2009-07-18-19 DE – Cologne - Tanzbrunnen
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[Dajana] Weather forecast told something about rain and a cloudy sky and cold temperatures. Ok. That was clear. During the week, where everybody has to work, a heatwave made us melting, on the weekend it’s getting cold and rainy… Never mind, we had a great hotel ;)

Fields Of The Nephilim - Covenant - Leæther Strip - Eisbrecher - The Birthday Massacre - Solar Fake - Mantus - Coppelius

Laibach - Feindflug - Agonoize - Marsheaux - Absolute Body Control - Scandy - XotoX - Jäger 90 - Auto-Auto

:: photos ::

[Dajana] After getting introduced on the festival area our first walk lead us to the main stage for the opening act. Overwhelmingly introduced by WELLE:ERDBALL singer Honey, who then forgot the name of the band he was talking about *g*, Berlin’s time-honored rockers known as :: COPPELIUS :: opened the fifth edition of AMPHI FESTIVAL at 12am. Butler Bastille of course spiffed and furbished the stage up before, running around with a feather duster and arranging the instruments. Finally, Bastille turned on the radio (for the intro) and the tail-coated and top-hat wearing gentlemen entered the stage delivering a wild thirty minutes lasting show par excellence of finest chamber-core music. Having released a sophomore in spring, COPPELIUS played three songs from Tumult, added by classics from previous releases. Seeing COPPELIUS performing live is something special, extraordinary, not only because of the classic instruments and attire, but also because of the props, all these little things on stage, the slapstick and black humour.
Setlist: Transylvania, Der Advokat, Schöne Augen, To My Creator, Urinstinkt, Habgier, I Get Used To

[Niggels] :: AUTO-AUTO :: was the band, which opened the second stage of the festival, and as the very first band performing there this weekend it could have been a problematic gig. How many people will turn up to see this (yet) rather unknown band, especially as people had to walk to the other side of the festival ground from entrance and main stage to the new second stage at the Rheinparkhalle. In the past years the Theatre building at the Tanzbrunnen area was used for the second stage of the AMPHI, which was changed to the Rheinparkhalle this year because of its bigger capacity.
Well, it was nice to see that actually many people turned up, and even if some probably just came to check out the new location AUTO-AUTO surely won them over. The three young Swedish guys presented their Synth Pop which had a distinct retro feel combined with a very modern touch. There’s a reason why AUTO-AUTO cite Future Sound Of London and Morcheeba as influences next to Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and Front 242! The band’s line-up is somewhat like the trademark cast for an Electro band – a geeky synth wizard never stopping to twist and tweak the knobs and keys of his equipment, an energetic freak who doesn’t stop to dance behind his keyboard, and a smart singer who delivers amazing vocals. Indeed, vocalist Johan Hellqvist has a great voice, and when you consider the young age of the AUTO-AUTO members there’s hope that this is an up-and-coming band we will hear a lot more form in the next few years.

[Dajana] And the time has come… for the very first live show of :: MANTUS :: and MANTUS didn’t start with less than the main stage at AMPHI FESTIVAL. Not sure, if that was such a great idea… Well, I’m hardly ever a friend of female fronted Gothic Metal and MANTUS approved my fears. This duo, added by two live members, drowns in cheesy Gothic Metal with sickly-sweet German lyrics. Music is boring and following beaten tracks, you know, as heard umpteen times. Luckily the voice of female singer Thalia is not high-strung and “ethereal” yet inexpressive, without any charisma. Much worse her performance: she seemed to be very nervous and tensed up. Her facial expression was kind of harsh with pressed lips and her movements pretty… woodenly. Same to the other members. I think MANTUS should have played a couple of club shows before to get a bit of the feeling and routine such show needs. Nope, this band is not for me. And the world can do without too ;)

