The “Plage Noire” is a Gothic festival that for the first time took place this year – as a kind of “pilot festival”, to see wether it’s worth it’s efforts. The special thing about this festival is that it takes place in November, which would be pretty damn cold for open air festivals (at least in Germany) – thus it’s canopied. Even worse, it takes place at a health resort at the “Ostsee”, to be more precise at the “Weißenhäuser Strand”, inside a canopied alley, which is full of restaurants, a children pirate theme playground and a swimming pool, and which is connected to different sized ballrooms (partly with carpets!). Everything was kept in the style of the 80s, pretty colorful, fake façades in pastels to give you the impression that you are somewhere in the sunny south.
There’s also no camping place or anything – instead there’s a four star hotel, as well as different sized apartments and bungalows that you’d rent. Different spas, little Mom-and-Pop stores at the so called “village square”, playgrounds, childcare and a petting zoo complete this wellness vacation resort. Ideal setting for a gothic festival? You wouldn’t think you, would you?
(Just a short legal notice: Of course all photos that I show here are shot by my girlfriend or myself; otherwise it is said so. We even shot some small videos, but in respect to the organizer and the bands I’ll just publish small parts out of it, so you’re able to get an impression but nothing more! Though there are some full length videos I link to, but they weren’t made by us, and I won’t edit any stuff that isn’t mine 😉 I still hope that this is okey with all those that possess any copyright – if not, please tell me so, and I’ll take the stuff in question offline.)
- The idea
- The final lineup
- Arrival and the location
- Friday, November 13th
- Saturday, November 14th
- My conclusion
But let me start form the beginning. I stumbled across this festival this summer while reading some posts in the fan forum of the band ASP (remember? I wrote about them some time ago). Seeing that it was actually in Schleswig-Holstein (most of the Gothic festivals take place in the “Ruhrpott” so it’s quite a journey for us), I got interested and after seeing the lineup which then consisted of some bands that didn’t yet approve, I told my girlfriend about it: ASP, Blutengel and fetisch:Mensch? Seems to be worth a festival, doesn’t it?
Still it was just a silly idea then, and when we heard about the prices (I mean, a hotel room in a four star wellness resort has some price tag to it) we first didn’t take it into serious consideration. But soon the gaps in the lineup where filled and the first bands approved, and as the framework program was assuming shape it became more and more tempting. Finally we decided that we’ll just do it. It was my first real vacation anyway – since then I hadn’t took a single day off (couldn’t), and I was getting more stressed every day. So we just booked the hotel room, which included free entrance to all the wellness stuff, and as you may know I love swimming but didn’t do that for quite a while now, so this turned out to be a great opportunity.
The final lineup turned out to be some lineup. Headliners where… well actually nearly every band played in full concert length, i.e. 1,5 hours! Now how cool is that? Band’s that played:
- London After Midnight
- Deine Lakaien (Acoustic concert)
- Apoptygma Berzerk
- Anne Clark
- Corvus Corax
- Funker Vogt
- And Also the Trees
- Kirlian Camera
- Fiddler’s Green
- Mono Inc.
- In the Nursery
- Rabia Sorda
- Solitary Experiments
- Din [A] Tod
Didn’t I say that it’s some lineup? But well, actually that’s not it, yet. I mentioned a framework program, didn’t I? Let’s have a look at that.
First of all there where readings. Yes, readings. Three in all:
- Emilie Autumn: “The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls”
- Markus Heitz: “Spitze Zähne, die Gier nach Blut…”
- Oswald Henke: “Seelenkonzil”
Wow, pretty heavy isn’t it? Oswald Henke, okey, he’s already there anyway (lead singer of fetisch:Mensch). Then Markus Heitz, author of current bestseller novels like “Die Zwerge” and all that follow, as well as “Vampire! Vampire!: Alles über Blugsauger” and “Kinder des Judas”. And Emilie Autumn? Flown in from the States just to read from her upcoming book?
Still want some more?
Well there was: Short films (by the Futureshorts label – see their trailer for the program that was also shown at Plage Noire, as well as their YouTube Channel. Written abstracts of the movies shown are also available at the Plage Noire website) all of the time, wine tastings on both of the days, two flour parties on both of the days, starting after the last concert and lasting till 5 a.m. separating the “Cyber Goths” (i.e. EBM, electro, dark wave) from the “Old School Goths” (i.e. rock, metal and medieval), a cinema program showing two movies each day, a Gothic fashion show, autograph sessions with the gross of the bands, and I guess I still forgot something.
