Whitsun means the annual visit to the Wave Gotik Treffen. 2018 Was no exception. We have stayed in the same apartment for years (and already booked for next year) and for a couple of years we drive to Leipzig on Thursday to not have to drive, get the wristbands and have to rush to see the first bands on Friday.
So this year Te/DIS announced a performance at a warm-up party, free entrance with wristband. That meant the ‘old time’ run to be there on time. What is more, just before we left home I checked if I could find anything of the starting time of the performance and I saw that this was a complete warm-up festival with many bands including Te/DIS and Thorofon!
As expected the driving, checking in, going to the supermarket, getting the wristband (fewer locations every year!) and avoiding road construction to get to the “Felsenkeller”, made us miss the first two bands. The good news was that Te/DIS and Thorofon were still due. The place was pretty crowded. That is to say, I only knew the big room of the Felsenkeller, but there appeared to be a smaller room too. The big room had “EBM” (the term stretched) and the smaller room “noise” (dito).
The Te/DIS show was quite like the WGT show of 2016. One guy on stage with some equipment with live vocals. The shows was nice, the sound way too loud though.
I had seen Thorofon two times before. One time in Paris and the other time also at the WGT (also 2016). Trying to avoid the volume we located ourselves behind the speakers (next to the stage rather than in front of it). Our funny couple started very noisy and chaotic, but later on moved to the more danceable (or ‘pogoable’ according to some) sound. It was again fun.
There were not a whole lot of things that I really wanted to see, so the ‘making of days’ was fairly free. Again some locations were dropped in the schedule (most notably the Kohlrabizirkus and the Altes Landratsamt), some locations added. Of the latter I was curious about the place called “Westbad” which would have some rhythmic noise on Friday. We were there only briefly. Like the “Stadtbad” the place is a large, former swimming pool. An odd place with the former pool on the second floor and the band that we ran into was pretty boring (no “rhythmic noise” at all, so were left quickly.
There were some things in Stadtbad that I would not have minded to see (Buzz Kull, Boy Harscher, Ash Code), but because I wanted to be in time in the “Kantine” where Crisis would play (you know, the pre-Sol Invictus / Death In June punk band) and before Crisis, Argine would play in the “Kuppelhalle” (same building, Argine is not really my music, but there are much worse bands in the style), we just took it easy and went on our way to the “Volkspalast” (that has the two rooms that I just mentioned).
Argine was, well, alright. Crisis was alright too. They do not really make wild punk music, but some tracks were fun. After this Rome played in the Kuppelhalle. This hall is pretty big and it was crammed with people! It is amazing. Since the debut in 2006 I have seen Rome several times. They have been at the WGT in 2007, 2009 and 2011 and indeed the audience grew, but this was preposterous! I like the music of Rome quite a bit, but I seldom play it (too melancholic) and the earlier material is much more interesting to me than recent material. Also, I have stopped listening to their new music years ago as four new cds appear every month. The show was decent with a standing drummer and some sessions musicians. After a couple of songs we decided to return to our apartment and hid the sack.
The WGT program always has Saturday as “Sonnabend”, ‘sun evening’, but also the day itself is the evening before Sunday in that case. Anyway, Leipzig has a lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis and they would organise some lectures and expositions in the “Torhaus Dölitz”. This is a building that you walk under when entering the prehistoric village that becomes the “Heidnisches Dorf” (‘heathen village’) during WGT. There was a small room that could house some 50 people. On Saturday there would be a lecture about Aleister Crowley and the presentation of the lodge’s translation of the Liber Al Vel Legis that a friend was interested in. We were
The rest of the day would be in the Heidnisches Dorf and the Agra Halle which are walking distance from each other. After checking the “WGT Szene Messe” (the huge gothic market in one of the Agra halls), we got a glimpse of Zeromancer (not my music) in the Agra and then Hekate in the Heidnisches Dorf (nothing too great, they became quite tame too). We waited a bit in the Dorf for Qntal. The show was mildly interesting.
I was somewhat curious about Wardruna who would play in the industrial surroundings of the Agra hall that easily houses a couple of thousand of people. This is the place where the big bands play. Nothing romantic about this concrete hall.
Many, many people. Wardruna is pretty damn popular! The show began brilliantly with real Lurs! The band played old and new material and had quite some people on stage. For the rest the show was ‘simple’. What really annoyed me was the audience. The big risk of playing at a festival is that not just ‘fans’ come to watch, but also people who are just curious or who just happened to be there (because they sleep at the camping for example). Without the least attention to the music, they keep talking and chattering completely destroying the atmosphere. A couple of very well-performed songs were enough. What also did not help is that Wardruna only started at 00:30. The only funny thing was that a couple of punkers who apparently started skeptical seem to start the show more and more as it continued.
