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M’era Luna 2012 : Day 2 : Sunday
M’era Luna 2012
Day 2 : Saturday 12th August
On the previous night Placebo ended a good day on a high, but it was a noticeable drop in the amount of people watching them compared to their previous headline slot. Today we’ve a few other regular bands, how will they fare?
Yet again, as we’re glutton for punishment, we’re up and by the mainstage waiting for opening act Les Jupes to take to their 11.15am slot. They’ve flown over from Canada to be here, bringing crashing dark indie to a bright sunshine day. Songs about depression and eating disorders are their hallmark, pounding rhythms set off with the strong baritone voice of Michael P Falk. It’s very apparent that they’ve never quite played an event of this scale before, but they rise to the occasion remarkably.
It’s going to be sink or swim over in the Hangar for Eklipse. Let’s set the scene, we’ve four girls who are armed with a cello, a viola and two violins. They’ve got a Victorian Burlesque image going on, so what we’re effectively looking here is maybe the ideas of Apocalyptica with the image of Emilie Autumn. Sounds promising? Except they’re playing covers of pop songs… Justin Timberlake among those covered (also Eurhythmics, Linkin Park and Snow Patrol). So, the stage setting is very atmospheric, the covers are enjoyable enough – and the Hangar is absolutely rammed. However, to be cynical, ‘A Night at the Proms’ does pretty much the same – although with less not-entirely-unattractive-Goth-girls. So, while they were good, would they have been as appreciated if they were 4 plain people in normal clothes….?
On the main stage we’ve got the first act of the weekend (and possibly the first act in years) that’s well known on the UK live circuit – Lahannya – she’s no stranger to German crowds and it’s probably down to her proven reputation there and here that she’s on the bill. The familiar blue-haired frontwoman makes light work of rocking the crowd; the melodic tracks are pretty strong, with her voice providing the fantastic finishing touches. It’s just a shame so few of her tracks seem memorable, if she could get tracks you’d hum for weeks then much higher bill positions will follow.
On Saturday there was a brilliant back-to-back combo between Faderhead and Rabia Sorda. Today in the Hangar it’s a bit more Goth back-to-back. Down Below and The Beauty of Gemina are the two playing side by side today. Down Below are one for some of the younger fans, they’ve that charismatic touch in vocalist Neo Scope and that charming pop-Goth gush. Anthems like ‘Du und Ich’ and ‘Alle Deine Wege’ are the sweetness to their success. One odd thing about Down Below is they seem to have dropped their entire Sinfony 23 album from the set, which had their English songs on, they now sing exclusively in German. Perhaps they’ve realised Germany/Austria/Switzerland is where their bread is buttered and it makes little sense trying to sell beyond that. With the new album, Zeichen, they seem to be heading a bit more poppy, not unlike Unheilig did, but they’ve still maintained their core Gothic anthems. Neo is a lively chap, running around the stage and crowd madly, many younger fans totally lapping up his every move and, well, why not? It’s fresh, lively and enjoyable.
It does mean that The Beauty of Gemina have a tough act to follow, their darkwave style appeals to a slightly older crowd so it’s almost all-change in the watching audience. ‘Iscariot Blues’ is a fantastic album, Dominion gave it 5/5 and so it’s great to hear a few tracks from the album, but as festival sets are so short (45 minutes for TBoG) they mix in with many classics, from the tongue-in-cheek ‘The Lonesome Death of a Goth DJ’ to the bleak ‘Suicide Landscapes’. Michael Sele is looking as stylish as ever, he must have quite a collection of Vivienne Westwood jackets! They’re a band currently at a high point career wise and days like today show why it’s a good time to see them. They glide through tracks, with each note bringing tingles to the spine. A truly elegant set!
Speaking of bands with great new albums, Eisbrecher have released a killer with ‘Die Hölle muss warten’ earlier this year and a fair few tracks get an airing this afternoon. Full steam ahead as they chug into ‘Exzess Express’ before delivering a dynamic set which includes everything from the craziness of ‘Verrückt’ to the dubstep-influenced ‘Herz Aus Eis’. Of course it’s almost impossible to mention Eisbrecher without mentioning the Rammstein thing, they come from the same genetic strain of NDH, the similarities are obvious. One big difference though is that Eisbrecher can deliver a killer live show, with a string of quality tracks, without relying on a pyrotechnic pantomime. Still, given the heat from the sun, I don’t think anyone would want any added flames.
Never afraid of a little controversy, it’s New Model Army up next. They’ve had some bad luck recently, between fire and theft, but days like this should surely prove to be welcome tonic. The band take a more balladic approach to the set, with the likes of ‘High’, ‘Green and Grey’ and ‘Purity’, which seems more suitable for a lazy beer in the summer sun, while they drill home their political messages. Of course, ‘I Love the World’, ‘What a Wonderful Way to Go’ and ‘Here Comes the War’ provide more rocking moments. Over 30 years they’ve now been doing this, but the energy and passion is still clearly there. The punk spirit is still there, even if the songs are less abrasive these days. Still abrasive enough to get them denied entry to the US (again!).
Yesterday, one Erk Aicrag pretty much owned the Hangar stage with his solo project Rabia Sorda. He’s back today with his main band, Hocico. The music may differ, but the end product is exactly the same – he fucking owned the stage. Coupled with his cousin, and long-time collaborator, Rasco they pound out an hours worth of pure dancefloor hard-EBM. Spinning mainly from the Tiempos de Furia album, they embrace a non-stop assault on the Hangar of pounding and bouncing electro. Erk again leaps and bounds around the stage at speed, barely stopping for breathe. You can get tired just from watching him; it’s much less energetic dancing yourself! Perhaps, if this is not your cup of tea, it may become all the same to you, but if you’re into pure aggressive-electro then few do it better than Hocico. They even come with a video screen flashing and displaying assorted disturbing images to add to the terror. It’s a good job they are the headliners because NOBODY would be comfortable following that!
Of course, if you wanted to, after seeing Hocico you could catch the end of In Extremo. They seem to be determined to set everything on fire, but then they need a big show to justify their frequent visits to this festival and many others. They’re actually guaranteed to get cries of “Oh, not them AGAIN” on forums whenever they’re announced for festivals, they simply play that many that often. So yes, they have to keep things interesting. You get the vibe a lot of people watching are just standing there staring at the fire and couldn’t sing you a song later, but then, the amount of tents coming down and shops shutting up suggests many aren’t that fussed on seeing them again. There were probably more people watching them in 2010, at a lower bill position, then are watching them headline in 2012 – perhaps In Extremo really need to give the festivals a break, perhaps they could look at why they can headline festivals in Germany but can’t get enough support for a tour the rest of the world over, they’ve surely got the cash reserves to try to break a new market….
So, job done for 2012 then. There’s a lot of great bands we saw – and some great bands we missed (Rotersand were on the same time as Eisbrecher, KMFDM clashed with New Model Army and Megaherz clashed with Faderhead). We also had a great time in the Medieval Market and nattering to bands backstage (we tweeted some updates on that… if you missed them, well, follow us on twitter!) and it was yet another fun festival.
The first bands for 2013 have been announced. ASP, Front 242 and The Cruxshadows. It’s only the second time Front 242 have been booked to play (last time a headline set in 2008), The Cruxshadows are quite regular but have not played there since 2009, although ASP have been playing every other year recently. That aside, it is the type of first announcement that has people booking up already, who can blame them?