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Flugplatz Borkenberge, Lüdinghausen, Germany
21st - 23rd August 2009
Area4 Festival 2009 Day 1: Die Toten Hosen, The Offspring, Deftones, Jet, Mad Caddies, Turbostaat, Zebrahead, CJ Ramone

Already for the third time, the Area4 festival took place at the airfield Borkenberge in Lüdinghausen. And also for the third time, the festival was blessed with sunny summer weather. And also the thunderstorm at the Thursday passed the festival area with already present 10,000 visitors by a few kilometres. Luckily! My ride to the festival on early Friday afternoon was pretty relaxed, but only two hours later the traffic became chaotic and lots of people were standing in queues for hours. But let’s start with what we were there, with the music!

C.J. Ramone (Sebastian Huhn)

Christopher Joseph Ward earned his laurels as the famous last bassist of the punk rock legends THE RAMONES. Drummer and founding member Tommy Ramone later would state that he kept the band juvenile. C.J. RAMONE, as he’s called, today he walks on own paths by now and toured with his other band BAD CHOPPER through South America and Japan already. Solo song material is also coming our way on his debut record, simply titled ‘CJ Ramone’. The C.J. RAMONE live line-up consists of C.J. Ramone (vocals, bass), Daniel Rey (guitar, backing vocals), Brian Costanza (guitar) and Brant Bjork (drums). /

Music & Performance
To see one of the legendary RAMONES playing apparently mobilized some strength in a not even little crowd that partly looked as if they’ve had quite a short night. But when CJ and his band blasted out a chain of RAMONES classics on them, all weariness seemed to have been blown away instantly and even in the heat of this Friday afternoon, the people had a neat party. Many of the people, present at the gig, I think, weren’t even born by the time songs such as ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker’ or ‘Beat on the Brat’ were released (I guess that includes me as well), but apparently knew the lyrics. Nice to see that even much younger folks still know the classics! Homage to the deceased Joey Ramone was weaved in with ‘Poison Heart’ and with ‘Glad to see you go’, he did even send out a sarcastic comment on MICHAEL JACKSON. The band had their fun, the audience, as mentioned above, as well and me too. A good start for the festival day, so let’s see what happens next!

Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7.5 / 10

Zebrahead (Sebastian Huhn)

ZEBRAHEAD, based in Orange County, California started their career in 1996, because the future band member’s former bands all shared the same practice space at that time and during sound exploring sessions they became friends eventually. After the release of their self-titled debut EP in 1998, the band signed to major label Columbia Records to release their first full-length ‘Waste of Mind’ later the same year, followed by their sophomore ‘Playmate of the Year’ in 2000. Another EP was issued before the band embarked on a European tour with GREEN DAY. Equipped with a new vocalist following their former one’s departure, they put out their fifth album, named ‘Broadcast to the World’. For 2009 the band is preparing a cover album with the title ‘Panty Raid’. ZEBRAHEAD is Matty Lewis (rhythm guitar, vocals), Ali Tabatabaee (vocals), Greg Bergdorf (lead guitar), Ben Osmundson (bass), Ed Udhus (drums, percussion). /

Music & Performance
With ZEBRAHEAD, there came a lot of dynamic on stage - and dirty announcements I will cover in a veil of silence. The band’s dynamics don’t come from their music alone, which is Punk in the broadest sense; the vocal parts are divided into normal singing, whereas Smith is not quite a singing genius in my humble opinion, but its punk and maybe he doesn’t have to. The other part contained rapping. The audience absolutely fell in love with that and followed all orders from up there, for example when being asked to take three steps back, sit down and first raise and clap their hands to jump up again on a sign and keep jumping like hell. Another call was to form “The biggest circle pit of the day”. Well, for the time being it was, but DIE TOTEN HOSEN definitely had a far bigger one later. I couldn’t quite fall in love with the mixture though the band delivered an energy-packed show and moved as much as was possible on stage.

Music: 5
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 6.4 / 10

Turbostaat (Sebastian Huhn)

TORBOSTAAT rose in 1999 from several less known Punk bands and in 2001 released their first album ‘Flamingo’ to be followed by the second album ‘Schwan’ in 2003. Meanwhile, the band’s popularity has grown constantly and their touring radius widens. Through a collaboration with the BEATSTEAKS on a German version of the FU MANCHU song ‘Hell on Wheels’ called ‘Frieda und die Bomben’ the band could eventually secure a deal with the Warner Music label, they would release their third album ‘Vormann Leiss’ on in 2007. TURBOSTAAT is Jan Windmeier (vocals, guitar), Rotze Santos (guitar), Tobert Knopp (bass), Marten Ebsen (guitar) and Peter Carstens (drums). /

