Saturday 25 June 2016

Wave Gotik Treffen – The Review // 25th Anniversary

Wave Gotik Treffen – The Review // 25th Anniversary

Going to Leipzig can be a metaphysical question for some. Placed in the Former DDR heartland, the place breaths German avant-garde meets Chernobyl, as the city has space; scorched earth policy type space. However this is the charm about this town. If it is not the beautiful Baroque architecture that has your skin smelting in awe to your trad-Goth fabrics. It shall be the sheer scale of the soviet era buildings that dwarf many sectors of the city. These are a portion of the venues that will play host to the largest festival for the Goth sub-culture.

Becoming the 25th occurrence in this festival is a monument to it withstanding the test of time, and there really is nothing like it anywhere else. Yes you may hop on a flight to Köln or Berlin for a quick gothic weekender at a venue. However WGT acquires the entire city from Thursday night till Tuesday morning. This is conveyed with two festival schedules, which are each three double-sides of A4.

The Belantis amusement park was centre stage for the opening of WGT. VNV Nation performing to DJ sets from the UK’s Slimelight Steve and other members of the European scene cranked up the volume to shift the festival into GO!

Enjoying the full luxury of the WGT forum’s accommodation page, myself and my better-half were able to multitask breakfast & bathing, as the kitchen was also the bathroom. “Nothing better than reviewing the financial times over a pot of coffee; whilst gandering at a bit skirt before noon”. Love it. If you are proactive there are plenty of well-priced hotels, who are happy to bleed you of your fine coin on this peak demand period. However I would recommend going house sharing. It is a lot of fun, and I believe the best way to experience the festival. The locals are very welcoming of the event, as it has become an acceptance from an economic to a fun point of view.

Usually on Friday the very well-known Victorian picnic is a sight to be seen, though if you would rather sit on a chair, have a glass of sekt and a nice pinch of antipasti to go with the glass. Then the ‘Viktorianisches Viliage’ at the Arena am Panometer shall hit the spot! An open area location; it shields you from the outside world, yet with beautiful sky views, with a roman feel. The prices for a drink are rather acceptable, and if you would like to avoid the large scale crowds of the Victorian picnic, with some upper class decency (Less Mud) where the alcohol comes to you, then glance over here.

Moving a century or two forward. The French duo of Dernière Volonté bestowed me with my first visit this year to the Volkspalast Kuppelhalle. A grandeur building of the DDR that has a circular stage. The French artist had their live performance dominated by the bass of large drums (yes they are very big), as the vocals of Geoffrey D combined militaristic rhythm with a pagan/folk enchantment that engorged the hall.

On Saturday evening the venue plays host to ‘The Obsession Bizarre’; which embroils leather & latex. A trusty combination that will see you additionally queuing and sweltering. Indeed very nice performances, yet the greatest advantage to my eye is being able to dress as an elegant slut on a warm June evening, whilst hearing tears of electronic bass vibrate through your neck. However… the toys to play with are not worth the waiting time. Opinion; kinky posing…  LX-E’s recommendations prior to attending is to have a clear cut glass of cold Valt Vodka.  Also to be noted, WGT is a Goth event and dressing like an elegant slut is generally accepted the whole time. Obsession Bizarre is a moment for bass hunting vibrations up your skin in well tight fabric.

Moving onto the main stage Die Krupps brought their new live act from their new album V - Metal Machine Music. Already industrial enough with Jurgen Engler's scaffolding xylophone; they decided to see all of the stage disappear. Guitars went flying and a clang of steel pipes fell from the stage and the Agra Halle resembled a music demolition site. Die Krupps really showed a new jolt of youth!

Sunday was a clear calm recovery mode; or so one thought… You know that beautiful sensation, when from the prior evening of dancing. You know; where battery acid is filling the muscles, and that additional benefit when you have washed your face, to know the tanz sweat exfoliated your skin… Priceless. However this was not a morning for sitting around. Toss the Financial Times in the bin and lets go with that skirt for a another dose of Met and keep the body moving.
I named EBM/ electronica day to Sunday, as with the rain and wind the only thing that was going to keep me moving, excluding Ardbeg whisky was going to be man-made.

