E-Tropolis, 18.03.2017 – TURBINENHALLE OBERHAUSEN (D) – review

 

In an industrial area between the modern steel and glass there are still some old brick halls. These have suffered greatly from the time they were empty, but now they have been transformed into a beautiful concert venue. The raw industrial building is an appropriate place for this festival which is organized here for the 4th time. Some previous editions took place in Berlin. The venue consists of the central hall for the register, the spacious hall decorated like a market with terraces, bar, food stalls and band merchandise. Here you can find the silence if you want to. Two other halls are turned into concert venues and are the place to feel the beats. The festival seemed to be sold out.

Amnistia_1 Amnistia-6_1The day started with Amnistia on the main stage. While the room started filling, Amnistia opened the festival. They blew the dust from the speakers. Naturally deep voice of the singer added to the dark feel of their music. During the song “Money” the crowd started responding to their performance. Not a bad start for a young band facing a big crowd. They showed a real capacity for growth within this scene.

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On the second stage Wulfband were about to present their electronic body music. It is not the kind of EBM we are used to, but they gave a powerful and energetic performance. How to describe their music expression? Well…If you know the Belgian band “Raketkanon”……something like that, but with a massive EBM influence. And that is good…very good.

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Centhron started straight away without any introduction. The crowd immediately recognized the band’s energy. Beautiful Annete dressed in black latex naturally drew a lot of attention. Both singer and bass player were head-banging vigorously as they gave quite a physical performance. The crowd seemed to be heated pretty well by now.

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In Strict Confidence was the third act on the main stage. They played a vintage set this time: only songs over 10 years old. They apologized for the absence of the female part of the band, but that was due to the choice of the vintage set. “The Truth Inside Of Me” was accompanied by very well synchronized amazing visuals.

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The Invincible Spirit appeared on the second stage. It seemed something was wrong with the microphone which affected the performance at first. Although the crowd needed some warming up, after the technical issues were solved, they got everyone moving and dancing. They played the Joy-Division “Atmosphere” cover to the utmost joy of everyone present.

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As the German band, Solitary Experiments, were getting ready to start the hall got completely filled. The band is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. All members were again dressed in their recognizable “uniforms”: a red shirt with a black tie. The audience proved they were real fans of the band by singing the songs out loud; a great support for the band. A particularly good gig for the cheerful audience.

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Tyske Ludder appeared on stage next. The singer was wearing a balaclava. The drummer played the first song standing up. They only used one small round visual (1,2 meters in diameter) showing an animated squirrel. During the show there were 3 drummers on stage at times. Besides the actual drummer, one of the members was drumming on a floor drum and another one was playing the battle-drum. This made the show even more interesting.

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Solar Fake didn’t use any visuals. It was just Sven and Andre on the stage, but their energy was sufficient for the great performance. The set was a good mix of some more danceable and down tempo songs like “Here I stand” which proved to be a good combination. The audience was familiar with their repertoire and they again supported the band by singing along throughout the whole show. Their cover of the Killers song “Somebody Told Me“ changed the first half of the hall into a dancing bunch.

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Agonoize needed some extra preparations on the stage. If anyone was wondering what that was all about, we knew the answer. Of course, blood would be spilled. The introduction to the show was dramatic. We assumed we heard Wagner. The first song “Resolution” was sung from behind a counter. It gave the impression of a priest addressing the followers. As the second song started, Chris cut his throat and blood started gushing out. The crowd seemed to be prepared for this scene as some were even dressed in white for this occasion. Four pyrotechnic stations were placed on the stage as well which fired in sync with the music. When returning on stage for “Gottlos” Chris had both hands pierced with long nails for the more dramatic effect. One of the last songs was the Kiss cover: “I Was Made For Loving You”.

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Then it was already time for Covenant on the main stage. It took a while for the stage to be cleaned up after the Agonoize spectacle. As soon as they started playing the crowd immediately reacted by singing along. We witnessed the best light show of the day which was absolutely in sync with the music. They played “Monochrome” completely live, and it made the performance a real musical spectacle. All three artists were performing expressively and the connection between the band and the audience was formed very easily. They played some songs from their new “The Blinding Dark” album. One of them was “I Close My Eyes”. They also played their first song ever released, ”Replicant”. The crowd was so enthusiastic that they simply had to return for the encore.

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Soon it was time for the main act of the festival: Front 242. They started with “Happiness” which seemed a good choice for this occasion. The crowd was ecstatic and the boiling point was reached. The band was amazingly synchronized and they proved to be an excellent team. “Commando” and “Funkahdafi” were one of the old hits that everyone knew so well. So they simply had to come back for the encore and play “Punish Your Machine”

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We sadly missed to see three bands, but in order to endure such a tight schedule on two stages, one must eat and drink. We also took some time to check the stands and mingle with the lovely crowd. What is a festival for if not for fun as well. After a beautiful but a bit busy day, it was time for our return home. We managed to get out of the parking and to the motorway quickly. Soon we were on our way leaving one more successful and extremely well organized edition of E-tropolis Festival behind us. Until the next year…

Text by Stefan Bertram

Pics by Roger Op Den Camp

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