18.-19.07.2009 Köln Tanzbrunnen
For the fifth time the Amphi festival took place in Cologne's Tanzbrunnen. And when you
take a look at the upcoming bands, you knew that it was going to be an unforgettable
festival. As every year people from all around the country and also from the
international area, joined the festival to have great time at that weekend.
On Saturday July 18th, the doors opened just in time at 10:00am and about 30 black souls
stormed slightly into the Tanzbrunnen to get to know the area or to start drinking. There
was quite a lot to see, the mainstage with those huge rofings that looked like freaky
lampshade, a hundred gothic and piercing shops and also the Theater. In the last years,
that was the second stage for bands but this year, movies and music DVD were shown there.
There was also a place for signing sessions were bands like "Solar Fake", "Saltatio
Mortis" aor "Unheilig" should be for some time to chat with fans and to give autographs.
One highlight of the festival is every year again the beautiful sandbeach were you
can relax while watching the skyline of Cologne. It's always fun to look at all these
black dresses people on the white furniture with the with sand. But it's so relaxing.
At 12am, Honey from "welle:erbdall" entered the stage to welcome the few people who were
about to see the first band on the mainstage. "Coppellius", one of the quirky bands in
the scene, rang in Amphi perfectly and the audience was pleased. And also the weather
seemed to play along because if you remind yourself of the last years, you know that it
was raining a lot and the apocalypse was near.
But on this saturday, things were fine. Also when "Auto-Auto" started playing in the
Rheinparkhalle, the festival started quite joyful. After "Coppelius" the dark-romantic
band "Mantus" entered the stage. It was a nice show, even when the songs are partly
qualitative quite bad, especially because of the lyrics. People sometimes shouldn't
sing in a language they cannot understand. But the instrumental parts were great. Also
the sound fo the audience was okay, even when there were every now and then some
mistakes with the singer's mix.
The next band was "Solar Fake", one of Sven Friedrich's projects. For Sven, Amphi is like
a home from home because he played there a few time with "Zeraphine" and "Dreadful
Shadows". His new project is a pure electronic thing but the audience really liked it
and for te first time the auditorium was quite filled. Here and then people were dancing
and then it started raining. But as Sven said later, they always bing the rain;)
After this electronic experience, "The Birthday Massacre" stormed the stage and provided
a goth'n'rolling show. People were dancing, headbanging or just screaming and the band
had a lot of fun. A well-mooded singer Chichi changed from smiling little girl into a
desperate brokenhearted and back into a laughing teen who had the fun of her life.
Awesome to watch.
"Eisbrecher" continued the hard sound with their New German Hardship and people thanked
it with huge applause and a well-filled auditorium. The band itself played a very loud
gig with a bit of gothic, a bit of industrial and a bit of electro. Singer Alexx seemed
very pleased and easy, while he was joking and laughing a lot. After the show people
were screaming for one more song but unfortunately there was no time left.
The weather was very moderate to that time, it started raining, then the sun came back,
rain, sun and again and again. But when "Covenant" entered the stage, the sun came out
again and accompanied the audience through a great show. Aftrer their awesome
performance last year, they even played a better gig because they had new songs in their
setlist and even if they were quite stressed because they arrived very late at the Amphi
and had a thousand interviews to do, they played really relaxed.
All the time outside, while people were fighting with the weather, there was a hot but
dry party in the Rheinparkhalle. Bands like "Absolute Body Control" and "Agonoize"
gave the audience what they needed to have fun. And then "Feindflug" entered.
As the name itself says, they are quite controverse band, with a lot of allusions to
WWII but still a great band. When they played their gig with lots of provocating stuff
like a gasmask and tank barriers, they also used a lot of fog. But at one point, it
started to get to foggy that no one could see anything anymore and then the music stopped
and the whole audience were announced to leave the Rheinparkhalle. The ceiling couldn't
sustain the hard basses and so a several square meters came down and hit some members of
the band. The Rheinparkhalle was barred while the party on the mainstage didn't even
recognize that something happened inside.
Headliner on Saturday was the old Goth-Rock band "Fields Of The Nephilim". While most
of the younger visitors didn't even know who they were about to see, the older people
couln't believe that the "Fields" will be there. When they entered the stage, they gave
the audience 90 minutes of dancing, dreaming and rocking. As every song seemed to play
15 minutes, the audience turned into a waving crowd who was in trance. It was really a
great show, even if the "Fields" seem to share a true love affair with their smoke
machine. After the last songs, people were still shouting for more and so the played two
more songs in 30 minutes and left a happy audience.
But there was still the problem with the Reinparkhalle because there were still one band
who had no more stage to play on. So, immediately the Theater was turned into a stage as
it was in the last years so that "Laibach" played their show in the smaller Theater.
And after that show, there was the big aftershow party were the Amphi-Visitors could
celebrate until the next morning to get pleased into their beds.
On Sunday morning, July 19th,, there were definitely less people then on Saturday. So
the first band "Mon Inc."played in front of a handful people. That was quite sad because
they did a great show. Their songs really smashed into the tiny crowd and a few people
were dancing but the mood was still a bit drunk and tired from the last night.
