I have been working hard on the video below as part of my work with SushiCat Productions. It’s very much inspired by my time at Wave Gotik Treffen (particularly in the Sixtina Absinthe bar!) Yes, Absinthe still inspires those dark and tormented souls… to do something very silly!
So the count down has begun in earnest! In 6 days the 21st annual Wave Gotik Treffen will begin. Four days of 209 of Gothic, Metal and Industrial bands, clubs, talks, art, theatre and events.
As ever the schedule is packed! Details of the programme can be found on the Official Wave Gotik Treffen site, iPhone or android app (Be aware: both apps are apparently clunky to use!) or my personal recommendation of NecroWebs PDF planner and Google Map (also see my guide to WGT recommended Places in Leipzig).
Here’s my picks from this years schedule:
On Thursday (24th May), as ever there is Sadgoth’s pre-WGT Meeting at the Bayerischer Bahnhof. Kicking off the festival with this yearly pub/restaurant is great to meet up with people particularly if you are a festival first timer.
Over the entire festival the Stasi Museum Runde Ecke is running an exhibition entitled: “When The Cemetery Was My Living Room” – The Gothic Scene In The DDR and access to this seems to be free for WGT wristband holders (else €3). Goths, like many other youth cultures were persecuted by the Communist regime in Eastern Germany so this exhibit should be interesting. The museum is running several scheduled guided tours through the exhibit as well. See the Official Programme for further details.
On Friday (25th May) from 3pm is the Victorian Picnic, again this year at the Clara-Zetkin-Park (by the lake near the Parkbühne venue). This is a great place to see/be seen with fabulous, often home-made Victorian, Steampunk, Medieval and Lolita fashions.
On Saturday (26th May) the Agra is the place to be with Grendel (6pm), Aesthetic Perfection (8:30pm) and Combichrist (11:10pm) all performing there. Also on is the brilliant British electro-industrial band Global Citizen at the Moritzbastei at 8:30pm.
On Sunday (27th May) the mourning halls of the Südfriedhof (South Cemetery) is open to the public for free from 10am-4pm. The cemetery is one of the largest in Germany.
Final day on Monday (28th May) bands at Agra are demonic Mexicans Amduscia (7:50pm) and the band you definitely don’t want to be in the front row for (they have promised “loads of blood” on their Facebook page!) Germany’s own Agonoize at 10:30pm.
Monday at Darkflower should be awesome (if you can get in) with the finale party from Out Of Line Electrostorm. Star DJs are listed as Lola Angst and Erk from Hocico/Rabia Sorda playing tunes from 8pm – 6am.
See you there!!!
So the sheer number of Alternative Festivals this year, coupled with a malfunctioning camera (which has now been replaced by a phone!) means that it was impossible to report on Waregem, M’era Luna Festival, Infest and Dark Mills Festival.
So instead, here are a list of festivals, performances I saw, brief ratings and some pictures and videos I took. I have seen more bands recently including The Birthday Massacre, Luxury Stranger and Bitter Ruin and that I think it’s unlikely I’ll review at this point so please visit MissJade’s YouTube Channel to see videos from these gigs!
Waregem Gothic Festival – Belgium, Waregem 16th, 17th and 18th July
Friday 16th July:
- Funker Vogt – 3/5
- Umbra Et Imago – 1/5
- Covenant – 4.5/5
Saturday 17th July
- Anne Marie Hurst – 2/5
- Front Line Assembly – 3.5/5
- Skinny Puppy – 5/5
Sunday 18th July
- Vic Anselmo – 5/5
- The Eden House – 4.5/5
- Alien Sex Fiend – 1.5/5
- VNV Nation – 5/5
Festival Highlight: VNV Nation
Best ‘Unknown by MissJade before the festival': Vic Anselmo
Special Mention: Covenant (for being massively off their heads on stage!)
M’era Luna Festival – Germany, Hildesheim 7th & 8th August
Saturday 7th August
- Angelspit – 5/5
- Brendan Perry – 1/5
- Stolen Babies – 3/5
- Laibach – 1.5/5
- Rotersand – 5/5
- Nitzer Ebb – 3/5
- Unheilig – 3.5/5
- Sisters of Mercy – 4/5
Sunday 8th August
- Hanzel & Gretyl – 3/5
- Zeraphine – 3.5/5
- Skinny Puppy – 4/5
- Placebo – 5/5
Festival Highlight: Placebo
Best ‘Unknown by MissJade before the festival': Stolen Babies
Special Mention: Hanzel & Gretyl (for performing their crazy slightly non-PC German jokes in Germany)
Infest – UK, Bradford 27th, 28th and 29th August
Friday 27th August
- De Vision – 2/5
Saturday 28th August
- Agonise – 2/5
- [x]-Rx – 4.5/5
- Rotersand – 5/5
Sunday 29th August
- Patenbrigade: Wolf – 4/5
- Nachtmahr – 3/5
- Project Pitchfork – 3.5/5
Festival Highlight: Rotersand
Best ‘Unknown by MissJade before the festival': [x]-Rx
Special Mention: Nachtmahr (for being hilarious by saying that they had made the woman put the cat in the wheelie bin!)
