Goth meets Industrial meets Metal meets Dark Ages: The legendary M´era Luna festival drew also this year thousands of people from all over Europe to German Hildesheim. A huge market area and a wide spectrum of music are more assets that hardly leaves anything to be desired.
Saturday, August 11 2007
The Lovecrave There were not so many people in front of the main stage when those Goth Rockers from Bella Italia opened the festival at 11 h, perhaps most were still busy to repair water damages from the previous night. What a pity, because the songs of their praised debut “The Angel and The Rain” were live much heavier than on CD. Front woman Francesca Chiara could not evoke the sun but still managed to put a big smile on the faces of male fans. Pathos is surely there, but why those Italians are always compared with HIM is still a mystery to me, even after this show. (MLF)
Pesticide Faithful to their name those scene newcomers entered the stage wearing a mix of exterminator and butcher clothes. The often criticized metallic echo of the Hangar- hall suited their music very well, a kind of New Metal with Electro and Goth influences, hard to define. But this is the appeal of this – according to singer Dominic “Stealth“ - still shy band, which is currently making a mark in the scene. With these intentions they might have called the attention of some potential fans after their 30 minutes concert. (KD)
Lola Angst Just the idea to put an organ on stage – which is named Lola – has this act stick out of Electro/EBM band pulp. Adding also two ballet dancers in latex tutu might slightly irritate the Goth audience. This duo from Berlin wasn´t affected by that because their acid-tongued lyrics point into this direction. Confidently and with a lot of self-mockery Goldmann and Schirner presented hits from their outputs "Schwarzwald" and "The Council of Love" to a constantly growing audience and showed how to open a beer bottle with an axe (!). Very entertaining. (MLF)
Down Below or the most praised in tails from “nowhere“ attracted a young and mixed audience into the Hangar. Front-beau Neo Scope impressed the girls in the first row with theatrical gestures and a healthy self-confidence, when he announced that this should not be their last M´era Luna. The music of the band swims with the wave of Gothic rock bands like Zeraphine and Lacrimas Profundere, but doesn`t sound very innovative, though. Songs like „Down Below“ and „Dark Queen“ seem like already heard, but still filled their listeners with enthusiasm. Still you might have expected more after this hype around the band. (KD)
Jesus On Extasy Heart-throb alarm also on the main stage where also a lot of audience had gathered. The five girls and boys of JOE proved indeed that they can do more than looking good and offered the highlights of their praised debut “Holy Beauty”: "Neochrome", "Puppet" and naturally the top hit "Assassinate me".
Necro Facility presented their second CD „The Room“, and they had the difficult task not only to keep the high spirits that the previous band had induced, but also to evade the shadow of their musical idols Skinny Puppy that would be playing the following day. The Swedish duo managed to convince musically with their updated version of this Canadian formula of success, yet not quite in terms of atmosphere and show, therefore the audience remained reserved. (MLF)
Pain For many visitors the first real highlight of M´era Luna 2007: PAIN is the - in the truest sense of the word - solo project of Hypocrisy singer Peter Tägtgren, whose personal understanding of good music corresponds 100% with the expectations of most his followers. He found himself a very good band to introduce his new work “Psalms of Extinction“, which he and his band enjoyed visibly. Unfortunately some badly informed fans had to do without the pleasure of this music, due to the earlier slot in the schedule, which created great frustration and caused some resentment.
Cultus Ferox After Animal Alpha, the next band in the new timetable, had to cancel their show due to a traffic jam, the Hangar stage was empty for about 1,5 hour. A lot of fans, confused by the permanent new announcements and changes, waited patiently for the whole time in the Hangar in fear of missing their favorite band. After a seemingly endless sound check, no wonder with all of the different instruments, the band was called to stage via horn signals. By their medieval-market tour the musicians were pretty psyched and untamable, one catching song followed the other. The nine men caused great activity on and in front of the stage, which inspired front singer Brandan to the tender nickname “Sackpfeifengedöhns“ (“backpipe fuss”) for his listeners. Highlight of the concert was the song „Wolfsballade“, which the band already is tired of playing due to the “great demand“, which made it this moment very rare. Singer Claudia, dressed in innocent white, came on stage for the female part of the favored song. Full speed towards the end of the concert, Brandan gave the well-meant advice “men keep your tool stiff and women shave your pussies!”. It seemed that they did`t want to leave the stage at all, but the timetable forced them to a final bow. (KD)
Covenant Once again Covenant played at M´era Luna, this time quite early. If there was an award for the coolest outfit, singer Eskil as Dandy in a white suit would have won it easily. A bit calmer than the previous band Assemblage 23 but with a whole collection of club hits („Bullet“, the „big MTV hit“ „Call the ships to port“) and Eskil´s great voice the Swedish trio easily managed to inspire their fans and therefore became the next highlight of this day. (MLF)
Dir en Grey Somehow confused by the strange Techno intro, at least the pricy instruments glittering in the sun gave hope for a good concert. But far from it! The high praised Japanese stressed your nerves with a very experimental, absurd sound that is still furthered by the undefinable yodeling of the singer Kyo. The little man was raging on stage, then started a kind of spastic trance dancing, maybe a trying to distract the attention from the music? Unexplainably there is an astounding number of enthusiasts to be found under the scattered listeners, predominantly still adolescent. Dir en Grey is like sushi, not everybody`s taste! (KD)