[Niggels] After all-blue stage lights for Auto-Auto’s show now all-white. :: JÄGER 90 :: need bright light for their mission, and the search headlights warned “Achtung! Ein Jäger!”. Shouter Thoralf entered the stage with a pilot’s helmet to give out this warning, while new member Vigo (who replaced founder member Steve a while ago) stayed in the back behind his drums and effect machines. JÄGER 90 sound like an exact copy of the good old glorious DAF – they know this 100%, and they wanna be that way! JÄGER 90 was started to have some fun and to make minimalist electronic music. To JÄGER 90, all you need is a bass sequence, some pounding drums and a human voice. A limited concept which could easily fail but JÄGER 90 prove that they are simply incredibly grooving. A lot of new songs from the forthcoming Drischne Skasal dominated the first half of the show; in the second half the band gave their fans well-known tunes like Komm und rück ein bisschen näher or Stiefelblitz. It is remarkable that so many acts think they re-invent the wheel while they sound like a copy of other bands, and here’s a band who straightforwardly admits that they indeed copy the sound of their heroes and yet they sound so much fresher than most others! JÄGER 90’s sense of humor and tongue-in-cheak attitude plays a significant role here but more importantly: Their rhythms simply make you wanna move!!
[Dajana] Hihihi... ok, it was my first JÄGER 90 show and – as being warned – I expected the band performing totally drunk. They were not, but it didn’t better the impression. As for me JÄGER 90 appeared like clone of DAF and Nitzer Ebb with intended provocation a lá Feindflug. Nope, it didn’t work out. But ok, it’s good to know that’s exactly what they wanna do and that they take themselves not so serious ;)

[Leo] Just in time, :: SOLAR FAKE :: entered the main stage and started their show. Sven Friedrich is not the biggest entertainer, but he presented his songs with soul and power and the crowd was pleased by this. The show ran about 35 minutes and included eight songs. Besides their own songs, SOLAR FAKE played a cover version of Radiohead’s Creep, which was already released on their first and so far only album. The space in front of stage was well-filled despite the early hour; people enjoyed the show and moved their legs.
Setlist: Hiding Memories From The Sun, Stigmata Rain, (You Think You're) Radical, Sometimes, The Shield, Creep (Radiohead), Here I Stand, Lies

[Niggels] The first gig when it got really, really crowded at the second stage! From Cybergoths to Industrialhead several generations of fans went to the Rheinparkhalle to see the first performance of :: XOTOX's :: new tour. Mastermind Andreas Davids calls his music “Industrial for hyperactive people”, some others might label the sound as distorted, noisy Techno but however, it appeals to a lot of people. Davids was joined by a girl, who played a weird kind of drum-fog machine combination at the start of the show. Every bang on the drum produced a stream of fog coming out of other side of the drum – weird indeed. Later she went behind her own synth rack and both controlled the heavy noise loops of XOTOX’ music. The response from the crowd was excellent but when you’re not one of the many people, who dance like nuts to the endless beats, you might find the purely instrumental music of XOTOX sounding a little monotonous after a while. Nice gig but to me XOTOX works better in a club than live. Not too surprising for music which is basically club music!

[Dajana] Oooooh… the gummi bear gang… ;)
[Leo] The boys of :: THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE :: entered the stage one by one during the intro, followed then by beautiful and hyperactive female singer Chibi – all clothed in similar black shirts. They started their show powerful and quickly the crowd followed the animations and anyone was dancing and singing along, pushed by the rousing performance. It seemed they had a lot of fun to play this show and the temper of the crowd was great too. For me, the show of THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE was the first festival highlight and I was very pleased by the great performance.
[Dajana] Yeah, for me too. Again a new band to me and I was downright enthused by the cute Canadians ;) Chibi was dancing and jumping, playing the Lolita or pulling faces like a sulking brat. And her band mates were nothing short of.
[Leo] You shouldn’t miss the band playing the “Into Darkness” tour together with Deathstars, Diary Of Dreams and Dope Stars Inc. in Autumn.
[Dajana] Be sure I will not! ;)
Setlist: Red Stars, Goodnight, Falling Down, Weekend, Shiver, Lovers End, Video Kid, Looking Glass, I Think We're Alone Now, Walking With Strangers, Blue

[Seb] As if he wasn’t busy enough with his other projects, the most prominent being Combichrist, Andy LaPlegua has given birth to another one, named :: SCANDY :: to invade even the last dance floors on the globe with ferocious bass pulses.
[Dajana] And maybe Mr. LaPlegua should have stood with his other projects. The new beats might be perfect for the dancefloors but musically he doesn’t differ that much from his other work. And performing live singly is hardly ever a pleasure. He was deeply hunkered over his Mac, didn’t have any contact or interaction to the audience. He didn’t move or dance or do anything else than starring on his screen and pushing keys. Maybe he just needs glasses to look from the distance; some lights would do it too ;) Well, light was a general problem at Rheinparkhalle, driving photographers mad. I guess Mr. LaPlegua has to face that just being Andy LaPlegua isn’t enough to manage a show. Not even a DJ set if you ask me… This afternoon show was in fact the most reserved one, no action from the artist, no response from the audience, different worlds without any connection to each other…

