This weekend we were attending Amphi festival in Cologne. Like we do every year. Lots of amazing bands were awaiting us. And it sure was a lot of fun. Amphi Festival had three stages: The outdoor stage called Main Stage and an indoor stage called Theaterstage, and the Orbitstage on a ship
Eisfabrik was the fist band we saw at this year’s Amphi festival. The band was announced with the words “look, there are two snowmen in the crowd”. And then the band entered the stage.
Eisfabrik is a German future pop band. Musically, the band fluctuates somewhere between dark electro and future pop, being also quite open to venturing in other directions of electronic style and integrating this skillfully into its sound outfit. Especially catchiness and cool harmony are the focus of Eisfabrik.
The band entered the stage all dressed in white. Although it was still early in the day, the audience was growing bigger and bigger in front of the audience The rhythmic electronic music and the catchy tunes got everyone to move along. The band moved around on stage, spreading their positive vibes. All the sudden, it began snowing on stage. For a couple songs, Eisfabrik let it snow on the stage. For one of the latter songs, Eisfabrik had two polar bears joining the stage. The lyrics were in German and English.
Eisfabrik played for about forty-five minutes. Everyone loved it.
For the next band we went indoors into the Theaterstage. Holygram was the first band playing at Theaterstage this year. The venue was slowly filling up. Some people went indoors to catch some cold air, because outside it was getting quite warm. The sun was shining on this great summer day. Holygram began fogging the stage right before they went on stage. Holygram walks the tightrope between New Wave, Postpunk and Industrial Krautrock: driving and gloomy but still full of catchy moments. Music for the lost.
The singer looked like John Lennon. The soft melodies and vocals melted the audience’s heart and ice. The great synth got the audience to move along. Even if it was just swaying along. The band used a lot of fog on stage. The dim light added some gloominess to the music. It was a interesting performance by an interesting band that lasted for forty minutes.
Up next on the stage outside was Chrom. Chrom were formed in May 2007 by Christian Marquis and Thomas Winters, after both discovered their mutual love for solid, club-compatible yet melodic Electro sounds. The group’s name is a combination of the two musician’s first names (CHRis and tOM.)
Chrom consists of only the two. So the main stage seemed a little oversized. But the two did a good job, not letting this lessen the performance in any way.
The duo was rocking on the big stage. Entertaining the audience that slowly warmed up and began moving along. The singer walked up and down on stage.
Singing to the audience, dancing here and there. The catchy EBM sound pulled the people along, made them smile and enjoy the show. The sweat was running down on everybody’s bodies. Chrom played for about fifty minutes before it was time for the next one.
And we went back indoors. This time to see a band called Fabrikc. It all started in the 80’s when the world turned black and the music became dark. The first musical experiments were based on audio works on read lyrics. Later there were some activities as LJ and DJ in addition.
There was a need for music. 2005 it got serious. The name FabrikC was born and the track „der zweite Tod“ (the second death) was placed in the DAC (german alternative charts). The same time the first cd album was composed „Farblos“ (colorless) and was send to some labels. FabrikC finally found a home at ProNoize/DarkDimensions.
The music of Fabrikc was loud and noisy. The venue was crowded by now and filled with fog. Fabrikc had dim light on stage in which they moved. Along with the fog, this created the perfect atmosphere for the music. The industrial fans in the audience loved it. The band performed for about forty minutes before it was time for them to end today’s performance at Amphi festival.
Back outdoors we changed the style of music entirely. The stage now included guitars and bagpipes instead of only a computer. It was time for Tanzwut. Tanzwut is a German Neue Deutsche Härte and medieval metal band which originated as a side project of Corvus Corax-members. The band uses a medieval theme during their live performances which are expressed through their stagecraft, costumes and choreography.
The place in front of the stage was super crowded now. The guitar player had his face painted like a sugar skull, everyone else had some black stripes in their faces as well. The clothes included a lot of leather. Tanzwut got the audience dancing and singing along from the very first second on. The energetic performance of the band was infecting everyone watching. The performance included pyro and quite some dancing around on stage. Neither of the band members was able to stand still for a second. You could feel the passion they had for their music.
Tanzwut played for about fifty minutes, leaving everyone behind with a smile on their faces.
Back inside Torul was taking over the stage. After taking off as a solo act back at the beginning of the last decade with a hit Waterproof Theme for Berlin—based label Low Spirit, Torul have become an active and prominent synth pop/alter pop/indie electro band of three and have released five albums in last six years, each with successful singles that topped charts around Europe and Russia and accompanied by music videos. For the last five years, Torul have been touring mostly in clubs and festivals around Europe, having appeared on stages in UK, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Russia.
The venue was packed and the fog did not seem to ever lift or cease. The dim light did not make it much better. But this way, everyone could focus on the music and the vibes that came from it. And Torul had some very special vibes their music spread. The singer had an amazing voice which he sure knew how to use. The catchy tunes got everyone going along.
Torul is a great band with amazing songs and a touching performance. If you ever get the chance to catch them live, go check them out.
