Festival Review: M’ERA LUNA 2012, Hildesheim, Germany
General Overview of City, Public Transportation and Accommodation
First of all, as I usually do, I will begin the review of this year’s M’Era Luna Festival by ranting. Oh my God, do I dislike Hildesheim and their public transportation system! Deciding a little late to attend, the only decent place for accommodation was Gasthaus Klosterturm , an old monastery turned into a small hotel. The rooms were simple, clean and the food was good; beware, the owner/manager only speaks German. What was wrong with it? Absolutely nothing, apart from the fact that it was located exactly at the end of the city. To get to the the M’era Luna venue, you needed to change three buses. And guess what, during the weekend, these buses do not exist. It was a pain, until we discovered that it only cost 10 Euros from the hotel to the concert venues. My advice, if you go in a group and do not own/rent a car, choose the city taxis as means of transportation.
Otherwise, the city itself is lovely, quiet and the people are nice (many have stopped us on the street to ask us where we were from and if we were enjoying the music festival). There are places to shop for (“normal”) clothing and for food.
M’era Luna Festival – General Overview
The atmosphere was fantastic! I loved every minute of it. People dressed and acted their part, but I am happy to say their looks and behaviour were not at all flamboyant; I have seen people accessorize way too much at times. I am happy to say that all the goth rockers, the steampunkers, the Victorian Goths and so on were right on the spot.
As for the festival itself, besides concerts, it offered lots of entertainment opportunities. Outside the festival area, a Medieval Fair was set up. There you could eat specific foods, buy clothes and other items, as well as some archery, sitting in a cage or being “hanged” or “decapitated” by an executioner. It was indeed fun!
As for the concert venues, they were located both outside (in the field – main stage) and inside, the hangar stage. The sound varied, sometimes it was better outside, sometimes it was better inside… An uneducated guess would be that it depended on the sound crew of each band.
HEIMATAERDE. Great band and, above all, a very good show! I do not usually enjoy bands with bagpipes and a medieval sounds, but the electro-beats mixed with the medieval music and the motif of the Knight Templars really did the trick. Their setlist included Templerblut, Der Verfall, Pilgerlied, Morituri Salutant and Allein. I was really impressed by their costumes, as well as the medieval enactment with a female presence from Morituri Salutant. Their new album “Gottgleich” sounds really nice, although their electro-industrial beats bring about a slight hint of Combichrist. For a band that relies mostly on bagpipe music, I was quite disappointed that they did not play it live, though I appreciated the use of the hurdy gurdy.
NOISUF – X. I was really anxious to see their show and I didn’t regret it for a moment! They started their concert with an intro, Shout Loud, from their new album and instantly the whole hangar was dancing. I found their insect visuals quite creepy, but only later did I realize that they had something to do with the band’s new logo depicting an ant. Cyber Goths showed us their best moves on the German hymn Deutschland braucht Bewegung (Tr.N.: Germany needs Movement). Nonetheless, the hangar was packed and people reacted best to songs such as Aggrophil and, of course, the group’s best known song, featured on more electro-industrial compilations than I can remember, Hit Me Hard. The mastermind behind this project, Jan L., did not disappoint even for one second.
FADERHEAD. To continue the line of electro-industrial beats, Faderhead performed a godly show on the hangar stage. The room couldn’t get any fuller, but it did. People moved, danced and sang along to The Way To Fuck God,Acquire The Fire, Electrosluts Extraordinaire. The band interacted great with the public (taking into consideration that, besides Faderhead himself, there were two other guys on stage with laptops) and their sound was amazing! The two other members were bombs full of energy and they managed to make even the laziest ones of us get up and move. They also played a rather slower song, Vanish, which kind of bored me… to death. Nevertheless, they saved face by performing Dirrtygrrrls/Dirtybois (during which I believe that one of the speakers died – though I can’t be sure) andTZVD. What I did not enjoy was the band-public communication, it was done mainly in German and many of their jokes I could not understand. But all in all, great show, I loved it!
DIARY OF DREAMS. To me, this was one of the most expected concerts of the night. As a big DOD fan, I have no bad words for them. Having heard them quite recently in Bucharest before M’era Luna, I was eager to see what they were going to do differently. I had some surprises regarding their setlist; for example, they played The Plague, one of my favourite songs which I had never heard live before. It sounded exquisite. They started with Into X, the intro from their new album and continued with Chemicals, Lebenslang, Menschfeind, King of Nowhere, Undivided, The Curse and a few other songs from their new album. As they were playing on the main stage, the public was quite numerous. Many people sang along with Adrian H., passing through a turmoil of emotions with the band. Their sound was flawless and they had a lot of energy; it could easily be noticed that they were enjoying themselves. I for one enjoyed them more in open air than I did in Bucharest.
