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2014-03-16

LAIBACH and TRANSATLANTIC in Amsterdam and Tilburg (13.+14.03.2014)

The absolute sum of people who would drive five hours+ from Northern Germany to the Netherlands to see a concert of the mechanical industrial-rooted but nowadays mostly electronic slovenian retrogarde legends Laibach on one day and a show of the retro-progressive rock supergroup Transatlantic one night later might very well be 1 - that would be me.

So what a great opportunity to write a double review that will most likely piss every reader off at some point. Add to that a bit of boring tourist and photography ramblings and who the hell would still read that? Haha, I'm in for it!

As the tradition of my entries about the Roadburn Festival 2012 and Laibach in Kopenhagen (both events where I had to interact in english for most of the time) dictates, I'm writing this one in english instead of german too. (The click-hungry slut in me also notes that the amount of pissed-off readers will be significantly higher this way.)

As an explanation for the strange quality of the photographs which accompany this text you're welcome to take a look aut my tumblr "The Year of the Hedgehog" where I document my one-picture-for-365-days-challenge with the Harinezumi 3.0, a deliberately trashy digital low-fi camera.


Originally I was bummed when Transatlantic released their tour dates, because they wouldn't come to Hamburg this time. Then I decided I'd spent a few days in Berlin and see them there. I had already bought my ticket and booked a hotel, when it was announced that Laibach would be in Amsterdam one day before TA played in Tilburg. Now that was too tempting, so I resold the ticket and changed my plans. Anyone who is familiar with past live DVDs knows that watching Transatlantic in Tilburg on the second to last date of their tour would be a special experience - and I also definitely had to go to Laibach this year, no matter where. At that time I didn't know that they would also come to Hamburg again after a long hiatus. So I'm happy to see the Slovenes two times on this tour.


The drive to Amsterdam went smoothly, except for a half-hour detour caused by my navigation system reacting too slow at a motorway junction.

And then of course the last few hundred meters in Amsterdam... I'm used to the rural traffic of sparsely populated Northern Germany and my hotel was in the middle of a one-way-street labyrinth of narrow canal streets overflooded with cyclist and pedestrians from all directions at the same time. So that was almost some kind of culture shock.

It was only after I finally reached my hotel with reserved parking, checked in and went out with some film cameras for sightseeing that I realized that I was indeed right in the centre of the city's redlight district.

I recommend every fellow hobby photographer to really check your frame there before shooting, if you don't want to be unintentionally disrespectful to the virtually naked sex workers popping up behind every second window. That's at least what my conscience - and also a lot of signs on those glass doors - tell me.
At first this whole thing felt a little awkward, but taking a look at the whole acceptance of the situation, I sense a lot more dignity in De Wallen than on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg. Yet I'm no milieu expert, so what do I know...

view from my hotel room

typical tourist picture

hot

hot dogs

The flag of Amsterdam contains three Laibach crosses!

Laibach played in the Melkweg, a cultural centre with several concert rooms, a bistro and even an art gallery, a really nice venue with room for a few hundred people.

The band's live line up was the same one that's been touring for a few years now, with all electronic sounds, apart from the organic drums. The centre of the stage is equally shared by the band's iconic deep voice phenomenon Milan Fras and his counterpart Mina Špiler.

My general praise for the abilities of each member and the performance as a whole basically remains the same as on the last tour in Kopenhagen, so it would be tiring for me to repeat myself all over again in such detail.

Yet some things have obviously changed. With the strong new album "Spectre" just released the first half of the show was fully dedicated to it. The whole album (except for the bonus tracks) was played, yet in a different order, so I won't guarantee the correctness of the setlist below. And just like the album the show obviously offered a catching overall vibe and many great big and small moments. Be it the fateful beginning with the clear statement that "Europe is falling apart", the mighty Ommm ending of "Resistance Is Futile", "Eat Liver!", where Mina took full control of the stage, or the haunting beauty of "Koran". I can't help it, I was awestruck the whole time again!

