with producer Georg Kaleve (Subway to Sally, De/Vision) for what might become the first album or EP of the band. The band MINA HARKER is Alexander Gorodezki (guitars, programming) and Ms. Mina Harker herself, doing lead vocals and additional programming.

Music & Performance
Invited by music mag Orkus, one of the presentators of the Amphi festival, the “Orkus newcomer 2008” MINA HARKER entered the stage and found a small but growing crowd in front of the stage. Many people were still queuing outside and those who managed to get inside finally walked to the stage to get a glimpse on this so far absolutely unknown band. MINA HARKER were announced as Gothic Rock, I would rather call it dark Pop with lots of heavy guitars and some electronics. However, MINA HARKER sounded very professional and it has to be suspected that the band members are no newbies to the music scene. But the most impressing thing was the excellent voice of Mina Harker herself, who works as a singing teacher, as rumour has it.

A pretty impeccable performance for such a new band, the music was a bit too mainstream-ish for my personal tastes but it was no surprise that MINA HARKER attracted more and more people to the main stage. And this was surely not just because no-one else was playing at this early time. ;-) I guess we will hear the name MINA HARKER pretty often in the near future!

01. Letzter Kuss
02. Tiefer
03. Bis zum Tod
04. Engel
05. Wie im Traum
06. Nacht
07. Tränen
08. Fühlst Du mich

Music: 7
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8

Cinderella Effect [CL]

Constance Rudert, well-known through her activities in the Chris Pohl project BLUTENGEL, now embarks on a solo mission with her own project CINDERELLA EFFECT. Over one and a half year, she locked herself in the studio with a handful of guest musicians to work on the debut album ‘Pearls’, which hit the shops in October 2006. CINDERELLA EFFECT is Constance Rudert (songwriting, vocals), Coralie Thomas & Katja Gutowski (backing vocals). /

Music & Performance
CINDERELLA EFFECT played a set of eight songs, mostly bad cover versions of good songs from other bands like ZEROMANCER, PROJECT PITCHFORK or VNV NATION. The performance seemed like a karaoke show, the music was played from tape and only a few violin parts were played live. The female violin player in the background of the stage was waiting most of the time and played only from time to time some bars at her violin. The three female singers did their job in the foreground and after about 30 minutes they left the stage.

01. Intro
02. Clone your Lover (Zeromancer cover)
03. Wenn die Liebe ein Engel ist
04. Zombie (Cranberries cover)
05. Timekiller (Project Pitchfork cover)
06. Summerwine (HIM cover)
07. Darkest Hour
08. Uninvited
09. Standing (VNV Nation cover)

Music: 2
Performance: 4
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 3.5

Zeromancer [JU]

Rising from the Ashes of their previous bands, Kim Ljung and Erik Ljunggren gave birth to ZEROMANCER in 1999 to create something that should be much more different. First time was spent with the composition of new songs. Soon the line-up was completed with a drummer, singer and guitarist and the search for a producer could start. Not as easy as you might think it is, but in the end they found the right one with James Saez and soon the debut ‘Clone your Lover’ was finished. In the following time they grew to a regarded live act with festival gigs at the M’era Luna as well as small club tours. After the less successful album ‘Eurotrash’ ZEROMANCER tried out a different path on their third album ‘Zzyzx’, playing with a more catchy approach. ZEROMANCER is Alex Møklebust (vocals), Kim Ljung (bass, vocals), Noralf Ronthi (drums), Erik Ljunggren (programming) and Chris Schleyer (guitar).

Music & Performance
It was quite a while since I saw ZEROMANCER live the last time so it’s perhaps a pity that I saw them only from the back at the Amphi, but it was quite nice to get a nice overview of the entire main stage area. And ZEROMANCER still know how to rock a crowd! Their last album release was incredible five years ago (time to release something new, boys!) but ZEROMANCER’s live reputation makes sure that many people wanted to see them at the Amphi, and I’m sure that they won a lot of new fans with this gig as well. They started with their classic smasher ‘Need You Like A Drug’ (from 2001’s ‘Eurotrash’ album) to continue with ‘Doppelganger I love You’, which was only released as a promo single in 2007 but which is very familiar for all fans as it has been performed live many times over the last few years. ‘Clone Your Lover’, perhaps ZEROMANCER’s biggest hit, followed and it did what it always does to a crowd - it rocked everybody big time!