You know what was hard? Deciding what to do without getting into stress – I mean we planned to have a vacation, didn’t we? 😉
My day off, and we have to wake up at 7 o’clock. Mean, isn’t it? Well the reason for it was, that though “Weißenhäuser Strand” is in the same state as Husum, and not that far away from Kiel, it’s hard to get there if you don’t possess a car. So what we had to do was to get to Kiel by train, which takes us 2 hours (+ 30 minutes to get to the station by foot in Husum – my bike’s broken again). From Kiel we had to take a bus that drove some 2 hours, and actually even passed “Weißenhaus”, but hey, why stop there (after stopping at every little tree somewhere in nowhere)? The bus simply drove by and way down to Oldenburg. There you change busses again, and drive way back up, so that with waiting at bus stations and everything we arrived there at approx. 2 o’clock. Anyway it was an interesting drive. From Husum to Kiel we sat across some damn cool 16 year olds that showed off to 10 year olds – oh how cool -, and while listening to them you did not only asked yourself how stupid people can get, but also found a prove on why Pisa must definitely be right, regardless of what they tell you about how unfair this Pisa tests are. They even made some fun of us, but we didn’t bother to get anything near their level, which was somewhere down below zero.
From Kiel to Oldenburg there wasn’t anything special, and from Oldenburg to Weißenhaus we had a pretty funny bus driver, who seemed to be happy to have some guests (there where two others on the bus with us); he was talking quite a while to us (especially to my girlfriend), about bus ticket prices, etc. Anyway, nice trip.
Sadly we got of one station too early at Weißenhaus – ideal for everybody that had an apartment (we stood some 15 minutes in the cue before they told us that we were wrong), but for hotel guests it meant another march that took 15 minutes. Anyhow, we saw the alley they where still decorating, and it was pretty funny to see, indeed. They where hanging up black cloth everywhere – all those pastels-red pillars, all that Mediterranean flair, even the Christmas decoration was concealed with black sheets. There where two big boards at the entrances with the program on them, the allay was full of plants (which they did not conceal 😉 ), and restaurants. Plus, merchandise booths. There was the official Plage Noire booth, that offered the recent Albums of the bands that played, as well as T-Shirts and small accessory stuff (such as badges, lighters, lanyard keychains, buttons, etc.) Unfortunately on Saturday they didn’t have merchandise from bands that played on Friday anymore. But maybe that was a good thing, as I saved some money with that.
There where also some other booths, but those where mostly clothing and jewelry booths – no official band booths, or anything.
As restaurants you had an Italian one, which was the cheapest (besides the takeaway), but in our opinion (and I found out that we where not the only ones) the staff was a little unfriendly, the food a little below standard and the pricing a little above standard. E.g. the Pizza tasted like they didn’t add any spices at all, and the small size was just a little bigger than a CD. In addition with a large drink we paid approx. 20€, for which here, where I live I’d get two large drinks, and two regular sized pizzas, which have at least 26cm diameter.
Still, it was okey, and cheaper than the more noble restaurant which had an extensive fish menu but was charging prices above 10€ for one meal (approx. around 15€). Then there was the takeaway, offering fries, curried sausages, and burgers. And a sports bar as well as a normal bar. Oh and of course you could enter two of the four stages, directly through the alley.
As mentioned, the hotel was approx. 10 minutes away from that alley (15 minutes, if you walk it the first time 😉 ) – the apartments and some of the bungalows had a slightly shorter way, but therefore they lack the room service as well as the inclusive breakfast and wellness services.
The hotel it self was quite good, with pretty large rooms. Especially for the price and considering that all alternative festivals just offer camping space with Port-a-potties, for not that less of pricing. Still, I came around some hotels due to my work, and it so happens that I saw a lot of other four star hotels that had much more luxury than this one. It is just the small things that jump to your eye, and that make the difference (e.g. bath tub instead of a shower, two pillows + blankets each, bedspread, different little shampoos, creams, etc. Especially the bed was a disappointment to me) – but anyhow. Those hotels didn’t offer a big spa inclusive to the hotel, so I don’t want to argue – it just crossed my mind, and I was wondering why this one has four stars, while being slightly below the standard of all the other four star hotels I’ve seen. We also got some “presents” from the organizer at the check in – what I thought was a little cheap, was the fact that first of all you only got one bag, even though, as we did, we where two persons that booked one room (and payed for it accordingly), and second that the magazines included (Zillos) where from 2007. I mean how outdated could you get? Still it’s the gesture that counts, so what ever. Besides everything was fine – the check in and check out worked perfectly and fast, the hotel service were friendly, …
The stages where phenomenal: First there was the “Rondell”, which was actually a little off the festival area. It was a small round building; to me it looked like an oversized wooden barbecue cottage. In it there was the reading by Markus Heitz, as well as all those movie events which I did not participate in. Still it was quite a nice building, especially for the reading it was over and over decorated with candles, and thus was really atmospheric.
Then there was the “Zeltbühne”, a large tent (as used by circuses), ideal for the bigger bands such as ASP or London After Midnight – ideal to rock.
The other two stages where accessible directly through the alley. There was the “Baltic Festsaal”, which besides having a dance floor, was partially covered with carpets, so you could even sit around. It was ideal for more medium bands, as well as to chill out. Quite nice, though the air conditioner seemed to be not working. It was really getting hot in there, and all the air seemed to be used.
