Amphi festival, Koln, Germany, 22/23 July 2017 – review


The 13th edition of one of the finest festivals in Europe, Amphi Festival, took place on the 22nd and 23rd July this year. The organizer provided one more unforgettable Amphi experience, this time with several upgrades and improvements. The ship (Orbit stage) was unfortunately located on the other side of the river Rhine due to the low water level. Despite the fact you could have used the shuttle bus, it was not easy to choose the favourite show. However, the Orbit stage was also well attended. Unfortunately, that stage was not an option for us, as we would have definitely missed too many bands at Tanzbrunnen.

Amphi 2017 (2)_1One of the advantages this year was the proximity of the Theater stage. The entrance to the stage was moved and the merch stands and lockers were also placed much better.

Although I had decided not to visit the Orbit stage, it was still not easy to choose between the main stage and the Theater stage. Instead of running from one stage to another, I opted for the shows which mainly took place on the main stage. It’s always a shame to miss some bands. However, I hope to catch them in the near future.

At the beginning of the festival we were reminded of Chester Bellington of Linkin Park who sadly passed away recently.

Empathy Test opened this year’s Amphi Festival. It was a nice choice for the opening act. Eisfabrik followed. The band members were dressed as icemen. It even “snowed” on the stage. However, the atmosphere quickly started to heat. I switched to the Theater stage to see the performance of Holygram, Fabrik C and Torul. Luckily, I avoided the heavy rainfall outside. Yes, Amphi had it all this year. Sun, rain, “snow” and heat.

vnv nation (1)_1We took a short break to get a signature at VNV Nation signing desk and to grab a bite before Diary of Dreams. The Diorama singer, Thorben Wendt, appeared on stage with Diary of Dreams as a guest singer. Fields of the Nephilim and VNV nation were other two acts I definitely didn’t want to miss. Those two bands play completely different genres and although watching gothic rock and future-pop may feel contrasty, both bands gave the excellent performance. That was the end of the first day for me. I decided to skip the after party. Instead I had a glass of the nice red wine at our hotel’s lounge.

The second day began with Lucifer’s Aid. His performance reminded me greatly of Dive (Dirk Ivens) who, judging from the performance, might have been be his great inspiration. Near Earth Orbit were the next act of my choice. Their musical expression is dark indeed but with a very clear message. Das Ich were the next to appear on the main stage. This theatrical band surely know how to entertain the audience. The second project of Artaud and Jawa Seth, Merciful Nuns, played at the Theater stage. They used amazing and intriguing visuals which they flawlessly incorporated in their performance. Merciful Nuns were my second favourite act after Fields of the Nephilim. However this project has a more modern twist than the old schoolers Fields. After the MN show, we talked to the band members who kindly answered to many fans’ questions.

Combichrist (6)_2_1I was very curious about the Combichrist show. Although the band‘s line up had changed until now, they didn’t disappoint one bit with their energetic performance and setlist. We were treated with their old dance floor hits. After their energetic performance, Apoptgma Berzerk‘s show felt quite refreshing. My day ended with the Daniel Myer Project. He was accompanied by a number of guest artists on stage, such as Eskil Simonsson (Covenant), Sven Friedrich (Solar Fake), Jean-Luc de Meyer (Front242), Tomas Tulpe, Boris May (Klangstabil) and Andy LaPlegua (Combichrist).

It was another very successful festival. The organizers did their best and managed to provide a full Amphi experience once more, despite the fact that the Orbit Stage was not at the usual location. However, they made every effort to bring the visitors there fast by the shuttle buses. I hope to see even more bands from my wish list the next year. I am therefore on stand by for the next edition’s announcements.

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text by Monique Rijksen

pics by Roger Op Den Camp

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