Dark Mills Festival – Merton Abby Mills, London Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th September (only 4th attended).
Saturday 4th September
- Rome Burns – 4/5
- Diva Suicide – 4/5
- Maleficent – 2/5
- Vic Anselmo – 5/5
- Beautiful Deadly Children – 2/5
Festival Highlight: Vic Anselmo
Who I also had my picture taken with!
Best ‘Unknown by MissJade before the festival': Diva Suicide
Special Mention: Rome Burns (for being lovely people!)
Apologies for the late writeup – Wave Gotik Treffen took so long for me to write about that in the meantime I have seen KMFDM at the O2 Academy, been to Waregem Goth Festival, M’era Luna Festival, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival (where I saw The Tiger Lillies) and am soon heading off to Bradford’s Infest! Hopefully I can get some more write-ups done before then.
After the mayhem of the previous night’s partying at “Eine rituelle Zusammenkunft” Mittelalter Rock club it was a late start for us. We headed down to the Werk II for Austrian psychobilly rokers Kitty in a Casket.
(Unfortunately it was at this point my camera died! Se here is a crappy picture I took on my iphone. Apologies for the lack of photos/videos!)
I couldn’t help thinking that lead singer Kitty Casket reminds you somewhat of a cooler, more rock and roll Avril Levine. She’s a small, slight woman who jumps around and prances about on stage. The rest of the band: Slappin’ Suspender, Billy The Bat and Mike Mean Machine (I bet their parents don’t call them by those names!) all performed well and although I do enjoy Psychobilly music, I do find it hard to get really excited about.
After some time milling around in the Medieval Village (above the Moritzbastei), we headed to the Kohlrabizirkus (which we had by this point rather maturely nick named “the boobie building” in honour of the two cones sticking out of it’s roof making it look like Madona‘s bra). We went to the Kohlrabizirkus to see the fantastic In Strict Confidence.
The German Electro-rockers In Strict Confidence gave a tremendous performance. They performed infront of some of their fantastic music videos such as when performing “Forbidden Fruit“, “My Dispair” and “Silver Bullets” and front-man Dennis Ostermann has a wonderful voice when performing live. Beautiful female vocals provided by Nina di Lianin and additional guitars were provided by Haydee who, when not rocking out on her guitar performed with fire staffs and poi. This, along with Nina di Lainin‘s skinny figure being hugged by a tight, red latex dress with matching elbow-length gloves provided plenty of spectacle to the event.
In Strict Confidence were definitely one of my favourite performances of the festival, especially as it is impossible to see them play in the UK. Their new album “La Parade Monstrueuse” is also fast becoming one of my favourite albums this year!
Having seen our final performance of Wave Gotik Treffen, we headed out to find an end-of-festival party. Although almost every venue was holding a party, we decided to go to the Moritzbastei as we hadn’t yet been inside the venue. What a venue it is! The Moritzbastei is an old fortress which is made up of brick rooms linked by a series of catacombs. Each room has been converted into bars, seating areas and dance floors giving a very unique feel to the venue. The music policy was fairly eclectic and a remix of Depeche Mode‘s “Master and Servant” particularly stood out from the night. We partied late into the night, saying a final goodbye to friends before heading to bed in order to catch our train from Leipzig Hauptbahnhof to Berlin in the morning.
There were quite a few bands I was keen to see on the Sunday of the festival including SITD and Suicide Command which I didn’t get to see. This was due to distance between venues coupled with them being scheduled at the same time as other bands I wanted to see.
We decided to miss Lola Angst in order to have a chilled out morning so went back to the Pagan Village it was then a short walk over to Agra for Italian Goth Rockers The Lovecrave.
I came to hear about The Lovecrave after hearing their rather catchy Metal inspired Goth Rock tune “Little Suicide” on the compilation “Fuck the Mainstream“. After looking them up on Spotify I found a couple of albums with the catchy pop-rock track “Vampires (The Light That We Are)” and “Tru Blood” (presumably inspired by the series of the same name).
The band put on a decent performance but never particularly engaged with the audience. Lead singer Francesca Chiara has an interesting vocal quality with plenty of passion. The songs were a little repetitive in type but the performance was fairly well put together.
The Lovecrave performing “Little Suicide”
After killing a few hours around Agra it was time to see a band I had been wanting to see for almost a decade: Faith and the Muse. Despite my recent enthusiasm for Faith and the Muse waining, the band are definitely one of those few bands that are highly talked of on the alternative and gothic scene and they did not disappoint.
