Festivals 2016?

Sunday, July 17th, 2016
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Schon Juli und noch kein Post über die Festivals des Jahres? Etwa keine Festivals dieses Jahr? Whut? 😮

Nun ja, doch, natürlich. Das erste Festival des Jahres, das Steinkjerfestival, ist sogar schon rum (und war absolut grandios!). Und es stehen auch noch weitere Festivals auf dem Programm: am kommenden Wochenende ein Tag beim Fjellparkfestivalen in Flekkefjord (Südnorwegen) mit u.a. Razika und Skambankt, danach die Olavsfestdagene hier in Trondheim (wo ich noch nicht weiß, welche Konzerte ich mir ansehen werden, weil ich da als Freiwillige arbeite und nur bei den Konzerten reinkomme, die nicht ausverkauft sind), dann wie jedes Jahr das Taubertal in Rothenburg und zum Abschluss noch das Pstereo-Festival hier in Trondheim (auch hier wieder als Freiwillige und nur am Samstag “zum Vergnügen”).

Wie immer also ein Haufen Festivals! Nicht wie immer ist allerdings, dass ich diesmal bei keinem der Festivals in “Presse”-Funktion unterwegs sein werde. In den letzten Jahren hatte ich immer mindestens zwei Festivals, von denen ich berichtet habe, nämlich das Mini Rock Festival und das Taubertal. Aber durch meinen Umzug nach Norwegen ist das stressig geworden – denn schließlich bedeutet eine Festivalreise nach Deutschland nun, dass das mein Urlaub ist. Und im Urlaub will man frei haben – und nicht dauernd daran denken müssen, dass man alles mitkriegen muss, um berichten zu können, nicht morgens früh aufstehen müssen, um den Artikel vom Vortag fertigzustellen, und nicht dauernd im Hinterkopf haben, dass die Fotos noch aussortiert werden müssen. Kurz gesagt: nicht dauernd müssen müssen müssen …

Daher in diesem Jahr die Entscheidung, mal wieder als ganz normaler Besucher aufs Taubertal zu gehen. Ohne jegliche Privilegien – aber auch ohne jegliche Verpflichtungen. Wer weiß, vielleicht werde ich trotzdem berichten, aus alter Gewohnheit … (OK, wobei es bei der aktuellen Häufigkeit der Einträge hier auf wohl eher unwahrscheinlich ist, who am I kidding …)

Das Mini Rock muss diesmal leider leider für mich ausfallen. 🙁 Sehr schade, zumal das Line-Up wie immer gute Überraschungen verspricht. Aber rein reisetechnisch passt es diesmal nicht – mal gucken, wie das im nächsten Jahr aussehen wird.

Und obwohl ich mir doch jedes Jahr vornehme, im nächsten Jahr weniger Festivals zu machen, stehen auch in diesm Jahr wieder fünf Sommerfestivals auf dem Plan. Und ich bin sicher, sie werden alle grandios! 😀

Ja det var tider det …

Monday, March 9th, 2015

What? A blog post? Here, on this site? 😮

Well, I guess it’s about time to write a bit about my move to Norway. Or to finally blog about my “Concerts 2014”. Or plan the summer festivals for 2015. Or … uhm.
Nope, I wasn’t much into blogging lately. I should pick it up again, and – maybe I will. I think I might. But I’m not promising anything. =;-)

This post, however, is not about any of those topics. It’s about – surprise surprise! -: Kaizers Orchestra. Who woulda thunk? *gg*

I saw the new Kaizers movie yesterday. I really liked it – but then, I don’t think I can really judge it. OF COURSE I liked it, since it is about Kaizers, and it actually contains new interviews and both old and new unseen footage. So it is, without a doubt, a must-see for Kaizer fans.

In one scene in the movie, Helge mentions that towards the end of Kaizers, in the last months and weeks, the friendship and the bonds between the members grew stronger. I found that really interesting, because (in a completely different context) I’ve experienced that once an “end” is decided, everything kind of falls apart, because there is no need to fix things and keep them together anymore. It’s awesome to hear that this worked out so well for Kaizers and they did not break apart in the end.

But it also got me thinking … From a fan perspective, looking back now, I have the feeling that while the bonds in the band apparently grew stronger, the “fan community”, the huge Kaizer family, started falling apart. While there was one group of “Kaizer fans” in the past, it turned more and more into one faction here, one faction there, oldtimers, newbies, Hjerteknuser fans, “everything was better in 2001” fans, …

Of course, this isn’t surprising. The number of fans grew so much that there was just no way to have one family. And just to make that clear right away, I’m not putting the blame on anyone. I’m sure I’m just as much to blame as everyone else. While in my early fan days, I wanted to meet EVERY other Kaizers fans out there, I’ve gotten less and less interested in talking to fourteen-year-olds, I tend to look down on fans that tour for festival shows (why don’t you wait for REAL concerts?!), and I just don’t understand fans that queue hours before a show.

Years ago, there were surely also some fans that kept separate from the rest. But all in all, it felt much more like “family”. I met one of the old DMA family at the screening yesterday, and while we couldn’t even remember the other’s name, we remembered “the old days” right away. Lots of great memories – and I feel that years from now, ALL my Kaizers memories will be from the old days. Violeta? Well, yes, sure. Siste Dans? Yep, I was there. But the good times were back then, long before Violeta.

