Venue: Lanxess Arena, Cologne (Germany)
By: Sabine van Gameren & Nina Mende
A new day and new chances. Yesterday’s entire outdoor schedule got fucked up, but luckily some bands were able to perform on Sunday.
Inkubus Sukkubus is the first one we get to see and we are glad about that. On our personal ‘wish to see live’ list for over a decade it is a pleasure to encounter the British on stage now. They are radicially different from what all the German bands are doing but nevertheless there is a huge following in front of the stage making it impossible for people to pass by not noticing it and getting curious. Many years of band history and perhaps so to say it is celebration having them here.
First some acoustic songs “Wytches” to begin with and many more to follow. In these you can hear the quality vocals by Candia shine. After a while the chairs are pushed away and comes a different side of them. Powered up we get an energetic performance in which we get to see the qualities of their guitarist when playing a little solo that sends many of the bigger artist of today on a run for their money. No, certainly not a disappointment, the band gave their fans an amazing show this early on the day.
Slowly the venue was getting more and more crowded. Right in time for Stahlmann. Stahlmann is a German band that formed in 2008 in Göttingen, Germany. It is in the genre of Neue Deutsche Härte. All painted in silver, skin as well as clothes, the guys came on the stage and rocked the morning out of the audience. Shaking away every last bit of sleep and tiredness.
With heavy guitars and drums Stahlmann received a lot of cheering from their fans. Even their fan club was present showing their support, singing along to the audience. The main part of the front row was filled with female fans, reaching out for their silver angels, singing and screaming. A great morning show that lasted for about forty minutes.
The Creepshow had been cancelled on Saturday but they sticked around to play on a beautiful Sunday morning, out in the sun. The Creepshow is a band from Burlington, Ontario, Canada. The band formed in 2005 when the four original members got together with the purpose of starting a psychobilly band. The Creepshow writes the majority of their songs about horror films.
The audience gathered in front of the little outdoor stage. All eager to see The Creepshow. All happy that the Canadians had the chance to still play, even though it was a day late and way early. The band was just as happy so the show was one big party. Catchy and fast music, accompanied by a stand up bass and rocking vocals by the female singer, The Creepshow enjoyed the bright sun and the morning, and so did the fans. The audience sung along and cheered. The band laughed, told stories and got up close to the audience.
The singer even jumped into the audience, dancing and singing together with them, one on one. With a rush of adrenaline she also claimed the stage sides to get a good view from above. The music was filled with positive vibes, so was the air. A beautiful show. Everyone was glad that we did not have to miss out on The Creepshow on this Amphi Festival.
Darkhaus was up next on the biggest outdoor stage. They make Darkwave music and come all the way from Scotland. The band has some songs with some catchiness but whatever is heard is not really something new under the sun. It gives the impression that the band is not completely sure of their sound yet. On a more positive hand the guys seem to try to reach out to their audience a lot. The audience interaction may not be completely solid yet, but you got to put in the energy which was done.
Das Ich is back in business and they are some welcome guests here at amphi. After missing frontman Stefan Ackermann for a while due to health problems they are now back on stage and so they said as well ‘the lost child has returned’. Back in business as we said and the guys are giving the audience some songs from long ago. Some 90’s and true Das Ich classics pass by.
Will it mean a date for their long awaited “Koma” album, that they still advertise on their homepage? Well, the setlist does not give a hint to any new material, but one might never know what is ahead of them. The show for today is one, the red devil and his conscience spitting them words with a meaning towards those watching. It never is a dull moment with them, a passionate show of Das Ich tonight!
Qntal is a medieval project from Germany. Today playing on the outdoor stage, mixing the modern with the classical creating their sound. Who has seen Qntal before but isn’t a particular fan will be bored by seeing this. As the band is not really going beyond themselves they failed to make an impression over the earlier experiences we had with them before.
Strongest points are the use of the violin which make it a bit more exciting but the performance self is simply too static and not enough to reach the potential that it has. They could get so much more out of it than they do now by exploiting the little things that make them unique. Throw some more theatre into it. Make that drama real and then it would hit us so much more.
Zeraphine was enjoying the last bits of sun outdoors before the clouds would darken the sky again. Zeraphine is a gothic alternative rock band from Berlin, Germany, formed in 2000 by Sven Friedrich (vocals, programming, lead song writing) and Norman Selbig (guitars) from the then-defunct Dreadful Shadows. Lots of fans had gathered to see them again, since it had been a while. This would be their only show for this year.
With some jokes and lots of thank you for everyone who came out today, Zeraphine played all their hits during their hour of show time. Beautiful and melodic songs the audience swayed and sang along to. Raising their hands to wave along to the sounds and enjoying the peace of it all. It seemed as if Zeraphine had never been gone. Everyone in the audience knew the lyrics to each song, singing them out loud. What a beautiful show. Leaving everyone with only the hope that Zeraphine would be back soon, maybe with a new album in their bags.
