WGT 2014 was once more a successful great party, full of various facets.
Leipzig’s annual Wave Gotik Treffen is not only a music festival, it is an impressive, funny and evocative meeting (the german word Treffen suggests it) of sub-cultures.
Each year around 20000 visitors, mainly dressed in black, follow the call.
This year about 21000 people made their way to Leipzig, making the WGT a great oppurtunity to meet like-minded old and new friends.
This year’s Wave Gotik Treffen was the warmest in the whole history, the temperatures were above 35°. In some locations, temperature and humidity have made it quite hard for the fans to enjoy the shows, and for the musicians to perform at their best.
As WGT has grown it has secured some of the largest and most beautiful venues in the city and everyone is instantly struck by the quality and size of the locations.
During WGT, there were several behind-the-scenes tours on the cemetery taking place.
The Leipzig automotive fair “AMI – Auto Mobil International ” were for the WGT a special free exhibition, presenting historic mortuary vehicles.
At the “Runde Ecke” was the exhibition “Children of the Night” showing the life of Goths in former DDR.
The exhibition “HR Giger – Zeitgeist” at the Galerie SansvoiX was another big success for commemorating Giger´s premature death, three weeks before the “Treffen”.
At the Agra event hall, many people were attending the art exhibition in the café with works of Sarah Horwath, Marcus Kauth, Paul Koudounaris, Marko Bennin, Sylke Ennen and Giovanni Perna. Of course, the festival program offered, like every year, various author’s readings and discourses, among others of Christian von Aster, the forensic biologist Mark Benecke and his wife Lydia, Markus Heitz and movie presentations and the usual artist signing events.
The time is never enough to enjoy all the cultural offers of the Festival.
The big campsite is situated at the area of the former agricultural exhibition Agra, with
the massive 10000-person capacity, in the south of the city.
With the so called “Obsorgekarte” you are allowed to use the campground and you have the “Pfingstbote”, the elegant program book with images. With a festival wristband, you are allowed to use the public transport for free during the festival. But the best thing at WGT still is the unique magical atmosphere you can feel anywhere in Leipzig. Goths from all over the world bring their passion for music and dressing up, celebrate happily together and are delighted by their gathering, painting in black every corner of the german city.
The guests of the WGT 2014 were changing the whole city for a long week-end. You can ask anyone in Leipzig, and you’ll get the same answer: they really like the Goths, their surprisingly peaceful attitude, even when they have a scary or weird look, and their happy invasion of Leipzig, a city with a long tradition of political and artistic non-conformism.
On the fourth day the WGT campsite closes and the black tide slowly recedes. The train station and airport are inundated by the hordes returning to everyday realities, where they’re maybe less tolerated or sometimes misunderstood.
The last stragglers of the “dark family” linger for a couple of days, and later there are few traces of the invasion left. For some it’s a way of life and their annual social highlight, others attend once purely for curiosity, there’s always enough to make it worth it, as much for the “gothic holiday” as for the concerts themselves.
The organisation of a WGT edition takes a whole year. My compliment goes to the artists, organisers, the press-office, helpers and everyone involved in different ways in the festival. We already look forward the next adventure, taking place from 22nd to 25th May 2015 in Leipzig.
The german band has been one of the pioneers of the so called hell-electro music, developing a gloomy and claustrophobic sound, music that you can listen to let rage and tension go, and even dance to. Christoph Kunze sings on 2 songs, the rest of the time he plays on keyboards. But is Axel Machens who gets the attention with his evocative performance, just like a real theatrical actor, based on happy and sad expressions, every move is effective like a slap in the face. On the stage you can see some dummies with female aspects, to represent the useless attempt to dominate the others with our weak and confused will. The show is obviously the result of a great deal of thought and preparation and is rapturously received. They show some “galleries of pain”, like the name of one the best work of them: impressions, sketches and vivid illustrations of each negativity, of our individuality, the unhappy show of our everyday life; the relationships and their misunderstandings, the pain of being rejected without being loved: every social behavior is painful and grotesque at the same time. It was worth to wait for this concert for more than 10 years, the combination of music, lights, performance, scenography, makes it one of the high-lights of this WGT.
Devoid of soul
Nothing to cry
No mans land
Galleries of pain
Dawn on death
Painted flowers in a picture
Agony of mind
Move (Version Gargoyles)
ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL
Dirk Ivens is the mastermind of different music-projects, in which he is involved alone or together with some other very skilled artists. In each of these projects he puts a different intense expression, regarding the different sound and image chosen for the band. Absolute Body Control is the concept carried on since 1980 with Eric Van Wonterghem. Absolute body Control has modified just a little and adapted its sound during these years, and made it modern and catchy, but always with the distinctive EBM and minimal wave of the 80s style. The forceful approach of Absolute Body Control does not come from the essential verbal communication, and the simple screenings running in the backgrounds, but from the fact that they express energy and freshness on the stage, static electricity going to end in a blast! I think, this is the best conclusion of this festival, music to enjoy this huge party for the lovers of the Belgian act, and for everyone who has discovered ABC only today, thanks to the scheduled show at the Agra and his main and biggest location of the WGT.
Surrender no resistance
Love at first sight
Is there an exit?