Lots of people “dropped out” of the Kaizers universe since then. That’s totally fine, everybody got their own reasons for that. I just hope that people will remember the times we had, instead of ridiculing them. Just a short while ago I was told “well, SOME of us are over Kaizers now …” Hmm. Should I congratulate you now? Because you’re over the stupidities of your youth? Or should I rather pity you because it seems you don’t see that even though this part of your life is over, we were part of something huge and we should keep it in our hearts?

OK, I might be getting a bit melodramatic now. 😉 In any case, it’s a fact that for me (other fans might be at different stages in their fandom, of course) the time of one big Kaizers family is over. Finding people to meet up with for Kaizers events is getting harder and harder, and while years ago, I was looking forward to every concert because I knew that – even without arranging anything – I would meet awesome fellow fans, I now hardly care anymore because there are only very few of those people left. And those I can meet without organized events as well.

Of course it was great to see that it’s still possible to “unite” fans without too much effort (with a few kilos of confetti or some hundred balloons – even though nobody knew how that would turn out, almost everyone was in). But there are so many fans by now that there is not one community anymore. But one of oldtimers, one of newbies, one of Hjerteknuser fans, … And I hope that all the “everything was better in 2001” fans will manage to find their way to the cinema in the upcoming weeks, to be reminded of what we had.

It might be over. Life moves on. But I’m still proud and happy about the times we had. Me går langt tilbake til de gamle dager …

Festivals 2014

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Time to plan this year’s festival season! Usually, I do this in a very similar pattern every year: Mini Rock and Taubertal are planned right from the start. Then I add some festivals in Norway where my favorite Norwegian bands are playing and the remaining line-up is interesting and fun, and then I search around for festivals that happen on the weekends that aren’t filled yet and that look like they are worth checking out.

This year, everything’s a bit different, and a bit more difficult. I’ll be moving this summer, and if I do something, I do it right, and therefore I’ll move from Germany to Norway. The plan is to move around August 1st, which means that Mini Rock will be really difficult to catch, and Taubertal might be impossible as well – really sad. But then, I’m absolutely used to stress in summer! So let’s wait and see … maybe it’ll work out after all

These are the festivals that I have on my list right now – let’s see which of these I’ll actually get to see:

Bukta (Tromsø, July 17-19, 2014)

The special thing about this festival: It takes place in Tromsø, thus above the polar circle, during the time of the midnight sun. I always wanted to experience that – and this year, it looks like it will actually work out. During the last weeks, quite a few real highlights were added to the line-up: Skambankt are of course my main reason for visiting, but the Dropkick Murphys, Patti Smith, and several Norwegian newcomers like Billie Van really make it worth taking the trip up north.

Check out the line-up on Tickets cost 1400 NOK (about 170 Euro) for three days – which is not cheap, but pretty “normal” for Norway.

Mini Rock (Horb am Neckar, August 1+2, 2014)

Not too big, friendly and likable, well organized – and always with a great line-up that contains both well-known names and surprises. This year, the headliners are Anti-Flag and SDP; which gives a good idea about the broad coverage of the festival. And the best part about this variety: The audience goes along with it! There are always fans in front of the stages, they are interested in what is happening, nobody complains about the “wrong” style of music, but people will just come and check out what they like and let others stand in the front if they like it better. And I think that this is mostly what characterizes the flair of the festival. Trailerpark, Maxim, and the Emil Bulls continue the mix of genres … or, to put it differently: Everybody will get to see the bands they love! And those that don’t care for the next act on the main stage can just check out the tent stage instead. Usually, there are always great bands to discover there.

Check out the full line-up here. Tickets are only 59 Euro including camping and “trash deposit” (which you’ll get back if you keep your camp site clean).

Taubertal (Rothenburg ob der Tauber, August 8-10, 2014)

If it works out for me this year, this will be my seventh Taubertal festival in a row. Why? Because it’s always awesome! The line-up is always right up my alley, the headliners are first class, and the festival grounds are arranged in a way that you can always find a spot with a good view of the stage, even if it’s really crowded. In addition, you can choose between camping and getting a hotel in the city. And either way you can always take a trip to the city center, either walking or taking the shuttle, which means that you have the free choice to start the day with breakfast at some café in town or in the festival beergarden, cooling your feet in the Tauber. Oh right, and then there’s music! This year, some of the acts are Seeed, Biffy Clyro, Casper, Sportfreunde Stiller, Ska-P, and the Subways. Plus SDP and Die Schröders – and many more, of course! The line-up itself is awesome; and if you additionally have lots of memories from previous gigs of these bands at Taubertal – The Subways after the Flood in 2011, Die Schröders on Sunday morning in 2008, Biffy Clyro as the big surprise last year – it’s hard to wait for the festival to start!

You can find the list of all announced bands here. Tickets for the whole festival are 105 Euro, or 50 Euro per day. There are also VIP tickets for 200 resp. 80 Euro. If you like your festival a bit more comfortable, these tickets are definitely worth the extra money.

Pstereo (Trondheim, August 15+16, 2014)

THE festival in Trondheim – I’ve never been there before, because even though it is a huge festival, the line-up never really convinced me. I guess that’s mostly because the headliners are often huge American or British bands, and it’s easier and cheaper for me to see them at festivals in Germany. 😉 It’s actually the same this year – Biffy Clyro will play at Taubertal Festival as well, and Franz Ferdinand were at Rock’n’Heim last year. But of course, Skambankt are a big plus and the reason for me to NOT miss the festival this year! Oh, and of course the little detail that I will be living in Trondheim from August. 😉

Here‘s the current line-up, and tickets are 1300 NOK (about 160 Euro).