The remainder of ZEROMANCER’s set went from material from all of their three albums to new material (which fuelled the hope that there will be a new album soon, finally) and finished with the hit single ‘Doctor Online’ and the harsh Industrial Metal attack ‘Fade to Smack’. The boys around Alex Møklebust are still not only eye candy for the girls *g* but they also still know how to put on a great show. Just in case I haven’t mentioned it yet - it’s time for a new ZEROMANCER album!

01. Intro
02. Need you like a Drug
03. Doppelganger I love you
04. Clone Your Lover
05. My Little Tragedy
06. Cupola
07. I’m Yours to lose
08. Sounds like Love
09. Doctor Online
10. Fade to Smack

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8.7

Welle:Erdball [CL]

This band connects the aesthetic and elegance of past days with the conveniences of the present. Since 1994, the radio station WELLE:ERDBALL broadcasts 24 hours a day, with 1000 giga watts. The very first broadcast ‘Frontalaufprall’ established a trademark sound dominated by sounds, coming out of a C64, which remained  fixed element of their style ever since. Their most recent album ‘Chaos Total’ already dates back to 2006, but showed the band as ironic and playful as ever. In April 2008, they’ve released a very special pink vinyl ‘Ich bin aus Plastik’ (I’m made of plastic), limited to a 1000 copies. WELLE:ERDBALL is Honey (sounds, lyrics, vocals), ALF (planning, conception, programming) Plastique (vocals) and Frl. Venus (vocals) /

Music & Performance
Honey who was the announcer of the main stage for the whole festival announced his own band too and stayed right on stage after his own announcement. WELLE:ERDBALL is known for their imaginative and diversified shows and at this Amphi festival once again they complied the expectations of their fans. At the background of the stage was arranged a large polythene sheet which was painted by spray paint during the show with pictures and slogans. The booth female band members were dressed in sexy black varnish outfits and blond wigs and began to paint the background yet during the first song, later the other guys joined too. The setlist included popular hits like ‘Arbeit adelt’ or ‘Starfighter F104 G’, the last single called ‘Plastik’ and a new song.

The usual show elements like the oil barrel during ‘Arbeit adelt’ or the paper planes at ‘Starfighter F104 G’ were not missed and were combined with some new elements. At the last song the girls painted themselves with the spay paint and at the encore they put off their tops and spent those to the crowd. After 40 minutes WELLE:ERDBALL left the stage and the crowd was satisfied.

01. Funkbereit!
02. Wir wollen keine Menschen sein
03. 0179-1923954
04. Ich bin aus Plastik
05. Starfighter F-104G
06. Und es geht ab
07. Arbeit adelt
08. Monoton + Minimal
09. Es geht voran

Music: 8
Performance: 10
Sound: 9
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 9

Zeraphine [CL]

The foundation stone for ZERAPHINE has been laid by Norman Selbig and Sven Friedrich after their former band DREADFUL SHADOWS quit in 2000. Together with producer Tommy Hein, the first album ‘Kalte Sonne’ was recorded and then released in 2002. It was completely sung in German, contrary to second album ‘Traumaworld’ comprising of mixed German and English lyrics and a nice cover of the DEPECHE MODE track ‘In Your Room’. The third album ‘Blind Camera’, released in 2005 left confided territory and turned to heavier guitar riffs and harder arrangements, still the dominating factor was Sven’s charismatic voice. Their fourth album ‘Still’ was the first album, release by their own label, which the band founded after their previous record deal ended. ZERAPHINE is Sven Friedrich (vocals), Norman Selbig (guitar), Manuel Senger (guitar), Michael Nepp (bass) and Marcellus Puhlemann (drums). /  

Music & Performance
ZERAPHINE did a dedicated performance; the set ran about 50 minutes and included 12 songs, taken from different periods of band history. The soulful voice of the charismatic singer Sven makes the difference to other bands of this genre and once again they satisfied the audience with their impressive performance. Highlights of the setlist were ‘Die Wirklichkeit’ and ‘Be my rain’; the crowd was dancing and clapping hands. After about 50 minutes the show finished with ‘Flieh mit mir’.