My favorite though was the Witthüs. It was the smallest hall, giving space to approx 50-75 people. Wow, wouldn’t you say? Ideal for quiet bands, like Persephone, as well as bands that want or make use of audience and interact with them, like fetisch:Mensch. While Persephone was a really quite, acoustic setting (with a lot of classical instruments), and the singer, Sonja Kraushofer, was literally lying in front of our feet while performing to her singing, Oswald Henke (fetisch:Mensch) couldn’t withstand the temptation of jumping into the audience, standing literally in the middle of it, and shouting at you, shaking you, etc. Wow. It was a totally intimate atmosphere there, and it fitted great to the bands (later on I heard, that they also moved Rotersand in there, a (in my opinion) techno band (I don’t get it why they are considered a Gothic band. Because of their black clothes?) – of course that’s a management mistake there – they would have done better in the Baltic Festsaal.
But I am already starting to talk about the bands themselves. So why not move on to my report on the bands and gigs that we saw?
When arriving, we first of all allowed ourselves to get unpacked and started the day with some swimming.
Afterwards we had our first meal for the day, at the worse than standard Italian – and though we had like more than an hour time, till the first concert that we wanted to visit, it turned out that the waitress was, I don’t know, sleepwalking? I mean, I can understand it if there where many guests – but out of 30 or so tables some fifish where occupied. And we where not the only ones complaining about long waiting times. Anyhow, we made it to our first concert, Mono Inc., and even managed to get into the front row (though a little bit to much at the side, at least for my taste)
Mono Inc. just rock. I remember to have had some songs some time ago which I considered being nice to hear, but not more. Then long time I haven’t heard anything from this band, until last year I bought one of the Gothic Magazines with a sampler in it containing the song “Get some sleep”. That song totally got me, I was hearing it all day long, wow.
Still it happened by accident that I actually saw them this year for the first time live, at the tour of ASP in Hamburg, and it was wow! The only thing that I dislike a little is that the drummer, Katha Mia isn’t heard as well live as she is on the CDs. But that’s just a minor issue. After the perfect support for Asp my girlfriend and I where like “Wow, we’ve got to see them again sometime”, first of all not taking into consideration that actually they where also playing at the Plage Noire. When then finally the timetable was out, we where happy to see that it didn’t collide with any other band we wanted to see, and so we took our chance to see them again, and it was definitely worth it. They really really rock – one of the view bands that are live even better than on CD. I already consider three or four songs as my favorite after just hearing them a few times.
Even though it was the opening act, the tent was full, the audience was rocking and Mono Inc. was spreading party mood. Another cool thing was that Mono Inc. wanted to meet us, even though they didn’t have any autograph hour. So they just ask us to meet them at the merchandise booth after two other bands. Of course (as already with Asp), they came out with their camera to take a diary entry (their tour diary is a video diary). We again made it into the first row, so you could even find us there (to make it more easy: in Hamburg you can hit stop at 2’42 or 2’56 and look for me. Plage Noire was a little harder, we are far at the side – just look at 2’02 – 2’03 I am wearing a T-Shirt that has a lot of white (actually it’s blue) on it, and my hand’s in the air).
(Both videos are of course, not shot by myself – copyright resides at Mono Inc.)
See how they rock? In spring next year they’ll start their (first?) Tour, the Voices of Doom Tour, which we’re so going to attend to. See you in Hamburg!
Oh, and while talking about Mono Inc. – I came to meet them. Unfortunately they where a little late (I was taking a break form another concert I really wanted to attend to), but anyway, it was really funny and worth the waiting. They where so nice, all of them, and I was happy to be able to shake their hands. And I consider it fascinating how interested they where in their fans. That’s how bands should be. Thank you, guys, for the really great time and nice little chats!
Persephone was a band I had to drag my girlfriend to, as she didn’t like the samples we listened to. Actually I was not that blown away either, but Persephone is the side project of Sonja Kraushofer, who is also singing in the Band L’Âme Immortelle, a band that I appreciate much, and that I count to one of my favorites.
And that is not only because of the great songs and music they make, but also because of the wonderful duets Sonja and Thomas Rainer (the other singer and keyboard player of the band) sing. They totally harmonize and especially Sonja has a unbelievable and chilling voice. Thus I had to see them, anyway.
And while seeing them, I and also my girlfriend where astonished. This (Wikipedia calls it neoclassical) music performance was so amazing. The room was totally put into the right atmosphere with candles and dim lights, Sonjas singing was accompanied by cellos, contrabass, piano and percussions – wow. And what an unbelievable show – Sonja was so putting all the emotions that where provoked by the songs into performance: walking around, sitting, putting makeup on her face, she was even lying on the floor, rolling on the floor right in front of us. And as it was in the tiny Witthüs, it was literally in front of our feet.
