Wave Gotik Treffen 2002

Leipzig, Germany / Easter 2002
Helium Vola, Darkwood, Forseti, Ataraxia, Argine & more…

Since 1994 I am a faithful visitor of the Wave Gotik Treffen. In 2002 I was present again, together with a friend and 16.999 other visitors. This year was less crowded than previous editions, because at the same time a large sporting event was held in the city of Leipzig. No less than 100.000 sportfans were attracted, so there were not many hotelrooms available for the gothic crowd. We arrived on Thursday evening. After we dropped our luggage we headed for ‘Werk II’. Within a few minutes we scored an entrance card, with caused more problems in previous years. Then we had an Italian meal outside Werk II on a terrace, it was lovely weather.

The next day started with visiting some clothing shops in the centre: the Gotik Store, Hautnah and Avalon. The Agra Halle opened its doors at 17:30 and we were perfectly on time. It was not very crowded yet, so we could walk alongst the shopping stands on our ease. Then the first concert of the evening started: Helium Vola, the new project of Ernst Horn from Deine Lakaien. He played keyboard and was supported by two female and two male singers, who were very impressive. Highlights were ‘Selig’, an old Qntal-song and of course ‘Omnis Mundi Creatura’. For this song the public was clearly waiting. Before the last encore Ernst Horn requested the audience to be quiet, because it was a very tranquil song. This was no problem at all, and after the song the band was treated to a big applause.

This promised to be a top day: six great bands in a row, including five that I hadn’t seen before. When we arrived in Haus Leipzig there was a little disappointment: Neutral would not come. Someone told me that these Russians could not get a visum. So we had to wait some time before the first band entered the stage: Darkwood. The band consisted of three persons: a singer/guitarist, a violinist and a drummer. They played a great set, which only lasted half an hour. ‘Deep in the forest’ was the highlight of the concert. The media had published a negative article about Darkwood, the singer stressed that they do not want to spread any political ideas, but just want to play good music.

After Darkwood it was time for Sonne Hagal, another band I had been looking forward to. I only knew their vinyl singles, but the new cd had just been released. After the concert I purchased it right away. Sonne Hagal was on the stage with five musicians, including Andreas Ritter from Forseti. The band made a very solid impression. At the end the Ernte classic ‘Sonnenwende’ was played, a nice surprise. After this fantastic concert I am very much looking forward to see them at the Konzert Sommernacht in Mansfeld in July.

Next on stage was Argine from Italy. Normally a seven-person band, but not this time. The bass-player told in his charming English that only three Argine-members were left: three musicians had left the band recently, and the drummer was in hospital. Nevertheless Argine would appear to be the highlight of the day. With a lot of energy they created lovely music to dance to. The violinist was not only playing excellent but also a pleasure to watch, constantly moving around and with a lot of expression on his face. The other members also convinced entirely, the singer has a powerful voice. The concert of Argine was a series of highlights. They will also play in mansfeld in July, I wonder if they will be with more people then. But I must say I haven’t missed the absent members for a second…

Another band I was looking forward to: Romowe Rikoito from Russia. They have made two beautiful cd’s so far, ‘Narcissism’ and ‘L’Automne Eternel’. On stage the band consisted of four women (vocals, keyboard + flute, violin and cello) and two men (vocals and guitars). Romowe tried to create some atmosphere, by lightning a small fire on the stage. The bandmembers played indivually well, but they weren’t really a collective yet. The vocals were very modest. It was a nice concert, but it would have been better at its place in the V?lkerschlachtdenkmal or a living room.

Arcana finished this wonderful day. Besides singer Peter three drummers from Hekate entered the stage, as well as Tomas Petterson (Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio) and the new female singer. Peter still makes a rather nervous impression on stage, perhaps also because Arcana hasn’t played a lot live over the last years. Part of the music came from tape, Peter was singing over the pre-recorded vocals. Still the performance sounded very tight, especially through the work of the drummers. Highlights: ‘De profundis’ and ‘We Rise Above’, from the new single.

One of the most lovely locations of the festival must be the V?lkerschlachtdenkmal. Here Forseti would perform in the evening. During the day some interesting bands played at the Parkb?hne, but we skipped them because of the heavy rain. Instead we did some shopping again in the Agrahalle and saw the medieval band Spellbound in the impressive bastion the Moritzbastei.

Then finally it was time for the concerts in the V?lkerschlachtdenkmal. Due to technical problems we had to wait two hours before we were allowed to enter. But just before 20:00 hrs. Alex Fergusson and Rose McDowall started their concert. They played many tranquil folky songs, mainly of their “Essence” album.

Then the highlight came: the German neo-folk band Forseti. I had seen them twice before, which was impressive on both occasions. Besides singer/guitarist Andreas Ritter the band consisted of two members of Sonne Hagal (guitars + vocals and violin), a cello player, a German flute player and a violinist. They were standing in a circle inside the Denkmal, with the audience sitting around them. They opened with ‘Am Abend’ and played furhter many songs of “Jenzig” and the forthcoming album “Windzeit”. It was a great concert, Forserti was, together with Argine, my personal favourite of the festival.

Luckily the sun was shining again today. First we went to the Parkb?hne, also a very nice location, in the middle of a city park. First the German band Pilori played for half an hour. Normally they consist of two, female singer Marion and Gernot on guitar and some vocals. Now they were enforced by two guest musicians on cello and violin. The audience was sitting on the steps in front of the stage. It was a nice show, in which a new song and ‘Le soleil et la lune’ made the most impression on me.

Half an hour later Ataraxia appeared on the B?hne. This Italian band is always a very good live band, they always manage to convince me of their qualities. Of course they brought a medieval atmosphere to the park. The flags and the commedia dell’arte act were present as always. Ataraxia played mostly songs of their latest album, “Mon seul d?sir”.

After these concerts it was time for a change of location. For the second time we headed for Haus Leipzig. At this place Estampie was to perform. We arrived early enough to stand in the front row, but the hall was soon crowded. An impressive collection of medieval instruments was present on stage, most of which I can’t tell by name. Standing in front was Syrah (Sigrid Hausen), the singer of Estampie. Another prominent member is Michael Popp, who plays a large amount of instruments and does some vocals. Estampie was completed by a woman on harp and two men on various instruments. Together they gave an impressive concert.

After fifteen minutes Sigrid and Michael entered the stage again, this time as Qntal. Expectations were high, as this was the first Qntal concert in five years! They gave an energetic show, especially the guy on keyboard was playing passionately. Now and then ‘Estampists’ came on stage to play along on various instruments. They played a mix of old hits (but not ‘Ad Mortem Festinamus’) and a couple of new songs. ‘Unter der Linde’ was given a special treatment, with Michael Popp playing a collection of glasses. After an hour the concert was over, Michael Popp came on the stage to tell that Sigrid was too exhausted to do an encore…

After these two concerts we returned to the Parkb?hne. While Lydia Lunch was playing we were checking out the food facilities on the terrain. While it was getting dark we returned to the front rows, to watch Kirlian Camera. They did a concert with many danceable hits, with as the obligatory end their classic ‘Eclipse’. It was a worthy finale of a succeeded Wave Gotik Treffen…