The Goth's in their ravishingly garments, the Wavers with their ever backcombed hairdo, the Cyber-punks in their rubber 'n PVC outfits, and everyone else who pulled themselves into some form of fetishwear. All in harmonious black, it's a sight to behold. The children of the night, on a vampiric ball called Gothipolis…

If the above-mentioned text appeals to you, then you would have enjoyed the Gothipolis festival in the Melkweg on the 13th and 14th of july. This two night festivity consisted of no less than seven bands (Gaë Bolg was cancelled), an art exposition, a cult movie theatre, live theatre performances and DJ's to keep everybody dancing 'till dawn. A complete gothic experience, so to say.

You can read about the live performances below, but wandering through the labyrinth of the Melkweg (my compliments to the decoration team!), we stumbled upon some interesting …things. The gallery, for example, showed the works of three artists: Jens Weber, who makes very intriguing photo portraits of Gothic people; Michael Tiltmann, who photographs extravagant people in their home environment; and Thomas Tiltmann, who's taken pictures of mummies, and put them into black see-through boxes, so the spectator gets a one on one staredown with death.

The Melkweg also houses a small cinema, which played some gloomy movies both nights. The only one that stood out for me was Sleepy Hollow, the dark fairytale by Tim Burton, with leading roles by Johnney Depp and Christina Ricci. Most of the other films, unfortunately, were of a much lesser quality. We went to see the Italian film 'Night of the Devils', which turned out to be a terribly acted, (at least) 25 year old movie that made laugh instead of shiver. And a room full of laughing Goth's was not what we were looking for, so we left after only five minutes. There are tons of better movies to show here, hope they'll have a better selection next time..

The theater performances were very arty, dealing with themes like bondage, fetish and surrealism. Some extra flavour on an already very diverse festival.

But, the main reason we were there is of course the bands. The Melkweg has two stages, and the acts alternated perfectly, so the audience could see them all. Friday evening began with a performance by Hekate, a neo-folk band consisting of six musicians playing on various (medieval) instruments. Their music creates a very nice ambience, soft and pleasant at one moment, dark and threatening at the next. Even a classical piece does not loose any of it's power when played by Hekate.

The fact that the musician play a different instrument every song, only adds to my belief that this is a group of very talented people, that really perform out of a love for (folkloristic) music. Chapeau, mes amis! 

more hekate pics    

One of the best reasons to go to Gothipolis is to check out the industrial/electro band called P.A.L. Well, actually P.A.L. isn't that much of a band, but more an impressive show of just one man, behind his samplers. What can you tell 'bout that? It was highly danceable, intense and special to experience live. Nice thing 'bout P.A.L. is his diversity in his music. It's electro with an eyewink to noise, but not without keeping it stable and with the right groove. The guy knows how to sing as well!! But don't expect a show that would set the world on fire. 
P.A.L.'s set is basic, rather common, but Christian Pallentin is unstoppable. He knows what the audience wants and this what they get; a full force attack of machinery beats and intriguing sounds. Nuff said about this! Let's just join in the chant and have a party with all the beautiful people around me…. (Cyn)

MS Gentur

Such a pleasant surprise! Yes indeed this was a one man show once again, but such a pretty one! Big screens with intimidating films and this music of MS Gentur just struck me right from the start! Real fast electro beats together with noise sounds well balanced and in perfect harmony. MS Gentur had his debut album "First Chapter" in 1999 brought out by the Hands Label. Which makes it almost impossible to find in local shops here in Holland. Nevertheless MS Gentur had already gotten quite popular in the Dutch Gothic scene by his performance at Xtreator 2000 in Arnhem. Missed it there and at Gothipolis? And you are into noise music?! Well then you better start searching high and low to get some of his stuff 'cause I got only one word for it; gorgeous!! (Cyn)


Garden Of Delight
The last band of this evening was Garden Of Delight, and quite frankly, a disappointment. 
I'd heard a lot about this band, it being one of the older and bigger European Goth-rock bands. However, they did not live up to even the smallest expectations. There were three people on stage, a vocalist and two guitarists. 
To start with the first: singer Artaud Seth had a decent, low, clear voice, but that's about all that speaks for him. His performance was very uninspired, and his 'choreography' premeditated. Every move he made seemed forced or studied, whether it was the 'hands-in-my-pocket-while-I'm-singing' or the 'jesus-christ-pose-with-a-flagpole' routine, it al felt very fake.