Back outside, Lord of the Lost was taking over. In less than a decade, Dark-Metal-group Lord Of The Lost has become one of the most well-established and prolific acts of the international scene. Founded in 2007 by Chris “The Lord” Harms, initially as a solo-project, the Hamburg-based band has long since been on conquering course in the stable line-up of Harms (vocals, guitar), Class Grenayde (bass), Bo Six (guitar), Gared Dirge (piano, synths, percussion, ) and Tobias Mertens (drums.)
The audience was eagerly awaiting the band to enter the stage. Some of the fans had waited all day in the front row just for this moment. The singer had his face painted all in white while the keyboarder was the only one in color. And he was also playing the theremin for some songs. The other band mates were dressed in black.
The rock songs were thriving and catchy. Everyone at Tanzbrunnen could sing along and surely did so. The cheering was immense. Lord of the Lost played for almost one hour.
Back inside it was time for Frozen Plasma. Frozen Plasma is a German electro pop group. The venue was packed and the air would be super thick and hot, but luckily they blew in fresh and cold air in-between bands. The fog however, just did not seem to get less or even dissolve at all. But that didn’t matter because it fit right in with the music of Frozen Plasma.
The rhythmic electronic pop music got everyone to dance along. Some needed more space to do so than others. And it was a great sight watching them doing so. You could feel the joy of everyone that was watching The light remained dim. Frozen Plasma got the audience going along from the very first second on until the very last. The band performed for about forty minutes. Celebrating every second of it.
Back outside on the main stage everyone was getting ready for Diary of Dreams. Another band that includes more guitars than synthesizers. So this stage was where you could find the rock fans.
Diary of Dreams is a German Darkwave band. The lead singer and founding member Adrian Hates has produced most of the albums by himself or with minimal help from others. He rarely uses a full band, except when on tour.
Here at Amphi, however, Adrian had his band along. The songs are melancholic and dark, but the music still put smiles into everyones faces. The band began with some older songs. For one of them the singer of Diorama joined Adrian on the vocals. It was an amazing vibe coming from them.
Diary of Dreams rocked around on stage, pulling the audience along. You could hear many people singing along and of course, many were dancing along. Enjoying this amazing show of the guys which lasted for one straight hour. And the band kept the energy level up high throughout the entire time.
Back indoors , Kite was about to perform. Kite is a Swedish synth pop group composed of Nicklas Stenemo (The Mo, Melody Club) and Christian Berg (Yvonne, Strip Music, The April Tears). Originating from Malmö and now based in Stockholm they are signed to Progress Productions and have published six EPs since their debut in 2008. Each of them was released on CD and as a limited vinyl record edition. Kite have performed on festivals like Recession Festival in Århus, Denmark, and on Arvika Festival and Putte i parken in Sweden and Wave Gotik Treffen Leipzig.
The light was just not getting more, nor was the fog getting less. The duo of Kite was standing back to back to each other. Each one in front of a keyboard. The band seemed a little shy, because they did not look at the audience much. but the singer had an amazing voice and put up an amazing performance that was just breathtaking. And impressive.
Each song was digging deep and the melodies got everyone to move along. This was a performance that could have lasted for ever and nobody would have minded. This surely was our surprise act of the day. Simply brilliant.
Outside it would continue being legendary and nothing less than impressive. Fields of the Nephilim was about to enter the stage.
Fields of the Nephilim is an English gothic rock band formed in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England in 1984. The original line-up consisted of vocalist Carl McCoy, saxophonist Gary Wisker, Tony Pettitt on bass, guitarist Paul Wright and drummer Alexander “Nod” Wright. After the release of the debut EP Burning the Fields, Wisker left the band and was replaced by Peter Yates as second guitarist to what is widely known as the ‘classic’ line-up. The current incarnation of the band has released one authorized recording of new material and one double live album since 1990, but the group perform frequently, with Carl McCoy and Tony Pettit remaining from the original lineup.
The band’s songs are all around ten minutes long, and the band sure knows how to keep the melodies and rhythms so that the music is capturing your mind and its thoughts until the very last note is played. The singer Carl knows how to keep the breaks and move slowly, to keep up the fascination and breathtaking atmosphere. Somewhere between creepy and simply impressive, the songs wandered. And the audience loved it. Fields of the Nephilim surely is a highlight at every concert or festival.
The last band of the night was VNV Nation. VNV Nation is an English/Irish electronic music band originally from Dublin and Essex and now based in Hamburg, Germany. They combine elements of synth pop, trance and electronic body music (EBM). The members are Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson. The “VNV” in the name stands for “Victory Not Vengeance”, in keeping with the group’s motto, “One should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret.”
It seemed as if everyone who was visiting the festival, had gathered to see VNV Nation perform. The crowd seemed so large. It even impressed VNV Nation. The synth pop songs of the band got everyone dancing and singing along right away. The singer was moving up and down on stage, singing to every one in the audience, it seemed. VNV Nation played old and new songs, talking to the audience, making jokes and having a blast.
VNV Nation is always a blast seeing live. Their positive vibes and catchy tunes just get you going along and make you feel good. The performance lasted for well over one hour and ended day one of this year’s Amphi festival.