Their show was incredible and very theatrical. They opened with the appearance of two of the dance troop Serpantine (called Aradia and Lucretia) dressed in white gowns with beaded headdresses and unbelievably long, branch like fingernails.
The rest of the band then appeared with Monica Richards at the front wearing an amazing red and gold gown with glittering horns and antlers.
Monica’s voice was deep and resonant and filled the Agra halle beautifully. The rest of the live band including Steven James and Marzia Rangel of Christ vs. Warhol, percussionist Julia Cooke and of course William Faith (among others) were also fantastic.
Serpantine’s Aradia and Lucretia returned to the stage in white bellydance outfits to dance to a former favourite song of mine; “The Burning Season” from the album of the same name:
The best track from the setlist had to be the live performance of “Nine Dragons” from their most recent album “Ankoku Butoh“. William Faith‘s war cries accompanied by Julia Cooke and others on Taiko was just amazing!
I missed Diary of Dreams (who I’m not a big fan of) but did want to see Lacrimosa.
Although not a huge fan of the band, I did enjoy the darkwave duo in my youth. The first point I would make about their set is that a two hour set by any band at any festival is too much even if a band is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary, although I guess I should have taken a hint from Lacrimosa‘s self indulgent style of music from vain lead singer Tilo Wolff. The problem with Lacrimosa is that they take Gothic Pretentiousness a little too far and do not produce particularly good music either. I find their songs extremely repetitive and this, coupled with a particularly aloof performance meant that I eventually got bored and went to find some other fun.
Lacrimosa performing at Agra Halle
I received a phone call on my way out from the gig from a friend who wanted to see if I was interested in going to a “Mittelalter Night” in a venue I had not heard of or been to before – the Speigelpalast (Mirror Palace). Mittelalter Rock (Medieval Rock) is a type of gothic rock that is popular in Germany but has yet to really take hold in other parts of the worldwide gothic and alternative community. I had initially heard it and felt that it was not to my taste so I had my reservations about going. However with much encouragement and pleading I gave in and went along.
Am I glad I went! The evening I later found out was called “Eine rituelle Zusammenkunft” (A Ritual Meeting) and was amazing as it seemed that many of the fashionistas who made their own historically accurate period clothing turned up here. Despite feeling hideously underdressed, I didn’t feel that I was being looked down at or in anyway despised because I was underdressed. I had a great time “people watching” and the music was better than I remembered it. The Mittelalter Rock was also mixed with some other related gothic rock.
Here are some pictures of some clubbers at “Eine rituelle Zusammenkunft“:
What made the cub even better was the venue. The opulent mirrored walls and red velvet drapes of the Speigelpalast transported you back in time and gave the atmosphere of a sophisticated party. It was a truly excellant venue which matched the tone of the club perfectly! By the time the club was closing down at 5am, I felt like I could have stayed there longer.
At Wave Gotik Treffen days do rather beautifully melt into one and other. That is why I mistakenly said that When We Were Young took place on Friday when in fact it took place on Saturday night. I have no clue where I was on Friday Night (therefore probably Sixtina) and if anyone can remind/enlighten me I would be most grateful!
After an afternoon trip to Morrison’s Irish Pub to meet with friends, we missed Luxury Stranger (who after endorsements from friends, I was eager to see) due to some stupidity on my part. We didn’t realised we had missed the gig until we turned up so spent some time milling around the Werk II area and had some food and drinks.
We then decided to investigate the Pagan Village for a bit. The Pagan Village is a fantastic place to just lay back and relax at the festival. At the Pagan Village you can taste all kinds of freshly made food from freshly baked goods to a whole pig roast! All can be consumed with mead (from a drinking horn if you are willing to pay extra) or beer. There are also many stalls full of everything from homemade elderberry wine to medieval style clothing.
After the Pagan Village I made my way to the Agra Halle to see a band who’s performance turned out to be one of the highlights of the festival – Rotersand.
As a recent EBM convert, I really only knew Rotersand for “Exterminate, Annihilate, Destroy” (especially being the Doctor Who geek I am) but unlike some electronic bands they really put on a tremendous show. They opened to an expectant and excited crowd to “Basterds Screaming” – a brilliant call to rebellion from their new album “Random is Resistance“.
Rascal Nikov and Gunther Gerl really got the crowd going – jumping around on stage and looking like they were having a fantastic time. One of the things that I think sets a decent performance apart from a great performance is interaction with the audience which Rotersand did beautifully – talking to the audience and jumping down to party with the rest of the Agra Halle.
Rotersand performing “Waiting to be Born”
Just to add to what would have been an already fantastic performance, Rascal then unexpectedly invited a very special guest onto the stage – Ronan Harris of the fantastic British/Irish Futurepop kings VNV Nation!