01. Intro
02. Die Macht in Dir
03. I’ll follow you
04. No more Doubts
05. Ohne Dich
06. Jede Wahrheit
07. Still
08. Nichts aus Liebe
09. Die Wirklichkeit
10. Be my Rain
11. Inside your Arms
12. Traumaworld
13. Flieh mit mir

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 9
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8.2

Covenant [CL]

It was in 1992, when three school friends founded the band COVENANT just for the sake of producing good electronic music. No one would have guessed at that time, that this was the natal hour of what one day should grow up to one of the most successful acts in the electronic music scene. Albums like the debut ‘Dreams of a Cryotank’ and the following ‘Sequencer’ are classics for every electronic music freak; and together with VNV NATION and APOPTYGMA BERZERK, they’re considered as the inventors of what would eventually be called ‘Future Pop’.

On their 2002 release ‘Northern Light’ indeed were some Future Pop tracks like ‘Call The Ships to Port’ and ‘We Stand Alone’ but to reduce the whole album to that genre, like quite a few fans did, wouldn’t exactly do it justice, as it also includes lesser accessible tracks like ‘Winter Comes’ or ‘Rising Sun’, but with the release of COVENANT’s most recent album ‘Skyshaper’ everything seemed to be in tune again for everyone. Meanwhile Clas Nachmanson left the band and sound-wizard Daniel Myer took his place, who had accompanied the band on several live shows before. COVENANT is Eskil Simonsson (vocals, songwriter), Joakim Montelius (keyboards, songwriter) and Daniel Myer (keyboards, synths, production). /

Music & Performance
Daniel Myer, who played with his project HAUJOBB at the second stage until a few minutes before the COVENANT show, entered the stage first, followed by Joakim who used crutches because he hurt his leg at the soccer match on Friday. Last but not least Eskil, the charismatic singer, entered the stage and the show was started with ‘Monochrome’. The setlist consisted of some songs from the current album like ‘20 Hz’ or ‘Ritual Noise’ completed by older and popular songs like ‘Dead Stars’, ‘Bullet’ or ‘Stalker’. Joakim did a good job in spite of his handicap, Daniel just was warmed up after his gig with HAUJOBB and played additional drums during several songs again and Eskil performed the songs in his usual great style. Altogether it was a good show which ended unfortunately too soon with ‘Ritual Noise’.

01. Monochrome
02. Bullet
03. Figurehead
04. The Men
05. Stalker
06. Invisible & Silent
07. 20Hz
08. Dead Stars
09. We stand alone
10. Ritual Noise

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 9

Deine Lakaien [KM]

DEINE LAKAIEN are an exceptional appearance in Germany's music landscape. Their music doesn’t fit in any genre drawings you could open or imagine and is by no means aiming for any commercial success, moving between the poles of ambient, classic, avant-garde, rock and god knows what else, yet the classically-trained composer Ernst Horn and singer Alexander Veljanov have great success for over 20 years now and it all started out so simple: with a newspaper ad from Ernst Horn in a city magazine that pretty much sounded like this: “Looking for open-minded singer”. Alexander Veljanov reacted on the ad and met Ernst. During this encounter they found out that they shared a common spirit and musical preferences. DEINE LAKAIEN was born. Last year a dream came true for this exceptional two-piece, they played a whole tour with a real orchestra to celebrate their 20th anniversary and for that occasion many of the songs we’re completely re-arranged.  /

