It’s so unbelievable that the 25th edition of the Biggest worldwide music -and not only- gothic festival, the biggest international gathering of the dark family, did arrive and was so festive!
Electrowelt.com keeping up with its tradition for the 11th consecutive year presents the most important moments of 25th Wave-Gotik-Treffen festival in Leipzig, Germany. Leipzig was once more painted in black, the sunny weather was a great ally of WGT guests and Electrowelt.com was of course there to observe, take notes and photos, meet and talk with all of you guys and fellow creatures of the night!
The numbers and statistics were once more impressive for the biggest worldwide music and diverse festivities of the dark community. More than 50 venues all over the city, about 20.000 fans of the new & dark/ EBM/ Industrial/ Gothic scene from all over the world and 200 bands, plus a fully diverse program, which also again included beautiful classical music, such as operas, choral and chamber music, photo and art exhibitions, readings, movie presentations at the cinema, the classic autograph sessions and many many more for us to chose from and have a blast! Great concerts in the vaults of the Moritzbastei, as well as in the splendid neo-antique cupola hall of the Volkspalast and in the historical public bath Stadtbad, and not only in the known large concert halls. The WGT program included beautiful classical music again, such as Wagner operas, Mozart’s Requiem as ballet, chamber music, organ concerts and Brams Stoker’s Dracula as musical.
For four days a large hall at the AGRA -Messepark transformed into the biggest Gothic-wares marketplace in the world, literally a Goth’s paradise, where you can find a huge variety of clothes, shoes, accessories, and of course many CD & Vinyl stands, where you can spend hours and hours to explore thoroughly (as I always do).
The Stadtgeschichtliches Museum of Leipzig (Museum for town history) presented an exhibition about the 25 years of WGT, this beautiful part of Leipzig’s history. Extravagant fashion, multi-faceted music genres, spectacular accessories and most of all fascinating people was the main focus of the dazzlingly black show. Visitors and organizers described and shared their experiences and adventures around the WGT and about their self-conception of being goth. Guided tours in English were scheduled on WGT Saturday and Sunday. Furthermore, the organizers made once more sure that all art and culture lovers had free entrance to many Leipzig museums.
The large fetish party was held once more at the Volkspalast, where entrance was only possible with a strict voluptuous dress code.
WGT visitors could step back into the romantic atmosphere of ancient times at the medieval market place at the Pagan Village (Heidnisches Dorf), where authors read and one could also catch unusual theatre and cinematic performances, as well as a big live action role play. People in historic clothing gathered again in the park for the traditional Victorian Picnic, accompanied by live chamber music.
For all the goth parents and families who would like to visit the WGT festival and have doubts about the care of their little ones, the festival’s organizers certainly thought about all of you, goth mothers and fathers too! There is a special provision of a nursery school at the Agra Park, in order for the parents to have the chance to bring along their children and have some fun of their own carefree attending concerts.
We had the pleasure to enjoy once more the divine WGT tradition of Absinth breakfast and energy absinth breaks at the Agra Gelaende, which were so helpful to preserve our energy and catch up with friends.
Apart from famous bands of the scene, WGT visitors had the opportunity to discover several less-known real underground bands or artists from the edge of the Gothic music universe. I also found extremely enlightening this year’s WGT special tips and the hints for lesser known bands, which we checked out and found very interesting. They indeed performed great concerts and that’s one of many reasons I adore WGT, there are always hidden gems to discover.
The festival started off on Thursday 12/05/2016 as usual, with parties at various venues and even some concerts. But we were so disappointed that we were not able, due to our hectic work schedules, to attend the grand opening party already on Thursday, May 12th. It took place at the AbenteuerReich Belantis – an amusement park in the south of Leipzig. WGT guests danced at various locations on the area and had the chance to party with the veterans of the early days of Leipzig’s dark scene like the founders of WGT, Michael Brunner and Sandro Standhaft, as DJ-team Moonchild. All fairground rides of the large amusement park could be used until midnight.
We arrived the following day and here follows our review for the next four festival days and celebrations
Electrowelt dj team@ Darkflower club, Peter Murphy (with the best of BAUHAUS)
Leipzig and its citizens gave a big and warm welcome for once more to all us black dressed and odd people! Free use of all public transportation for all WGT visitors really helps too, as long as they present their WGT bracelet or band in German, which also applies for all WGT concerts, performances and all other WGT scheduled shows. So convenient, instead of buying tickets all day long, so that you can attend concerts! The minute you set foot at the city, the image of hundreds of fans, who cross the streets running to get to the venues in time and catch their favorite live gig, takes you away immediately!
