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Club Fabrica, Bucharest, Romania
14th February 2009
1st Romanian Darkfest: Negru Latent, Das Ich, In Strict Confidence, Diary of Dreams

Dedicated readers of our magazine already recognized that we were travelling to different places all over Europe to see DIARY OF DREAMS. We have been in Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, France or the UK. Now, DIARY OF DREAMS was announced to headline the 1st Romanian Darkfest in Bucharest and we booked our ride very fast. Together with DoD, also German IN STRICT CONFIDENCE and DAS ICH were booked for the festival taking place in the Fabrica Club.

Our ride already started at Friday, 13th February (yeah, perfect travel date). Of course we had to go the day before the show so we had at least some time to explore the city. And what a city! Full of (positive) surprises! But first things first! After a relaxed morning and a nice breakfast, we were driving to Dortmund airport from where our flight to Bucharest’s Banasea airport was leaving. I must admit that we did not know what to expect from the city and after all the stories we had heard, we were also a bit worried. But at times when you did expect nothing, always positive things happen. And so, it happened to us.

At the airport we caught one of the cabs and had a very kind taxi driver explaining the city to us during our ride to the hotel and giving us lots of tips which sights we definitely need to visit. After arriving at the hotel and a short walk through the surrounding area, we went to bed pretty early to be prepared for extensive sightseeing the day after. Saturday at around ten, after an extended breakfast, we headed for the nearest underground station to start the sightseeing tour in the nearer surrounding of the university. Standing at the track at the tube station we might have looked a bit lost trying to find out which direction to take. Immediately we got help (without even questioning it) from a guy explaining which train to take and where to change at the next station. Very helpful, thanks a lot! And more such little things happened. People were just very nice, friendly and helpful. Nothing we did expect and nothing we know from home. We really felt welcome.

Our way through the city was leading us from the university to the Piata Unirii (Unirii Square) and the to the Lipscani district with a lot of historic buildings, churches and the remains of “Curtea Veche”, the royal court in Bucharest during the Middle Ages where you can also find a statue of Wallachian prince Vlad III the Impaler. Further we went along the river to reach the park in front of the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon: Casa Poporului - Palace of the Parliament where we had a nice picnic in the sun. Then we visited the Carol Park with the Mausoleum, formerly known as Hero's monument in Communist times, from where you have a fantastic view over the city.

Last station of our tour through the city was the Bellu cemetery, a very nice and varied cemetery which could be compared to the central cemetery in Vienna or Pere Lachaise in Paris. After hours of walking it was finally time for a typical Romanian dinner which we took in the Lipscani district in the wonderful restaurant “Crama Domneasca” with its historic flair. We even got a German speaking waiter who was caring for us during our stay. This was a very obliging treatment we received there and proved again how nice people were.

Finally it was time to return to the hotel and get ready for the concert evening. When we arrived at Fabrica Club, already a lot of people gathered in the club waiting for the fest to begin. First band to enter was one we did not really expect because it was not announced to us… it was Romanian NEGRU LATENT what means “latent darkness” in English. There is not much information to find in the net – just some stuff in Romanian language – but it was nice to see a local band opening the fest. Ruxandra (vocals); Dragos (keyboards) and Serban (guitar) presented just very few songs and soon made room for the three German bands.

Das Ich

The band around Bruno Kramm and Stefan Ackermann is one of the biggest exceptions in the German - and also in the International music scene and since the early 90s also belongs to the most important bands of the Gothic Scene in Germany. Despite them only singing in German, they play gigs all over Europe and America. Hits like ‘Gottes Tod’ are guarantors for full clubs since they’ve been released but they’re not only able to fill clubs, they cause you to think with the Stefan’s spit-out penetrating lyrics and challenge with their demanding compositions, blending, neo-classic, avant-garde and playful electronics to a matchless mixture. The latest release was the ‘Kannibale’ EP in 2008. A re-release of ‘Die Propheten’ is announced for 2009. DAS ICH is Bruno Kramm (music & backing vocals) and Stefan Ackermann (lyrics and vocals) and live keyboarder Marty Söffker. /

