Amphi 2016 – Festival Review

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“Amphi kommt nach Hause”

Amphi comes home, a very suiting title for this year’s Amphi Festival! To Oblivion Soundwave’s team delight, the festival has moved back to its roots, meaning into Tanzbrunnen, a suitable location for such an event.

We must congratulate the organizers, as this year’s festival has exceeded our wildest expectations!

The experience began on Friday evening, where we attended the Pre-Party, dancing along to the mixes of DJ ALEX WESSELSKY (Eisbrecher), DJ ADRIAN HATES (Diary of Dreams), DJ ERK AICRAG (Hocico / Rabia Sorda), DJ MSTH (Nacht der Maschinen / FFM). I must admit, the eerie music played by Mr. Hates did not appeal to my party mode of that evening, but I did appreciate hit songs of the scene during the entire night.

Saturday

X-RX

The day started off strongly with Cologne’s own X-RX, who managed to raise quite a crowd and made people move!  Nothing unexpected from the duo; I never missed any of their shown during any of the Amphi festivals; the guys are always full of energy, a great start for any good festival. They played songs such as Activate the Machinez, Hard Bass, Escalate, Blood on the Dancefloor, Kein Herz and the grand finale, Stage 2. Even if my goal was to start slow and conserve my energy, one could not help but move to their rhythm.

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Solitary Experiments are a show never to be missed! It’s impossible not to recognize the band by their red shirts and professional demeanor, which turns the stage quickly into a dance floor. The two drummers got the atmosphere heated up quickly, filling the air with the Futurepop/EBM sounds.

Lebanon Hanover played quite an interesting setlist on the Orbit stage, which this year was located on a cruise boat (yes, I did say a boat!). I found it a bit annoying to walk to the boat, pass through security (again), but the whole idea of a concert on the Rhein was not bad at all. The stage was located at the ground floor of the ship, with a couple of “balcony” seats at the first floor and a relaxation area on the top deck.  Lebanon Hanover is a post-punk duo from Berlin, Germany and Newcastle, UK, founded by Larissa Iceglass (guitar, vocals) and William Maybelline (bass, vocals); their music resonated quite well with the ship stage, managing to attract quite a crowd.

Later in the afternoon, we did try to get into Theater Stage to see Neuroticfish, but failed miserably. I do understand that the stage was already at full capacity after Aestethic Perfection, but having to stand in line for 30 minutes and eventually not get in was frustrating. Amphi gets, minus points for this incident in my view.

Although not to my taste at all, I decided to see what the Blutengel show was all about. I can’t say I recognized even one song (except maybe Reich mir die Hand), but to my utter surprise, their show was extraordinary!  These people are truly entertainers, their music is easy to listen to, the show is provocative, interesting, inciting and modern. Their dancers are well versed in the poi art and the two lead singers (Chris Pohl and Ulrike Goldmann) know how to keep a crowd alive.

We ended the evening by attending the Aftershowparty in the Theater Stage, dancing till morning on the tracks of DJane Jeanny, DJ Gillian, DJ Steve Weeks, DJ Sven Friederich and DJane Schwartze Witwe. Their playlist was well mixed, danceable and brought a sizeable moving crowd in the hot room.

Sunday

The second festival day started hard and rough with Xotox on the Theater Stage, whose harsh rhythms woke up even the sleepiest of the cyber Goths.

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The dance marathon continued with XMH (Xenomorph) on the Orbit stage (remember, the boat?). Hard electro band XMH was founded in 2006 by singer Benjamin Samson (who knows very well how to put on a show and make his crowd love him), who was later joined by Pieter Sperling and Isa Garcia on keyboards.

The coming and going between stages ended for me, at least for a while, as we moved camp to the Main stage For Suicide Commando, Covenant and Project Pitchfork.

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Suicide Commando is a band I would see over and over again; their shows are always bringing something new, be it in terms of show, visuals or music directly. The lead singer Johan Van Roy tried to shock (as usually), by appearing on stage wearing a dark headpiece (reminded me of the KKK, but black) and a blood-red tie. They played hard, fast and dirty, making their crowd move to Bind, Torture and Kill; God is in the Rain; Cause of Death: Suicide; Die, Motherfucker, Die and Hellraiser. As usual, I was extremely impressed with their visuals, which manage to bring an even darker tone to their music.

Covenant

Covenant was the reason I came to Amphi 2016. This is a band that keeps reinventing itself and its music, managing to create something extraordinary along the way. Ever since Modern Ruin, I felt a shift in their music even more toward the techno genre, leaving the synthpop a bit behind. Their music could easily be played in most electro clubs around the world and people would enjoy it. They were joined on stage by Daniel Myer for Bring the Light, but they have not missed playing their best known hits, such as Call the Ships to Port and Der Leiermann.  Other songs: Bullet, Kingdom Come, Figurehead.

Project Pitchfork was good, but I was not impressed to tears.  Spilles looked great and depicted charisma, managing to engage the entire crowd with this discourse and movement. However, I was impressed by the sound, the vocals and the overall atmosphere while the band played its legendary songs.

spiritual Front

We decided to end the night with Spiritual Front on the Orbit Stage (yes, yes, you guessed right, it’s the boat again!).  Even if the crowd was not big, the band managed to create an exceptional atmosphere with their tango filled nihilist suicide pop music. Simone with his large suit and guitar, spiced with charisma and slightly dirty jokes made the not-so-big crowd join him in dancing and singing along. I was happy to hear songs such as Dear Lucifer, Jesus died in Las Vegas, I Walk the (Dead) Line, Autopsy of a Love and German Boys.

Even if the initial plan was to go back to the hotel and sleep before our plane back home, we ended up again in Theater Stage, at the after party, where we danced some more on the beats of Daniel Myer, Alexx Botoxx and Daniel Graves. Don’t remember exactly which of these lovely men played Falco’s “Vienna Calling”, but it was a real pleasure seeing all the various categories of dancers unite!

My feet hurt like never before this year, which could only mean that the festival as a whole was amazing.

Till next year, Amphi!

Yours truly,

Simina

Oblivion Soundwave Team