Emilie Autumn Who felt like getting too much of show with Lola Angst was simply knocked out by this. The stage was full with kitsch like red hearts and plush pets and reminded of a Pippi Longstocking film set. And indeed, a lot of what was to come seemed rather a – perfectly organised – theatrical play than a concert. After a long intro Ms. Autumn appeared, accompanied by her three nice colleagues, and sang, suffered and dramatised, in vocal top form, all the hits from her “Ophelilac” album. Yet she could have left out the violin and the more than 5 min solo in the end, also because of the not quite clear sound in the Hangar. (MLF)
Schandmaul “Who`s beeping?” Singer Thomas Lindner, with a little help of a balloon filled with helium, as a requisite for an alternative audience welcoming. Besides Subway to Sally, Schandmaul are one of the bands where everyone rooted in the scene can sing along with at least one song. The band has a lot of classics, which all have their indisputable live-qualities. From time to time you could hear the crowd louder than the band, “die Tür in mir“, “Weit überm Meer“ and “Feuertanz“. The only unfamiliar thing with was the daylight. “You can burn with your hearts since it`s still too bright for cigarette lighters!“, that`s how Thomas solves the problem. Nevertheless the spirit can`t cope with the additional ballad “dein Anblick“, as much as the mob is trying.
My Dying Bride The 1990 founded band was definitely one of the main head liners this year and was marked red on a lot of “to hear“- visitor lists. Known for their energetic depressive Goth-Rock and the notorious voice of the charismatic singer Aaron Stainthorpe, the group had no problems to spellbind their listeners. The bassist Lena Abè is responsible for a bass-oriented sound that built the base for the typical My Dying Bride spirit. The guitarists Andrew Craighan and Hamish Glencross as well as keyborder Sarah Stanton decorated their music with beautiful melodies that won`t miss their effect on the crowd. Someone who visits a My Dying Bride concert, wants to engross his very own thoughts and to let go of feelings. The band will stay in memory with this very successful show, they did a worthy closing of Saturday evening in the Hangar. (KD)
And One Steve Naghavi opened with a self-confident „nice you survived the predecessors, here comes the first real band of this evening“ and delivered a series of hits from the recent „Bodypop“ CD and classics like „Deutschmaschine“ or „Für" that had everybody move. Even up to the food area you could see people moving, like a huge black bulk. A cover version of Project Pitchfork´s „Timekiller“ was another bonus. It was fun and raised the question, if again the headliner – as in the year before, Bauhaus after Nitzer Ebb – was outdone by the co-headliner...
Suicide Commando Another – not quite new – question was raised listening to the EBM/Hellectro icon from Belgium: Why not on the main stage? In the Hangar you could hardly breathe or move when Johan von Roy started the inferno with the title track „Bind Torture Kill“, and dozens of people were still waiting outside. Supported by video projections and a great light show, unable to be still only for a minute, he delivered hits from his 20 year-career and released, after 1,5 hours, an exhausted but happy audience to the sounds of Tool. (MLF)
TOOL Unbelievable! You have never ever seen such a technical effort on M´era Luna stages! Four giant screens were set behind the instruments that are longingly awaiting their masters. The definite highlight of this year`s festival drew masses of people. For sure no one stayed on the campingsite. TOOL are a guarantee for an unforgettable concert that stimulates all senses. With a laid-back “Good evening campers!“ singer and mastermind Maynard James Keenan saluted the crowd. And then a colourful, bizarre stimulus satiation began, which certainly no one could avoid. The typical TOOL videos on the screens held you captive and built, along with an impressive light design plus laser show, the perfect back ground. TOOL took the backseat behind their art, you could only see the silhouettes of singer and band in front of the screens. The most famous song “Shism“ caused a silent outcry in the audience as everybody resurrected his personal memories to the song. With a literal firework of emotions the concert ended, Maynard politely thanked for the support , symbolically freed a bird formed by his hands and then again it was over and done…
Sunday, August 12 2007
Big Boy A lot had been written about this band, and more had been said by loudmouthed fronter Johannes, now it was time to prove to the scarce audience – except for the front rows occupied with mainly female Big Boy fans – that you have something to offer musically. Looking like a hangoverish Brian Molko – yet outfit-wise a flop – they try to sound evil like Marilyn Manson. Both Placebo and Manson had been M´era headliners, and perhaps they will make it, too... perhaps in ten years. Until then a lot has to happen, because the little audience was not only caused by the early hour. (MLF)
Krypteria Some people might have met the next band at VIVA whilst zapping through the TV stations at night. Despite all the negative comments the band proved themselves in front of their audience. Yes, Krypteria play mainstream Goth Rock, but they do it very well. Sexy front-hurricane Ji-In seduces you with her breathtaking outfits and smooth, cat-like moves. Unwilling male listeners who have been forced to this concert by their girlfriends and somehow planned to paper over their presence with their bored faces, did surely forget about these intentions. No matter if impressed by the music or by the singer, Krypteria satisfied their audience and actually caused a little wistfulness when the band had to leave the stage after 30 minutes.