(Sadly, when uploading it to YouTube this one got too dark – Still you can see the cosy little room, and Sonja lying at the floor, directly in front of the audience)
Goosebumps until the end – a really great concert, and something that you’d never ever get out of any of the recordings, nor on any of those big concerts, where the stage is a meter high and the audience a meter away. It was so worth seeing.
(The last song before the encores. Again much too dark – Sonja is wearing a black veil with a floral wreath on her head)
Still one thing I disliked was the autograph hour. They where the first to open it, so we went there even before Mono Inc. played, and somehow it was so impersonal. That was sad – still a great concert, and I’d really like to see them again as well.
Now, after listening to Persephone, this is what you’d call contrast program. fetisch:Mensch is the latest project of Oswald Henke, which I first came across at the Blackfield Festival. It is comparable to “Goethes Erben” (which since fetisch:Mensch sadly did not continue to work on newer songs), though it is a little harsher. I find it hard to categorize music, and I don’t think that doing so with this band would do it any good, or help you understanding what kind of music they make. When it comes to Oswald Henke it’s as simple as this: They are special in every way. Meaningful lyrics that deserve to be considered as the heritage of Goethe, coupled with heavy music (two e-guitars and drums), the unbelievable expressive vocal performance of Oswald Henke, paired with the acting that so lets you feel each and every intention the song has.
Well, you cannot describe it, I tried to. You have to see it. And which setting would have been better than the Witthüs? I mean, Oswald Henke is like one of the audience-nearest performer there is. I saw them at the Blackfield, they where up a meter, we a meter away, he was screaming down to us, and the people where like “Oh my god” (yes, Oswald Henke is totally polarizing the audience – either you like him, or you run away, it’s as simple as that), and yes, he was reaching us, of course. But that was nothing compared to him just being able to run into the audience. And hell he ran into us often. There he was screaming at you while just being centimeters away from you! Even gabbing you, shaking you (not that heavy, but still). It’s… again… just wow. Great performance, great show. Love to experience that again, in such an environment.
Great thing: We managed to take a glance at the set list even before the concert started, and I saw, that my favorite song “Schwarzer Schnee” was played. Even better, we got our first set list from a concert (though I don’t know what to do with it). And, best of all, though I had to leave the concert for a little while (I really wanted to meet Mono Inc., therefore I had no other opportunity), I managed to come back in time for it. So great.
Markus Heitz is a well known fantasy, horror and science-fiction author who already wrote books that are linked to the Shadowrun role-playing imperium as well as those best-selling “Die Zwerge” series, the German answer to Stan Nicholls “Orcs: First Blood” series, and which started a lot of other series like “Die Elfen” or “Die Trolle” (also in Germany, but not by Markus Heitz). He also wrote some own role-playing books, and as for now is famous for is bestselling roman on vampires “Kinder des Judas”, as well as a non-fiction books on vampires that he wrote after getting a lot of questions regarding his vampires. He did a lot of research on the “folk religion” on vampires, and presents them in an interesting, yet also funny way in his book “Vampire! Vampire! Alles über Blutsauger”.
In this reading we got to know Markus Heitz a little better, and actually he seems to be a quite funny person. Besides telling us a little about himself he also told as a lot on his findings about vampires. This first part of the reading was more a lecture or talk – it was freely conducted, with involvement of the audience, and quite interesting and funny. The second part was then made up by what I’d call a conventional reading – but not out of one of his published books, no, it was a manuscript on a new, yet unpublished sequel to “Kinder des Judas”. Quite interesting, I’m considering getting the first one some time soon.
Knowing that the end of his reading would collide with one of the headliners, ASP, he stopped half an hour earlier – what relieve to us – we straight went to the Zeltbühne to see our last full concert for this evening.
Do I have to write anything more? I mean Asp is like, wow. Always has been, and even this concert met the high standards that Asp concerts have. It was quite rocking, and the best rock concert there was on that event. Still somehow it bothered me a little. At first I couldn’t really figure out, what it was – I was thinking that maybe I’ve seen them too often this year (Blackfield Festival, on their tour (a month ago) and now here). But that isn’t it either. After revising the event for the third time now, I think I’m finally getting to it: It somehow just didn’t fit – and I guess, what I mean, is not to the festival itself, but rather to our program. After the first, and really rocking show of Mono Inc., we just visited all those small, little intimate concerts with Persephone, fetisch:Mensch – and then after a reading straight to a rock concert in a hugh tent (which then of course took place at 11 p.m.) after having a long day, with a lot of traveling, swimming and sitting… I guess that didn’t make me appreciate the concert as much as I would have if the circumstances where different. Which really makes me sad somehow, as Asp was, as mentioned before, doing a really great concert!