Verket (Mo i Rana, August 29+30, 2014)

I’ve been to Verket Festival in Mo i Rana once before, five years ago. Mo i Rana is very far up north as well, just beneath the Arctic Circle. 2009 was the first time the festival was held. In the following years, the line-up was always awesome – but Mo i Rana is a “bit” hard to get to, and without any of my favorite bands in the line-up, I wasn’t really motivated to travel up there again. This year, Skambankt will be playing at Verket; and from Trondheim, it’s only a short trip (more precisely: about 6 hours *g*) to Mo i Rana. Yay! And except for Skambankt, the other announced bands up to now are Seigmen, Morten Harket, and Satyricon, amongst others. Did I say “Yay!” already? 😉

Not all bands have been announced yet, but you can check out the current bands on Tickets cost between 1100 and 1500 NOK, depending on when you buy them.

Concert summary 2013

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

2013 is almost over – time for the annual look back at the concerts of the year!

Let’s start with the numbers: 55 concerts in total, seven of these were summer festivals. There weren’t really a lot of bands I saw more than once or twice … only Itchy Poopzkid with two concerts and two festivals, I think, and die Ärzte with one concert and two festivals. Oh, and of course this weird Norwegian band that I saw a couple of times this year. =;-)

29 of these concerts were in Germany, the other 26 abroad. Which is a rather strange ratio, I know, but well, I’m a concert junkie. =;-) In addition to the concerts, I attended three WWE events, one musical, one ballet, and one TV award show.

The smallest concert of all was the Honningbarna concert in Stuttgart: There were ten, maybe fifteen people in the audience. It was great fun, even though I was a bit jetlagged and couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have a week later. The biggest concert … hmm, not quite sure. Probably Rock’n’Heim festival or the Ärzte concert in Bietigheim-Bissingen. I guess both had an audience of about 20.000.

Die Ärzte … well, no, I guess it’s over. I tried to give them another chance in Bietigheim-Bissingen, but it just was no fun. If you’re at a concert and think that you could just as well be back home on your couch with a good book – there’s no need to be there. And I had a very similar feeling when they played at Taubertal festival and Rock’n’Heim a month later.

The festivals: Interestingly, the festivals that I enjoyed most were Trollrock in Norway and Rock’n’Heim. The first one was tiny but awesome – only a few bands every day, so no “overkill”, and great music, nice people, and good weather. The latter … well, I had expected to HATE it there. Big, new (and therefore unorganized), expensive, my last festival of the year. But I wasn’t “working” at the festival, thus not writing any report or taking photos, so I could just do whatever I wanted, and I really enjoyed it. Plus, it was far from sold out, which means the area wasn’t too crowded. So thumbs up!

Biggest band surprise? Hmm, hard to decide. I LOVED the concerts/festivals with Itchy Poopzkid and Madsen. A perfect mixture and two great bands on stage! Also, I greatly enjoyed the Fozzy concerts I got to see, and I’m looking forward to their next European tour. Beware, I’m coming after you! =;-) And my new discovery of the year is clearly Hoffmaestro – I saw them at some festivals and turned into a fan right away. Their album is just as awesome. The sad part is that they canceled their tour in fall, so I hope I can catch them next year!

And finally, there was … Kaizers Orchestra. 28 concerts this year – three at the opera in Oslo, one in London, one in New York, and finally seven in a row in Stavanger. If I want to list the “traditional” geographical statistics, it’s Kaizers only. Northern-most concert: Kaizers in Trondheim. Eastern-most concert: Kaizers in Vienna. Southern-most concert: Kaizers in Zurich. Western-most concert: Kaizers in New York City.

Yes – New York City. And London. Both in one year – within one month, actually. It’s crazy, but it was soooo worth it. The London trip: an awesome week together with great friends, and not only Kaizers, but also WWE and Fozzy. I can’t even pick the highlight of the week – Kaizers were just one of many highlights. New York City had been on my list of cities to visit for a long time. Still, when the concert was announced, I knew I wouldn’t go there. And at the same time I knew I would … and I did. And just like London, it was a great vacation, and the Kaizers concert (and afterparty) were just … surreal. But an experience that I will never forget. And NYC itself would have been worth the trip even without the concert, so it wasn’t fully crazy. =;-)

Not all Kaizers concerts were amazing this year – I’ve seen them soooo often by now that I know them way too well. What might seem like a great concert to most can be a bit disappointing for me, as I notice if they could do more but just don’t care, like for example at my ten-year anniversary at Ravnefesten in Kristiansand. It was still a great concert, just not as good as it could have been. Still, there’s no concert that I would have wanted to miss. So many memories, so much joy, so much fun. Thank you, Kaizers!

The last week of concerts in Stavanger was a rollercoaster ride – both emotionally and concerning the “work load” (not only caused by Kaizers of course, as I was also doing “real” work remotely, but there was quite some work related to Kaizers). It was a terrific finale though – of course! Followed and finalized by meeting Janove at the airport in Amsterdam the day after the final show … time to really say goodbye.

Or so I thought … Just last month, I went to Norway again to hand out the award for the best live band of the year to the best live band of the year! Another surreal experience, and a great honor.