Lacrimas Profundere The next band Lacrimas Profundere didn`t create new worlds either. The Gothrockers reminded you of bands like HIM and The 69Eyes not only musically, surely not a bad thing. Who would be surprised that they have already caught the attention of hobby music promoter Bam Margera, who featured several European bands in his MTV show “Viva la Bam”. As a “thank you” the Upper Bavarians dedicated their first song to him. The more rhetorical question “do you feel like Gothic? I want to see you rock!” provoked even more enthusiasm. Lacrimas Profundere have a solid fan-base who did not forsake them. (KD)
Crüxshadows This Dark Wave band is not only a welcome guest at European festivals but also well known for their entertaining shows. Singer Rogue can hardly be kept on the ground if there is something to climb. Also this time he sang part of the set from high above. Their Nr. 1 single “Sophia” from the recent “Dreamcypher” CD was in the set as well as the all time classic "Marilyn, My Bitternis". The likable Americans, squeezed between stilystically similar bands (Lacrimas Profundere and 69 Eyes), therefore still provided some variety. (MLF)
The 69 Eyes After the copy now the original! In spite of the recently finished Germany-tour, the Finns were longingly anticipated, because they are simply addicting! Whilst Jyrki is literally working his as off (his trousers ripped towards the end of the concert), the tenacious crowd was apparently lamed by the heat and was very hard to motivate. Impossible at this ingenious Rock-show! Just as we`re accustomed to by these natural born Rockers, one highlight followed the other. No wonder this might have been too overwhelming for a half-cooked festival guest. Pleasing the girls in the first rows, Jyrki turned around, bent over and proudly presented his ass looking through the ripped pants, what a graceful final! (KD)
Skinny Puppy Two years ago they were co-headliners, now the Canadians shared the same fate with Ministry the previous year: Bright sunshine and a shortened set (one hour) made a light- and video show impossible and therefore abandoned. Nivek Ogre focused instead, during the opener “Ugli”, to color the virgin screen and himself with a blood pistol he wore on his body. "Immortel", "dOwnsizer" and other songs pleased the ears of the audience, and “Testure” was the grand finale of a great concert.
IAMX Similarily visually appealing but musically quite contrasting was IAMX, the solo project of Sneaker Pimps fronter Chris Corner. Somewhere between guitar-Wave, Pop and Elexctro with more than just a bit Glam, Mr. Corner proved quite impressively that even the worst Hangar acoustic cannot harm his exceptional voice. Chris conquered all hearts with „Skin Vision“ and „Nightlife“, and who still remained untouched after the ballad „Mercy“ that could melt stones, had to be dead. What a pity that the magic ended after 50 min with „The Alternative“ hit „Spit it out.“ (MLF)
Deine Lakaien presented together with “Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt“ a selection of their orchestra program “20 Years of Electronic Avantgarde“. The duo consisting of singer Alexander Veljanov and Ernst Horn has been touring with this performance very successfully for quite a long time. The orchestra conversion of the songs was done by conductor Ernst Horn in person, so it was 100% Deine Lakaien. Less than optimal was the fact that IMAX, who played simultaneously on the Hangar stage, were slightly affecting the solemn spirit of the show. The classic versions of “Over and Done“, “Vivre“, “Reincarnation“, “Dark Star“ and many more were done very beautifully! This concert truly was an enrichment!
The Jesus and Mary Chain appeared more decent, contrary to TOOL. The band entered the stage without great ballyho, singer Jim Reid saluted the crowd with a natural “Hey ya, how you`re doing?“ and they started playing. The cult band from Glasgow doesn`t need bombastic staging, their hits are still working on their own. “Side Walking“, “Happy when it Rains“, “Just like Honey“, “Blues from a Gun“, “Teenage Lust“… everything you could wish for! Unfortunately there appeared some technical problems in form of some uncontrollable feedbacks, which didn`t bother the experienced band,.though After exchanging the mike stand (!?) everything turned out right again, very mysterious! “This is the last song, enjoy it!” introduced the song “Reference“, which caused some furore in its time. They ended the concert with several unbelievably intense “bass waves“, which vibrated the ground heavily. There`s no better ending for a unforgettable M´era Luna festival 2007! (KD)