After an intermission the themes of the last tours were reprised, starting with the renewed classics "Brat Moj" and "Ti, Ki Izzivaš" from the still unreleased "Laibach revisited" album - or should it be renamed "Slovenian Democracy"? It's already been a few years now since the original release date. At least those treasures are available in live versions on the fabulous "Monumental Retro-Avant-Garde".

Then followed the two greatest hits of the "Iron Sky" soundtrack and the upbeat double of "Leben-Tod" and "Warme Lederhaut", before the show closed with several cover versions of the last few years. Especially Bob Dylan's "Ballad Of A Thin Man" has become a favorite of mine. The show closed a bit too predictable with "Tanz mit Laibach", but at least they surprised me a little by not playing "Geburt einer Nation" or "Leben heißt Leben", which are obviously great classics - but we've heard them so often, they can need this break.
Oh, and I almost forgot the perfect ending with another song of "WAT", "Das Spiel ist aus".

One new feature for this band which isn't really known as talkative on stage was that they actively communicated with the audience between the songs - or well, they sort of did... it was really hilarious, but I won't tell more about it, because I don't want to spoil the laugh for those who are still to visit the tour.

All in all this was a great show from beginning to end again.
You just can't beat Laibach at their unique game.

I'll definitely see them again in Hamburg!

Setlist:
  • Eurovision
  • Walk With Me
  • Americana
  • We Are Millions And Millions Are One
  • Eat Liver!
  • Bossanova
  • Koran
  • The Whistleblowers
  • No History
  • Resistance Is Futile
  • Brat Moj
  • Ti, Ki Izzivaš
  • B Mashina
  • Under The Iron Sky
  • Leben-Tod
  • Warme Lederhaut
  • Ballad Of A Thin Man
  • See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
  • Love On The Beat
  • Tanz Mit Laibach
  • Das Spiel Ist Aus

art gallery in the Melkweg

Mina + megaphone

The Whistleblowers

propaganda for the membership in Laibach's Spectre party
I'm member 494 by the way.


Too excited to just go to sleep I wandered around in the city for a quite a while, but I'll spare you all the dirty details of my escapades. They were probably much more boring than your imagination - or a lot more spectacular, I'll leave that to you. ;)

The point is I didn't sleep very long. And of course I had to get up early and do a long walk to the harbour and some other places I hadn't seen the day or night before. So when I drove down to Tilburg for the second stop of my concert trip, I was already really tired and clumsy at just walking. And I had to walk quite a distance to get from my free parking spot to the cafe in which I had rented a guest room...




more sightseeing in Amsterdam

I guess I should visit the city again with a little more time someday...

Now I wonder what roller porn looks like.

Fine weather in Tilburg.

Beware of monsters...

...and of cute cats!
The initial plan was to get to the 013 very early to get a place in the front just like the day before, but I really needed a break - and the admittance started earlier than I had expected, so the place was already packed to the roof when I arrived. Maybe I should thank my host for giving me the shock of my life by suddenly drilling holes in the wall right at the head end of my bed. Boy, I was shaking!
But at least it was ensured that I got up in time and didn't miss the beginning of a show that was going to be the epitome of epic.

Transatlantic started out with "Into The Blue", the twentyfive minute opener of the recent album "Kaleidoscope". As I had expected from my trip to the Roadburn Festival in 2012 and various DVDs the sound in the venue was clear and almost flawless.
And the uplifting joy of Neal Morse, Roine Stolt, Pete Trewavas and Mike Portnoy, while they're playing this masterful music is just an incredible delight to behold. Especially the drummer seems to have the time of his life on this tour. I mean I've already seen that on the concerts of Neal Morse and the fabulous Winery Dogs in Hamburg last year, but in those constellations he has another role on stage, so he doesn't get too crazy with his show drumming, but with Transatlantic the slogan is "more is never enough" anyway, so he just goes full "drummer at the wrong gig" (yet of course he's absolutely at the right gig), with a huge arsenal of tricks, show elements and audience interactions from silly to uncredible - all while playing drums like Mike Portnoy. That man is just a blast of entertainment!