So this concludes the Kaizers era now. There will surely be less concerts for me next year, and fewer trips to Norway. Skambankt will take over a bit – my first trip to Norway is booked and scheduled already – but I doubt I’ll go there as often as for Kaizers. But we’ll see …

Apart from Skambankt, I’m looking forward to a Fozzy tour, some great concerts with Thees Uhlmann, Wirtz, Hoffmaestro, and of course some nice summer festivals. Taubertal, Mini Rock, maybe Trollrock again – it’s gonna be a fun year, but it will not be as much and as rushed as this year. Which is good, even for a concert junkie like me. =;-)

Salz & Pfeffer

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Kaizers played Salt & Pepper tonight. Which is awesome … for everyone who was there. For me (who was not) it just makes me panic. A little bit at least. Or well, honestly enough to write a blog post in the middle of the night …

So, let’s back up. I started following Kaizers over ten years ago. Obviously, they played a lot of different songs back then than they do now. Some songs stayed, some went, some returned. The three songs that they played a lot when I first got into Kaizers and then suddenly stopped playing were Djevelens Orkester, På ditt skift, and Salt & Pepper. Of course there were more than that – songs like Mann mot Mann or Død manns tango or, for quite a while, 170. I didn’t care that these songs were missing. But the other three, I dearly missed.

I remember asking Rune about Djevelens Orkester one night, at Internasjonalen in Oslo (don’t ask me though after what concert that was and how we ended up at Internasjonalen and why the band was there as well?! But I remember Tor/Elvis was also there and explained to me that Internasjonalen has so “reasonably priced drinks”. In Norway. “Reasonably priced”. Muahaha … *gg*). Rune explained they just didn’t feel like playing the song at the time, but “who knows, maybe it’ll suddenly turn up again”. A few concerts later, they started playing it again. 😀

I just LOVED the original version of På ditt skift that they played before the song was actually released. After the album was out, they played it differently and not quite as energetic, and at some point in time, it completely disappeared from the set. Even though the song had changed, I wished to get to hear it again for a loooong time. And yes, they started playing it again; not very often, but I caught it a few times. It wasn’t as good as the original version. They left out the ending – and instead of starting it up again after the quiet part (which was THE BEST!), they transitioned into Fra sjåfør til passasjer. Which is another awesome song, so I really cannot complain, even though I’ll never get to hear the original version live again.

Salt & Pepper. They played it a lot during my first concerts. So much that at some point in time, we came up with the idea to pick up those little packages of Salt & Pepper that they have at McDonald’s etc. and throw them on stage during the song. That’s when they stopped playing it. (BEFORE we actually did that, just to make that clear! 😉 )

Since then, I’ve been wishing to hear that song live again, just once more. They did actually play it again. At one of those concerts in Norway where Øyvind painted a picture during the show. I wasn’t there, but of course I hoped they would play it at one of the European shows as well, since they had actually practiced it. But no, only at that one show in Norway … I asked Helge about it after a show in Zürich, but he was very clear: “Janove doesn’t like it, so it’s very unlikely we’ll play it again.” Right then, I hated Janove (a bit). They haven’t played it since. I wished for it for my 100th concert – didn’t get it.

Now they played it again. One time. At a concert that I missed. And I am so frickin’ afraid that history will repeat itself and they play it ONE TIME and then Janove decides he doesn’t like it and drops it from the setlist. And I will never get to hear it live again.

Yes, I know, it’s just a song. But it’s Salt & Pepper …

Herrliche Jahre?

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Yesterday was crazy. The tickets for Kaizers Orchestra’s “last concert” went on sale. 6000 tickets. Which were sold out after 8 minutes. I still don’t believe that – not sure if the black market works the same in Norway as in Germany, but if it does, I guess we’ll see lots and lots of tickets on ebay and qxl the next weeks and months. If it doesn’t, I’ve underestimated that band. I mean, 6000 tickets for a concert that was officially announced only one day before?! And actually, 6000 tickets for that one concert. 15.000 including the additional concerts by now. 😮

Yes, the marketing was perfect – create a huge uproar the day before about quitting and the possibly last concert and so on, so people get hyped up just in time … but still, getting people to actually buy tickets the next morning at 9 am sharp is a different story … I’m really not sure what to make out of that.

But actually, that wasn’t really what I wanted to blog about. The reason for this entry is this article. I read it on Thursday night already, and it upset me. Not the “getting angry” kind of upset, not at all – more the “starting to cry” kind of upset. Why? I had no idea. It didn’t really contain any surprises for me, but it reflects exactly the roles of the band members as I’ve gotten to know them. And naah, I don’t necessarily see all these statements in the positive way that Aftenbladet depicts them. I guess I’m reading between the lines, which might be wrong, but might be right as well. I agree with most of what is said, it reflects what I expected, I’d love to say “sounds good” but I feel sorry for some “not gonna work” parts (and hope that I’m wrong). I certainly know the feeling of wanting (and needing) to get away. (Even though I wouldn’t mind the ordinary job. *g* So if you have a job for me in Norway, let me know. 😉 ) But the statement that I did not like at all was Terje’s.

– Hva gjør du etter 14. september?

– Først og fremst gleder jeg meg til å leve livet på familiens premisser. Nå må alt planlegges ut fra Kaizers, og jeg ser fram til litt mer frihet. Skambankt blir prioritert. Vi skal i studio i Oslo to dager etter den siste Kaizers-konserten. Ellers har jeg ganske blanke ark, men et par tråder som jeg skal se om det blir noe mer ut av.

– Hva vil du savne når Kaizers legges på is?

– Vi er blitt en familie, og jeg vil savne både bandet og de folkene rundt. Vi kommer nok ikke til å se hverandre så mye, og selv om jeg er klar for en pause vil jeg garantert savne samholdet.

