My impressions of M'era Luna 2004

It’s starting to become a tradition: when lovers of Gothic, EBM and industrial music gather in Germany at Hildesheim airport during the first weekend of August the weather is scorching hot. This time, we chose comfort above sociability and rented a hotel room in the city centre of Hildesheim instead of staying on the camping site with our friends. Even though our room was probably hotter than their tents and the bathroom smelled of a septic tank, at least we could take a refreshing shower without queuing and had a breakfast that helped us through the whole day. We weren’t the only “Goths” choosing comfort; it was quite funny to see all those kindred spirits wandering about the city centre. We didn’t really look like Goths anyway, we kind of went “undercover”.

M’era Luna really is an enjoyable festival, with great bands, a fantastic atmosphere, an extensive shopping area and people that are nice to look at (just have a look at the pictures a few posts below and you’ll understand what I mean!).


Day 1

The first band that I really was looking forward to on Saturday was Saltatio Mortis: a bunch of cheerful Germans who specialize in throwing a big medieval party. I was really charmed by their performance at The Invitation festival earlier this year, but this time I must admit that I was a little bit disappointed: obviously there were some problems with the sound. The bagpipes didn't always come through and Alea der Bescheidene sometimes sang out of tune. Still, I enjoyed their concert. They are always chattering away and joking in between the songs (a bit hard to understand when you don't really speak German, but still!) and their music never fails to cheer me up. I really like bands that try establishing a connection with their audience.

Next, we saw Rotersand, an electro band that I didn’t know beforehand, but that had me dancing anyway. Again, I heard people complain about poor sound. Unfortunately, this would turn out to be a recurrent problem on this year’s edition of M’era Luna, although it never seems to be mentioned in any of the German reviews (maybe we are being spoilt here in Belgium when it comes to the quality of gothic and EBM performances?).

Decoded Feedback wasn’t spared either. Really a pity, for their performance at The Invitation 2004 was also one of the highlights for us. Both singer Marco and female keyboard player Yone have great charisma. Their somewhat distant attitude on stage (except for the occasional charming smile of Yone) perfectly befits their cold industrial-electro music, but you only have to check their website to see that they do try to keep in touch with the fans. We also bumped into them at the entrance of the festival on Friday, when we were buying our tickets, so they probably have been mingling with the crowd for a whole weekend, just like they did in Ghent. Since performances at the main stage and in the hangar overlap, it’s often tough to make a choice. As I was curious to see Fiddler's Green, we only saw a part of Decoded Feedback. It soon became obvious that we’d better stayed in the hangar. We didn’t take it to heart, though, and decided to settle down in the grass at a strategic spot in order to take pictures of passers-by. Quite fun!

The next band on the main stage really appealed to me… Tristania: symphonic metal featuring the angelic voice of the graceful Vibeke Stene.

After Tristania, I hurried back to the hangar to catch another glimpse of Icon Of Coil. I didn’t see enough to pronounce any judgment, but I had the impression that it was quite OK.

I stayed in the hangar to see Welle:Erdball, although I didn’t have the faintest idea of what kind of music it would be. It turned out to be electronic music, a bit like Kraftwerk. The opening song was “Fenster Poppen” by Kraftwerk and the stage was beautifully decorated with scantily dressed human showroom dummies who didn’t leave the stage until a few songs later. Welle:Erdball didn’t fail to keep the audience captivated. Their music is catchy and their show excellent. It really was a discovery to me. After a few songs, however, I had another choice to make, because I wanted to see L'Ame Immortelle. Again, it appeared that I’d chosen the wrong option, for the sound during L’Ame Immortelle was rather abominable and the audience didn’t really seem too enthusiastic either.

Then, it was time for some more medieval inspired music, but then of a somewhat heavier calibre than that of Saltatio Mortis. In Extremo was the second discovery of the day! I was especially surprised when they sang “Herr Mannelig”, a song that I know in the versions of Swedish folk band Garmarna and symphonic metal band Haggard. In Extremo seems to be very popular in Germany, for the crowd went really mad (with good reason!).

After this second medieval party, it was time for Within Temptation. Playing just before the headliner at a big festival like M’era Luna is quite a feat for a Dutch gothic band. Their first song seemed a bit weak to me, but, after this shaky start, they didn’t disappoint us. Sharon seemed to be in better voice than during their Werchter gig and their show, featuring a beautiful décor and lots of fireworks, looked much more impressive, because they didn’t have to play in broad daylight this time. They certainly had the German audience at their side!