On the other side of the stage Neal Morse tradionally delivered the highest emotional commitment to the mix, but all five musicians were just giving their all.
Speaking of the guest singer and guitar/keyboard/percussion player: as Daniel Gildenlöw had to cancel his appearance on the tour due to an evil flesh eating bacteria (I don't even want to imagine that shit... good that he is on his way to recovery) they had to find a replacement on short notice.
They found Spock's Beard singer Ted Leonard, who did a fantastic job stepping in those not tiny footsteps. When he sung the vocal passage that Daniel did on the studio version of "Into The Blue" he so stunningly nailed it, that every possible doubt anyone could have had was blown away right from the beginning.

After the opener Mike warned us that there would be no break, so for everyone who hadn't peed yet the night would really become a test of stamina. Then followed the next epic, a classic from the debut album, not played on tour for over a dozen years: "My New World".

In the rest of the main set the whole "Kaleidoscope" album was performed, including a little snippet of Metallica's "Ride The Lightning" in the title song section of the same name.
To point out every highlight would be impossible, yet the purest moment was when Neal began to sing "Beyond The Sun" all on his own without any instrumental backing.

"The Whirlwind" was shortened drastically and played as medley, which surely was still over half an hour long and had most of the finest parts of the song it. "Rose Colored Glasses" couldn't be left out and the incredible escalation of "Is It Really Happening?" left the fans with open jaws again.

When Morse and Stolt began a guitar duet, everybody knew that it was time for the hymn which can't be left out at any Transatlantic concert, "We All Need Some Light". Portnoy, who lost the stamina contest, used the song for his own pee break while on the musically relevant side of things Ted Leonard delivered a lead vocal verse in the song.

The main set ended with the powerful rock of "Black As The Sky" - and then things started to get crazy, when Mike Portnoy explained that they very well knew the drill, that the prog-crazy audience wouldn't leave after the encore anyway, so they would start with the second encore, a song only played on this night, such making the evening the longest of the tour (and in the end with almost three and a half hours the longest in the history of the band).

Even though at the end the keyboards didn't fully work and Neal's effect computer had to be rebooted, the audience singing along the grand "I love you" in the chorus of the The Moody Blues cover "Nights In White Satin" was really a goose bumbs experience.
I was exhausted to my bones from the whole day and short night beforehand at that point, so I had a little attention break then, as I must admit the heretical truth, that I don't give much about Yes. So instead of "And You And I" I would honestly have prefered another original song. But never mind, that's just a thin hair in the soup.

The last epic of this long evening was a medley of the first half of "All Of The Above" and the grand finale of the "epic to end all epics" as Neal Morse once declared, "Stranger In Your Soul".

What can I say about this show? Prog history - a night noone who attended it will forget soon, or ever.

Thank you, Neal! Thank you Roine! Thank you, Pete! Thank you Ted! Thank you, Mike!

That you couldn't stop by in Hamburg this time - it's fully forgiven!

Setlist:
  • Into The Blue
  • My New World
  • Shine
  • The Whirlwind Medley
    incl. parts of Overture
    Rose Colored Glasses
    Evermore
    Is This Really Happening?

    and Dancing With Eternal Glory
  • Beyond The Sun
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Guitar Duet / We All Need Some Light
  • Black As The Sky
  • Nights In White Satin
  • And You And I
  • All Of The Above / Stranger In Your Soul Medley

an already packed 013 when I arrived

NealRoineTedPeteMike

We All Need Some Light Now!




After a small fast food snack I stumbled to my hotel room, closed the door, took my clothes and glasses off and fell right diagonal on the bed. Next thing was me awakening three hours later in the middle of the night with the light still on. And I'm normally not good at all at sleeping from one moment to the other.

The next morning was mainly me getting up late (at least for my traveling standards), having a nice breakfast and abandoning all touristing / photographing plans I might have had.

