Venue: Lanxess Arena, Cologne (Germany)
By: Sabine van Gameren & Nina Mende
Already before the gates opened on Amphi’s new festival terrain there was the message that bands would be forced to play inside because of the storm. Authorities forced the festival to keep all outdoor activities closed until the weather would be better. Not the start they had hoped for, but nevertheless Amphi had enough space and flexibility to keep bands playing.
The arena opened and by the time we were in the first act had started already. Not in time to tell you enough about the show so we picked up when Schöngeist was entering the stage. These guys make Gothic Rock music and they have been doing so since 2006. With a charismatic frontman they are having an advance in their job to pick up the audience and get them in the right mood for today. Timur is skillful in making them people thing he is directly addressing them, while playing in the arena is certainly not the most intimate way of performing. A warmhearted start so to say.
Chrom has been around since 2007 and these Electronic guys seem to have some fans along. A relatively early set for them. They have a minimalistic approach to their performance, but not without a decent dose of energy. Marching up and down the stage, it is clear that a stage could never be big enough for them, being ready to march through the whole arena if they had to. Yet that may not always be the most interesting way to watch a music performance as this way you could as well watch a tennis match from the side. (imagine the beat of the tennis ball then… speed it up and its not that far away).
The music they play comes across as very passionated though. Brought from the heart and them living up into the moment, which gives them some pro-points. Maybe they are not that ready to entertain a huge crowd in a way like that, but does their music come across more in an intimate setting.
The Mexican Rabia Sorda is known to always bring something special. Not any different this time, but in the second song they already threw around with instruments so that seem to be quite a wild one today. At the end of last year Rabia Sorda released the EP “Animales Salvajes” of which some songs were played. “Die In Berlin” they say, an interesting track that is maybe not much different from what you are used to, but certainly one that enrages something. Let the energy come out and let it come clean. Of course the more known songs aren’t forgotten and s wide cheer goes around when the guys are setting in “Out of Control”. Easy win for them guys.
The Other continued on the main stage in the Lanxess arena. The Other is a German horror punk band. It is considered the most prominent example of the horror punk genre in Europe.
They were the replacement for Wesselsky who unfortunately had to cancel the show at Amphi. There was no announcement in advance for this change in line up but the audience received them well. Everyone was excited to see The Other now. Coming on with face paint and masks the guys were celebrating the horror. Playing for about forty minutes the band was playing old and new songs. The audience sang and cheered along to the music. For one of the later songs The Other threw blow up horror eyes into the audience who instantly began playing with the balls. It was a festive fifty minutes with the horror band. The audience enjoyed it and thanked with loud cheering.
The Crüxshadows was the next band. The outdoors were still locked because of the storm, so where the outside stages. So the only bands playing where those on the main stage for now. The Crüxshadows is an American dark wave band from Tallahassee, Florida, United States. Their sound is made up of a combination of male vocals, electric violin, guitar, and synth. Centered on vocalist and songwriter Rogue, The Crüxshadows blend 1980s inspired synthpop and modern rock with introspective lyrics.
The singer started out walking through the audience to get to the stage while the rest of the band was already playing and dancing on stage. With two violinists and two dancers along the band animated everyone to dance along. Rogue, the singer, had lights on his hands to play with them, making the show even more intense. The band was dancing their show away, singing and performing all their catchy songs. Rogue was going back and forth between stage and audience, getting close to everyone in the front rows.
The fast electronic music got even the youngest in the audience to dance along like there is no tomorrow. The Crüxshadows are known for a beautiful show and always worth seeing, and so they proved again tonight.
The headliner from one of the outside stages was rescheduled to play indoors on this stormy Saturday, so they were up now: D.A.F. Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft or D.A.F. is an influential German electropunk/Neue Deutsche Welle band from Düsseldorf, formed in 1978 featuring Gabriel “Gabi” Delgado-López (vocals), Robert Görl (drums, percussion, electronic instruments), Kurt “Pyrolator” Dahlke (electronic instruments), Michael Kemner (bass-guitar) and Wolfgang Spelmans (guitar). Kurt Dahlke was replaced by Chrislo Haas (electronic instruments, bass guitar, saxophone) in 1979.