This year we had the honor and enormous pleasure to dj at the legendary Darkflower club and participate to the WGT festivities. Our dj set lasted all Friday night and with great effort I managed to catch Peter Murphy at the Agra. I couldn’t live with myself otherwise! Although, I had the privilege in seeing Bauhaus twice, I had great anticipation to see Murphy. Many fans were present; he appeared on stage like royalty and proved to all there who the Godfather of Goth is. He started off with “King Volcano”, and then followed “Double Dare”, “In the Flat Field”, “Silent Hedges”, “She’ s in Parties”, “The Passion of Lovers” and at least on David Bowie cover (I had to leave the Agra before it ended to get back to my dj duties at Darkflower). He made some comments that I found odd about his band mates, not so flattering, but nevertheless his performance was divine and his voice awesome. Thank you WGT for a damn gut festival kick off!
Back at the Darkflower, the party had heated up! Great crowd turn up, many many WGT visitors danced the night away with us and we would like to thank all of you, as well as the management of Darkflower, for your kind words and support. As result, we will dj again at the next WGT edition too.
Rose Mc Dowall, Portion Control, Cinema Strange
Our day began with ROSE MC DOWELL at the pagan village, Heidnisches Dorf. The legendary songstress was performing twice at Wave Gotik Treffen, on Saturday and on Sunday. Many people there, folk music style in a very atmospheric way. The weather was not so gut, as it started to rain a little bit, but there were many fans who were thrilled to admire the grande dame of folk to perform. ROSE MCDOWALL is a Scottish musician being active in the scene since 1978 in various bands and as solo artist. In 1978 she decided with her then husband, a great artist as well, Drew Mc Dowell, to form the Punk band THE POEMS, where she played drums. She became more known with the band she formed afterwards, STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE.
After both bands were disbanded, Rose was active in the London music scene in the eighties and nineties mainly contributed backing vocals for with guest appearances on albums and shows of various bands, like CURRENT 93 or NURSE WITH WOUND. In times, Rose i.e. was steady member in CURRENT 93, DEATH IN JUNE or ROSA MUNDI. Furthermore, she was founding member of SPELL in 1993 together with Boyd Rice and she also formed the band SORROW with her next husband Robert Lee. She presented songs from several of her former projects which are still extremely influential for today’s music communicated with humor with her audience. This kind of performances is why I believe that WGT is the greatest of festivals, for this kind of moments. Vielen Dank WGT!
Highlights of course were none other than the wonderful and poetic Death in June cover “To Drown a Rose”, as well as the Strawberry Switchblade “Since Yesterday”. Other songs were “Deep Water” (Strawberry Switchblade song), “Ruby Tears” (Sorrow song), “Trees and Flowers” (Strawberry Switchblade song), “Let There Be Thorns” and “Soldier” (Sorrow songs). She also performed two cover songs, from The Jesus and Mary Chain “April Skies” and “Sunday Morning” from Velvet Underground.
Next stop was the British band PORTION CONTROL at the Agra concert hall. Not so many fans there, but the ebm fan base was there. Most people attending were dancing to their electronic beats, a fairly good performance by the 80s influential old school ebm musicians, great sound, industrial projections which added to their stage appearance, we listened to “Last of the Breed”, “Skins”, “Deadstar”, “Amnesia”.
Moving on very quickly to Taubchenthal for CINEMA STRANGE. Once more, to our disappointment, the venue was packed, with enormous effort and delay we managed to reach as close to the stage as possible in order to take a few photos of the performance of this impressive batcave band. In my humble opinion, they as well as 2 other bands mentioned below, should have performed at least in a venue like Agra. Cinema Strange delivered an awesome performance, we only had the strength to stay in the venue for 3-4 tracks, the vocals, the melodic bass and guitar lines, we listened to “Greensward Gray”, “Unlovely baby”, “Speak Marauder”, “I remember tendon water”. From the balcony, we only listened to their finale, after we took some air outside the venue, “Tomb Lilies” and “Laughing bloody Murder”.
After the end of the show, we had the great lack to meet up with our friends, the band Evi Evan at the bar for a beer or two, and what a surprise, their friend, the amazing Peter Yates was with them, so we had the chance to chat with him and the rest of the band. As the WGT press announcement very eloquent described it: according to the Gothic-Rock history book, this young man was the guitarist and a quasi-founding member (1983-1991) and therefore instrumental to the first three albums of a band called “Fields Of The Nephilim”, which means that he played the riffs on “Wail of Sumer”, “Love Under Will” and of the other incomparable pearls. After his first appearance at the WGT as a band member of Evi Vine in 2015, he returns this year with his solo material.
Har Belex, Backworld, Rose McDowall (again!), Plastic Noise Experience, Lacrimosa, PIL
Start for our 3rd and most busy concert festival day was HAR BELEX at Altes Landratsamt. It was a rainy and Gloomy Sunday, so the neofolk bands there would be the most perfect soundtrack for our mood. So one of the music treats of WGT 2016 and festival’s music suggestion for us to discover, was very much worth our while! The electronic musicians Manix S. (Pail) and Salva Maine (Culture Kultür) apparently got tired of the synthesizers and chose acoustic guitars. They were lyrical, sentimental and presented us with a great performance. Their best moments were the tracks “Freedom” and “Springtime”.
