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The second NCN day is always the longest one. It started early and when I got there from Leipzig it was already hot as hell, there were just about a hundred people in the audience and the band called OBERER TOTPUNKT was getting ready to hit the stage...
I saw this project for the very first time in my life and I'm already terribly sorry I missed them at WGT XX, because the band was 101% fantastic and original. OBERER TOTPUNKT was formed probably in 2006-2007, because the first album "10 Grad vor OT" was recorded in 2008 and to this day two more albums were released. The persons who stand behind it are Bettina Bormann (vocals or probably I should rather say reading), Michael Krüger (drums) and David Nesselhauf (contrabass). Puppenformat-C and Angelus are also the band's part as the dancers and show-performers. Honestly I love such bands that have their own vision, they don't call themselves EBM or rock or dark wave, they just do something so original that you can't put them into any of those categories. OBERER TOTPUNKT plays a very original and at the same time quite minimalistic kind of electronic music with the live contrabass and some very eye-catching show. Bettina Bormann is not quite a singer, it sounds like she doesn't sing but tells her lyrics to the audience. It's like listening an audio-book, a very interesting, emotional, soul-eating one, with a marvellous soundtrack. Later I heard the band performed at WGT the same year and it was a much bigger concert there, OBERER TOTPUNKT even used a small choir and some more show elements. This time the show was limited just to 8 tracks, but it was still outstanding. All the best and well-known tracks were there - "Schlacht", "Paul ist tot" (FEHLFARBEN cover, by the way), "Gevatter Tod", "Teufels Lehrerin" and even rap-like Hamburg anthem "Hamburg". All in all it was probably my best new discovery of the year and I'm already looking forward for their new album "Desiderat" they are working on right now.
It was announced that someone in OBSCENITY TRIAL was ill and the band cancelled the gig on the small stage, so the next band became F.O.D. This popular future-pop/EBM formation was born in 2000 and already has 3 albums under their belt. Anyway all I knew about it before is that a former BLUTENGEL member Eva Pölzing was there and I also heard their songs like "Maschinentanz" and "Jung und stolz". They were nice to hear, but I didn't knew what to expect from F.O.D. live. Even before they appeared on the stage I understood it would be something good - the keyboard stands were stylized as the white cars and I love the bands who use their imagination a little bit visually. The show was very energetic and soft at the same time. Both singers - eXcess D and Eva - were in good mood and sang very well. The atmosphere was opposite to the one some other EBM bands have, there was no anger or brutality on the stage, just a simple and not too original relaxing music.
I didn't know this band and honestly - you can take it as my humble opinion - I would live happily without knowing it. I would love to say that it was my problem and the synthpop-oriented audience knew and loved these guys, but I don't want to lie, there were not so many people at the small stage when X-DIVIDE came out. Internet told me the band exists already for 6 years, released one album and probably it's worth time spent for listening, but X-DIVIDE were quite boring and unconfident live. Both members looked like they've never been on stage before, like they were really scared of the people who watched them... They sounded good though, but I didn't think it worked for them performing live at all, sorry, it's just my opinion. Maybe it didn't feel very comportable for the band to play just 5 tracks because they had no more time, I don't know.
The next big stage act was SHIV-R from Australia. A goth-band from Australia, can you believe it? It sounds interesting to say at least. In all senses these guys are very young. The band exists just for about 3 years, but already has an album released worldwide and that's something some European bands would kill for. They already toured with COMBICHRIST and have certain plan for a full tour in Europe, so I think it's safe to say they really drew some attention at the NCN. I bet someone loved them, but I do have some remarks. SHIV-R's music is fast and pushing electronic stuff and I think the band did the right thing trying to break through in Europe, where the electronic/EBM scene is so huge. But at the same time that means it's extremely hard to find your own sound and your own thing in general - in 99,9% of cases you would look and sound similar to someone already popular. That's what I saw in SHIV-R. All the songs were COMBICHRIST meets for some reason MARILYN MANSON, because the singer tried to repeat all his trademark moves, poses and gestures. I saw a good band with a potential, but unfortunately I didn't see anything original. They all play good, look good, pay a lot of attention to their visual presence, but this band should really find a thing of their own.