For me this was the last performance of the day. There’s one thing you should know: when we are going to the M’era Luna festival, there’s always bound to happen something. Last year, for example, we weren’t able to return home because our rented car didn’t start. The car key had melted (it was 39°C!) and the security chip had fallen out at some time during the day… This year, I had a running eye and nose and a headache. As a result, tears streamed down my cheeks during the performances of Icon of Coil, Welle Erdbal, In Extremo and Within Temptation (So, if happened to see me crying, it wasn’t because my boyfriend left me and neither because I was moved by the music!). At first, I thought that this was due to an allergy, but my friends convinced me to go to the first aid and there they told me that it was probably caused by dust in my eye, so they rinsed it and a few hours later I was as good as new, ready for the second day!


Day 2

We started our day with the gothic metal band Elis in the hangar. I love them the most when Swiss front lady Sabine Dünser hits those high notes, but unfortunately she doesn’t very often. Still, a very decent band. The second band on our menu already was the first surprise of the day: Chamber, l’Orchestre de Chambre Noir. Acoustic guitars, violins, cello, and the beautiful deep voice of Marcus Testory… but, if you were to think that all this would result in soft music, think again. It was an explosion of energy (I sometimes felt sorry for the guitars!) and the audience went wild. Delicious!

Then it was Belgium’s moment of glory with Suicide Commando, electro-industrial that kicks ass (and consequently incites people to move their asses!). I’d never seen them live before, so I was full of expectation. During the first song the sound wasn’t quite what it should be, but once that problem was solved, the concert burst loose. The German audience was pretty enthusiastic: they were moving and dancing in the scorching sun. Suicide Commando had something in store for us: Hocico’s lead singer Erk Aicrag as a special guest! Unfortunately, we could hardly hear Erk’s voice through the microphone. Damn you M’era Luna! Anyway, except for those minor technical problems Suicide Commando’s concert was great.

During their last song we hurried back to the hangar, to see Schandmaul, a band with folk and medieval influences. It was almost impossible to enter the hangar, because it was already stuffed full. Knowing that there would be plenty of room at the right side of the stage, we persevered and slowly made our way through the crowd. Violins, bagpipes, flutes, acoustic guitars, … again my cup of tea. The crowd went wild once again, dancing and singing along.

After a break during which we enlarged our picture collection of haircuts and outfits, we went back to the main stage to watch Therion. I adored those sympathetic old-fashioned metallers, who had brought their own ice queen, the Swedish soprano Karin Fjellander, in replacement of Sarah Jezebel Deva. Her make-up didn’t really do her justice, she had a rather disdainful look on her face and she wasn’t very mobile (except for raising her arms from time to time), but what a voice! The guys from Therion seemed to be very amused that the audience of a gothic festival seemed to enjoy their metal songs too and were constantly asking whether we wanted a gothic or a metal kind of song. Never mind guys, just play and we’ll love it!

After Therion’s concert we went to the first few rows to mark out our territory. We wanted the best places during Covenant, as their performance at the Invitation festival in Ghent a few months ago had left us rather breathless. However, being in the front is not always safe. A security guy decided to refresh us, using his fire-hose. Given the hot temperatures, this refreshment was very welcome in the beginning, but once wet, I can assure you that you’re feeling not at all hot anymore and that guy kept on hosing! Not really the best treatment for camera’s either!

Anyway, let’s get back to Covenant. Sorry for the fans -I’m a fan too, you know- but this time I was very disappointed. The sound really sucked (at least, where we stood, which was somewhere in the middle of the front few rows) and Eskil repeatedly sang out of tune. I sought comfort in taking pictures, but from a musical point of view I simply couldn’t get the hang of it. Too bad. I’ll blame it on the circumstances, that damn sound, broad daylight, … and I’ll start looking forward to the next opportunity to see them live.

After another stroll, we decided to try out Anne Clark, which turned out to be a very wise decision. The turnout was rather poor, but those present certainly made up for the absentees.

Anne Clarke, reciting her poetry in that beautiful English accent, only supported by acoustic instruments… I hung on her lips, without being able to stand still to such compelling music. I was enchanted and so was the rest of the audience: what an atmosphere!

It was the ideal ending to an enjoyable festival weekend. Satisfied, we returned to the hotel. No car trouble this time, only a considerable sunburn that, for another day or three, reminded me of a wonderful weekend!

21:20 Gepost door Aisling | Permalink | Commentaren (3) |  Facebook |


Tof... veslag van day1! Doe het maar rustig aan voor day 2!

Gepost door: MJ | 12-08-04

moving tears weel, héhé yeah yeah! sure!! all peope tell it's a dusty in the eye when their crying for no particular reason!
admit it you're a pussy!
gna gna

Gepost door: cms | 12-08-04

Whaw!! Amai!!
Zo een beschrijving :-)
Nice work! ;)


Gepost door: Vincent Degrave | 17-08-04

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