Music & Performance
Rough Punk Rock with German lyrics was expecting us next on the huge stage with the guys of TURBOSTAAT who have brought quite a lot of fans with them to the Area4 festival. I suppose to make this one hell of a party and that’s actually what everyone got during their performance which started with the feverish ‘Nach fest kommt ab’, taken from the band’s most recent album ‘Vormann Leiss’. You could literally watch the pulse rising and the adrenaline rushing into the crowd’s limbs to make them move along to the song and clap in unison to the tom rhythm when asked to. However, they didn’t just play down a setlist of well-known songs to please their long time fans; they had a couple new songs nobody’s ever heard before in stock for the people. That’s always a risk to do, but actually it’s also a good test how the songs are going down with the crowd.

The first of those songs conjured, for the first time in the set, a really dark atmosphere with its soundscapes and was a big surprise and a positive one at that. Not only within the space in front of the stag where everybody stirred up clouds of dust (Really, because of the extremely dry and sandy soil), but also on stage where there wasn’t really a moment somebody wasn’t moving. All in all quite an entertaining show.

01. Nach Fest kommt ab
02. Der Frosch hats versaut
03. Haubentauchrewelpen
04. Unnamed New Song
05. Insel
06. Peterantjesiehsöhn
07. Unnamed New Song
08. Harm Rochel
09. Vormann Leiss
10. Schwan
11. Hau ab die Schildkröte

Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7 / 10

Mad Caddies (Sebastian Huhn)

The foundation of the MAD CADDIES goes way back to 1995 when the four founding members started the band in high school. Their first album ‘Quality Softcore’ attracted the attention of Honest Don’s Records who signed them for the release of their next record ‘Duck & Cover’. It is since that year they’ve become a regular main act at the “Warped Tour”. The next album ‘Rock the Plank’ followed in 2001, utilizing a pirate theme to transport their lyrics. Their newest and fifth album ‘Keep it going’ has been released in 2007, but recent news say they’re working on new material. MAD CADDIES are Chuck Robertson (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Sascha Lazor (lead guitars, banjo), Keith Douglas (trumpet, backing vocals), Ed Hernandez (trombone), Chris Badham (bass) and Brian Flenniken (drums, percussion). /

Music & Performance
As is usual with a band that has a “Ska” in their genre description, they’re attracting a whole lot of people even if they’re not as “famous” over here in Germany, as a band like that promises a lot of good mood. After the six-piece line-up had filled up the stage completely, they began to play a mix of the aforementioned Ska, a pinch of pop and a Reggae touch wasn’t deniable either. As if somebody had turned a switch, people started dancing happily and light-footed, which was in sharp contrast to the dancing styles some of them showed earlier, and had jolly smiles on their faces. As for me, I’ve never been a real Ska lover, but if other people do I’m totally cool with that and deign everybody the fun and the MAD CADDIES do actually have lyrical content that goes beyond the mere fun attitude of other bands of this genre as I learned later and that’s a definitive plus point for them.

The MAD CADDIES blessed their fans and those who still wanted to become fans with a mixed repertoire, but with a big emphasis on the recent long player with songs such as ‘Lay Your Head Down’, ‘Backyard’, ‘State of Mind’ or ‘Reflections’. They closed their set with the upbeat ‘Monkeys’ that once more put the crowd into an ecstatic rush and after the last song had faded, you could spot exhausted but happy faces all around.

Music: 5
Performance: 7
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 6.3 / 10

JET (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)

The Australian Rock band JET had a massive worldwide hit with their first single ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ and the debut album ‘Get Born’, both released in 2003. The Melbourne based band around the brothers Nic and Chris Cester sold 3.5 million copies of the first album. But JET couldn't hold up this major success with their second album ‘Shine On’, released after a long break in 2006 due to personal issues. ‘Shine On’ and JET's third album ‘Shaka Rock’ (2009) only sold combined 500,000 copies worldwide. Despite having a global hit in their back catalogue JET is as of now rather a small Indie band outside their home country which might explain why JET played only a late afternoon spot at the first day of the AREA4 festival. /

Music & Performance
But they were welcomed by a pretty good crowd, especially if you consider that a notable number of fans must be still stuck in the huge traffic jam on the way to the festival ground. However, JET won over the audience in no time with their somewhat old-fashioned but rough and dirty Rock’n’Roll. Rather the rendition of old virtues than re-inventing music, and their vocation for great catchy hooks showed its effect. ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ was performed in the middle of the set, a highlight of the performance for sure but its placement showed that the band has confidence that they have more to offer than just this one hit single. And indeed JET could keep up the momentum with material from the last two albums and turned the stage area into a big party full of good ole Rock. Let them have another global hit, please!

