Updated: Mar 28, 2019
Featuring Priest, X-RX, Velvet Acid Christ, Solar Fake, Suicide Commando, Welle: Erdball, and Apoptygma Berzerk.
Well, this was my first experience of a music event in Germany and I was certainly not disappointed! The people are friendly, (after you have got past the initial social shell) The music is fantastic, and the atmosphere is electric.
So it was that my best friend Mary and I traveled to Oberhausen for the festival via London Heathrow and Dusseldorf airport. Two very lit up cyber goths (blue lights and green lights respectively) attending what is essentially the warm up show for Amphi festival, the number one destination for all industrial, EBM, and cyber lovers. The venue Turbinehalle is a very large converted warehouse and sets the scene perfectly for this type of music. It has two large stage halls, plentiful bars, two smoking areas, a more than adequate personal locker room, and a large food hall with multiple food and goth shopping stalls. I myself couldn't resist buying an EBM T-shirt from one of the more military clothing stands. The money system there was also appealing. All food and drink, even the lockers were paid for in green ticket stubs called bons, at a cost of 1 Euro per bon. Drink were between 3-5 bons, and food was no more than 5 bon per person. Very reasonable prices for someone used to the horrific prices of drinks and food in London night clubs. The only downside to Oberhausen is that it is more rural and therefore a little harder for tourist who don't speak the language as speaking English isn't as common. Thankfully we knew more than enough to communicate with everyone fairly well. The opening Friday night is a pre party in one of the halls with DJ's playing from 10pm until 4am. Overall this was a nice easing in to the festival with some great music. Cyber dancing or any dancing for that matter however, isn't as common as I thought. My friend and I are used to cyber dancing / raving away at our UK goth nights out. It felt a little out of place to be one of the very few people dancing but that just made it more fun after the initial adjustment to that. The venue opened at 1pm on Friday with bands from 2pm until 1pm and DJ's until 4am for the after party. The sounds system is top notch and when the Vicious Alliance remix of Aesthetic Perfection's Schadenfreude came on, I was hit with a huge wave of dopamine. That's how good the acoustics are at this venue. Overall I would say the staff, the venue, and the organization of the event was spot on, Sound checks were done fast and efficiently, and security were relaxed but still aware. It was a comfortable experience with very little time to find yourself bored. To the staff of E-tropolis.. Thank you for such a fantastic event this year. On to the bands (That I saw, in order)
This was a good opening to the festival for myself and we were so glad to have seen Vaudeville played live. Another member of our group was ecstatic to see the lead singer wearing a pinhead style gimp mask and the other two member to be wearing leather plague doctor masks. It certainly set the scene that we were in a place of accepting, wonderful, and possibly fellow kinky people! The sound system really did their synthetic sounds a lot of justice and they presented such a great energy and love for what they were performing. 'The cross' and 'The pit' sounded beautiful and reverberated very well around the audience.
Definitely one I would recommend seeing in future if this somewhat niche take on industrial synth is your style.
Although I knew and loved several of the bands on the line up, it was X-RX playing that sold it to me. They rarely ever play in the UK and so it was a band I had yet to see. If it wasn't for me discovering Combichrist and subsequently X-RX then I may not have got in to this scene of music. When I first saw Combichrist, I raved until my body almost collapsed. I was hoping to feel that same raw energy, passion, and love during X-RX. Sadly It was not to be... The band spent most of their time facing each others laptops and left several large sections of the set without attention to the crowd. They did try to be good showmen
but there's only so many times you can ask the crown to clap along or make noise before it become a chore that brings on the cringing. There was a lack of energy and care for the crowd that seemed to be noticeable in the way they portrayed themselves. Perhaps they were hungover, or having a bad day, we can't be perfect every day and I don't want to criticize them, I really don't but after they seemed to use up all their energy during 'Kein Herz', it just seemed to die off from there. Very few of their hits were played and when 'Stage 2' came on, the crowd howled even as the band seemed to extrude a 'Here we go again' fed up attitude. Even during stage 2 the music kept dropping or changing at the wrong points as some sort of poorly thought out remix. It made it very hard to dance to. That's not to say they were bad. I would love to see them play again but I will reign my expectations in. Who knows maybe in future they will be on better form and blow me away making everything I just said ridiculous. 4.5/10
Velvet Acid Christ
I have always loved how atmospheric and different the work of V.A.C is but I was unsure how an atmospheric band was going to translate in a rather up beat festival. Such atmospheric songs like 'There is no God' and 'Ghost in the circuit' send shivers down my spine every time. It was an 'interesting' set shall we say. It started off well, little more upbeat than I expected with fantastic male and female vocals in their respective songs. And 'Fun with drugs' is always a great song to listen to.