Since 1981, the band has consisted of Delgado-López and Görl. The duo took over the stage, playing their hits to the audience. You could tell that Amohi Festival had quite some international visitors as well as younger people who seemed to not know the band or the legendary songs like “Tanz Den Mussolini”. But those who did know, where celebrating the early spot on the main stage instead of being cancelled. D.A.F. played for about an hour. The stage seemed a little too big for the duo but the singer tried his best to take over the stage by dancing around all over, moving back and forth. For fans of D.A.F. is was a brilliant and joyful hour, for most of the others it was a well deserved break to regain energy for what was yet to come.
It has been a while since I have last seen The Birthday Massacre. The Birthday Massacre is a Canadian band, formed in 1999 in London, Ontario, and currently based in Toronto, Ontario. The current line-up consists of Chibi (vocals), Falcore (guitars), Rainbow (guitars), Owen (synthesizers), Nate Manor (bass guitar) and Rhim (drums). Absolutely energetic and excited the band entered the stage, eager to play their music to the audience. The venue had gotten very crowded by now, because everyone was eager to see the band as well.
The electronic rock with some horror elements, dim lights and fog, as well as childish melodies got everyone to smile and enjoy the music. You could tell the band was having just as much fun as the fans. Everyone was singing along, no one was standing still. The cheering after each song was immense. They played for almost an hour and could have played much longer if it was for the band and the fans. But the festival had to go on. But you should totally keep your eyes open on upcoming tour dates.
Put on your raincoats if you are located in the front rows. It is time for Agonoize. Agonoize is a German Aggrotech band consisting of Mike Johnson (composition, programming, production and mastering), Oliver Senger (composition and programming) and Chris L (lyrics and vocals). Tonight they were just a duo but not any less aggressive or intense. With dim lights and painted faces, a huge backdrop and loud music Agonoize took over the Lanxess arena.
Getting everyone to dance and shout along, spraying them with blood during several songs and making a scene for over an hour. The audience loved it. Whether they ended up being covered in blood or not, everyone at Lanxess was having a blast. There was nobody standing still during Agonoize’s performance. The cheering was getting louder every time the singer showed up with a knife in his hand, meaning it would rain blood. Agonize owned the big stage even though it was just the two of them. The show left everyone speechless and breathless.
It was getting later and Front 242 was setting up the stage to perform. Front 242 is a Belgian electronic music group that came into prominence during the 1980s. Pioneering the style they called electronic body music, they were a profound influence on the electronic and industrial music genres. Coming on to the stage with masks the band made a serious and strict stage entrance. But soon after they began with their catchy EBM music they took of the masks and expressed the joy they were having while playing their songs. The audience thanked them with cheering.
One of the guys behind the keyboard looked like a pilot with the shades and clothes he wore. The catchy music was moving everyones bodies until Front 242 was finished. The band thanked the audience several times, animating the audience to shout and sing along, as everyone already moved along to the music.
It was getting later, and the first day of Amphi Festival 2015 was coming to an end. But not without And One hitting the stage. And One is a German new wave, synth pop and EBM band founded by Steve Naghavi and Chris Ruiz in 1989. In suits and ties the Germans came on stage, welcomed with cheers and shouts. Then the guys began with their synth pop melodies which set the venue into motion. Every fan, every one in the hall was moving their muscles to the melodies one last time for today. Swaying along to the beautiful songs, singing along to the brilliant lyrics it was a grand finish for this Saturday that was almost doomed by the storm that had forced to cancel two outdoor stages. But without this very indoor main stage there would have been no festival today.
So one last time everyone was thanking the gods of Lanxess and Amphi Festival, celebrating together with And One. Forgetting all the hassle about having to reorient this year and all the reorganization, cancellation and pushing back and forth of schedule. Yes it was a tough start for Amphi in this new location but it all went well. There would be another day of Amphi with sunshine and outdoors. One last time, raising the hands into the air, singing along to And One before rushing to bed because the next morning would start early.
Photo’s and reviewed by sabinevangameren.com are:
Schöngeist, Chrom and Rabia Sorda
All others by: Nina Mende
Amphi Festival website