It’s weak. It’s contradictory – “Everything had to be planned according to band A, so now priority goes to band B” – that’s phony. Say what you mean, be honest. Say “Janove is the boss, I can’t stand it, I want to be the boss.” The same with the statement about the band. Yes, you’re listing the good parts. And you’re leaving out the …


Wait. Sudden realization.

I worked in a fan club of a huge German band for the last five years. It was a lot of work. There were a lot of great, amazing times, incredible, breathtaking experiences. There were bad times. Fights, anger, desperation. More good times. We created something huge. It was an amazing time, yet it broke my heart. Broke our hearts. It’s impossible to describe that feeling if you haven’t been there. It went out with a bang, and it had to, because we had put in all we had to give and were drained. Looking back hurts, but at the same time, you can’t help but smile because of all the fantastic memories.

Looking at Terje’s statement with these eyes suddenly makes me understand. Substitute a few words, and I could have said just the same. It’s not contradictory … of course you can do what you enjoy after you get rid of what is draining you. I mean, it’s not like what I’m doing with my Kaizers fansite is any different from what I was doing for Die Ärzte – but it’s Kaizers, not Die Ärzte, and they still have my whole heart …

And the second statement – is it honest? Yep, for sure. I’d say just the same about the fan club. Of course there’s shadows, blemishes, but it’s the love for the team that prevails. The negatives might leave their shadows, but it’s nothing you’d want to communicate. It’s not what counts. It’s the positives you want to remember. Is this dishonest? Maybe, a little, I don’t know. Probably that is what gave me a bad feeling… the feeling of being caught in the act because I would say the same. The negative sides might have a huge part in draining you, but it’s the positives that you want to see, want to share, because they are so much more important.

Probably that statement is the most honest of all the statements. But I wouldn’t blame anyone for being not quite honest, because – of course – there’s always stuff that is not for the public.

If my “transferred understanding” is right, I honestly do not want to know how these last months in Kaizers feel. The mixture of being drained and waiting for it to finally be over, and enjoying every second and looking back on something huge. Depending on which part dominates in the mixture, this can break you. It can make it hard, impossible to look back without seeing the shadows. After a certain point is crossed, everything turns into a task instead of something you want to do. We, the fan club team, crossed that line, and looking back tells me that I would never ever want to go back. Let’s hope Kaizers had a better timing.

Or, to sum up my understanding of the current state in a “rather” (okay, VERY *g*) solemn way:

You’ll have to break our hearts to save yours. Hopefully it’s not too late.

Concert summary 2012

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

2012 is almost over – which means it’s time to look back at this year’s concerts! All in all, I saw 60 concerts this year; plus two musicals and three WWE events.

The “first place” is shared between Kaizers Orchestra and Die Ärzte this time, with 15 visited concerts each. But they share the first place only if you look at nothing but the numbers. Most of you know where my sympathies are … =;-) And not only the general sympathies, but Kaizers’ concerts were so much more fun as well. In the competition about the worst concert of the year, I really cannot decide between Mas Shake (absolutely uninteresting, boring dance music without any profile) and Die Ärzte in Zwickau (audacious to actually take money for what they delivered there!).

It’s even harder to determine the best concert of the year … if I had to come up with an answer, I would have to decide between the Kaizers concert at Nordic Sounds (the first Kaizers concert after several months, and again they managed to turn an unsuspecting crowd from “what the hell do they want” to “waaah, they are awesome” in the course of minutes) and Kaizers in Oslo on March 1st (my birthday concert *g*). But there were more amazing concerts, apart from Kaizers, in 2012: Thees Uhlmann – always amazing, over and over again. Herrliche Jahre – our DÄOF birthday; oh, excuse me, the DÄFC birthday of course. Krafklub, Kraftklub, and Kraftklub again – six times all in all, and none of that was boring. Xutos & Pontapés – a little vacation in Portugal, but in Switzerland. H2O – during the soccer cup, watching the Germany game without any jerseys or “Schlaaaand” chants, outcasts among themselves; and a great concert after the game. Madsen, Bakkusan, and Die Toten Hosen – German punk is not dead. Fozzy – hach, Fozzy … =:-)

In the summer, I attended six different festivals. The nicest of all was by far Odderøya live – and totally unexpected! The festival was so nice and relaxed, and so absolutely professional at the same time. But the other festivals weren’t far behind. And even though this summer was rather cold and rainy – looking at the music, it was perfect!

As always, let’s take a peek at the map: The northernmost concert this year was probably the Kaizers concert in Levanger (where we actually wanted to drive back to Oslo during the night, but that was prevented by a snow storm …), the westernmost was Helmet at House of Blues in LA (which was a rather unspectacular concert, but well, if you are a concert junkie and you are in LA, you just HAVE to see at least one concert, not matter which!), the southernmost was LA as well, of course, but apart from that one, it was Nordic Sounds in Zurich, and the easternmost was Die Ärzte in Vienna (old men flagrantly using their popularity, and the young girls don’t even notice … how appalling! But a nice sunny weekend in Vienna *g*).

And finally, a short outlook into the new year 2013: As always, the year will start with some Busters concerts, before the Kaizers tour starts. First in Oslo, then all around central Europe, and finally the conclusion in London. Where WWE will have some events in the same week – how convenient! =;-) In the summer, there will probably be quite a few Kaizers festivals in addition to the yearly festivals. So I guess I won’t get bored next year!