FIELDS OF THE NEPHELIM. Not a big fan, still curious though, so I stayed and listened to a couple of their songs. They sounded dusty and old. From the old band line-up, the singer Carl McCoy remained and delivered nothing more and nothing less than what was expected from the band. A darky, musty feeling, guitar riffs, cowboy hats and some songs that are, indeed, gems of the genre: Love Under Will, Penetration, Last Exit for the Lost, Moonchild. They did not say anything in particular to me, but hey, I’m quite the electrohead.
SUICIDE COMMANDO. To completely switch the atmosphere, I attended the SC concert and it blew me away. As much as I love Diary of Dreams, their show could not even come close to this one. I had seen Suicide Commando before, but never like this! It was pure genius! As one of the festival headliners, they did their job and much more over it. After the Severed Head – Intro, what firstly drew my attention were the wonderful visuals of the song Hate Me: all the lyrics of this song were written on a naked girl’s body and presented as they were being sang. Throughout the concert, the mixture between the songs and the visuals shown behind the band was more than I could ever imagine! One might say that Suicide Commando’s lyrics mean little or nothing at all, but being linked with disturbing images, they suddenly made a lot more sense than before. The one-man group continued with God is in the Rain and Cause of Death – Suicide (again, exceptional visuals meant to draw attention to this uprising phenomenon) and their new single,Attention Whore, mounting up to a explosive finish with Die, Motherfucker, Die, Bind Torture and Kill and returning with See You in Hell. With no further ado, it was one hell of a performance!
BEAUTY OF GEMINA. Back to the more relaxed ambiance (more or less), I will continue with this Swiss synth rock band which did not bother me, but neither did it impress me. The audience was scarce, although they started with a nice intro and their songs were quite pleasurable. I must admit, I believe the speakers were a little too loud for the amount of people present there… But they made it work. This group’s sound was like a mixture between Anathema and The Sisters of Mercy to me; yes, weird, that’s what I thought. I liked the songs Voices of Winter and In Your Eyes.
AMDUSCIA. I only went to this performance because the sun was high up in the sky and it was way too hot outside… And I wondered… How bad can it be? Well, that was a mistake. The performance was static, the music linear and too loud. It gave me a terrible headache.
ROTERSAND. To completely switch the atmosphere, Rotersand really impressed me with the overall quality of their show. A fairly recent group (formed in 2002) and only better known by the electro beat – listeners, Rotersand had the optimum performance: good music, audience communication and stage performance (female dancers entertained the public). Their repertoire included Almost Violence, Storm, War On Error, Exterminate Annihilate Destroy (greatly appreciated by the quite numerous audience out of whom only a few could link the song to the famous Daleks from the Dr. Who series) and…. Yeah, I’m embarrassed to say that that’s about all the songs I recognized.
KMFDM. To me, the performance of KMFDM in the second festival day equaled the one Suicide Commando did in the first day, but in a totally different way. The industrial legendary group (which disbanded and reformed more times than I can count) enchanted all types of listeners, from the conservative EBMers to the industrial metal listeners. Sascha Kanietzko and Lucia Cifarelli did a marvelous vocal appearance with very well known songs such as Amnesia, Krank, A Drug Against War and Potz Blitz. Unfortunately, I did not get to see the last songs they performed, as I wanted to check out New Model Army. Boy, did I regret that decision!
NEW MODEL ARMY. Perhaps I had too much energy, or perhaps I wasn’t in the mood for their songs but they bored me. It was not the NMA I was expecting; they seem to have aged, though they still try to remain young in music. The setlist included: High, Wonderful Way To Go, Christian Militia, Here Comes The War, Ocean Rising, I Love The World.
IN EXTREMO. Undisputedly the festival headliners amongst the almost completely – German audience, the Berlin band combines metal riffs with medieval music, assisted by traditional instruments such as bagpipes and hurdy gurdy. The numerous group (seven members on stage) performed and impressive show, combining artistic performance with scenic interpretations and a pyro show which lasted throughout the entire concert. They mostly promoted their new album, Sternenreisen (also the first song they played) and the crowd sang along to Frei zu sein, Zigeunerskat, Vollmond,Saengerkrieg, Rasend Herz, but also to traditional songs such as Herr Mannelig and Zauberspruch No. VII. Above it, it was clearly the most appreciated band of the evening by the audience and, thus, an appropriate festival headliner.
Taking into consideration that it was my first experience with the M’era Luna Festival , what I can say is that I’m convinced: I will most likely participate next year also (especially since it appears that it will be an EBM paradise, with pioneers Front 242 as headliners!
Written by: Simina Cirstea