Location: Hameln (DE)
By: Basak G & Heavy Harlequin
Autumn Moon Festival at the beautiful city of Hameln opened its doors to the visitors for the fifth time this year. Apart from many bands and a variety of styles, the festival also offered a magical and medieval Halloween Mystic Market, which was open to everyone for three days and so we were beyond excited to experience the great music in the full medieval autumn atmosphere! The festival featured four venues this year: Rattenfänger Halle (the biggest stage), Sumpfblume, Moon Stage (the tent stage), and The ‘Ship” stage, guaranteeing a bit of everything for everyone.
After arriving to the festival and getting accustomed to the place around us surrounded by a mix of the crowd in the medieval and industrial styles, the first band we managed to catch in the Moon Stage was The Dark. Originating from the UK/US, the band’s sound is a nice mix of rock, alternative and industrial with influences from grunge and 90s rock. Their debut album “Live. Create. Destroy” came out last year. Throughout the show, the guys gave their all on stage; it wasn’t only the dynamic performance but also the overall stage appearance made the show a lot more colourful, with the front man Brandon Ashley being the highlight for sure! However, I gotta say they definitely deserved a better audience as there was a calm vibe in general… but this doesn’t change the fact that The Dark has great potential and they are a band definitely worth seeing on a club show with possibly a more dedicated audience to get the full rock’n’roll experience!
Monsieur Pompier’s Travelling Freakshow was the next act I managed to catch in the small but intimate Ship Stage. Hailing from Ireland, this act combines nightmarish cabaret with madcap theatre, and each of the songs tells the story of one his band merry misfits whose members include miracles of science. It was quite interesting to see many gathering at the early afternoon to witness this performance.
Well… what can I say? This has been by far the most random performance of the day for me. The audience was small and since the show was interactive, there was such a warm atmosphere. No other fancy decoration or stage antiques were needed as the figures were in the spotlight and entertained the audience. Throughout the show, I also wondered how he came up with all these ideas and the costumes… so absurd, creative and funny!
Moving from The Ship Stage to the Sumpfblume, the club-venue of the festival, the next band Forgotten North was already on stage and I thought I was late to the show. Only when I noticed that the lighting on stage was still off, I realised that they were actually still doing the soundcheck. Yet already they were radiating an energy that gave me the feeling that this would be a good show. I was not wrong!
Even though they had been there just a minute ago, the band entered the stage like it’s the grand opening to their headlining show: With two bandmembers blowing giant horn-trumpets to set the medieval ambiance that carried them through their show, seamlessly going into their first song „Kinder des Zorns“ which, as they announced afterwards, is also the title track of their latest album. The new album also seemed to be the main point of the show, as they played a lot of the new songs with often enthusiastically announcing the fact. I could tell that they’re really proud of the release and from what I can hear, rightfully so! Most of their songs hit that sweet spot between partyesque punk and ambient medieval-rock that is popular in the german medieval-rock-scene (see In Extremo and Feuerschwanz)!
The only thing that dragged the show a bit down was the rather boring audience. Nobody booed them down or anything and they still cheered and clapped after every song. Even when the band asked everyone to kneel down in the beginning of „Beserker“, most of the crowd happily complied. Yet most people seemed to be more up for a chill early-afternoon concert, rather than a high energy rock-show. But overall it was a great show and Forgotten North gave it their everything!
It was time to get to the bigger venue, Rattenfänger Halle, for the next act, Unzucht. This was probably my fourth or fifth time seeing them – a band I have very fond memories of, as they were first introduced to me back in 2012 just when I started university. Since then they have mostly fallen of my musical radar, but whenever I get the chance to see them live I happily take it as I know their show never disappoints. Same goes for their show at Autumn Moon! Despite this show starting out with some slight technical difficulties, as one of them mentioned not hearing anything on his earpiece after the first song („Basti! Ich hör auf meinem Ohr nix!“), the crowd still loved them!