Music & Performance
DEINE LAKAIEN's concert could be described as the 'classic' one. Starting from the crew accompanying Alexander and Ernst onstage (violinists, backing vocalists, guitarists and cellist) to the songs presented: strong, appealing pieces like ‘Colourize’, ‘Over and Done’, ‘Into my Arms’, ‘Where you Are’, ‘Overpaid’, ‘Return’, ‘Follow me’, ‘Generators’, ‘Reincarnation’ and the most lyrical ‘Love me to the End’ to close the concert. Surely the power of the music is incredible: dark, sensual vocal of Alexander Veljanov (which is great for vocalic pranks as I could hear - singing like a young trading prostitute in ‘Overpaid’ was a catchy trick indeed) finely interwoven with sonic matter (rich in instrumental ornaments as far as I could notice) stood for a perfectly balanced, enchanting concert. All in all: the quality of the music presented by the band is stable: fanciful melodic lines featuring growing sounds of the piano and violin, rebellious guitars and the beauty of lyrics are as enchanting as ever.

01. Colourize
02. Over and Done
03. Into my Arms
04. Generators
05. Vivre
06. Reincarnation
07. Where you are
08.  Return
09. Overpaid
10. Dark Star
11. Follow me
12. Love me to the End

Music: 10
Performance: 8
Sound: 10
Light: 8
Total: 9.2

Oomph! [CL]

For almost 20 years, this band is a true force in the independent music scene. Albums like ‘Defekt’ (1995) and the unbelievably successful conceptual album ‘Wunschkind’ are milestones with their unique fusion of the electronic world with the unrelenting power. Every new album opened another door and critics overthrew themselves in trying to categorize the sound and with their 1999 output ‘Plastik’ they finally made their breakthrough in catapulting their music into the German Charts. 2003 was the year of change. OOMPH! signed to the Major label GUN Records and in the eyes of many old fans, they sound drifted into a more commercially and mainstream oriented direction from there on with the two albums ‘Wahrheit oder Pflicht’ or ‘GlaubeLiebeTod’, but maybe OOMPH! just sound like they wanna sound. Whether you like that direction or not, it is and stays a matter of personal taste. The new album ‘Monster’ is planned for a release in late summer. OOMPH! are Dero (vocals, drums), Crap (guitar, keyboards) and Flux (guitar, sampling). /

Music & Performance
OOMPH! entered the stage as the headliner of Saturday, all band members clothed in black, except the singer who was clothed in white and with a straitjacket. The set was starting with ‘Träumst Du’ after the intro, followed by some mostly newer songs. Singer Dero was surfing the crowd just at one of the first songs and often he tried to animate the crowd, but only the first rows followed him, most part of the audience seemed not really excited. During older songs like ‘Das weiße Licht’ or ‘Gekreuzigt’ the temper rose higher but most songs were taken from the newer band history, much to the disappointment of the long-time fans. Altogether I was under whelmed; maybe it would have been better to change the slots of OOMPH and COVENANT or DEINE LAKAIEN because I think they would have been a better headliner. Anyway, after about 60minutes OOMPH! finished the main set with ‘Augen auf!’ and left the stage. Inspired by a few requests for encore they came back for three more songs and after it the singer finally performed an a-capella version of ‘Der neue Gott’.

01. Intro Biolabs (new)
02. Träumst Du
03. Unsere Rettung
04. Keine Luft mehr
05. Du willst es doch auch
06. Fieber
07. Wach auf (new)
08. Die Schlinge
09. Sex hat keine Macht
10. Mitten ins Herz
11. Das letzte Streichholz
12. Das weisse Licht
13. Mein Schatz
14. Gekreuzigt
15. Niemand
16. Augen auf!
17. Brennende Liebe
18. Gott ist ein Popstar
19. Menschsein
20. Der neue Gott (a-capella)

Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 9
Light: 7
Total: 7.1

Written by Daniela Vorndran [DV] and overall editor, Sebastian Huhn all band intros, Karolina Moszkowicz [KM], J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch [JU] and Carsten Leopold [CL]

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / /


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