Music & Performance
Quite late past 10, DAS ICH entered the stage starting off with ‘Schrei’ and a lot of the attendees indeed started to scream, even though they probably did not understand the German lyrics. Right from the start, the audience was in best mood wanting to dance and celebrate with the band. You felt from the first moment that this event - which was the first of its kind in Romania - was something special for the people there. The stage at Fabrica Club was very small. There was no room for the usual DAS ICH equipment consisting of moving cranes where the synths were usually mounted or the special microphone stand of Stefan looking like an iron cross. Just a stand for a textbook was brought… and even this one was falling down from the stage several times.

But anyway, you got lots of action on stage with all three guys making their remarkable faces, with Stefan and his expressive dance style and him jumping down the pit or even standing on the fence. Sound and lights were not the best in this club, but people did not really care about such stuff. The only things that counted were the bands on stage with their show. DAS ICH rocked the crowd with such songs like ‘Kain und Abel’, the latest release ‘Kannibale’, the hits ‘Kindgott’, ‘Engel auf Erden’ or ‘Gottes Tod’ at the end of the set. Of course encores were requested and the band came back for two more songs, the giant scene hit ‘Destillat’ being the last one making people freak out totally. The band was really enthralled by the audience’s reactions thanking people several times telling them how much they enjoyed their return to Romania. We had a lot of fun too, I need to add!

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 6
Light: 5
Total: 7.6 / 10

In Strict Confidence

IN STRICT CONFIDENCE could have easily played on the main stage too, but doing the headline spot at the club stage in front of a very packed venue was of course also a nice thing. IN STRICT CONFIDENCE is surely not a new name in the Electro/Industrial scene. Mastermind Dennis Ostermann creates his own vision of dark electronic music since the early 1990s and with various collaborators he produced massive genre hits such as ‘Zauberschloss’, ‘Kiss Your Shadow’ or ‘Englesstaub’. IN STRICT CONFIDENCE turn out to be more of a live band than one might expect from their Electro-dominated studio material. With a fully-fledged acoustic drum kit and a guitarist they sound much more organic than many of their colleagues who rely too much on pre-recorded music data. The latest release ‘Exile Paradise’ dated back to 2007. A new album is promised for release in 2009. ISC is Dennis Ostermann (songwriting, lyrics), Jörg Schelte (songwriting, programming, keys), Steve Vesper (rhythms, programming, drums), Antje Schulz (vocals, lyrics) and Heidi Pulkkinen (live guitars). /

Music & Performance
It was a while since I saw this band; in fact it was also together with DIARY OF DREAMS at Gothic Festival in Waregem 2007. I was very eager to see them again and curious of the set being presented. First thing I recognised when the whole band was entering the stage was the new look of singer Dennis. I liked it. As you know, this band attaches great importance to the visual appearance. And so, they also brought several videos which were shown along with the songs. The mix of electronic and acoustic elements like guitar or drums in combination with the unmistakable voices of Dennis and Antje was convincing. The Band presented a best of set in Bucharest consisting of several songs out off the latest release ‘Exile Paradise’ as well as a potpourri of songs from different periods of the band history starting very powerful with ‘Promised Land’.

Once more, songs like ‘Zauberschloss’ or ‘Kiss your shadow’ were absolute highlights making people dance and cheer. Dennis and Antje shared the vocal duties while Antje just was present on stage for a few songs and the main part was taken over by Dennis. Last time I had seen the band, Antje was playing bass guitar as well, but it seemed she has given up doing so. Besides singer Dennis, the new guitar player Heidi was an absolute eye catcher and I must say she fits very well into the band’s line-up. Several of the presented songs were not just mere album versions. ISC performed them in Club Mix or Extended Versions which for sure gave a different impression than on CD. I loved the show and was very happy seeing the band again after quite a long time. Let’s hope the new album will be out soon followed by a tour as well.