I haven’t seen the Zeltbühne fuller at any time (and the Zeltbühne was the biggest location) so they did a great job. And of course they rocked, totally. It’s unbelievable that the lead singer (Asp) is sick for a month now, but does neither cancel any of the concerts, nor does he perform any worse than you are used to.
The set list was full of the typical rock classics of ASP, so there wasn’t any time to just relax – it was rocking on and on. Most of my favorites, like “Krabat”, “Werben”, “Schwarzes Blut”, etc. where played. Even the security man liked it. You could see him leering up every now and then. And when ASP finished playing their last song, “Schwarzes Blut”, he even bent over to the person next to us, asking them, what that song was called. Now how cool is that? I mean he didn’t seem to be listening to Gothic music in his leisure time 😉
All in all it was a really good concert, again a different set list than at the Blackfield and also different to the Tour set list (which I really enjoyed pretty much) – this one was more fitting to a wider audience I guess – non the less pretty cool, as it was rocking and rocking and rocking. And I am really sorry to not being able to fully appreciate it, but that doesn’t make the concert any worse.
During the ASP concert, some people suddenly left – bad for them, good for us, as we where having more space at the front 🙂
If you wonder, how one could leave such a great band as ASP earlier – I did, too. And I found an answer (already before actually seeing them leave – as there was a discussion on the Asp fan forum): They wanted to see Anne Clark. As I regard it, a huge number of faithful ASP fans decided even before seeing the concert that they’d leave earlier to be able to see Anne Clark. So there must be something to it, mustn’t there?
So I listened to a selection of songs that I found at MySpace… hm. Not that a great band. Okey, to take side of the fans – she is somewhat special and she has a certain something that’s great. Pretty melodic, still a little monotone which actually doesn’t do the music any bad, as it adds the music a hypnotic or mesmeric character.
Still, it isn’t something where I say: wow that’s totally it, that’s what I so have to see. No, it’s nice to listen to, especially as background music while doing something. Or for relaxing – fine. But a full length concert? Still I wanted to see them – maybe they rock on the stage… they didn’t at least not me. But as I recall it, they didn’t rock anybody – most of the people just stood there watching them. And the band itself?
Well first we have this man in it’s 40s, who totally unmoved by what he is doing (at least that’s what he seemed to be to me) hit’s on some buttons of his keyboard producing spacey sounds (the band is somewhat a mixture of light electro with a woman’s voice). And Anne Clark? Well she was just speaking into her mike. Totally unmoved herself. Standing there, not dancing, hardly moving…
Sorry, to all you fans out there – I don’t want to offend anybody, that is so not my intention – but to me this concert was totally boring, and I am so happy to have not left my perfect position during the ASP concert. It’s just not my taste. Still, after reading what other people thought of it (especially fans) it seemed to have been a great concert to them (and maybe they’d consider my taste, e.g. Persephone as boring) – so if you like Anne Clark, don’t take my word for it.
After that concert we had some fries. Actually we also wanted to visit the party, but both of us where quite tired. The last thing that we wanted to do, was to get a T-Shirt. I decided to get one of the “Plage Noire”, as well as one of “fetisch:Mensch”, and also to take “Mono Inc.” into consideration. But the booth was already all packed up. So, that was the end of that day for us. A long day, with lot’s of dancing, sitting, swimming, walking – that’s exhausting. So at approx. 1 a.m. we went to bed.
The day started with a really extensive breakfast. At least the money that was payed additionally to the bungalows had to pay out, didn’t they? Anyway, as the food offer wasn’t as great as we’d expected it to be, we thought why not brunch, instead of having breakfast? Here again I realized the different to other four star hotels – the buffet was much smaller with a much smaller variety of food (e.g. there wasn’t anyone making fried eggs, I couldn’t find any bacon, or English breakfast – they had those sausages all right, but e.g. no baked tomatoes. And those juice glasses where a joke. It could hold a volume of 10cl of orange juice). Anyhow we managed to still our hunger until late evening, which was what we planned.
After that we went to the beach. It was a really nice way leading through wild meadows, with highland cattle grazing on it. We took another route to the beach, which was actually a good choice, as a lot of festival guests where having the same idea as morning activity. When we finally reached the beach we encountered a lot of Goths wandering around. While walking on the pier we even met some VIPs, such as Markus Heitz, who seemed to be deep in his thoughts (who knows, maybe he got inspired for a new novel?), and we also met part of the Persephone crew. Later the missing part crossed our way, calling and waving at the other part that was some hundred meters away. After a long walk, as well as some photo shooting we returned, got us something to drink (did I mention that there was a little store on the premiss?) and again I tried to get my T-Shirts, but the booth wasn’t opened yet.