[Leo] It was raining when :: EISBRECHER :: entered the stage and started their show, but a lot of people filled the space front of stage and enjoyed the show despite of the rain anyway. The show started with Kann denn Liebe Sünde sein - the opener of the current album, which was released in 2008. The set list consisted of songs from the latest album Sünde, such as Heilig or This Is Deutsch combined with older songs like Antikörper, Leider and Schwarze Witwe. The show was finished after about 45 minutes by the Megaherz song Miststück, which is always a fan favorite. Also, as little tradition, EISBRECHER included a part of Clawfinger’s Nigger into the set. It was the third time for the band to play at AMPHI FESTIVAL and it seemed that meanwhile the crowd would know every song of EISBRECHER. The crowd responded every song with applause and people were dancing and singing along the whole time.
[Dajana] I’d say EISBRECHER follow much the pathes Rammstein once paved and singer Alexx looks a bit like Rob Halford… um… 30 years ago.
Setlist: Kann denn Liebe Sünde sein, Angst?, Antikörper, Heilig, Leider, Vergissmeinnicht, Schwarze Witwe, This Is Deutsch, Miststück (Megaherz)

[Niggels] From almost unnoticed pioneers of electronic music in the early 1980s to most welcome festival appearances in the 21st century – :: ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL :: is not just another project by the very busy Dirk Ivens, it’s actually his first musical project ever! After the reinforcement of ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL a few years ago a number of re-releases and live performances followed. And the gig at the AMPHI proved that the Belgian duo is more popular than ever! After seeing them a couple of times live on stage the “Wow! They’re back!”-effect has surely worn a bit off but nevertheless ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL put on a great show. Dirk Ivens is one of the greatest vocalists/frontmen of this scene after all and his charisma alone guarantees a good show. All the ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL classics make the good show a great one, from their more melodic Electro Pop tunes (like the opener of the show, Love At First Sight) to straight EBM of the classic Belgian type. Iven’s performance and the music of ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL are equally compelling. Simple but effective, and from a live rarity to a surefire performance on the bills of many clubs and festivals!
[Dajana] *coughs* one of the greatest vocalists??? His voice cracked several times and his performance was erratic. So what about ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL??? There was no body control at all, or on the voice. I found this show terrible.

[Niggels] Before :: LEÆTHER STRIP’s :: only festival appearance in Europe this year many fans wondered how Æ mastermind Claus Larsen will pull off the show. After all he decided to perform alone, with no additional musicians on stage - unlike the legendary Solitary Confinement tour, LEÆTHER STRIP’s last live outing which is as far back in time as 1992! So, some people were skeptic how the performance would come across as a one-man show. Some other fans were simply overly happy to have the chance to see LEÆTHER STRIP live at all, as this was something not to be reckoned with only a few years ago. And the reports from the first few shows in Danish Aarhus, in Gothenburg and at the aptly titled Power Strip Festival in Philadelphia were all really positive. In the end, both the doubters and the optimists were right. Yes, the show would have looked better (and the stage less empty) if Larsen had invited a few additional musicians to support him. The daylight didn’t help too much here as well.
On the other hand Larsen surely rocked the stage and looked just as happy as the crowd in front of the stage. Almost all of the music was pre-recorded - no big surprise really - but it has to be said that Larsen really prepared the show with the love of details. This began with the intro, an instrumental piece called The Battle Of Cologne he composed exclusively for his AMPHI gig, and what even featured the bell ringing from the famous bells of the Cologne cathedral! The intro faded into Strap Me Down, one of LEÆTHER STRIP’s biggest classics and presented in a different version. Got the crowd going for sure! Claus Larsen could not stop smiling, this was after all LEÆTHER STRIP’s biggest concert ever and the response of the AMPHI audience was truly a good one. Larsen had quite some gear on stage, with a single keyboard in the middle of the stage and a rack with more synths and effect devices on the right hand. A setup which kept Larsen pretty busy although he added only a few lines and sounds here and there to the playback of the HDD.

