Back to the Beach – Amphi Festival 2016 – review


The Orbit Stage - shipAfter a quick escape to the Lanxess Arena in Cologne last year Amphi Festival returned to the beach of the Rhine. It certainly saved this festival and made it a great one again. The Staatenhaus (we remember the ceiling came off under heavy Feindflug fire in 2009) was closed but instead of this ugly and too hot building the organizers booked a ship and named it Orbit Stage, which was definitely the coolest place to stay on Amphi-Sunday with nearly 30°C. This ship was first air-conditioned and the top deck offered a fantastic view over the Rhine and the most awesome Gothic cathedral in the world – the Dom.

The Devil & The Universe on Orbit Stage 2Also deep down in that vessel I saw my best concert of the whole festival: The Devil & The Universe, a wonderful, not too seriously, dark ambient project from Austria, which was very danceable with songs like “Danaus Plexippus” and spectacular looking with their goat masks in black cowls – so that the ghost ship was for a short and lucky glimpse a very happy goat ship. The most epic moment was when one of the band members disappeared slowly under his keyboard, certainly preparing his voodoo dolls or even more evil toys down there. In addition a few diabolic fans were supporting their band in monk’s cowls, very much to the confusion of the poor staff of the ship, who were not used to such a weird audience. Also Escape with Romeo and Spiritual Front joined the Orbit Stage the day later and both bands did a really good job, with very nice visual delights from Spiritual Front on stage. Cause there was always enough space, fresh air and chilled drinks on the ship – the Orbit Stage is definitely the new place to be at Amphi, when it is too hot outside and especially for the lovely sunset. Don’t miss this place next year!

Peter Heppner on Main StageBack to the main stages and the famous Tanzbrunnen area. We all love the beach club of course. Both places, the ship and the beach, are reasons to visit Amphi. The beach, with its awesome black crowds and white sands, looks too surreal to be missed. I had a few really relaxing moments there and even met a few stars for a little chat.

Covenant on Main StageOn Sunday, Covenant on the Main Stage were my favourite at the Tanzbrunnen, even with a guest on stage, which my brain cannot remember anymore, but it was really a fine team. The day before Heppner has been the top act on that stage. He always delivers with his great voice, but his new songs cannot reach the awesome level like his older songs from Wolfsheim. Blutengel saved in the end the Saturday for many who could not enter the Theater Stage anymore. This stage has been always the weak point of Amphi Festival: too hot inside, not enough space to get all people in and flat after parties with not always the best choice of DJs. As fine as the organizers choose their bands, they often fail with their DJs. But most people were ready for bed before midnight, so many disappeared before the after party even started – especially when bands like XOTOX or Angels and Agony started to play at about noon – it was time to creep under the covers early or doing it like a few of my beloved zombie friends. Those brave girls and guys only got 2 or 3 hours of sleep and still looked quite pretty on Sunday. My respect to all of them.

Sundown over the Rhine from the beach club cute cat at the beach clubIn total the guests of Amphi Festival seemed to be very happy with the new / old location at the Rhine. The festival was sold out before it started, which is a good sign. I am very sure the makers of Amphi are already planning the new festival in 2017 and will be there for sure, longing for the white sandy beach, the luxurious boat and the one or other band with goats! Yes, please more goats and other dark candies – Amphi I like.

by Starkall / July 2016

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