So we started our second day with:
Meet and Greet? Well that’s what they called it – of course again it was a totally overrun autograph session – I feel really bad for the guys. As we where second or third in cue we afterwards just stood aside and watched them giving all those autographs, at the strangest places (one person even got off one of his shoes to get it signed?!). I thought that it was extremely great, that even after 300 people they still tried to be as friendly and happy as they where with the first person. And you could see, that Asp really had a hard time. After the meeting and greeting was done, there was the professional photo shooting with Asp. I expected it to be a little more than it actually was. It was just some normal posing for pictures (organized by the organizer of the festival) – the only “professional” thing was, that there was a professional photographer, who took a photo of every person that stood with Asp – regardless wether there was some private person taking a picture as well, or not. These pictures are to be published on the webpage – I am curious about when this will happen, because we actually decided to not take any pictures of our own (asking someone to take them – staring into two different cameras at once, etc.).
So that’ll be our only remembrance – hoping that it’s online soon.
Oswald Henke, mastermind of “Goethes Erben“, “fetisch:Mensch“, and some other projects decided to publish his song lyrics as a book in 2003. As this was a total payoff, the first book “FSK 18 – Tendenziell Menschenverachtend” is re-released in a second edition (containing additional lyrics), and after having written a second one “Spaziergang durch ein Mienenfeld” (which is sold out), he has now published a third “Ich habe mir die Liebe abgewöhnt und bin doch weiter süchtig”, containing the new song lyrics of his new project fetisch:Mensch with a thematic focus on love, as well as critical articles on current events and recent developments that are published in a gothic magazine (“Henke Trocken” at the “Orkus” magazine).
When hearing the reading by Markus Heitz, I already thought that it was a little unconventional – compared to the readings by Oswald and even more by Emilie, Markus was most conservative!
Now Oswald is infamous for his acting skills, that he not only uses at his concerts but he even wrote his own theater plays in which he acts as well. Now maybe you can imagine that someone with such skills is pretty good at reading poems and books, which is the first thing that makes it a little different. Variations of his voices he was sometimes totally quiet, then again screaming his lungs out – actually at one attempt to affright us, he broke his mike, as he was too loud 😀
But okey, he also had a lot of accessories that came into use: gigantic soap-bubble makers, glove puppets, lamps, housels. And especially funny – he had two assistants. He choose them right at the start. Now the one girl (in uniform look – how fitting), was to sit there, to look angry and to watch if everybody was listening. She was also given a box of chalk, so that if she sees some that wasn’t listening, or that was fooled around or anything, she could throw a piece of chalk at them. The second assistant was given a soap-bubble set. He was to make soap-bubbles to cheer up the audience, when Oswald was getting too depressing 🙂
(This one’s not made by me, but shot and uploaded by Pitty J)
The reading was great. Full of things to think about, full of meaning, full of emotions and feelings, of sarcasm and irony… just great. Though, Oswald wasn’t officially allowed to sell anything (or he could but then the organizers would have gotten a percentage of each selling), he just sold them at a ten minutes break (quote: “They told me that in these two hours I could do anything I want, so I just sell you something”). I got his current two books, and after the show (though he was in such a hurry), I even got them signed, as well as a dedication on one of them!
Thank you very much!
Another thing worth mentioning: The security guy actually spend the time inside, the building (most of the other times he was outside), and he was actually also watching Oswald Henke, laughing with us, etc. I’d say that this was actually a pretty cool and chilled security team (they where quite nice all the time – actually you didn’t really recognize, that they where there…
What a strange title, isn’t it? Well totally fitting to that strange, eccentric, yet totally lovable Emilie Autumn. Yes, Emilie Autumn was there, to read to us form her book. I have already blogged about her, and I was pretty excited to meeting her, especially to get an autograph – I wasn’t sure about the reading then, but I wanted to see it and judge about it afterwards.
Well, first of all the autograph – I actually (again on this festival) was leaving the show of Oswald Henke in-between (sorry!) – and this time I was quite lucky, as I was one of the first persons in the cue (third to get an autograph). When Emilie finally came, it was like “Oh there she is” and soon she was surrounded by a lot of photographs taking pictures of her (understandable as she is a not often seen guest in Germany). While my first thought was a skeptical “Ooookey” it soon changed to “What a lovely person”. Yes she really is! Everyone was greeted with a big hug, she was totally friendly, posing for pictures (everybody had to do her famous rat claw), she brought her book with her, for the people to take a look into it (damn, I forgot to do that) and she was taking her time to chat with everybody in person – quite nice.
(Oh, and just as a side notice – while waiting at the cue, there was an older guy (let’s say around 50 or 60), that was walking around asking the girls wether he could take pictures of their stockings 🙂 He was actually going to show this to his friends who instead went to Denmark, while he booked this place – even before the Plage Noire was planned – that is why he was one of the really few normal guests around there. He was a bit scared though, that his wife would see the pics he was taking!)
