|Aug. 30th, 2012 @ 12:14 am Festivalness|
|As promised in my previous post, here's a post waffling about all the festivals I've been to this year:|
First up was the second year of our local industrial festival, Resistanz. This was actually one of the big highlights of my year; it was an absolutely amazing weekend of excellent bands, great DJs and lovely people. With the added bonus that I got to come home and sleep in my own bed every night! Highlights of the first day included Memmaker, Frozen Plasma and Grendel, and all the main room DJs (L8N, Carbonel, echo_echo and DJ Totentanz). Also managed to get through the Saturday night reasonably sober, remembering that it's not a normal Saturday night at Corp, and that I do actually have to do stuff the next day! (A mistake I made the year before...)
The second day was possibly even better, with great performances from Straftanz, Ultraviolence, mind.in.a.box (despite technical issues) and Icon Of Coil. I did end up having to sit down to recover following the bands, which meant I missed quite a bit of the DJing afterwards. However, I'd perked up towards the end and managed to catch (and dance solidly to) the second half of DJ Azrael's set and all of PinkFoamy's. Incidentally, I see these two have just been confirmed as festival regulars, which is great news! I finished the festival by wandering back with a few others to the Jury's Inn, where we hung out in the hotel bar for a while (where I think I slightly offended Thomas Rainer, although I think luckily he was too wasted to remember!) before I really couldn't stay awake any more and dragged myself back home.
A few months later, I headed over to Germany for my first attempt at a foreign festival, having been persuaded by black_mischief and blondeylocks to give it a go. Held in the amphitheatre in Gelsenkirchen, Blackfield Festival was definitely a fun and interesting experience. For those of you who have only ever been to goth/industrial festivals in the UK, I encourage you to try a German one sometime - and Blackfield is certainly a good one to try.
The first day was absolutely gorgeous sunshine, and we spent most of the day sitting by the main stage enjoying the music, drinking mead, and trying not to burn. I remember enjoying Grendel for the second time - the advantage of this performance being that their fantastic new album was actually out by this point, and we got to hear some more of the new tracks performed. I also seem to remember Hocico and Oomph! were rather good. However, by far and away my favourite band of the festival (and one of the main reasons for going) were VNV Nation. Quite possibly the best VNV gig I've ever seen (and there's quite a bit of competition for that title!). Approximately 6000 people all dancing around like mad things to Ronan, Mark and chums, as the sun slowly set over the stage. A brilliant end to the day.
The next day was not so brilliant.. the heavens decided to open, heavily and constantly. With very little covered space to escape the weather, it did make it difficult to enjoy the music. I did brave the dampness for Stahlmann (who were entertaining, and painted silver), some of Megaherz (who were not so entertaining), and Funker Vogt (enjoyed seeing them for the first time in years). I would have liked to have watched Welle:Erdball too, but by this point I was very cold, wet and grumpy, so I went over to the Tent Stage to dry off and warm up a bit (where I saw The Arch, a slightly dodgy goth band - not really my cup of tea, but better than being rained on!). I went outside again in time for Agonoize, who I really enjoyed.. even if we did get the heaviest rain during their set, which was then almost immediately followed by the first dry spell of the day, hooray! We finished off the day by watching Saltatio Mortis, a band I was initially sceptical about, but I was encouraged to give them a chance - and I'm glad I did, since they were lots of fun! Decided to head back to the hotel to get food and dry clothes after that, missing out on Combichrist and In Extremo, neither of which I was that bothered about seeing. I do sort of regret not sticking around for Combi, having since changed my mind about them, but never mind..
Aside from the musical discoveries, I also discovered the joy of Flammkuchen (an unleavened pizza-like thing with a creme fraiche and mustard base instead of tomato), and found out that I can drink German beer all night without it making me feel ill (unlike most British ale, something in which disagrees with me after a pint or so). Dunkel Weizenbier FTW :)
A month later, I returned to Germany for Amphi Festival in Cologne. It was quite a similar experience to Blackfield, although I didn't find the venue quite as good (perhaps I'm just getting old, but I like to have plenty of places to sit down!). Having arrived the previous evening, and spent the night wandering around various bars in Cologne, I unfortunately didn't get up quite in time to see Eisenfunk. In fact, I spent the first hour or so in a bit of a daze trying to find people, and mostly failing. The first band I remember enjoying were Spetsnaz, who were then followed by mind.in.a.box. Although it was good to see them again, especially since they suffered no major technical issues this time, they were still not as good as the first time I saw them. They've never quite managed to top the great performance they gave at Infest 2011.