Next followed an act I was very curious and lucky to catch live, the legendary American folk band BACKWORLD. Awesome and rare performance, the audience definitely enjoyed them live. Highlights were “Isles of the Blest”, “After Fall”, “Bed of Stone”. Great moment was the duet with Rose Mc Dowell for the song “The devil’s plaything”. We stayed of course for the grand dame ROSE MC DOWELL (my significant half didn’t have the chance to see her at the pagan village). It was much more an atmospheric performance, in the indoors venue and at night time. Set list similar to that of the performance at Pagan Village.
In a hurry, rushing to catch PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE at Stadtbad. I am a fan of their music, they don’t perform as often as other ebm bands, but when they do, it’s really something special. Intense projections and lights, great vibes, all the fans were dancing to their beats in a full venue.
Set list: “Reduction”, “Schachtende”, “Communication Breakdown”, one of my favorites old time classics “D-Ranged”, “Tateinheit”, “Dream Destructor”, “Control (new mix)”, “Das Ritual V2.015”, “Gold (new mix)”,
“Mercy (new mix)”, “Memory Flow”, “In XTC Part 02 V2.015”, “Push and Punish”, “Kill The 6”. For their Encore: “Electronic Bodies” and the special super bonus “Moving Hands”, a Klinik cover, which they have performed with Dirk Ivens in the past.
Following the old school ebm vibes was the gothic royalty of LACRIMOSA.
Lacrimosa played for the seventh time at WGT; I believe that this means a record for the band that has performed the most at the WGT. An impressive stage performance, powerful sound, the set included a lot of songs from the last album Hoffnung, a very dark album, and the audience appreciated it a lot. But of course, songs from all periods were included. Both Tilo Wolff, in the masterpiece “Stolzes Herz” and the old gem “Crucifixio” and Anne Nurmi, with the beautiful “Apart” gave us a magnificent stage performance. My personal highlight was their finale with “Alles Luege”.
The punk legend John Lydon, Sex Pistols front man, was the midnight special gig at AGRA with his band Public Image Limited. Special indeed! I read before the WGT that the reunion tour of PiL received much praise, so I had high expectations. And they proved me right. They were awesome! John Lydon performed amazing and created an uplifting atmosphere.
The crowd was thrilled too. My favorites were “Order of Death”, “Death Disco”, “Know how” and of course “This is not a love song”. For their encore, we listened to “Rise”, “I’ m not satisfied” and “Open up”. Definitely a gig to remember, thank you again WGT!
Finally, we were surely in urgent need for some rest!
TEST DEPT: REDUX
Rainy day Sunday, Tried to get in Altes Landratsamt for And Also the Trees and Pink Turns Blue performances, but unfortunately we were denied entrance, even with our photo and press pass, as the venue was packed, although many fans were leaving and we could get in, but once more the staff of this particular venue was very rude, not only because they didn’t allow us to get in, but because of their attitude, but the way they did it, as they always do. I would like to report about these two legendary bands to you, but unfortunately cannot. Definitely these two bands deserved a bigger and “kinder” venue, in order for more fans to enjoy them live. I talked to 3 guys who travelled from Spain and were so disappointed they couldn’t get in too, as well as two girls who were inside the venue and couldn’t breathe so they couldn’t stay more.
Our last WGT day and final concert, was a band we all had great anticipation to seeing live, the industrial British legends, TEST DEPT: REDUX at Kuppelhalle, Volkspalast. The room was full and once the light show started, it was extremely difficult for us photographers to capture the gig phases with our cameras. Some things are just classic, like these industrial tunes: “Fist”, “Total State Mashine” and “Gdansk”. Such a mind blowing gig! Thank you Test:Dept for existing and still fighting and thank you WGT for having them. A unique and cherished experience for us music fans.
It was the best high energy way to close the once again wonderful WGT festival.
Since we were already at the venue, we decided to stay again for the party WGT closure, the neofolk party, Abschluss Party at Volkspalast Kantine. Though the atmosphere was once more, we had the impression as djs that we have heard the tracks played, almost the exact same last year too! The majority of the songs, as many of friends who attend this specific party confirmed it, were played last year too.
Excellent organization, fans of all kinds of music respected each other and had fun. Great sound and concerts, big event diversity for all tastes, as well as new band and unique project suggestions by WGT. We have the chance to see and catch up with friends from all around the world; it’s the only festival meeting no one misses out!
Shout out to the organizers, artists and to the press office for such a well-organized event, which brought all of us, fans of the Wave and Gothic scene together.
I cherish all these memories! See you all again in dark Leipzig next year!