The reading then was my personal highlight of this event. Atmospheric setting (she telling the people, where and how to put the table and the enormous chair), so that it looks perfect for us. Then she was standing there, and in a totally cute way totally proud of her book (Quote: “It’s a book, and look, it’s real, yeah, here, listen” *she knocks on the book* “See? It’s hard, and huh, it’s heavy, and look how many pages, and even pictures…” ). It was then, that my girlfriend told me that she’s somewhat like Phoebe from Friends – and yeah, we actually could find some parallels (and you may need to know, that I love Phoebe – she’s great!), though Emilie is somewhat more eccentric (which of course is again totally cool – I like people that are not ordinary, it makes them interesting).
She then asked us all to move around her, as she thought that (the small Witthüs!) room was too big, and she wanted us to be around her. So, what we actually had was a circle time (like in the 6th class in school) starting at 10cm around her.
She then finally started to read a little out of her book, but well, it was all unconventional, and it didn’t just stay at the reading. We had little talks, there was a lot of funny stuff, she even “performed” some of the things in her book (e.g. the leeches) – yes, we learned all kind of crazy facts on leeches, there was a lot of “Huh, how much time do I have left?”, there was some Question and Answer, interactive parts of the book, she was giving us kind of an interview (“Ask whatever question you want, and I’ll answer”), etc.
Oh, and we got the task to destroy Wikipedia. As she found out about her page and saw that there were many facts wrong, she corrected them, but they where changed back again, and someone in the comments wrote something like “which stupid idiot did that?”. Now her answer to that was to ask all her fans to change the article and write as much crap into it as possible. Quite an idea. Sadly Wikipedia now locked the article due to vandalism 😀
And in the end we even, all together sang a song (“Now everybody has to sing, right?”) – and I got to play an air guitar solo! Yahaa!
(This one’s not made by me, but shot and uploaded by Slamraptor)
All in all it was really really great time, that was over much too fast. It was fun it was interesting, and of course it was also somewhat sad and frightening to hear that in the States the psychiatries are still like they have seemed to be in 1800. Anyhow, I know that I want that book, I think I’m going to settle for one of the bundles for $79.99 USD, and I know that I want to see her again. Next year she’s touring in Europe and will also be in Hamburg on February 2nd (but unfortunately without any VIP Packages, those’ll be only available at Berlin and Munich, and that wouldn’t work out for us during that time).
After that last reading we just got an autograph from Blutengel, which where just giving them when we came out of the reading. so we got one as well (actually again, I dragged my girlfriend to it), and after that I finally got my T-Shirt. Unfortunately they already packed up all the merchandise from bands, that played yesterday – so definitely no fetisch:Mensch shirt, as well as no “I’ll think about it”-Mono Inc. one. But hey, I don’t have any money anyway, do I? I already spend more than I could afford.
Still, after getting a shirt, we went up to our room, relaxed a little (man I was tired), then we went swimming – I barely made my 400m – man am I out of shape! (and I think it even wasn’t no it can’t be a 25m lane, I guess it was just 20m). Still, after some “sports”, relaxing in the whirlpool, then getting to our room, showering, and relaxing a little more.
For lunch we had no choice but actually eat at the Italian again. This time we ordered pasta, and it turned out to be quite alright. But also quite expensive. Still we where pretty full, and left to watch some of the other bands that didn’t really interested us, but that we’d wanted to give a try – maybe they’re good, you’ll never know, do you?
I consider it difficult to write about bands that I still don’t know, so here’s a little on what I found out, while doing some research for this part of this entry: Kirlian Camera is a band that actually was founded in 1980 (wow!), in Italy. They where (same as now) 4 persons, but then it where three guys and only one girl.
Since now the band members have switched that often, that you can fill a page full of names, the current members are two girls and guys, only the founder is still member of the band.
Their music can be categorized as dark-wave/electro, and though I am not that a big fan of electro, this band’s quite good. Even my girlfriend liked it; whom I consider to be more critical when it comes to electronic music, than I am. It was quite melodic, and the singer could even have been a pop singer. Oh, and while I talk about the singer: Ouch, where they wearing tight pants. Not the guys, just the two girls, the singer and the piano player. Well the male audience seemed to like it – they could hardly get away from their zooming cameras – especially when the singer was lying on stage with wide spread legs.
Though Kirlian Camera was quite nice to watch (no, not because of the pants :-P), I wanted to get on, and also take a glance at London After Midnight. I mean it was one of the headliners of that evening, and I heard from a lot of people that they wanted to watch them. So there must be something to it, mustn’t there?
So we took a look at them, and wow, they where good! Much better than expected. Not only did they make some quite nice music – it was also quite interesting that even though being a Gothic band, they are quite political (oh, yeah, evil, Gothic people don’t care about politics. But as Oswald Henke already said in his reading – it is more than sad, that from the WGT audience a large part is just not going to vote on government elections – no wonder, that WGT is more and more getting a right-extremist insiders’ tip, and no one really cared yet alone recognizes it!)