Next up were Assemblage 23, a band I've enjoyed for years, but never quite got round to seeing until now. I was pretty glad to finally tick them off the list - one of the few bands I actually remember dancing to all weekend. A bit later on, I also got to tick The Sisters Of Mercy off my list, although I have to admit I got bored after a few songs and left to watch Apoptygma Berzerk instead. Watching Apop again for the first time in many years was interesting. They did a mostly old-school set, which I was pleased about. It was pretty obvious by the crowd's reaction that the majority of people there agreed - there was a noticeable dip in the response to any of the newer stuff (i.e. anything post-Harmonizer, which I realise now is 10 years old!). I finished that night sitting around at the beach bar with stevek , andyravensable , _pyromancer_ , house_of_borgia and others, followed by an early night to allow for more partying on Sunday.
More great bands were seen on Sunday, including Solar Fake, Aesthetic Perfection, Stahlzeit (a rather good Rammstein tribute, complete with lots of pyros!), Combichrist again (not as good as they were in Nottingham), and listening to And One (feet were giving up by this point, but we could hear them from where we were sat). Afterwards, ended up at the afterparty/club night affair, where I got to hear my first taste of German industrial DJing. It was a bit of a shock - I'm kinda used to the smooth mixing, and often beat-matching, of us DJs over here - but these guys were just going from one track to the next, with very little attempt to blend the two. Not to mention the fact they paid little attention to what they, or they co-DJs had played before. Consequently, I did spend quite a bit of time outside with some of my fellow british DJs, complaining about it (I was glad I was not the only one!). Although as andyravensable pointed out: "they've got dancing girls, we'll know we've made it when we get dancing girls".
Due to holiday-scheduling conflicts at work, I ended up having to spend an extra day in Germany after the festival (oh noes, the hardship!). This was mostly spent wandering around Cologne with black_mischief and blondeylocks , sampling some of the city's bars and restaurants. I think I may have slightly fallen in love with Cologne ;)
I'm actually quite tempted by the idea of living in Germany for a while, and Cologne is now definitely on the list of possible places to move to.
The final festival of the year so far was Infest, and I'm afraid this is where the festival awesomeness dries up slightly. I wasn't originally planning to go, what with the line-up not really grabbing my attention much this year. However, a couple of weeks ago, we discovered the Ibis Budget hotel had rooms for £18/night, so ended up there for the weekend. It turned out there was a good reason for it being so cheap.. the rooms were tiny, basic, and the bed not particularly comfy. Also, although it was only a short taxi ride from the venue, actually finding a taxi (especially on the way back) took a while, and it was certainly not as convenient as being staggering distance away. I'll know for next year.. if I go back, I'll likely be in the Jury's Inn again.
Anyway.. having arrived in Bradford and checked in, we headed out for food, which is where I made my first mistake (about ¾ of a bottle of wine). This was followed by another mistake (another bottle of wine), waiting for people to get ready so we could get a taxi from the hotel together (another disadvantage of not being staggering distance). To cut a long story short, we didn't get to the venue until about 11pm, by which point I'd missed all the first night's bands, and half the people I knew. At this point, I should have decided to take it easy, catch up with a few people and head back to the hotel for an early night. I didn't, of course.. instead I ended up staying 'til the end, drinking lots, going to an aborted afterparty in a tiny campervan followed by wandering down to the Hilton to hang out in the hotel bar. Eventually got home about 5am.. thankfully, with the state I was in, I didn't notice the uncomfortableness of the bed.