I thought ELANE was a young and smoking fresh band, but Internet the Great and Wise told me it was actually born in 2001 and it's a respectful age for a folk-rock band like this. The first album named "The Fire of Glenvore" was out in 2004 and they already have two more CDs and they do have fans in the subculture. At least I really saw several people in the crowd with the ELANE patches on their jackets and bags. And I must say I was very sorry for them when the band played two songs and the power went suddently off! All the guys were kind of sad about it and it's totally understndable. Everybody hoped it was just a minor power problem, but in 5 minutes it was announced that the whole festival lost the power and we must wait for an hour or two... And you should be there to see how ELANE still performed another song in accoustic! That's what I call the spirit! That's what I love! The singer Joran Elane (ELANE was originally her solo-project) sounded very clear and all in all it could have been a very good performance if there were no power supply problems. Let's hope for the next time.
Here goes another compliment to NCN - at this festival you still have something to do even without the power. Some people could go and listen to OBEBER TOTPUNKT's singer Bettina Bormann reading one of her books (she's also a writer), some of us preferred to have some food and relax and as I heard somebody went to see a local soccer game, because a little soccer place was just about a hundred metres from the festival ground.
I went for Bettina Bormann's reading hour and didn't regret that, because it was amazing. The reading was theatrically staged and the whole OBERER TOTPUNKT helped her to reach the atmosphere she needed. Thanks for thr drums and contrabass, they needed no electricity. Puppenformat-C and Angelus were also there on a small stage and did some performance. In an hour or so after that I caught a fashion show by Black JewelsClothing that was held on the same small stage. There was still no power and Michael Krüger and David Nesselhauf were there again to give a helping hand. As for the show I'm not an expert, but I liked what I saw.
Time for a legend has come - PSYCHE was the first band on the big stage after the NCN found its power again. The band started working in Canada in 1982 and now it's an internationally acclaimed Germany-based synthpop act everybody knows. PSYCHE has released many albums and many hit singles and is very popular in Europe and even in USA. Due to the above-mentioned technical problems they came up a little later than expected and the whole shedule was changed. Fortunately no band was skipped, but of course there was less time for the individual sets. Only the headliner ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL, 32 CRASH, ATROCITY and IN MY ROSASY could play real long, all other bands had to skip 2-3 tracks from their gigs. Well, it was ok, this could happen to any festival, no one could foresee that. The most important thing was the power was back, music was alive again and all the people really missed it, that's why everybody was so happy to see somebody making sounds on the stage at last! PSYCHE did their set, the mood was there and it was all about hits like "15 Minutes", "Misery" and "Gods And Monsters". Good performance, well done!
SENSORY GATES was a band that many people were waiting for, everywhere I spotted fans in their t-shirts and stuff, but to my deepest regret that was also the only NCN act I wasn't able to feel deeply enough to say if I like it or not. Rather not, I should say. They played at previous NCN and I read a lot of good reviews, so may be I exprected too much this time. Or may be I'm not too much into electro-pop to find something special in this duo. The crowd was massive and I saw many happy faces in the audience, but to me it was quite a simple music many other bands record and perform exactly the same way and I found the band's visual presence too ordinary, so I think I was simply not a right person to judge it.
MERCIFUL NUNS is a relativery new project of Artaud Seth from GARDEN OF DELIGHT (r.i.p.) and it was the only thing I knew of the band till that day. The NCN booklet said it was going to to be a pure gothic rock and I got it for 100%. There were two TV-sets with some conceptual videos on the stage, then a lot of smoke came and when the yellow lights hit, the band appeared all in golden light - the effect was brilliant and I think MERCIFUL NUNS should keep it, at least for the festivals! Regarding the music it was real and pure gothic rock at its best. The guitar player Jón and the bassist Jawa looked fantastic and played very decent while Artaud showed himself as a really great frontman who can easily drive the audience crazy. Too bad they played just 8 tracks, I hope to see them again with the complete set, it would be totally worth seeing.