The drive home was for the most part very relaxed and inspired. And whoever read this thing all to the end deserves a medal. You're my hero!

yeah, nice idea, those one-way slippers...

walking down these steps with your luggage on your right side - not advisable

See you again for Roadburn in a few weeks, Tilburg!

52 Wochen | 09 | vein cream

056/365 • vein cream

Ich muss schon sagen: Diese Woche fiel die Auswahl schwer. Schon von Montag bis Mittwoch finde ich meine täglichen Bilder ziemlich gelungen. Und dann die Konzerte in Holland... aber die werde ich ja noch ausführlich genug an anderer Stelle würdigen. Hier also vom Dienstag meine neuen Freunde Morbo und Zapp Brannigan!

2014-03-10

MOTORPSYCHO - Behind The Sun

Alter Norweger!

Unter mindestens einem Album pro Jahr scheint ja bei Motorpsycho gar nichts mehr zu gehen...


MOTORPSYCHO - Behind The Sun (2014)

Im Grunde könnte ich hier so ziemlich alles wiederholen, was ich schon zum Vorgänger "Still Life With Eggplant" geschrieben habe. Nicht, dass die Scheiben identisch wären - der auffälligste Unterschied ist, dass "Behind The Sun" etwas straighter mit im Schnitt kürzeren Songs ausfällt -, doch die grundsätzliche Mischung aus Stonerrock, Gesangs-Pathos, jazzigen Drums und wildem Gitarrenkrach bleibt die selbe. Zudem stammen die Songs aus dem selben Zeitraum, was die kurze Pause zwischen den Veröffentlichungen sicherlich mit erklärt.

Eine andere Erklärung könnte sein, dass Motorpsycho sich nicht lange mit Cover und Albumtitel aufhalten, die auch hier wieder zusammenhangsloser Quatsch (aber irgendwie doch cool) sind.

Musikalisch ist die Scheibe erneut erstklassig. Es gibt die angemellotronte Ballade, knackige Rocksongs, den frickeligen Longtrack und als Rausschmeißer mit "Hell, Pt. 7: Victim Of Rock" ein über vertrauten Riffs zelebriertes Noise-Fest. Ja, "Hell, Part 1-3" vom vorigen Album wird gleich in zwei Stücken fortgesetzt. Somit spannt sich über beide Alben musikalisch ein Bogen, durch den man sie im Grunde auch als zeitlich versetztes Doppelalbum verstehen kann.

Es steht Motorpsycho drauf und es klingt, wie nur Motorpsycho klingt. Zwar kicken mich neben "Still Life With Eggplant" sowohl "Heavy Metal Fruit" als auch das geniale Konzeptwerk "The Death Defying Unicorn" noch einen Tick mehr als "Behind The Sun", dennoch ist dies hier zweifellos Rock'n'Roll-Oberklasse.

Anspieltipps: Hell, Part 4-6: Traitor/The Tapestry/Swiss Cheese Mountain, The Promise, The Magic & The Wonder (A Love Theme), Cloudwalker

2014-03-01

DIE VOID und BONE MAN live in Itzehoe (28.02.2014)

Eigentlich schreibe ich ja über lokale Konzerte nicht immer Reviews, insbesondere wenn ich die Mucker persönlich kenne. Uneigentlich war das gestern in der itzehoer Lauschbar einfach mal sehr geil, bzw. supergeil, wie man neuerdings ja sagt.

Die Void - ihr seid supergeil! (Ohrwurm: "Verstehen Sie Spass?")
Bone Man - ihr seid supergeil! (Ohrwurm: "Closer To The Sun")

Die beiden verlinkten Videos geben übrigens einen dezenten Hinweis auf einen der Auftritte von Das Rote Universum, die demnächst offiziell verkündet werden. ;)

Außerdem habe ich mal getestet, wie man mit meiner Digital Harinezumi 3.0 so Livefotos knipsen. Ist natürlich sehr low-fi, aber es hat mich angesichts der Lichtverhältnisse sogar positiv überrascht.


Bone Man :












 Die Void :