Almost an aggrotech legend and drawing tons of people the venue was anxiously awaiting Combichrist to shake the foundation of the Lanxess arena. Combichrist is an American aggrotech band formed in 2003 by Norwegian Andy LaPlegua, who also founded the bands Icon of Coil, Panzer AG, Scandinavian Cock and Scandy. Combichrist is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The band consist of only LaPlegua in the studio with Joe Letz, Z_Marr, Eric13, and Brent Smedley for live performances. Releases by the band have been very successful in terms of sales and charted in top positions for dance and alternative charts worldwide. They have probably been one of only a few bands on this years line up that have had the chance to play quite some arena shows.
You could feel that they know how to get even the last person it the farthest bleachers to dance along. With a soft intro sung by singer Andy and accompanied by their guitar player only, Combichrist pulled the masses before they rose for a musical clash. Loud music, heavy beats and fast rhythms, Combichrist shook every last ounce in the venue. The audience loved it and went insane. The dance floor was crowded, so were the bleachers. You could say “sold out house” if it was their show, because that is how crowded it was. The band got up close to the audience, the singer even went down into the pit, greeting some fans.
Combichrist played all their hits, old and new. Having a blast. So did the fans. The drummer Joe was throwing drum sicks into the audience and occasionally some of his drums on stage during the set. As usual it was a brilliant set, amazing to watch and always leaving you wanting more. Another band to keep eyes open for upcoming tour dates.
A German hit band was drawing the masses into the Lanxess again: Oomph! Oomph! is a German musical group formed in Wolfsburg, Germany in 1989. The band is considered the pioneers of the German Neue Deutsche Härte movement. Since the band’s formation there have been no line-up changes, except for live personnel. The singer had his face painted like Batman’s joker, wearing sneakers and not the usual Gothic stereotype clothing. Yes, the band is well known and loved amongst the Gothic scene but the band still keeps their own style and will. And so they performed tonight in their very own way.
With lots of joy and laughter Oomph! played their pop songs and hits as well as some lesser known tracks, getting every one in the audience to sing and dance along, having a blast. Especially the younger visitors were absolutely excited about the band. Oomph! played a family show for everyone of every age. A beautiful sight and just one of the many things we love about Amphi Festival.
The Mission were one of the most remarkable bands of the day. The British formation is a bit different from the others today and have a long discography living up their reputation. The Goth formation had to deal with the fact that their frontman Wayne wasn’t good at voice but they brought some helping troupes with them and of course the audience would sing along as well. What speaks for them is they were still standing there and make the most out of it.
Also, the band has more members that could take a bit of a spotlight, for example on guitars. Playing it like that they made a good impression and let the audience enjoy a good dose of The Mission history. Regardless the fact that it may not been the best performance the band did ever, it is the way they solve it and manage to get their audience to embrace them nevertheless, that is really impressive. One of the highlights of the day!
The rain outdoors had stopped just in time for Diary Of Dreams. 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. Dark lights which was illuminated by the little sun that was still left and fog that was blown away by the upcoming wing, Diary Of Dreams closed the Green Stage outside for the weekend. With their dark and almost grim music the band set the space in front of the stage in motion, painted it black. With melancholic and dark lyrics that everyone sang along to, the band had their music be carried far away by the winds.
Growing louder and stronger with every song. it was an intense show, not only for fans. You could feel the passion from the band and audience during the show. An amazing sight and feeling. The music was coming from the hearts of everyone who sang or played along. A beautiful ending for the green stage.
Now it was time to end the festival for this year. And who else would be a better match do to so than VNV Nation? Right. No one. VNV Nation is an English/Irish electronic music band originally from Dublin and Essex and now based in Hamburg, Germany. They combine elements of synthpop, 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.” Once again, the house was crowded. Packed to the last seat. With bright lights and lots of positive music VNV Nation was singing to the audience, and they sang back. In unison they waved and swayed.
The catchy tunes got everyone to go along, sigh and enjoy the last moments of Amphi Festival 2015. VNV Nation played with their fans and friends in the audience, waving, smiling, shaking hands, telling stories. Well received by everyone. Sometimes the audience sang for VNV Nation. The bands was deeply impressed by all the audience and the venue, the look and the feeling. A perfect ending for a not so easy weekend. Looking forward to next year.
Photo’s and reviewed by sabinevangameren.com are:
Inkubus Sukkubus, Darkhaus, Das Ich, Qntal, The Mission
Photo’s and reviewed by Nina Mende are:
Stahlzeit, The Creepshow, Zeraphine, Combichrist, Oomph!, VNV nation
Amphi Festival Website