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WGT 2023

  • music

Due to Covid-19 only now the Leipzig Wave Gotik Treffen could celebrate its 30th edition. We took up an earlier plan to drive to the city on Wednesday. Just like the previous time, we went to the Moritzbastei that day. Good food for little and no WGT activities yet. Quite some people in black though. Also early arrivers.

There was (indeed) again going to be an EBM warm up party in the Felsenkeller on Thursday which would include Thorofon as main act on the noise stage and Wulfband as main on the main stage. Both planned around 1.00 am… Perhaps I am getting old, but those are not really times for me… I would have liked to see Wulfband, but the bands that came before would have made a way too long wait, so I just saw a few projects on both stages and went back to the appartment.

There were not too many things that I (really) wanted to see this year. Also, as far as I remember, for the first time, there was this distinct ‘German touch’ to the festival. ‘Dark culture’ is much more common in Germany than in any other country that I know. In an everage city you will encounter people in ‘EMP clothing’. The Germans also love their medieval markets and Rammstein type music is pretty common. So in the Heidnisches Dorf we ran into one of the awful and typical German medieval party metal bands that for me are a reason to leave asap, but even at that early hour in the festival, they actually had an audience. We went the commercial area in the Agra and after that to the Stadtbad for Minuit Machine, one of the many two person (minimal) wave acts that were scheduled this year. Contrary to Milliken Chamber who came before them, Minuit Machine is two women and not a boy/girl combination like most of such projects. Then I made a little mistake. For some reason I thought Assemblage 23 is an old school EBM project, so we went to the Westbad (another former swimming pool) where we encountered a “Schlange” (queue) to get in. In on time the band turned out to be more of a synth pop project, entirely not my thing. So, to the Volkspalast then where we saw a small part of the (not too interesting) Hekate performance and after that Cult of Youth in the Kantine. The latter was alright, but the volume was way too high. We did not wait for Fire + Ice (scheduled at 00:00). We saw them in the same place a few years ago anyway.

On Saturday morning there was to be a play outside the Täubschental. Somewhat curious we went there and found a lengthy “Schlange” outside the venue in the middle of the sun. The queue got longer and longer, but the doors did not open until right before the play started. A bit of a silly Three Musketeers play it was. Something different from the rest of the program for sure, which is one of the charms of the WGT. Next up was the classic film “Häxan” (1922) on the big screen in the theatre with music from Vortex. This time no queue, but the theatre was fairly well packed. Again something you do not get to see every day. On to Haus Leipzig where Ash Code would play. We saw the tail of the show of Bragolin, from my own country. From a former half of this duo I would later attend a lecture another day. Both projects were alright. For a bit more energy we went to Das Ich in the Felsenkeller, but when we came in the Venue, there was this torturous happy goth act Grausame Töchter. A bit like a WGT version of Chicks on Speed (who I like better). A bunch of screaming girls on stage over all kinds of happy sounds with Tik Tok dances and tough guys in the audience singing along (this only happens in Germany, right?). The show was pretty sexually explicit and it seems that the band has an aim to make people think about certain things. In any case, not my music. Das Ich opened with tracks that they also played over 30 years ago during the first Wave Gotik Treffen.

Sunday started again in the Täubschental, but with the rapidly pounding “rhythmic noise” of Mono No Away. What I like about these shows is that they draw a varied audience. Here you have your EBM guy next to an old school goth with a mowhawk and everything in between. Good show too. Again to Haus Leipzig to see Jäger 90. This “old school EBM” duo is more “old dude EBM”, but they still enjoyed themselves a lot and the show was great. For something completely different we then walked to the theater for Matt Howden (as Sieben) who appeared to have added some new elements to his still, most notably beats (unnecessary to me) and a bucket.

The program got much ‘thinner’ on the last day, but fortunately we did not have to queue anywhere and there was no venue were it was overcrowded. The only thing I wanted to see that day was A Place To Bury Strangers, which would also spell the end of the festival for us. Better end with a blast, right? Again in Haus Leipzig. I do not like the venue much, but the sound is usually good. While the albums of APTBS seem to get softer, their shows only get louder. It was the third time I saw them, but the first time they made a continuous wall of noise with on the background the melodies and vocals that make the songs recognisable. But damn, it was a blast! Earcracking noise, continuous strobe lights, a monster lady on the drums (the first time I saw her). A good closing act for 2023.

Besides the music, there are the usual exhibitions, museums that you can enter with your festival wristband and quite a few lectures this year. Of that side program we saw the lecture and book presentation about the Neue Slowenische Kunst by NSK member Alexander Nym. After that there was a lecture about Laibach in particular. A day later there was a lecture of two women scholars (one was one half of Bragolin) who lectured about how the shock value of some industrial music can help people.

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