The first time I went to the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig, was the disastrous 9th edition in the year 2000. It took a couple of years before I went again. Recent years I went annually. The WGT is so big and varried that there is a lot to see even for me. I have no big interest in the ‘general gothic scene’, the dress-up parties (but I guess when nobody did, the WGT would not have the atmosphere as it does now) and most of the music would never find its way to my stereo, but like I said, there are always enough concerts to visit. So what did I see this year?
For starters, the 25th edition had an opening party in the Leipzig amusement park Belantis. We had the briliant idea to not queue the massive “snake” (the Germans like to call a queu a “Slange”), but instead go to the park. Everybody arriving by train will get their wristband at the station. People staying on the camping will go to the Agra, so who will pick up the wristband at Belantis? Well, a few thousand people…
The park was fun though. It was completely reserved for WGT visitors so the entire park was filled with people dressing in black. There was a tent with DJs and a few other locations with DJs. The park was pretty crowded!
The first ‘real’ festival day was Friday. Fortunately we no longer drive up to Leipzig on Friday, because Triarii was scheduled at 17.00 in the Kuppelhalle of the Volkspalast. The show brought little new (no new tracks either), but it was good and moody. Not everybody was prepared for the ‘martial feel’, but I am glad I saw Triarii again.
There was not a whole lot of travelling around this day. The other potentially interesting bands all played in the Volkspalast, either in the large Kuppelhalle of in the smaller Kantine. Next up was The Protagonist, the first show in 10 years. I found the show wholly unconvincing. All track were old, there was a violist playing out of tune and the tuned that he played also already made part of the music. I even believe that the vocals were ‘double’. The music sounds good, but when the live elements came in, there was not much left to listen to…
Then came Dernière Volonté. I have stopped liking their music a few albums back and had no high expectations. There was still a large crowd in the Kuppelhalle who seemed to like the music, but my expectations became true. The show was fairly dull. Vril Jäger we had to skip because we also had to eat and I wanted to see In The Nursery who gave a surprisingly enjoyable show in the same place a few years back. This time I was less happy. The sound was awfull. I heard other people had no complaints about the sound, so I guess alongside the stage was just a bad place to be.
This day would involve more travelling around. There were no bands that I really needed to see, but a few ‘high potentials’ and a few ‘when we have time’s. The first band I wanted to see was again early. The 1980’ies glam-synth-pop band Sigue Sigue Sputnik would play in the nice venue Täubschental. Inspite of the hour (16.30) the place was stuffed. The audience had more than a few old-time (post-)punkers among them. The band opened with an extremely energetic track, but soon slowed down to more ballad-like songs. I did not enjoy each and every track, but the show was entertaining. The tracks that I knew were all old.
We walked to the Felsenkeller, a place I had not been to. None of the bands there I knew and I know why. We came with during a show of Meinhard, awfull German-language popmusic. We rushed to the toilets and back outside. Inspite of the horrid music, the place was very crowded. There is a gothic market for this type of music it seems…
Next on our route was the Altes Landsratambt downtown. There would be a few ‘rhythmic noise’ type performances including Sonar. I did not know the rest. When we came in Chainreactor were on stage giving a great show with techno-like ‘rhythmic noise’ (very straightforward beats) with acid elements. I certainly have to look up some music of this duo. There is not a whole lot of ‘rhythmic noise’ that I like, but this sounded very good.
Xeno and Oaklander were on the ‘maybe’ list (I already saw then in the Anker a few years back) and since Position Parallèle (an even poppier sideproject of Dernière Volonté) would play in the same place, we walked to the Stadtbad, a beautiful former swimingpool. We walked in just before Selofan walked on stage. I do not know if I already knew this band. It is a bit of an ‘electropunky’ ‘minimal wave’ kind of duo, a style that I do like to listen to. The music was alright, the sound was not really, too much base.
We sticked around, but soon after Position Parallèle started their show, we decided Sonar would be a better option, so we hid back to the Altes Landsratambt. Sonar was much softer than I remember this project. After a few tracks we called it a day and went back to our appartment.
Again there was an early band that I wanted to see and again this was to be in the Felsenkeller. I have seen a few tracks by Näo at the late Summer Darkness festival in Utrecht, Netherlands, but we could not finish the show. The WGT would be another chance. The band set up very well, but then there were some problems with the equipment. Näo makes an original mix between electronics (IDM-ish) and rocking guitars making a somewhat psychedelic rock performance. Once the problems were solved, the band finished their show wonderfully. Again the first band I saw that day was the best of the day.