For them only being the second band of the day, to play the main stage, the hall was packed! Not just with fans but also with curious bystanders who may or may not have become fans after the show, as the audience grew more and more excited with the progression of the show. The huge popularity of Unzucht lies not only in their excellent mixture of Dark Rock and Industrial Metal, but also in the like-able playfulness and natural charm of singer „Der Schulz“ who was once again on full display here and he was more than happy to interact and engage with the crowd, making this an awesome show! Then again, I didn’t expect anything less from Unzucht. Overall, a fantastic performance!
Back to the Sumpflume… The medieval party band Kreyenzeit was highly awaited here. Formed in 2011, this German act is all about rock’n’roll mixed with folk and medieval music. The band has four full-length albums so far, with the latest one “Saitentänzer” out earlier this year, as well as the recent EP “W.I.R.” so the band had plenty of good reasons to celebrate this with the audience. From the beginning, everybody was into the show; just how it should be!
The crowd was cheering along, and we could definitely spot the passionate fans singing and jumping to the music. As promised and expected, the band also played songs from their latest album which was received pretty well although most of the people in the audience seemed to have heard the news of a new release during this show. I personally loved the combination of the vocals, fiddle and hurdy-gurdy, which was also the highlight of the show (and reminded me of Eluveitie a bit). Overall a very impressive show!
Merciful Nuns was one of the highlights for the audience for many reasons. The band, formed from the ashes of Garden of Delight, was founded in 2010 and they are known for combining post-punk and gothic rock with an occult touch. The latest album “Anomaly X” was released last year and their gig at this festival marked the last show of the band, so there were some highlights to be celebrated and gratitude to be shown as the band was greeted with a large crowd in the big venue Rattenfänger Halle.
Throughout the set, apart from the music (reminiscent of The Sisters of Mercy & Fields of the Nephilim sound), one highlight that caught my attention the most was the whole occult and cosmos theme going on in the background, reflected through the screen on stage. This gave a mysterious and occult-ish approach to the performance and accompanied the band’s sound pretty well; one could lose themselves not only acoustically but also visually throughout the performance.
Personally, as someone who saw this band for the first and last time, this was an interesting and weird experience for me. Writing about the band and their performance based on this show may be not the wisest thing to do but something clicked with me during their performance; the whole psychedelia, minimalism and the fantastic combo of the occult and post-punk atmosphere… and I am sure this performance meant a lot for the die-hard fans of the band. The crowd at Autumn Moon enjoyed this last show of the band very much and showed their ‘thank you’s to the band for delivering them some great tunes for the past 9 years!
After a fantastic performance by all those bands, it was time to take a break at the Mystic Halloween Market. While some were just enjoying beer or hot drinks around the stage at the market, where mostly medieval music was being played, the others were busy shopping mead or herbs as well as grabbing some delicious food! The market also offered a bit of everything for everyone when it came to food; apart from the typical stuff one would find at the market, some vegan options such as lentil soup or hamp bread were also available, which quickly became our favorites! One thing that we loved was the chill and comfy atmosphere; the market was organized and built in a great way that there were no huge lines or waiting times to grab something to eat or drink. The way from the stages as well as the view was also quite pretty and didn’t take much time; one could enjoy the view of the Weser river while making their way to the ship stage or Sumpfblume and experience the amazing atmosphere of the festival!
After a nice break at the magical Halloween market, we were in the big venue for Coma Alliance and we could already see that many gathered in this big venue again so it was obvious that this act was the favorite of many. Coma Alliance is known for many in this scene as this electro/wave band is the joint act formed by the Adrian Hates of Diary of Dreams and Torben Wendt from Diorama. In the beginning of this year, the band announced that they will tour as Coma Alliance to perform the songs from the Diorama & Diary of Dreams but also from Coma Alliance’s debut album “Weapon of Choice”, which had been released on November 2018. So, this performance at Autumn Moon Festival was quite a highlight and spectacle!