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8.4 / 10

Deftones (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)

With the DEFTONES, a true legend entered the stage of the Area4. Chino Moreno (vocals, guitar), Stephen Carpenter (guitar), Chi Cheng (bass), Frank Delgado (keyboard, turntables) and Abe Cunningham (drums) were often hailed as one of the most unique and important bands in the Alternative Rock genre. Breaking down the barriers between different genres, DEFTONES combine heavy guitar riffs, screamed vocals with more atmospheric parts, music and emotional singing and also by introducing a DJ and turntables to Rock music. After 20 years of a great career, DEFTONES had to face the hardest blow of fate in late 2008. During the recording the sixth DEFTONES album, band member Chi Cheng had a tragic car accident and fell into a coma subsequently. Things were put on a total halt for the band, but they re-started touring at least with QUICKSAND bassist Sergio Vega filling in for Cheng. No surprise that there was the sense of the excitement among the DEFTONES fans at the Area4, and when the band rushed on stage and began their set a little earlier than scheduled you could see people scatting and running from the back of the festival ground to the front of the stage. /

Music & Performance
And the next 60 minutes were an intense celebration and surely an early highlight of the entire weekend. Vocalist Moreno filled the stage with his presence, he stalked the stage as if he was possessed and also stalked the front row - he spent considerable time of the first few songs in the pit before the stage, giving high-fives to fans and commanding the crowd ferociously while the hard riffs and beats of his colleagues hammered into the round. Interestingly, the rest of the time Moreno spent on a special ramp above his monitors - good for the ego perhaps, and surely adding to the bigger-than-life factor of their colossal song monsters. DEFTONES are true masters of building up and releasing tension, harsh sonic attacks alternated with more ethereal parts and the abiding mood changes made the performance absorbing and thrilling also for the casual fan - and those who didn't join the huge mosh pit for some athletic fun.

01. Feiticeira
02. My Own Summer (Shove It)
03. Hexagram
04. Beware
05. Elite
06. Nosebleed
07. Korea
08. RX Queen
09. Hole in the Earth
10. When Girls Telephone Boys
11. Change (In the House of Flies)
12. Back to School (Mini Maggit)
13. Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)

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

The Offspring (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)

Formed as early as 1984, the Californian foursome THE OFFSPRING became a popular sensation in 1994 with their album ‘Smash’ and the hit singles ‘Gotta Get Away’, the NIRVANA sound-alike ‘Come Out And Play’ and the omnipresent ‘Self-Esteem’, most famous for its tongue-in-cheek sing-along part. THE OFFSPRING play Metal-inflected but melodic Punk Rock and hit the mark with this sound in the mid-nineties. ‘Smash’ sold 16 million copies worldwide, THE OFFSPRING were embraced by the mainstream while still being credible enough for the alternative scene, and their success continued until the end of the decade with smash hits like ‘Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)’, ‘Why Don't You Get a Job’, ‘The Kids Aren't Alright’ or ‘Hit That’. The new century have been a bit quieter for Dexter Holland (vocals, guitar), Noodles (guitars, backing vocals), Greg K. (bass, backing vocals), and Pete Parada (drums), but THE OFFSPRING still had considerable success, especially in their American home country with the albums ‘Splinter’ (2003) and ‘Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace’, released 2008. /

Music & Performance
With a back catalogue full of anthemic Punk classics it was easy for THE OFFSPRING to turn the festival area into one huge party. Just a few songs into the set they kicked of a series of popular tunes with ‘Come out and Play’. For most of the gig the crowd had a big party with a lot of jumping, dancing and singing along - but it has to be said that things looked different if you just caught a closer look at the band, which was easy because of the big screens at each side of the stage. While guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman seemed to be well into it, vocalist Bryan “Dexter” Holland's face expressions indicated that he's simply bored to death, perhaps even annoyed. A bad mood day perhaps, but the good thing was that his vocal performance didn't give this away. But still, it's not too thrilling to watch such a lacklustre performance and a musician just going through the motions.

The audience, however, didn't care at all - if they even noticed that - as hundreds and thousands of fans were busy partying for themselves. All they needed were heavy riffs, catchy tunes and a few sing-alongs. THE OFFSPRING interrupted the party a little with a balladry piano moment but kept their fans happy with ‘Pretty Fly (For s White Guy)’, ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ and ‘Self Esteem’ as the Grande finale. THE OFFSPRING are always good for a party but their High-school Punk / Pop doesn't offer much substance; musically their gig was pretty pale compared to the magnificent DEFTONES before. And, with all respect, the stage presence suggested that the band is starting to get too old for juvenile Punk Rock with funny lyrics. Perhaps Dexter Holland is aware of this, and that's why he looked so bored and irritated. Who knows?