The next band "Panzer AG" with Combichrist's Andy LaPleagua, who continued the hard sound
to it's maximum. Now, there were even more people in the auditorium but most of the
visitors were inside the Theater were it was very cosy and not raining. Because outside
the weather changed from the nicest summer breeze to a cold storm and then back to just
hot sun. That is very hard for people who still have alkohol from the evening before in
their veins. But those who were standing at the mainstage were still ablo to make some
They showed that they were their when it was time for "Delain". A group of people who
were their from the early morning hours were screaming and shouting for the dutch
symphonic-metal band. They stared with a bang but after the first song there were some
problems with the technics while the vocals were much too loud and the instruments
vanished from time to time. Singer Charlotte Wessels smiled and they continued rocking
If you look on the line-up for sunday, it was clear that sunday was more the rock and
medieval day. In the Theater "Jesus On Extasy" played a loud but awesome gig and the
venue was really filled, mostly with screaming girls. It seemed they sounded harder than
at past gigs, might have to do with the venue but also the songs seemed a lot better and
the guitars sounded harder but also clearer. People, let's say girls, were grateful and
sayd goodbye with huge applause and lots of screams.
On the mainstage, "Diorama" played their gig. It was a nice show with a few popular songs
but with no noteworthy hapenings. But at 16:10 it was time for some medieval party
When "Saltatio Mortis" entered the stage, their fans and friends were happy and in a
great mood. The band itself made jokes, was dancing and played a really good gig. They
also played some of their new songs from their upcoming album and so people were quite
surprised about some of the new parts. The band was great, the ausdience was great and
singer Alea was even stagediving and crowdsurfing over the dancing people's heads. It
was really an awesome show and everyone was happy.
At the same time "Omnia" played their gig in the Theater but they started too late and
were longer on stage at it was written down in the plan. The show itself was very moody,
the band compamied it's audience into nature and into a wordl full of dreams with calm
songs, slow lyrics and deep vocals. So many people just shut their eyes and waved to the
sound. That was awesome. But when they ended their show, it was clear that something
wasn't right. The next band should have been "Qntal" but when they should start playing,
"Omnia" were still on stage. After 57 minutes of rebuilding the stage and a very short
soundcheck "Qntal" finally entered stage, one hour too late, but still very focused on
Outside, the mood was at it's peak while "Hocico" played it's only german show. The whole
auditorium was filled with people, almost everyone was dancing and it was great to just
watch. "Hocico" itself was painted in blood all over his face and tried to look evil.
His appearence was really ridiculous but his show was just wow. For some songs, he had
african dancers on the stage who filled the stage and were an absolute eyecatcher.
After that clenched load of electro, "Unheilig" was the next band to play. The Graf
himself was cheerful and good-humoured. At the beginning he seemed quite surprised of all
those people in the audience. Most of them were there because of "Unheilig", just a few
were only there for headliner "Front 242". The Graf played a very nice gig, he sang all
his popular songs and he was one of the bands who didn't use fog all the time. Compliment
for that. The audience sang all the sonsg with him and sometimes the Graf was just
listenig to the crowd. Everyone was happy after that and the audience changed a lot
because almost everyone was on the way to the "Unheilig" sining session.
Headliner "Front 242" first started in absolute fog and some videos were shown, very
technical to stay true in the typical "Front 242" style. They played almost every song
they had ever success with so that everyone after that show was happily served.
During all these bands on the mainstage, the Theater welcomed "Henke", "KMFDM" and
"The Gathering". But most of the people on the festival were shopping or standing in
the long "Unheilig"-singning session-row that should last just 90 minutes but Mr. Graf
said that he will stay there so long that everyone will get it's autograph. And he even
found some time to talk a bit with every visitor and also took a picture with everyone
who wanted to. So the whole session lastes about four hours. That was amazing.
While that was outside, "Camouflage" started because of technical problems, too late in
the Theater. It was hot inside because so many people tried to get in and when the band
entered the stage and started their gig, the air was very thin.
But the gig was really satisfying even when their most polular songs were about twenty
years old. But as we learned from "Fields Of The Neohilim" on saturday, older bands can
be awesome. And that was the same with "Camouflage". They played very very long so that
the audience was quite exhausted but they showed their mood not in dancing but in
staying and singing.
After the last band, a few people stayed for the after show party but most of the
visitors went to bed.
All in all the fifth Amphi was a festival with many hightlights, with a great mix of
bands and different music styles. People had the chance to do so many other things
if they were tired of the music and except some smaller problems the technics were very
good. There is also to pay a compliment to those who rebuild the Theater to replace
the Rheinparkhalle in such a short time.
The only negative thing that I can say are te prices and that there was almost nothing to
eat except pizza and chips. Also drinks were really expensive, and if you weren't a
VIP, you had to spent a lot of money just on surviving.
The sixth Amphi will also take place in the Tanzbrunnen in Cologne and it will be at
July 24.-25. and you can order your tickets yet. Let's see if it's going to be better
than the anniversary.
Pictures of visitors and bands are in the Gallery