Their music can be best described as Gothic Metal: 3 guitars and drums. And they use it quite well – though you may think that they are pretty hardcore, they aren’t. They produce good, nice to hear music – but best of all, as mentioned before, they have a pretty pacifistic, liberal view, criticizing expansion politics, mass industries and wars – especially or mainly the American foreign politics (at least in their concert this was totally obvious) – great. While doing some research I also found out, that they also are active in animal welfare and rights and motivate their fans to go to elections. When listening, and watching their performance, the thought “Wow, this is what Gothic bands should be like” crossed my mind. I mean, of course, there are a lot of other bands, like Asp, or also Oswald Henke that do also get political – but most of the bands just care about them selves as do most of the fans. I read that this is also criticized by London After Midnight:
All the [music] counter-cultures that existed have been corrupted; especially Goth and Punk, they’re gone, they don’t exist anymore. The kids [of today] care more about their MySpace pages, their image…and bullshit vanity.
Though they will not become my most favorite band I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more from them.
As already with Kirlian Camera, I also left London After Midnight earlier, because the next gig was one that I was really looking forward to, though I also was quite skeptical. That is, because Blutengel was one of my favorite bands some time ago – I had nearly every song that they had produced since than, and I was listening to them every day (that must have been around 2002/2003). Blutengel categorizes themselves as Dark Pop, but if you want to compare it to other bands, you’d say that they are somewhere between techno, dark wave, electro and, yes, sometimes also a little rock, combined with wonderful duets by male and female singers.
Now since that time I haven’t listened to much of that music anymore – and I never saw Blutengel live (but from YouTube videos I got an idea of how they perform), so this was an ideal opportunity to meet a band of my youth (I now-a-days wouldn’t have gone to tour-concert by Blutengel, or anything other where they’re the sole act). Now my skepticism was that I thought that due to a lot of new songs I don’t know, and also due to the fact that my taste has changed quite a bit since then, that I would break the image and remembrance of a band, that in my youth I really liked.
What crappy thoughts. They rocked!
I could hardly sing along, yet still it was nice to hear and to see them, the show was great, the songs where cool – and, best of all: They played one of their old songs, and it happens to be my all-time favorite (which I even occasionally still listen to now-a-days):
Hat Dir eigentlich schon mal jemand gesagt wie hübsch Du bist?
Ich kann dafür sorgen, dass Du auch so hübsch bleibst.
We try to catch you in the dark
with a certain kind of kiss.
We invite you to the darker side,
a kingdom without light.
We try to catch you in the night,
the moon shines in a different light.
We see into your fragile eyes,
no more time to cry.
– “Vampire Romance”!
There where some other surprises, like a new, yet not released song, great show, like blood drinking dancers (while Vampire Romance was played), dances with fire, confetti, changing stage settings. It was great.
The only thing I disliked, was the autograph hour. It was totally technical, like in an assembly line in a factory. But that doesn’t make the show less perfect.
After that great show we went back to our hotel room with paining feet – our wellness weekend turned out to be some exhausting weekend. Early getting up on Friday (with late night packing on Thursday), long travel to the festival, staying up till late at night, dancing on more than one full length concert in a row without break, standing in cues to get autographs, and doing some swimming.
Also this night no party, though I would have really loved to – I guess I’m getting old.
On Sunday we had to check out at 2 p.m., and our bus only drove thrice, once at 10 a.m., the second time at 4 p.m. So first we had a long breakfast – we thought about going swimming for one last time, but we decided to rather relax a little on our balcony and then take a long walk to the beach, which was quite nice. We finally checked out and frightened we saw, what the alley looked like when it was undecorated, and especially when it was opened to general audience. Quite scary, all those ordinary people everywhere (looking at us as if we where aliens from another planet – but well, at least with me they do that always, regardless how I look or where I am…)
One last funny incident – we met that 16 year old girl that we already met on Friday on our way to Kiel, this time from Kiel to Husum. Quite funny, she recognized us (with a look on her face that said “What the fuck?!”) – but now she was all alone, and somehow also totally different styled (before she looked like a Gangster Bitch, now like a Sissy, with all pink suitcases). And she was sooo respectfully – suddenly she even addressed us formally.
This was the second festival this year that was totally great, as it differs from all those bigger, older and more famous totally overrun Gothic Festivals such as the WGT, the Amphi or the Mera Luna.
And this one defiantly was the best. Ideal location, wonderful intimate atmosphere, totally emotional and great bands, a so ideal and so large framework program, that it was impossible to see everything. I really loved it. Much greater than the Blackfield, and I hope and think that it could become a constant festival in our live; given that the lineup will stay as great as it was (we already thought that the Blackfield could become a constant in our lives, but until now next years lineup simply sucks and therefore will most probably not be visited by us).
Still, I’ve had a great time, a lot of emotions and events, that I will preserve, and it also brightened up my life a lot. These last weeks where pretty heavy, but this festival made up for all of that. So now, with a lot of motivation and energy I’m returning to my every-days life.