Sadly, we cannot show any pics (well, except two pics taken with a mobile phone from the TV set in the press tent) because the band did not allow it. Can you call this “punk” at all?

01. You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid
02. Bad Habit
03. Come Out And Play (Keep 'Em Separated)
04. Hammerhead
05. Have You Ever
06. Staring At the Sun
07. Gone Away (Piano Version)
08. Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?
09. Hit That
10. Gotta get Away
11. Why Don’t You Get A Job?
12. Intermission
13. Americana
14. All I Want
15. Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)
16. (Can’t Get My) Head around You
17. The Kids Aren’t Alright
18. Self Esteem

Music: 6
Performance: 6
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 6.4 / 10

Die Toten Hosen (J. “Niggels“ Uhlenbruch)

DIE TOTEN HOSEN are truly a German Punk institution and a pretty massive band in their home country and, interestingly, in some South American places. Headlining the Friday night at the Area4 it was no surprise that the festival ground was pretty packed. DIE TOTEN HOSEN were formed early in the 1980s in Düsseldorf by members of the disbanded Punk groups ZK and KFC: vocalist Campino, guitarists Andreas “Breiti” Breitkopf and Andreas “Kuddel” von Holst, bassist Andi Meurer and drummer Wolfgang Rohde, who was later replaced by Stephen “Vom” Ritchie. In the 1980s DIE TOTEN HOSEN only knew the way upwards, from cult hits of the Punk scene to mainstream success with chart hits like “Hier kommt Alex”. They've kept up the high level in the last decade, filling stadiums all over Germany and headlining the massive Rock Am Ring festival several times. /

Music & Performance
So, the Area4 crowd was almost just a medium-sized one for DIE TOTEN HOSEN but this of course didn't keep them from delivering a furious show. As an intro the playback played RAMONES' ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and the HOSEN fans shouted the legendary “Hey! Ho! Let's Go!” and got ready for the show which started with ‘Strom’, the lead single from the HOSEN's most recent album ‘In aller Stille’, released 2008. The third song was already a pretty old classic, the legendary ‘Opelgang’, and the crowd got so wild that Campino stopped his band to give people in the mosh pit the chance to get up and make sure that they are fine. The gig continued with the same tempo, though with several queries by Campino if everyone out there's okay and the request to take care of each other.

Those who preferred to watch the show from a calmer spot in the back had the chance to watch the show on the side screens, although DIE TOTEN HOSEN often just showed their logos or the band performing with a lots of filter effects over the images. Looked great, but made it hard to follow what happened on stage when you happened to be far away from the stage. But neither nosebleed view nor too many pogo-dancing kids could spoil the show, which featured (almost) everything you'd expect from a HOSEN gig. Hits back to back, great interaction with the crowd, lots of party and weird little moments like pulling a fan onstage to let him sing a song or inviting the nation nose flute(!) champion to perform a solo! Plus a couple of cover versions of the band member's own favourite band - from THE CLASH to the Punk classic ‘Hang on Sloopy’. All in all a great gig, even though some old fans moaned that they missed a few old gems in the setlist. But there are simply too many in the 27-year career of DIE TOTEN HOSEN!

01. Strom
02. Du lebst nur einmal (vorher)
03. Opel-Gang
04. Innen alles neu
05. Auswärtsspiel
06. Madelaine (aus Lüdenscheid)
07. Alles was war
08. Cokane in My Brain (DILLINGER Cover)
09. Wünsch dir was
10. Hang On Sloopy (THE MCCOYS Cover)
11. Sascha…ein aufrechter Deutscher
12. Liebeslied
13. Alles aus Liebe
14. Paradies
15. Steh auf, wenn du am Boden bist
16. Pushed Again
17. Hier kommt Alex
18. Schönen Gruß, auf Wiederseh'n
19. I Fought the Law (THE CLASH Cover)
20. Schön sein
21. Freunde
22. Bayern
23. Zehn kleine Jägermeister
24. You'll Never Walk Alone (GERRY & THE PACEMAKERS Cover)

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 8.6 / 10

So, with this famous German Punk band, the first festival day was coming to an end and I was driving home to sleep in my own bed. Many of the attendees and campers surely made their way to the disco tent to celebrate into the night or have some beers at their tents.

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / /
Written by Daniela Vorndran (common parts and overall editorial), Sebastian Huhn and J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch


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