Saturday dawned, and so did the reality of the aforementioned bed. I gave up on trying to rest about lunchtime, and we headed into town for brunch - all-you-can-eat chineefoo (yum!). Having stuffed ourselves, we wandered up to the venue in time for the first band, and to have a wander around the stalls. In particular, I was after some stompy goth boots to go with the rest of my outfit, but I was sadly disappointed. It also quickly dawned on me that loud industrial music was not what my head required at that point, in fact it could very much do with a bit of a lie down in a darkened room. My fellow Ibis Budget sufferers needed to go back and tart up for the evening anyway, so we went back to the hotel for a bit, where I had a quick afternoon nap (I'm so rock'n'roll!). This meant missing Suono and A Split Second.. from what I hear, I don't think I missed much with Suono, although apparent A Split Second were pretty good. We got back in time to catch the the latter half of XP8's set, unfortunately plagued with laptop problems. Despite this, I still enjoyed what I saw, and I look forward to seeing them again in Corp in a couple of months when hopefully everything will be working for them. The other highlights of Saturday night were the headliners - and the first band I got to see properly - Solitary Experiments, followed by asw909 's DJ set in the main room. I stayed until almost 3am, at which point I was offered a lift back to the hotel and decided to take it instead of hunting out another afterparty, still feeling a bit tired from the previous night.
Sunday started at lunchtime with a large roast dinner at the Wetherspoons in the town centre, followed by wandering up to the venue. In theory we could have got there for some of the first band, but we accidentally ended up in the other Wetherspoons half-way to the venue. Still, we got to the union in time for Tenek - a band that a number of people have been telling me to check out, but I had thus far failed to do so. They were another band who suffered technical problems (backing track issues, by the looks of it), but they managed to get through it with a few setlist changes (and a dose of humour) and put on a really enjoyable show. I'm definitely now a Tenek fan, you can all stop telling me to listen to them now :)
Following Tenek were Blitzmaschine, hailing from Hamburg, with quite an old-school EBM sound to them. They reminded me of a slightly less camp version of And One. I enjoyed the set up to a point, but after getting about halfway through it did start to get a little bit samey, and I wandered off to sit down instead. I wandered back for Absurd Minds, although not for long... they didn't particularly grab my attention either. Another one that was good for a while, but got a bit dull, sadly.
After that was Winterkälte... normally, I try to watch bands I'm not familiar with with an open mind, however I'd heard a number of people describing them, and was pretty sure they weren't for me. I'm just one of the people in the "don't get industrial noise" camp. Even spending 10 minutes in the same room, away from the stage, was a bit too much. Hid in the bar for most of it, even though it was ridiculously hot in there.
Finally, there was Suicide Commando. I'll be honest, I'm not their biggest fan, I only really like one or two tracks. I'd also seen them before, at Resistanz 2011, and not thought much to them then either. However, I was willing to give them a go - admittedly, I was sitting down around the corner, rather than standing on the dancefloor, but my feet had almost given up by this point. They were certainly more pleasant to listen to than Winterkälte, but I was still not terribly impressed. I wandered around the rest of the venue a bit more, before eventually leaving at around midnight. Despite getting a relatively early night on Saturday, and a fairly decent amount of sleep, I was still getting quite tired by that point. It's a shame, I wish I could have stuck around 'til the end.
The above write-up does make it sound worse than it actually was though. Although I missed a number of the bands for various reasons, and most of the bands I did see were not to my taste, the weekend was saved somewhat by all the wonderful people I got to spend time with over the weekend. So to all of you who saw me at Infest, thank-you for making it worth going :)
Still to come on the festivals front - I will be at WGW in November (note to self: sort out Spa ticket). Have been wanting to go ever since Mesh announced they were playing - not seen them in far too long.
Also, a week after that, I'm off to Leipzig for Gothic meets Klassik, which looks like it'll be lots of fun. The first night is just a normal gig, including VNV Nation, Blutengel, Staubkind and others. The second night is those three with a classical orchestra, which I'm really interested in seeing (if I can find a ticket.. it sold out before I had chance to get one, hopefully ebay.de will be my friend).
And of course, there's Resistanz 2013 - got my ticket for that already :)