The Kaizervirus

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

One thing about hardcore fans – and god love ’em, they’re great! – they just have a real tendency to wanna complain and bitch about everything.

Chris Jericho

OK, to make this clear right away: This is not a rant against hardcore fans. In that case, it would be a rant against myself, I guess. It’s also no degradation of “non hardcore” fans. But I think that a lot of the discussions around the Kaizervirus are rooted in the fact that there are different kinds of fans, and keeping that in mind makes it much clearer why some people love it and others hate it.

First: the Kaizervirus? Kaizers Orchestra just released the first single of their new album, and instead of just releasing it, they started a huge viral marketing campaign. On the day the single was expected, nothing happened. A bit later, a video appeared, hinting at a “Kaizervirus” – followed by a cryptic website and hints by Kaizers on Facebook and Twitter. Next, the lyrics were leaked in the source code of the website, and the cover of the single was spread in little pieces all over the net and mailed out to a few fans, turning it into a puzzle. At the same time, Kaizers were looking for a fan to be the first to get to listen to the new songs and “spread the virus”. Nobody really knew what this was about, but of course, people were excited and sending in applications. Plus, of course, speculating a lot about what all this was about.

Already at this time, the campaign was received very differently. Some fans, including me, were really excited and thought it was great fun, while others were annoyed that the single was delayed and they had to wait to hear it. I can understand that – I used to be the same. But by now, I’m much more relaxed about finally getting to hear new songs, because I know that the waiting part is the best. After that, you know the song, and no matter how much you love it – the excitement is gone because you KNOW how it sounds. Nothing to be eager about anymore. And if in addition, the waiting part is combined with an online treasure hunt… YAY! Amazing, I really loved it. But yes, of course I understand those fans that were eager to finally hear the song but had to wait.

Then the winner, thus the person who was selected to hear the songs first, was announced – and yes, I admit, this felt a bit dull. Not that I had expected to win; it wouldn’t have made sense, plus, it would have been weird, ’cause I’m doing the fansite already. But: I’ve worked my ass off for the last (almost) ten years to get a base for the fansite, I’ve been the first to spread news on Twitter for a couple of years now and worked hard to get up to the >1000 followers I have there – and then Kaizers pick one random fan, point out his Twitter handle and tell people to follow him… grr. Feels wrong in a way, but of course that’s how the game is played, and – reacting by brain instead of guts – it’s totally alright. It doesn’t change anything for me. And it’s a great thing for the winner. =:-)

At that time, nobody had a clue how the virus would be spread. There had been speculation among the fans, and one theory (actually the theory of the winner *g*) was via a mobile app. Sounded logical, but: naah, they can’t do that. They can’t expect all fans to have the chance to get such an app. Skambankt had tried that, with an iPhone app (ONLY for iPhone), and while it was a nice idea, it excluded a lot of fans and they stopped using it pretty fast. I gotta admit that I was really offended by that Skambankt app – because I boycott Apple products, and that meant that I had no way to access that exclusive content. You can emulate Android apps (at least in theory… *sigh*), but not Apple apps. But okay, I’m digressing… =;-) Just to explain why I did not expect mobiles to be involved in spreading the virus.

I knew that it would be hard for me to catch the virus – because Kaizers had announced that the virus would be spread from person to person. And if you live in the wrong country, the next Kaizer fan might live a couple of hours away… =;-) So I knew I wouldn’t get to hear the song right away, and that was okay. As mentioned above – I’ve gotten a lot more relaxed about that. Waiting is the best part, I won’t die of not being among the first to hear a new song, and of course it would turn up on YouTube sooner or later. And since they had already published the lyrics, I didn’t have the feeling “But I need the song or at least the lyrics and translation for my fansite, I can’t let everyone wait for that!!!”.

The day came, and they announced… a mobile app. WTF?! But not only for Apple this time, but also for Android. And your phone must be physically close to catch the virus. OK, so no virus for me, but at least an app! Or… WHAT? “This app is incompatible with your E-Plus Samsung GT-I5510.” And again I was left out… However, it didn’t feel as bad as when Skambankt launched their app, because a) I knew before that I would have to wait for the song. b) I knew I would eventually get to hear it. c) There are Android emulators. OK, turned out that c) didn’t help… by now I spent three days trying to get the app onto my emulator, and I’m failing because Google Play won’t let me download the app because my phone is not compatible. *grr* But well… eventually…

So yes, of course I was annoyed – people got to hear the song and I had to wait, and I was excluded from the app. However, I didn’t really mind that much, because… see above. The only part that really annoyed me was that in all interviews and such, Janove pointed out that the reason for this whole campaign was to let “the most dedicated” fans hear the single first. Yes, I know what he wanted to say with that, and it’s a great idea. However, if you’re sitting far away and know you can’t catch the virus any time soon, and even if you could, you couldn’t because your phone is not compatible, and he’s talking about the most dedicated fans who get to hear the song for the umtieth time and you know that you won’t be one of the people who get to hear it (at least via the app *uhem*) – you can’t help but take it the wrong way, namely that obviously you’re not a dedicated fan… Well, thank you. *grr* A simple “well, we know that it won’t work for every of our fans, but we tried to do as good as possible” would have been enough for me already. Because they did! This approach was the best they could take.