Sunday started very ‘cultural’ with a classical performance of a beautiful Icelandic opera singer and a Swedish piano player. We thought that Icelandic songs would be performed, but rather is was classical music written by Icelandic componists, mostly while living in Germany. The show was nice, especially when she picked somebody from the audience for a little dance.
After a museum that was also free with a WGT wristband (most are!) and a very short visit to the Stadtbad, we went to the the “Völkerschlachtdenkmal” where yet another classical performance would take place, but not before going to our usual restaurant that proved to be closed, as in, having stopped…
A small chamber orchestra with young musicians (and a young director) having adopted an opera into chamber music and spoken word. This was nice, but without chairs or anything, quite a long sit.
After this we traveled to Haus Leipzig. Last year Oswald Henke had a show there for a crowded house. Haus Leipzig is a theater, everybody sat then. The location is somewhat remote. Even after a tram ride you have to walk quite a bit into a ‘living area’. This time, downstairs there was some sort of lounge area, completely empty, walking upstairs you enter a lobby, which was also empty. The venue itself was pretty empty as well. we only saw a few very loud tracks of Blanck Mass. I heard that previews bands only has a 20-head audience! I guess people did not find their way to Haus Leipzig this year!
I would have loved to see The Jesus And Mary Chain, but that was way off-route (Agra) and again also only at 00:30, so we did not get there.
Indeed, plans in the Heidnisches Dorf, a lecture about “Freemasonry and Magic” by the OTO speaker at 15:00 (3 PM). We took a long walk through Leipzig’s green areas and were well in time for the lecture. When it started to get closer to 3 o’clock people kept coming in, even when the speaker has already started.
The speaker proved to be both a Freemason and an OTO member. In his lecture he did not say a whole lot of news. It was mostly a fairly general (standard) history of Freemasonry with here and there links to the less moralistic explanation of symbolism that you usually get. With a few references to Rosicrucians and the like, the speaker made links to the esoteric background of Freemasonry that is almost forgotten by its members. Tarot and Kabbalah formed some nice references as well. He was very open about Freemasonry and seemed to be an active member. Funny were some of the questions at the end. Some people in the room really did not know anything about Freemasonry, others apparently only the internet quatsch.
I highly applaud this initiative. I hope more esoteric groups will present themselves or even organise things around the WGT.
Only in the evening there were some things that I wanted to see, so we had the time to travel to the nice venue Täubschentall where some psychobilly-like bands would play that day. You can also relax a bit outside that venue, eat and… have some black Absint icecream!
After a while went to the “Alte Messegelände” (the area where the Volkspalast can be found). As I said, the Volkspalast houses the “Kantine” and the “Kuppelhalle”. When we came in, the program seemed to be way behind schedule. Sardh was still playing an hour overdue. This sounded nice. I did not know the project, but it is some ritualistic dark ambient project with some noisy edges. The volume was way too high though, something that the Kuppelhalle suffers from frequently. After Sardh, Svartsinn played in the Kantine, but his sound is too monotonous for me, so we went to the Kuppelhalle again to wait for Author & Punisher. The soundcheck already proved that the volume was going to be extreme again and A&P does not really make easy listening. The project is alright for a few tracks. It is some sort of electronically made very slow doom metal. Next up was Trepaneringsritualen. In 2014 TxRxP played in the Moritzbastei, a very small room. The Kantine is not really big, but a lot bigger. There were quite some people. I looked forward to this show, since the recent “Kainskult” album is a masterpiece. It is a big step ahead sound-wise with clearer production and vocals that you can actually follow. The show was more ‘old style’ TxRxP though, a muddle of sound with ununderstandable vocals in the background. Also the show is completely prerecorded and simply played with added vocals. Now I actually am curious what the show would sound / look like when TxRxP and Author & Punisher join the stage. I am afraid that I am not going to manage going to the other shows in my neighborhood though…
The closer of this festival was Blixa Bargeld (of Einstürzende Neubauten), Teho Teardo and a small orchestra in the well-filled Kuppelhalle. The show was quite nice, but we did not watch it until the end.
I usually have so many things to see that I have to try to plan the days in order to get the most out of them, which brings quite a lot of travelling (some locations from the WGT take an our to get from one to another). This time there was not that much, which could have been an occasion to just go there and see something unexpected. This did not turn out too well. The times we just went a location without knowing the bands that played were mostly disappointing. Also the few things that we did want to see, limited the freedom to just go somewhere, usually for the simple reason that they are far away from each other.
The 2018 edition did not have really great shows to me and no surprises either. It was again a nice weekend though with a city taken over by “die schwarze Leute” (‘the black people) who you run into in any (remote) place in and around the city and at any time of the day. I find the OTO initiative a great one and hope that the organisation will expand that bit. There are some 25000 people, many of them with interest in dark literature and esotericism, so for organisations such as the OTO, but also Masonic lodges, contemporary Rosicrucians, etc., etc. this could be a good way to get in the picture of an audience that is possibly interested.