Taking a winding tram route to the western rim of Leipzig, where the patrons thin out; we eventually made it to the Patenbrigade:Wolff themed Stage. The NONTOX LE.E.V is construction site meets stage. So to expand external stage & little shelter, however braving the horizontal rain to Lights of Euphoria, it has of course Patenbrigade:wolff necessities… Beer Tent with builder size cups of tea, can’t compete with that!

The trio of Torben Schmidt (Suicide Commando), Singer Jimmy Machon and drums Thomas Gaarn brought on killer performance that did its upmost to get the crowd warm, however the only thing that was going to be blown away in this dismal weather was the beer tent.

Getting a move on, back down 3 Strassenbahn route, we hit the next venue and brought the EBM to the Täubchenthal.  ‘Somatic Responses’ got the earth warm as their early ‘Architect’ noise distorted the crowd. A first glimpse at their work, the track ‘Wherever’ brought in that attractive feel of desolation. The great thing about the venue, was it smelt and felt like a Goth club. Utter darkness once inside, heat, confusion and condemning melody.

Dirk Ivens broke the desolate mood left by Somatic Responses. Cracking open the muscles with a Best of show. It began by bleeding the rough cut muscle of the audience with Dream Hunter, and then cooked the room with the speed of ‘Sidewalk Sinner’. The EBM newtons of energy took their addictive toll, as I found myself in the EBM mosh pit for the remainder of the act. Chelsea boots and EBM Germanic work out turned out to be a winning combination. My toes would beg to differ on that.

The Sunday’s current EBM frontline, was brought to a standstill. As the Danish melancholy ‘Of the Wand & the Moon’ submerged Altes Landratsamt in their Scandinavian tribe. The band’s performance was good, however there was something in the air that really made it not great, I think it was the acoustics.

The discovery of the year was Göttertanz. A tribal and folk club event, that went on until the very early morning in Haus Leipzig. For one DJ to play such a well-balanced wave of compositions, with pace was very outstanding. Kudos was really give to ‘ToM Manegold’ for this endurance ballet that was well received until 6am.

Monday – Classical Aftermath

A neofolk recovery began at 12pm; closing the window shutters to shield from all natural light, and those baths where they were all for nothing, the only God today was coffee. However one last big leap into the black unknown we do.

To stay safe; the Heidnisches Dorf and Agra, were in good walking distance of each other. The medieval village, acted as perfect recovery. Serving flesh and Met, the combination hugged the stomach like an animal finding water in the desert.

The Heidnisches Dorf stage, takes on myth, folk and Viking type musical taste. For me it is the slightly rougher part of the festival on the corners. However also the most easy-going down to earth part, as a more metal feel is here and the delicateness of Gothic upper nose is a million miles from here.

Back to the Agra and Neuroticfish opened the artist set for Monday, making the crowd ride a huge future pop wave to the sound of Sascha Klein’s voice. The band brought a set of new work from ‘A Sign of Life’ and entertaining all by switching to some of their old school EBM tributes such as ‘Is it Dead’.

The sound of Velvet Acid Christ live unfortunately did not do the studio sound justice. The first time I saw the band live; yet I think it would be the last. I think Velvet Acid Christ in daytime will never work.

The Monday, for me is always the hardest as the shop owners at the agra begin disassembling the stages and already the wind down is happening, as Leipzig slowly returns.

What the 25th anniversary marked clearly to me in point, was that the festival management was strong and sound. Able to deal with the additional organisation and cost associated with an anniversary and meet expectations. The collapse of 2000 which saw the failure of the festival is left to rot in the cupboard, as here is a well-tuned machine only getting better.

Stay tuned for updates on 2017 WGT!

Dominic Lynch aka DJ LX-E

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