I saw KLANGSTABIL back in 2009 and was really looking forward to see the band again, because I found them very interesting music-wise. Maurizio Blanco and Boris May created KLANGSTABIL in 1994 so the formation can be considered to be quite old. It's not a standard electronic band you could imagine, because the duo always went for a lot of experiments and it's always very interesting to watch Boris May at work. He's like a pantomime actor, who plays with the lights and shadows and his emotions level is extraordinary, sometimes it looks like he's just ready to explode! This time the set was shortened, but the guys managed to perform 12 songs, which is already not too bad. I can't call myself a fan, but I was impressed as always, thumbs up.
ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL
Look who's back - the good old ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL! I knew a thing or two about them before, but that was the first time I saw them live. They say the band was big in 80's and broke up in early 90's. The fans' interest in them was still huge, so they came back in 2006 for some festival appearances. As fas as I know the present band's state is to go on until the audience needs them. This evening ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL was one of the main headliners and there were a lot of people at the big stage. Unfortunately that large stage size made a trick on the band, because the singer Dirk Ivens was permanently hidden in the shadows and it looked like the keyboards player Eric van Wonterghem was all alone on the big stage. I could hardly see Dirk Ivens dancing in the dark, but the music was easily distinguishable. It was the old-fashioned minimalistic electro music and the band persented a perfect best-of gig, playing more than ten tracks.
A well-known EBM band 32 CRASH was the next act on the small stage. The start was unfortunately spoiled with some technical problems and they could begin only in 20 minutes. That didn't make their gig shorter though and 32 CRASH played the whole program of 15+ tracks. The band is not new here, they played at NCN two years ago and showed some decent and highly energetic EBM stuff. This time they were on the small stage again and made their positions even stronger. Initially 32 CRASH drew some attention because their singer Jean-Luc de Meyer was also a part of famous FRONT 242, so there were a lot of people who simply wanted to hear something new from him. Today he sings in 32 CRASH accompanied by his two colleagues - Len Lemeire (IMPLANT) and Jan DHooghe (IMPLANT and VIVE LA FETE). The band provided the songs in a wide variety of style: starting from a softer kind of EBM and finishing with some compositions with a strong synthpop influence. There were a lot of people in the audiece cheering the band on the top of their lungs and 32 CRASH were even forced to do a 2-songs encore.
ATROCITY is a unique German metal band which completely deserves its cult status. I don't know another metal band which could change its style so dramatically for two or even three times and get away with it. They released the first album "Hallucinations" in 1990 playing the rough death metal, but in 6 years ATROCITY released "Willenkraft" and added al lot of industrial/gothic elements into their music. In previous 1995 they even realeased a co-operative album with the gothic idols from DAS ICH! In 1997 a very disputable cover album "Werk 80" was out and for some weird reason it simultaneously defined a new path for ATROCITY, got very popular and made it impossible for them to record another album with the original material, because the new fans demanded the covers only. For example the band released two albums after that - "Gemini" (2000) and "Atlantis" (2004) - but unfortunately they were so unpopular (not in my opinion, I think they were great), that in 2008 "Werk 80 II" appeared. When I saw ATROCITY live for the very first time they did a covers-only gig and I was rather disappointed, because I love their original stuff and to me all those 80's covers don't give any impression of how good this band actually is, but this evening I got everything I asked for - some covers, but also some original ATROCITY songs played with all possible power! I noticed that the line-up was changed again, and the great drummer Seven disappeared. That made me actually sad, because about two years ago he was still in the band and he played and looked like Tommy Lee meets Eric Singer, so I felt it was a great loss for ATROCITY. The only original guitar player Mathias Röderer also left the band in 2010. The show as always started with two sexy girls doing some dancing and then the band appeared and started with a CAMOUFLAGE cover "Great Commandment". I already though it was going to be a cover-gig all over again, but the second track was "Taste Of Sin" and that was already very promising! During the set some more covers were played like "Shout" and even "Die Deutschmaschine" that I've never heard live before. The original set-list consisted of "Blut", "Seasons In Black", "Willenkraft" and the beautiful "Cold Black Days". As usual Liv Kristine was also there helping her husband Alexander Krull to rule the show. All in all it was a brilliant end of the day! A perfect headliner for my taste.
Everybody who stayed at the festival for the night could go listen the final act IN MY ROSARY, but I had to catch my train and go home. That was a long day and I needed to have some sleep. The final third NCN day was waiting for me in just ten hours...
Pictures | Report: Albert Buchatskyy
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