The first day of the 9th edition of the Amphi Festival started strong with FABRIKC. Though not necessarily one of my favourites, the band managed to gather a relatively large crowd with their “boost the energy” music. To me, it sounded a little repetitive and loud (much like the type of music one would listen to when doing some cleaning around the house), but in the end, not so bad.
XOTOX are plain noisy. I’m not sure if I have ever been to one of their concert before, but most surely I would not like to repeat the experience. Noisy, noisy, noisy. Tiring. And, guess what, some more noise! Did not enjoy.
SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS. The four German members made quite a lasting impression on their audience (which was not exactly small!) . I was impressed, as usually, by their attire (suits, red shirts) and by the two drum sets. Their setlist included Pale Candle Light, Immortal and Delight.
FADERHEAD. I was actually looking up to seeing Faderhead again, but, guess what, I changed my mind: last of his concerts I go to! He actually started strong with The Way to Fuck God (I actually appreciate that the voice does not sound perfect on stage, as if it were recorded), but made me forget when they played a dub step – bass drop Join Us. Stop the mutation and Electrosluts extraordinaire were plain and told me nothing as the bass was inexistent and the volume low. Nonetheless, the room started filled up little by little, by the time of Destroy, improve, rebuild and Tanz zwo drei vier being nearly full. What also bothered me was the incessant German. After every song, something, something in German. I understand that Amphi does not have the multicultural vibe of WGT, but still. I was also dumbfounded when, in an act resembling the old rock gods who used to destroy guitars on the stage, our Faderhead chose to smash a Mac, later explaining that he did that because the laptop did not function properly. Yeah, right…
I actually enjoyed the FUNKER VOGT show. The band was formed in 1995 by vocalist Jens Kästel and programmer Gerrit Thomas, being mostly included in Futurepop and Aggrotech style. Not a big fan, I only recognized Arising Hero, Mein Weg and the actual Funker Vogt track. Though a tiring style of music, I enjoyed their scenic performace, the energy brought to the concert and the passion with which they mixed.
GRENDEL has a tendency to be repetitive. Seen them twice or three times in the last years and I can’t say I’ve noticed much change. I liked the stage props though! They began with their epic intro from Timewave Zero, followed by Harsh Generation and another track from Timewave Zero. The audience was slightly immobile, but started to loosen up a little during Chemicals and Circuitry (which sounds better on tape, in my view). Thumbs up for Grendel for the female presence on the stage (hot and cyber with a good voice, good addition to the show!). Further songs were: Soilbleed, Timewave Zero, Hate me, Dirty (+ chick again) and Zombie Nation.
SUICIDE COMMANDO is a band I would see over and over again. Though their show included the same props as the previous year at M’era Luna (body bags hanged from the ceiling, expressive visuals), they managed to keep it fresh by their scenic appearance, varied setlist and improved visuals. They started strong with My Blasphemy, When Evil Speaks, God is in the Rain, Cause of Death: Suicide and Attention Whore. I really appreciated the fact that they mix their playlist and each year they play one or a couple of songs which they did not in the past. Though not necessarily a danceable music, they managed to woo an impressive audience and make them sing along.
VNV NATION were the attraction of the evening and for good reasons! Their one and a half hour show managed to gather an audience grater that I could imagine (the crowd exceeded by far the stage perimeter, going way to the back, where shops and food courts existed). Again, not necessarily music that can be danced to, but the English-based band made a lasting impression on the audience simply by their performance (no props needed!). The clear voice and soothing music, made the public happily sing along. Ronan Harris made comments and jokes at just the right times, lightening the atmosphere and here and there telling a little story related to the songs. Their setlist included Chrome, Space and Time, Tomorrow Never Comes (a song which sang live impressed me greatly), Illusion, Control and many others.
Day 1 remarks: I can see now why VNV NATION were headliners!
X-RX are always the opening band (either on Saturday or Sunday) at Amphi and I have been wondering why for quite a while. Their songs are powerful and people tend to dance along, though the midday heat took its toll on the cyber goths (and other fractions) existent. The bring a lot of energy to the stage, though I have noticed little change in their playlist. New album guys? Pretty please? The most enjoyed tracks were Hard Bass, Virus Infect, Activate the Machines and of course, their end-song, Stage 2.
SANTA HATES YOU were not exactly my top priority in music (and still aren’t), but I must admit Peter Spilles’ side project does make an interesting show. They started with the track Independence, moment when I noticed the bizarre stage show. Two characters, one with a pig mask and one with a rabbit mask perform quite some tricks: they pretend-fuck, search for something in a box and find a human head, piggy carries a baby around and so on. I wasn’t so much paying attention to the music (which I don’t find special), as I was to the show behind the singers.
UMBRA ET IMAGO. Tried to stay for the show, listened to two songs, couldn’t take more. I just don’t like them.
DIARY OF DREAMS is another band which I would see anytime for the way they perform. Into X opened the way to another successful Diary concert, followed by the Wedding, Chemicals, Butterfly Dance, Menschfeind, undivided, The Curse etc, ending in a beautiful piano solo. Their sound was flawless and they had a lot of energy; it could easily be noticed that they were enjoying themselves, which was easily communicated to the audience through their songs. I would prefer some variety in their songs in the future, so, guys, hoe ‘bout it? New album, pretty please?
FIELDS OF HE NEPHILIM. Lots, lots better than last year! Though the appearance on stage was still dusty and cowboy-y (not necessarily to my liking), they sounded a lot better! It was easily noticeable that Mr. McCoy put a little more effort into delivering to the public, which responded in accordance. Their setlist was quite static (by which I mean that they didn’t change their setlist too much), but the scenic performance was net superior to what I had seen before in song such as Love Under Will, Penetration, Last Exit for the Lost, Moonchild.
Written by: Simina Cirstea