[Leo] :: MARSHEAUX :: entered the stage with the usual line up. At the start of the show the both additional keyboard player in the background had funny masks like boxes with faces on their head. In the foreground Marianthi and Sophi operated their keys, sang and used electronic drums at several songs. The set list consisted of 11 songs, mostly taken from the just released album Lumineux Noir like Stand By, Ghost and Radial Emotion, completed by older songs like Dream Of A Disco and Love Under Pressure. MARSHEAUX satisfied the crowd with their powerful rhythm and pleasing sounds. After about 35 minutes they left the stage, but what a surprise – they came back quickly and played a further song before they left the stage finally.
Setlist: Love Under Pressure, Stand By, Hanging On, Sorrow, Dream Of A Disco, Radial Emotion, How Does It Feel, Ghost, Breakthrough // Empire State Human

[Niggels] A whole army of young Goths and Industrialheads is at the feets of :: AGONOIZE :: The trio is surely among the hippest and most popular acts of the dark scene, and yet AGONOIZE is a case of love or hate for many. Well, their appearance, image and their lyrics are surely controversial. Provocation for it’s own sake is AGONOIZE’s attitude, and while I could forgive this rather easily I’m more concerned about their rather generic sound. They are not exactly the masters of variation and diversity, you know? But no matter how much you or I pick on the at times rather ungraceful demeanor of AGONOIZE no-one can deny that the trio does exactly what they want without caring about all the criticism. They really live what they do and stay true to their ambitions. To some the blood-spilling performance of AGONOIZE was clownish and the silly, and many others loved it. I wasn’t really among along the latter so I left the Rheinparkhalle after a while. I have to admit that AGONOIZE know how to produce effective floorfillers, but just like with Xotox their sound works better at a club than live. In AGONOIZE’s case for very different reasons, though.

[Leo] Time for one of my favorite bands! :: COVENANT :: entered the stage, first Daniel clothed in a black suit, than Joakim with a beige suit and last but not least Eskil with a white suit and a white hat, as we have seen it on sunny open air festivals before. Once again, Eskil fascinated the crowd right from the start with his charismatic performance and when 20 Hz followed as the second song after the new song Come was presented, the crowd already was infected by the spirit of COVENANT. Well-known songs like Bullet or Stalker or the nowadays rarely performed Speed from the Dreams Of A Cryotank album were heating up the temper before a new calmer song from the upcoming album called If I Could Give My Soul was played. After it, the show went on with well-known up tempo songs like Ritual Noise or Call The Ships To Port, which enthralled the audience. The crowd was jumping, dancing, clapping hands and singing along and the mood was great.
Daniel [Meyer - Haujobb] again played additional drums to some songs which gave more power to them. Altogether it was a great show with mostly well-known hits and two new and yet unreleased songs which whetted the appetite to the upcoming album.
Setlist: Modern Ruin Intro, Come, 20Hz, Bullet, Stalker, Speed, If I Would Give My Soul, The Men, We Stand Alone, Ritual Noise, Brave New World (rmx), Call The Ships To Port // One World One Sky

[Dajana] :: FEINDFLUG :: …an ominous name, an ominous band and an ominous omen? Yesss! Martially armed and providing their personal machinery of war FEINDFLUG caused a disaster. A flak in the middle of the stage, stroboscopes flashing around, WWII sceneries on the screen behind… claustrophobic insanity. A shoot got unleashed; the ceiling breaks down… blood… knee-deep, spilling over the stage and splattering all around… and FEINDFLUG became a victim of its own machinery of war…
Hahahahaha… Ok, joking aside. Isn’t that funny at all but - Honi soit qui mal y pense – it couldn’t have hit any other band better ;)
It’s actually an endless discussion. FEINDFLUG claim not to be associated with the right-wing scene in any way but at the same time like to play with Nazi-related symbolism under the cover of the WWII history they are “reflecting on”. Yeah, sure. And though… this show is supposed to become legendary… half of the set a part of the ceiling breaks down on the stage (2m²). The show got stopped and people evacuated. Luckily no one got injured, not even the band members (perfect that they were wearing (gas) masks, eh?). But the hall had to be closed from now on and bands had to change over to the Theater next day. It all of course caused some chaos, much more some blatant nonsense… erm… rumors *lol* I felt a bit remembered of legendary chaos-WGT in 2000. Is it an omen? FEINDFLUG should think about it ;)