01. Intro
02. Promised Land (Club Mix)
03. Closing Eyes
04. Seven Lives
05. Heal me
06. Zauberschloss (Extended Version)
07. Kiss your Shadow (Extended Version)
08. Forbidden Fruit
09. Away from here
10. Herzattacke (Club Mix)
11. Engelsstaub (Extended Version)
12. Prediction

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 8 / 10

Diary of Dreams

Since its foundation in 1989 by Adrian Hates, this project or better band (project doesn’t do it justice) enchants a still growing fan base all over the world with beautiful and at times fragile tunes, whose central element was and still is the deep melancholy. It’s hard to describe what makes this music so intriguing, you just have to experience it yourself on one of their intense live shows or on one of the various album the band has released over the time with ‘Nekrolog 43’ being the latest one, released in October 2007. 2009 is going to mark the beginning of an all new chapter for this extraordinary band with the release of the highly anticipated ninth studio album named (if) on 13th March what’ll most likely send them all around the globe again and we can all be curious just yet what they’ll come up with this time. DIARY OF DREAMS are Adrian Hates (vocals, guitar), Gaun:A (guitar), D.N.S. (drums) and Torben Wendt (keyboard). /

Music & Performance
It was the first time for DIARY OF DREAMS in Romania and I was very curious how the show would be received. Already during the rebuilding break were had discussions who would be standing at the keyboards this time. When the band finally entered the stage during the intro for the first song ‘Nekrolog 43’, we finally knew that it was again Torben Wendt. We were positively surprised and very happy seeing him together with DoD again even though we of course missed as well the young freshness of Taste. Right from the start of this show you knew that it would become something special. You felt the good mood on stage which was transported directly to the audience. There were made a lot of jokes and I experienced an Adrian Hates on stage expressive as never before. Did I ever saw him jumping into the photo pit before? No! But during the show this alone happened four or five times. Special spirit in the room? Who knows… During the show, Adrian also shared his wine with the fans and during ‘She’ I suddenly had his microphone right in front of my face to sing one line all alone. Hell, I am so happy I did not forget the lyrics at this moment!

Of course the whole set consisted of all the fan favourites like ‘MenschFeind’, ‘Chemicals’ or ‘The Curse’ besides all in all four songs of the latest album ‘Nekrolog 43’. When ‘Traumtänzer’ was starting with very new piano lines of Torben, we all just looked at each other not sure if this was something new… but then it turned out to be the probably most famous live song of DoD and all the Romanian (and let me add Polish, Bulgarian, German and who-knows-from-where-else fans) sung together with the band what caused great emotions on stage. “Thank you for singing German with us!” Anyone was really touched. The whole set was more on the powerful side with such songs as ‘Kindrom’, ‘UnWanted’ or my all-time favourite ‘Soul Stripper’ with the unmistakable drum solo of D.N.S.

Much too early the main set ended but the audience was so loud that the band had to come back even twice. The last encore was announced by Gaun:A with the words that they had prepared a little acoustic set and silence is requested. And so, ‘She and her Darkness’ started and Adrian was only accompanied by Torben’s piano play. He did not really and playing when the song was over but added some variations and turned the melody into the one of ‘AmoK’ which we got now the second time at the evening, this time in the wonderful acoustic version. This was now finally the end of the show. You could see so many happy faces in the room; people told me that this first show of DoD they had seen in their life was even the best concert they ever experienced and need to see this band once more.

Setlist (unsorted)
Nekrolog 43
The Plague
Play God
Soul Stripper
The Curse
She and her Darkness (acoustic)
AmoK (acoustic)

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 8.3 / 10

As always after the concert, the band was present at the venue for pics and autographs, short chats etc. People were very happy about this. I think this was something very special for them.

What to say at the end? This trip was again another fantastic experience. And it again proved that prejudices often are not based on a solid ground. I only can recommend anyone to take the risk and explore something new. I am thankful again for this experience that was offered us just because we were following one certain band. The warmth with which we were welcomed in Romania made us feel secure and home and we’ll definitely be back some day.

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