Rascal and Ronan did a special duet version of “Merging Oceans” – Rotersand‘s breakthrough hit. This really was a great treat for the audience at Agra – seeing these two giants of the alternative scene perform together and if the crowd weren’t excited enough, then this sent them wild!
Ronan leaving the stage took the tone down a little but Rotersand’s top performing skills kept the pace. Of particular note, during “War on Error” Gunther Gerl donned a dollar sign mask which added well to the tone of the song which is about being against a “big brother society”.
As a finale to Rotersand‘s set the voices of the Daleks were heard to introduce Rotersand‘s most famous track – “Exterminate, Annihilate, Destroy“.
Then, on the recommendation of a friend, we went to see Portugese Goth Metalers Monspell. Despite not particularly being a Metal Head myself it was an enjoyable gig. They gave a good performance and the graphics and music videos on the wall behind the band definitely added to the performance. As previously stated I’m not a metal fan so I can’t really say that the music was to my taste but by the reactions of a friend who is a fan of Moonspell it was a good performance.
Moonspell Performing at the Kohlrabizirkus at Wave Gotik Treffen 2010
The next morning we had breakfast at the Sleepy Lion Hostel before collecting our wristbands at the collection point near Leipzig Hauptbahnhof (Leipzig Main Station). We then headed off to do some serious shopping at XtraX discount shop.
For those who haven’t heard of XtraX before, XtraX is a chain of large Gothic fashion shops which are at four locations throughout Germany. Although they do have a permanent shop in Leipzig, during Wave Gotik Treffen, they setup an additional, temporary shop in order to have a massive sale of their old, excess or damaged stock. Flogging cheap clothing to Goths is of course not difficult as they know how to bargain hunt and with so many descending on Leipzig from around the world for WGT, it’s no wonder that XtraX have a sale shop every year. At prices of up to 50% off and 3 for 2 on all items, this is an absolute must for those who want to flesh out their wardrobe.
Although you can see why some outfits are in the sale, you will be able to find some gems in amongst the racks so as with any thrift shopping, be prepared to search and battle fellow shoppers for the right piece. The reward for those with enough persistance is that you can find an entire new outfit for around €40.
Even mainstream shops in Leipzig ensure that their blackest, Gothiest wares are on display so we continued shopping, only breaking to stop for coffee with some new found friends and later on for a late lunch/early dinner
We got so involved with shopping that we almost missed the fantastic Zeromancer at the Agra Halle who I became a fan of after seeing them at last year’s Mera Luna festival.
The thing that strikes you most about Zeromancer is how spot on their live performance is. The industrial rockers blend driving rhythms with beautiful vocals provided by front man Alex Møklebust who spends most of the set with his shirt off in true rock star style. The Norwigen rockers have a definite Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails influence even taking on a similar violent themes for songs such as suicide and abusive relationships. The band play tracks such as “Doctor Online” and “Sinners International” from previous albums as well as tracks from their current album “The Death of Romance”. They also play a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Photographic” which I had not heard before but have since found out it was released as a track on the EP “It Sounds Like Love (But It Looks Like Sex)”. The driving guitars work really well with this track and it is definitely the highlight of the set. As a finale, they invite Conjure One vocalist and the original vocalist on “House of Cards” a track from the “Clone Your Lover” album, Free Dominguez to sing with them on stage. Personally, although great to hear this duet sung live, this track was a little slow for a finale.
Zeromancer performing Photographic at Agra Halle – Wave Gotik Treffen
As we were in the Agra Halle anyway, we took a look at the Market area. The Market at the Agra Halle is a great place to shop for Gothic merchandise from all over Germany and around the world but beware, it is very easy to spend a lot of money! In the Arga Halle I met Amelia Arsenic who I met a few months ago at Angelspit‘s Gig at Slimelight last April who this time was there selling her Miss.X Range of Jewellery and Makeup. After a quick chat about makeup and my varied results in using false eyelashes, I bought a set of Marquis De Sade lashes – lovely unusual lashes that have three elongated outer lashes with tiny feathers attached.
I then left the Agra Halle Market to go and see Kirlian Camera in the performance area of Agra Halle. I went to see Kirlian Camera mainly because a friend was interested in seeing them live and I have to say that seeing them at Wave Gotik Treffen, I was not particularly impressed. I think that their music is a little boring and sounds like it has been put together using standard out-of-the-box music software samples. The lead singers vocals were pleasant enough but nothing special. Their performance was also fairly bland and disinteresting.
Our final stop of the night was the club “When We Were Young“. The Alternative 80’s/90’s Trad Goth nostalgia club is a yearly festival event and year’s club took place at Städtisches Kaufhaus, a strange but not unpleasant little venue with a tiny and packed dance area. The weather was too hot for a crowded dance floor and the slightly rude bar staff meant we spent most of the night sitting in the basement area of the club talking until and drinking into the small hours of the morning.