[Leo] 8:30 pm - time for the headliner on the main stage. Honey, our anchorman, entered the stage but he didn't announce the headliner directly, furthermore he picked up a fan from the crowd who could take over this job. Must have been quite surprising for the guy who climbed up the stage to announce his “second favorite band” but the “greatest Goth Rock band ever” not forgetting to mention that “Carl McCoy is god” what earned him big applause. After his announcement the show was finally starting and behind a wall of fog, majestically the members of :: FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM :: moved onto stage and the whole venue was filled with the spirit of this legendary band.
The driving sound dominated by the guitars and perfected by the dark, raw and strong voice of McCoy infected the crowd, which enjoyed the impressive show very much. Powerful songs like Preacher Man or Penetration remembered to the glory times of Gothic Rock and quickly the time went over. The main set ran about 60 minutes and was ended by the band’s probably greatest hit Moonchild and Psychonaut. But of course this was not enough and so two more songs followed with Zoon III and Last Exit – great title for the very last song of the show! After about 80 minutes, FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM left the stage finally and closed the first day at the main stage.
[Dajana] Yeah, that was my very first FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM show and I was much looking forward it. It’s known that the Brits like to hide completely in smoke, but having experienced it… it was too much. What use does it have when you can’t see the band playing live? Not to mention all the photographers who hardly got a good pic. Luckily there was some wind blowing the smoke away and revealing that the band performed quite statically. The guys are getting old *lol* Though a great show and I have to confess: Carl McCoy is as cool as fuck ;)
Setlist: Shroud, Straight To The Light, Preacher Man, Trees Come Down, Love Under Will, Penetration, Watchman, Moonchild, Psychonaut // Zoon III, Last Exit

[Dajana] First rumors were afloat and got confirmed after the Fields show with an official announcement. And suddenly we had a lot of time for anything else ;) Most of the photographers met at the VIP tent and sitting together we had a lot of fun while talking nonsense, exaggerating the Feindflug disaster to a blatant and lurid story. Besides we talked shop and experimented with flashes while drinking beer. And more beer… Anyone want’s a beer? Yessssss. Ok. *lol* At the end we were flashy-thinged, totally silly and went to the Laibach show… ;)
Many greetings to the FC photographers and the ones around ;)

[Niggels] When the Rheinparkhalle had to be closed down for security reasons after Feindflug’s gig the staff of the AMPHI surely got a little hectic – so big thumbs up to them that they managed to re-schedule :: LAIBACH's :: headline gig at the second stage to the theatre stage of the Tanzbrunnen area! That there was quite a delay – LAIBACH were originally scheduled for 21:20 but entered the stage finally around midnight – is more than forgivable under such circumstances. And some people even were happy about that, as the delay meant that you could see the full shows of Fields Of The Nephilim and LAIBACH. However, after queuing for one and a half hours the doors of the theatre finally opened, and the eager fans got a show which was well worth all the waiting! “Impressive” is just one of the superlatives for LAIBACH’s show. Before the festival I wondered if LAIBACH will do a kind of best of for their festival appearance, or a continuation of their rather ambitious and challenging Volk project. Well, in the end it turned out to be both! They started with some selected hymns from their Volk album, on which they covered several national anthems in their unique LAIBACH style, with some added lyrics which work as some sort of comment on the respective nation and its current state or role in the world. Although the presenter announced the band with the remark “Let’s have a big party with LAIBACH!” this was not about having a party at all! This is fecking art, for Christ’s sake, not an attempt to entertain by throwing a bag of dance tunes and empty clichés at the crowd. This is something that actually contains a message, an intention, and which always has a cultural and political context. Having said that, LAIBACH’s show is of course entertaining too. But rather entertainment of the intellectual and thought-provoking kind. Starting with Germania and continuing with the anthem of the USA, LAIBACH supported their ambitious performance with excellent video animations on two huge screens in the back of the stage. After the selected Volk material a storm broke loose with Tanz Mit Laibach, start of the second half of the show, which featured a lot of tracks from the album W.A.T. and some classics like Alle Gegen Alle. A perfectly choreographed performance as the Teutonic Techno beats rewarded the audience for its attention and concentration during the more challenging first part of it. Yes, it’s allowed to dance and have fun at a LAIBACH concert – who could resist a call like Tanz Mit Laibach anyway? But whatever LAIBACH do, they do it for a reason, and seeing the audience at the very packed Theatre cheering, singing and dancing in unison while the band presents a performance on mass manipulation, totalitarianism and the abandonment of individuality in a crowd might leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Or a knowing smile in your face! However, easily the best and most sophisticated gig of the AMPHI weekend!


I am tired, now I rest,
I close both my small eyes;
Father, let your eyes
Be over my bed!

It was an inexpertly long festival day. No aftershow party anymore. Deadly tired I fell into bed, for a moment tried to book me a massage but left it and took a bath instead. Am I tired kangaroo…


stories © Dajana Winkel, Carsten Leopold, J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch & Sebastian Huhn
photos © Dajana Winkel & Daniela Vorndran