Give me your hands
Into the light
The schedule of the Treffen sees for the Saturday evening some bands of the “electronic” area with different vocations. The co-headliner is The Klinik, and all the other artists should be honored to share the stage with a real legend. I admit, I just love whatever Dirk Ivans does, each creation or collaboration, each project made with soul: the personality, which The Klinik receives from Ivens, is decidedly cold, helpless and aggressive. The screenings show high-impact images, a perfect selection of the industrial aesthetics, the senses of the crowd must stay sharp all the time. The band has the look, that has made them so popular, with white masks (the “new” version of their heads wrapped in gauze) wearing long black leather coats. I was fortunate because I have seen The Klinik live in several occasions: they do not need to prove anything after a career of more than 30 years, but I think this time it is the best show I have ever seen!
Walking With Shadows
Bite Now Bite
Quiet In the Room
Hours and Hours
In Your Room
Pain and Pleasure
Sick In Your Mind
Talking to a Stranger
Bill Leeb says hello to the crowd, introducing another show of FLA at WGT, and says that this is the “first time for him”: it was the year 2002, when another singer – much younger then the popular one – performed instead of Bill Leeb, and the crowd did not like the idea at all! Coming back to 2014: this time there’s the “real” frontman of the canadian band, ready to sing, play and jump on the stage of WGT, with his experience of more than 30 years, from the beginnings with Skinny Puppy, other pioneers and masters of the industrial music. Also because of this experience, Leeb has got the elements for one show, that is for sure one of the best of the whole festival, and even the younger musicians do the best to perform: only a small part of the sound is coming from the machines, the members of the band really play live, a very good feature of an electro-band today. The resulting sound is strong and powerful, with loud basses and percussions, cold samples and distorsions. The keyboard-player plays a secondary role, helping with a session of drums, creating a huge wall of sound!
Christian Death has been highly influential act, heralding the Gothic Rock and Deathrock movements.
It is pretty hard in 2014 trying to lead it to scandal with the usual contents of sex, drugs and blasphemy: the band Christian Death has been capable of the best and the worst in the beginnings of the 80’s. Valor lashes out one more time at religions and Clergy, at unconditional faith and love of something immaterial, intensifying his “sermon” with the critique of child abuses from people of the Church, that have become known and more common on the last years. Maybe Maitri e Valor are not very popular because of their sympathy, but they deserve respect because they’re professional and good music performers, especially in this very special occasion, the 30th anniversary of the ‘Catastrophe Ballet’ and the tracks of the intense and inspired time of their artistic production. Of course even the repertoire after the year 1984 includes great music, and the band has tried to avoid the label of a cover band and to become a good example of true and full-blooded death rock: well, I cannot say, I was expecting for more today! Valor concludes his monologue giving a positive message to the crowd, we do not have to take care of the physical appearance of our persons: everyone owns something deeper to be esteemed for.
Awake at the Wall
The Blue Hour
As Evening Falls
Androgynous Noise Hand Permeates
This Glass House
Seduction Thy Destruction
Narcissus Metamorphosis Of
You Can’t Give It Back
Worship Along the Nile
Believers of the Unpure
This Is Heresy
Church of No Return
Six Comm has the privilege to perform at Volkspalast, with its luxurious surroundings and the Kuppellenhalle, one of the main locations for WGT’s industrial audiences. Volkspalast is one of my favourite venues, it’s a circular mock-classical temple in a beautiful domed building on the old Leipzig fair grounds.
That’s not an accident that they’re allowed to play twice during the festival (Leagas also joined the live line up of Antichildleague, playing 3 concerts), so people who want to see them, have no problem with it, even if they’re coming on the first day, or leaving on the last one.
The music style of Six Comm cannot be described just with one word, a simple label that recalls a specific sound: it comes from the traditional folk, combining elements of electronic music and martial percussions.
Gernot M has joined on stage Patrick and Gaya Donadio for the last part of the show. The masks cover most of the faces of the musicians, but the face of Leagas, his eyes and mouth, that you can merely see, expresses the suffer and pain that Leagas puts in texts, most of them about Ideological and mythological matters.
Hearing such monumental works played live in such a location, was a powerful and emotional experience.
One mans hell
Doubt to death
WGT is very well known because presents different music styles, and this trend is valued from the crowd of today, open and eclectic.
This yer at the Festival you can see, in the warmest day (about 35 degrees) the finnish artist Tarja and her symphonic gothic metal band. Actually, I am not very into in this kind of music, but I was curious and I am completely satisfied from this concert: it is nice to see, how people reacts to Tarja’s entertainment, Tarja’s happiness seeing so much love for her as a solo singer. After the success and end of the chapter “ Nightwish”, the beautiful and talented soprano Tarja delights the international crowd with her voice and her new band: guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, cello and drums: the drummer Mike Terrana, who has worked with Yngwie Malmsteen and Rage, seems to be the hero of the day because of his technical ability.
Tarja needs a short break to wear another dress, leaving time and space to her band: all the musicians play a solo, a present of love and skill with their own instruments.
Anteroom Of Death
Victim Of Ritual
Over The Hills And Far Away
Until My Last Breath
Pictures and text by Berto Spanu 2014