From the beginning of the show, the energy in the venue was on its peak and never went down! Even though they were the act before the headliners, everybody was here for Coma Alliance as it was obvious from the shouts and applauses before the guys entered the stage. Despite some technical problems with the mic and the sound, the band was fantastic in all perspectives – from the sound to the overall mood-. The dedication of the audience also didn’t go unnoticed as, in the words of Mr. Hates, the audience was a “1a”. Music-wise, the band made everyone content; as expected, not only the songs from this project’s debut album were played, but also some pieces from Diary of Dreams and Diorama as well. Even though we had to leave to make it to the next gig at the Sumpfblume venue, we were beyond impressed and entertained during the performance…and hopefully we get to see this act live in a club show!
Priest was one of the bands we were highly looking forward to seeing in this festival. Hailing from Sweden, this trio was formed in 2017 and gained popularity in the scene in such a short time! Their debut release “New Flesh” has been released in 2017 followed by the EP “Obey”, which was released earlier this year. This year has been quite interesting for them as there have been line-up changes after the release of “Obey”. Having seen them live twice (once with the old line-up), we were curious about how the band developed their stage performance and sound.
One word to describe this set would be… sweaty and sexy! Throughout the set, the crowd was dancing and singing along to the songs, never stopping for one moment! One thing we noticed was also the growing fanbase as each time, the amount of people who could sing along to all of the songs keeps increasing! This wasn’t one-sided though as Mercury was also ‘looking’ happy to see all the fans cheering and having a great time! There was no awkwardness, no problems but just an amazing performance loaded with such intense energy!
As expected, the majority of the songs consisted of the ones from the debut album but some new gems from the latest EP were also played with “The Populist”, “The Pit”, “Neuromancer” and “Obey” being the highlights from the set. At this point, we should also mention that the vocals definitely improved compared to the last time we saw Priest live. Considering the ups and downs the band went through this year, it is beyond impressive to see how far they have come and what they have for the fans in the future!
Lord of the Lost was the surprising name of this festival since the band was actually not included in the original line-up. However, since the original ‘headliners’ Solstafir had to cancel last minute, LOTL came to the rescue as the headliner act for Friday. Even though many fans were quite sad to hear the news of the cancellation, we could already see by the full audience at the big Rattenfänger Halle that LOTL as the headliner was not a bad idea at all.
Having seen this band live this year (which was quite a bloody experience from my side), I was determined to change it this time and oh boy… we were all in for a ride! The anticipation was high from the beginning (as is the case with LOTL always) and with the song “On This Rock I Will Build My Church”, the band made a fantastic start and kept the excitement on high level, never slowing down and never letting the audience breathe for even one moment! The energy within the band members but also the interaction with the audience every time is something that amazes us with this band; one could tell they do this because they fucking love it and also love the fans.
One big highlight was the keyboardist Gared Dirge…well more like the absence of Gared! The band had announced earlier that Gared won’t be joining them as he had been currently touring with David Hasselhoff, so the guys had to deliver this show at Autumn Moon without him. As much as we could see that the guys really missed him live on stage, the audience experienced some hilarious moments featuring a cardboard of David Hasselhoff with Gared’s face on stage which was brought by the drummer Niklas Kahl right before the guys started their set… and later thrown to the audience for crowdsurfing during “Full Metal Whore”. This was surely a “one in a million” moment for the audience to witness and kept both the band as well as the fans entertained throughout the show. On the other hand, Gared’s absence could be heard and felt but we gotta admit LOTL made the show flawless and perfect by giving their 10000% and being the perfectionists as they are.
As with the setlist, the band delivered some songs from the latest record “Thornstar”, with the highlights “On This Rock”, “Loreley”, “Black Halo” and “Morgana”, but also didn’t forget the classics like “Doomsday Disco”, “Six Feet Underground”, “Drag Me To Hell”, and “Die Tomorrow” and of course “La Bomba”. One song that was a surprise for the most was their cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”, as according to Chris Harms, the fans always complained that the band played this song abroad.
All in all, there was a bit of everything for everyone; the old fans as well as the new ones got to enjoy the show, and everyone was in the perfect mood. What can we say? With LOTL, the show is always colorful, hilarious and fantastic. No other words needed!
All photos by Heavy Harlequin, all text by Basak G except the text of Unzucht and Forgotten North.