The rest of the band looked plain silly. Most of the music of GOD is drums, bass and keyboard, with just a spark or guitars now and then. And even when there was guitar, these guys were not always playing; it looked like one big karaoke show! A real shame, I'd expected more from this band. (Tjerk)

The Saturday started of with Sanctum, slow and heavy industrial music, with growling male vocals, and a woman that could actually sing. The contrast between the dragging beats and the opera-like voice of Lena Robčrt was not to everybody's liking, but I personally enjoyed it a lot, and judging from the reactions from the crowd, I was not alone in my opinion. A very nice opening act for this second night of Gothipolis. (Tjerk)
more Sanctum pics


Terminal Choice
Next was the band that a lot of people had really been looking forward to seeing, myself included. Terminal Choice hails from Germany and is one of the biggest bands in the Euro-Goth scene. The band of frontman Christian Pohl (who's also involved in the projects Blutengel and Tumor) plays a mix of electro and goth-rock. And with five men on stage (besides Chris there's two guitarists, a drummer and a sampler) you actually get a 'band' feeling.

The stage is decorated with various steel constructions (including the microphone stands), ans during the show various pyrotechnics are used. Combine this with the charisma of frontman Pohl and the thumping, rocking, danceable songs they play and you know you've got a winner! 

(Some people accuse TC of being a Rammstein copy, but this is not true. Where Rammstein started out as a metal band that is showing a more 'dark 'n gothic' feel on there new record 'Mutter', TC started out as an electro band that gradually started to flirt with metal guitars.)
Terminal played a very well balanced set, including both older (very electro) and newer (more guitar riffs) material.

Personal highlights were 'Someone', 'Totes Fleish', the always sublime 'Animal' and the encore 'Armageddon'. 
After playing some 75 minutes, they left the stage, leaving the crowd completely satisfied. 
Definitely the highlight of the festival. 
I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more of Terminal Choice in the near future. (Tjerk)



L'ame Immortelle
My best friend gave me the CD "In Einer Zukunft aus Traenen und Stahl" by L'ame Immortelle as a birthday present. I listened to the CD many times and did enjoy the record a lot. A very dissent and mature album, highly influenced by a nice dark wave electro sound. An album that makes you light your black candles. Apart from that there's a nice detail upon this band as well.

They come from Austria, their CD title is German, their band name (as you already might notice) is French and they basically sing in English. You might think that this looks like a band that can't be dull or uncreative. Well check them out live! L'ame Immortelle became one of my biggest disillusion during Gothipolis.
Their podium act was, sad but true, nothing more than a good laugh. Vocalist Thomas Rainer, who looks like he escaped from Harvard University, totally had a wrong attitude. Someone must have told him that he's top of the world or something, but forgot to tell him that it isn't our world. The female singer, Sonja Kraushofer, however, seems to be his personal sex slave. Maybe it's just me, but she'd rather search for someone from the audience if she wants to go on her knees that desperately.
That's where the true Goth-Gods are!
Their music however wasn't that much better. Thomas managed to stay out of tune while Sonja tried to save the show. Actually it was nothing more than a vain attempt. Even though I did like her performance and she does know how to sing.
But somehow the crowd seemed to enjoy themselves enough to sing all the known songs along. Especially their encore called "Life will never be the same again". I could even sense some dark romance in the air…
I guess it's just me being picky, but after seeing Terminal Choice, L'ame Immortelle just couldn't impress me. But I assure you that I will give them a second chance at the Mera Luna festival in Germany. (Cyn)

After two nights of true underground festivities, we emerge into the real world once again, trying to avoid the first rays of sunlight that welcome us. While making our way home, images still flash before our eyes, and music echoes through our mind, making sure we won't lightly forget this experience.
All we can conclude is that we hope this will be the first in a long series of Gothipolis festivals!

(photo's: Syrenea)