Some other fans were REALLY upset about the whole campaign, however. Which I can understand, but believe me… it’s so much easier to be relaxed about such things. =;-) There were long discussions about if that was really for the fans or just for promotion. I mean, of course it was for promotion! But was it good or bad for the fans? Of course it was great for the fans who got to hear the song during the first day. But how about those that were excluded because of the wrong phone or because they live far out or even abroad? (By the way: I found it really interesting to see how – suddenly! – fans from abroad were brought into the discussion by Norwegian fans. “Hey, they don’t have a chance, this is not fair, and I live far off as well!” Duh. Apart from the fact that this is not the same – the virus might take longer to reach tiny places in Norway, but at least there are lots of people with the app in Norway, while in Germany… zilch -: We fans from abroad are used to waiting. We can never buy the singles right away, and the albums are usually released long after they are released in Norway. None of the Norwegian fans ever cared. Which is fine, but now, when “abroad” and “in some small village in the middle of nowhere in Norway” doesn’t make a difference, the fans abroad must suddenly be taken into account? Funny… *g*)

However, it was visible that Kaizers had actually thought about that. They did obviously realize how it must feel for a fan to sit at home while others get to hear the single… because they did the best thing they could: played an acoustic version of the song on the radio. Where everybody could listen to it, also online, and check out the song. Which made it MUCH easier to wait for the single. Ingenious! Of course I still wanted to hear the “real” single afterwards, but there was no hurry. Because I could already check out the song.

But still: is it really a special present to the fans to give the single to some of them, while others are totally excluded? Instead of just releasing it to everyone at the same time? Of course you can argue about that. And while I loved the whole campaign and think that the viral marketing thing totally made up for the frustration that we fans who were excluded had, I didn’t really want to take a side in this discussion. Because I could understand the frustration. And if you frustrate a part of your hardcore fans, is the campaign a success?

And here we have the answer and go full circle to the quote in the beginning. The “hardcore fans”. All I was writing was about the hardcore fans. Those fans that know everything, want to hear and see everything right away, cannot wait a day for a translation, travel around the world for concerts. Yes, for us, the campaign was maybe more “so so”, because too many were left out.

But, and this is true for every band, and we all need to get that into our heads and remind us over and over again: We are not the fanbase. We are the hardcore fans, right. We’re always there. But we are a minority. The fans that bring in the money are the huge crowd of fans that like a band, but maybe don’t hear about a new single until it is being played on the radio. This is nothing bad, and – very important – we are not better than them. A band couldn’t survive on only hardcore fans.

A couple of days after the app was launched, Twitter exploded (even more). It became as unreadable as when the Kaizer Chiefs (a South African soccer team) gain a high win, the Kaizers (some kind of sports team in the Philippines, I still haven’t figured out what sport) compete in the annual high school tournament, or Kaizer (the dog of some Bollywood star) gets a new hair cut. (And if you have no idea what I’m talking about now… try to regularly scan Twitter for “Kaizers”. *lol*)

Anyway. The reason for the huge amount of Kaizers tweets: By then, the news had reached the “non hardcore” fans. And for them, it doesn’t matter if they get the song after a day or after a week. But they get a free song by a band they like, and they get it in a cool way, namely through being infected with the Kaizervirus. And if the app doesn’t work for someone… well, just listen to the song on someone else’s phone, no problem. Think of a band you like, but where you’re not following every single step they take – wouldn’t such a campaign be incredibly cool?

So the answer is: Oh yes, the Kaizervirus is for the fans. Maybe not for the hardcore fans, but for the full fanbase. And as such, it was a total success.

Even though we hardcore fans might complain and bitch about it. Which we have every right to do – as long as we don’t think that the band must do exactly what we want. Because the band must do what they think is best for the fans. ALL fans.

It’s the end of the world as we know it …

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

… or maybe not? In any case, parts of the Kaizers Orchestra fan world seem to be collapsing right now. Because of this interview that I did with Janove. And of course I’m being asked what I think of the announcement of the break, and actually, I’m asking myself what I think of it.

Well, first of all: This is my personal view. No journalistic point of view, no fansite point of view, but I’m just talking as the common, yet crazy, fan that I am. No quoting without permission! 😉 (Hell, that interview is all over the Norwegian press right now. That was to be expected, but I had hoped I’d be wrong in my suspection…)

So, what do I think? First and foremost: They deserve the break. And they NEED the break. Desperately. As they say: They have been in this for 15 years, always pushing back other plans and needs and wishes, always together with the same group of people. And they need the break before it’s too late and the horse has escaped (or the kid fell into the well, whichever language you prefer *g*). A very important life lesson: If there are factors in your life that bring you down, that have a bad influence, or that make you feel bad in any way – get rid of them as soon as possible. And this part in the interview about getting a new life, finally getting to do things you wanted to do forever but couldn’t do because of the band … yep. That makes it totally clear that the band IS such a factor, at least at the moment, and that means they need the break.

And even if that wasn’t the case – I’m a strong defender of the attitude that whatever a band does, a band does. And I as a fan don’t have a say in that, and I don’t have the right to complain. I might not like something, but well, that’s my problem then, and not the band that has to change. So even if I would not agree that they deserve a break – the band wants the break, and so a break it is.