I was a bit surprised that following Näo the stage would be occupied by Somatic Responses a project that I know as an experimental techno outfit. They started a very loud set, ‘rhythmic noise’-like, perhaps later that day Winterkälte would play there? Even though the music was good, we left the Täubschental to test our luck on other locations.
We went to the medieval market above the Moritzbastei where later that evening Kommando would perform and a few bands before that Nordvargr. We rained off the market and since the shows had not started yet, we went to the Altes Landsratambts to catch a few songs of Backworld. They had already parted and Rose McDowall was making ready to start her show. I knew McDowall’s name, but not her music. This is for the better, because inspite of a sexy chello-player and a range of folkmusic instruments I found her pretty awfull… We quickly went back to the Moritzbastei where after a drink Nordvargr did his show. Nordvargr went from very dark ambient to more IDM-ish tunes and tracks of noise. Not bad at all! The place was pretty crowded too. A good show. Later that evening on our way back to our apparment we ran into Nordvargr as he was on his way to his hotel, looking exactly as he did on stage.
After Nordvargr came Endless Asylum a project that I did not know. I do not really remember the show either… It apparently did not make a big impression.
Thorofon sideproject Kommando entered the stage as a trio wearing hoodies and masks. The shows was raw, energetic and industrial. Pretty amusing!
The last project of this evening I have seen numerous times: Deutsch Nepal. I jokingly said to someone that I have seen Baby Doll 10 times, maybe more, and most times he was too drunk to perform well. Only a few of the shows that I saw him give were actually good. Having scheduled him at 11 in the evening, the chance to a drunk Baby Doll was big so we took place near the exit to be able to leave after a few tracks.
On entering the stage, I had the idea that this could well and again be one of those shows. What is more, there were so many people trying to see Deutsch Nepal that the little cave was crammed with people and even just outside the room, people were arguing when somebody tried to take their place. Lina set off with a rumbling and noisy piece of industrial which actually sounded fair enough, but the arguing outside the venue made us leave not much later.
Monday was to be an ‘easy’ day. Everything I wanted to see would play in the Volkspalast, so enough of the tryign to catch trams and hope to be on time. As with previous years the last time the Volkspalast always gives the impression that many visitors have already left the festival. I suggested to watch a few tracks of Ancient Methods and then go for dinner. Ancient Methods is an Aufnahme + Wiedergabe project that makes a relatively soft form of ‘rhythmic noise’, repetative and minimalistic. The music is good for a few tracks and so we watched two or three. A duo on stage, a drumming girl and a guy with the equipment.
We were back well in time for Tanz Ohne Musik. I wondered why the organisation would put them in the Kuppelhalle. I like this Romenian project and they may have quite a few releases on their name, but there is (so far) not even a real album. Tanz Ohne Musik developped from an alright ‘minimal wave’ project, to a very descent Galakthorrö-like ‘angstpop’ project. The show was in the latter style and sounded very good. There were quite a few tracks that I did not know, but unfortunately I could not find Tanz Ohne Musik at the merchandise stands to see if there is some material that I do not have yet.
The project that I wanted to see most badly was Te/DIS. The first time I would see a Galakthorrö project and I think the same goes for more people. Te/DIS gave a nice show. I wonder how much of it was live (the vocals of course), but Te/DIS makes some descent ‘angstpop’ and it came across rather well on a stage. Not completely unexpected, but still a nice surprise, Mr. and Mrs. Arafna came to see ‘their’ project live, so I can at least say that I saw Haus Arafna live, just not on a stage! I hope the show inspires them to play themselves next year.
The large Kuppelhalle would then be for a project that I did not know, Cut Hands. This proved to be a one-man-behind-a-laptop show making something between IDM and dark ambient. Not really my cup of tea.
High on my list Thorofon. I once drove to Paris (from a holiday in Scotland!) to see them since however they do play live, they do not do that too often. Thorofon was one of the many bands playing on the celebrating WGT, celebrating a ’round number’ of years of existence. Their show in Paris certainly was a blast, so it was a bit disappointing when their WGT set set off a lot less energetic. This was duly compensated lateron and the Thorofon show became another big, industrial party.
Added very late to the schedule was Test Dept. Redux. The band came up with an entire drumband (soon sent back off stage again) and played a loud set with drumming and electronics for a not too big audience. This was to be the closer-off of this years Wave Gotik Treffen.
I took photos with my cheap phone. I am sure there are many places to see photos and/or videos of the shows.