So, how do I feel about it? The break was no surprise whatsoever, and as stated above: they need it. So it’s great. (And honestly, I think we fans need a bit of a break once in a while as well… *g*) The part that was a surprise, however, was the length of the break. I had expected three, four years, maybe five. What I did not expect was the talk about “last” concerts, “last” tours, and the plan to focus on huge other projects (the musical) in the meantime. That caught me quite off-guard, actually (even though I managed to keep my poker face, I think *g*). And even though they start denying now that they were talking about a possibly ten-year break, I’m pretty sure they were. Or at least Janove was. Which of course is like the worst thing you can do promo-wise, so I can totally see why they play it down now, but it’s not all a misunderstanding …

But okay, let’s just assume we’re talking seven years, which was mentioned explicitly, at least as one option. That’s a LONG time. But here my attitude mentioned above kicks in: If that’s what the band wants, that’s what the band wants, and I gotta live with it. (Or well, I would have to live with it no matter what my attitude, but I can actually accept it without my world collapsing. Totally. And I’m SO looking forward to using my vacation days for some REAL vacation for a change!)

But then – if you plan to be away for a long time, and you don’t have ANY plans for afterwards – why do you call it a break? I just don’t get it. And this is actually the part that surprised me most. To the question regarding the plans, I expected an answer like “well, we don’t have any real plans yet, but once we’re ready we’ll get together and discuss how we want to continue”. And if even that “plan” isn’t there, wouldn’t it be more logical to break up, maybe with an option to reunite whenever the time is right? This “we just take a break” in combination with the huge intermediate plan of a musical (and – to be nitpicky – the mention of a “Kaizers Orchestra band”) makes it sound like a cheap way out to me. A cheap way out to allow to maybe never start again because other projects are more successful (and without a bad conscience that you let down the band for that, because you didn’t, the band is just taking a break), or to start again in several years with an all new group of musicians, still as Kaizers Orchestra.

So yes, there IS a dull feeling about all this. But again: what the band does is what the band does. I’m gonna see and wait and judge what I get to hear and experience, both in the meantime and after the break. I might be totally wrong in my interpretation, and we see Kaizers Orchestra back just like we know them in only a few years time. I might fall in love with the musical and grow older so much that I’m totally satisfied with just seeing the musical and won’t miss the concerts (ok, that’s a rather unlikely option *g*). And even if Kaizers Orchestra would start again years from now with a different set of members, I might still enjoy the music and the concerts, even though it’s not the same. In any case – if I like it, I’ll be the same kind of fan I am now. If I don’t, well, then I guess I’m beyond it and moving on.

Either way, it’s not the end of the world, not at all. It might be the end of the world as we know it, but then … there are other worlds than these.

(And if you don’t get the Stephen King reference in the end, you still got some of them to explore!)

PS: Oh, and by the way – I was expecting the break three years ago already …

Festivals 2012!

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012
This entry doesn't exist in English.

Dieses Jahr bin ich in meiner Festivalplanung recht spät dran, was unter anderem daran liegt, dass Die Ärzte auf Tour und daher viele Sommer-Wochenenden schon verplant sind. Dennoch gibt es in diesem Jahr mal wieder einige Highlights:

Southside / Hurricane (22. – 24. Juni),
Southside und Hurricane gehen dieses Wochenende über die Bühne. Das Line-Up ist in meinen Augen in diesem Jahr ziemlich stark – weniger wegen der Headliner, die Ärzte mal ausgenommen, aber wegen vieler kleiner toller Bands. Also auf keinen Fall Katzenjammer, Disco Ensemble, Kraftklub, La Vela Puerca, Thees Uhlmann, Bonaparte, Madsen, Royal Republic oder Eagles of Death Metal verpassen!
Hoffen wir, dass das Sicherheitskonzept insbesondere beim Southside (beim Hurricane war ich noch nicht und kann es daher nicht beurteilen) funktioniert…

Odderøya Live / Stavernfestivalen (11. – 14. Juli),
Zusätzlich zu den Festivals in Deutschland muss bei mir ja auch immer noch das eine oder andere Festival in Norwegen auf dem Programm stehen. Dieses Jahr sind mir Odderøya Live und das Stavernfestival ins Auge gestochen. Bei beiden ist an einem Abend Kaizers Orchestra der Headliner – die anderen Abende werden von anderen großen norwegischen (Raga Rockers beim Odderøya, Dumdum Boys beim Stavernfestival) und schwedischen (Roxette beim Odderøya, Kent beim Stavernfestival) Bands dominiert. Weitere norwegische Künstler wie Jarle Bernhoft und die CC Cowboys sind bei beiden Festivals zu sehen. Odderøya Live findet in Kristiansand statt, das Stavernfestival in Stavern, nahe bei Larvik (und das ist wiederum nahe beim Flughafen Torp in Sandefjord). Beide Festivals sind also aus Deutschland gut erreichbar und eine Reise wert!

Serengeti-Festival (20. – 22. Juli)
Beim Serengeti-Festival war ich im letzten Jahr zum ersten Mal (Bericht), und ich war sehr begeistert. Dieses Jahr wird es bei mir leider nicht klappen… äußerst schade, denn das Line-Up ist wieder klasse! Maximo Park und Deichkind als Headliner, Kraftklub (letztes Mal noch irgendwann am frühen Nachmittag auf der Bühne ;-)) und Gentleman als Co-Heads, und sonst viele “Wiederholungstäter” und kleine, aber vielversprechende Bands im Programm – die perfekte Mischung! Und die Monsters of Liedermaching und Das Pack sind natürlich noch das i-Tüpfelchen…

Mini Rock Festival (3./4. August)
Das Mini-Rock-Festival in Horb ist bei mir schon seit einigen Jahren fest im Terminplan. Dieses Jahr war ich lange Zeit skeptisch, da mich das Line-Up nicht vollends überzeugen konnte. Boysetsfire und K.I.Z. als Headliner – erstere sagen mir kaum etwas, letztere kann ich nicht ausstehen. Mit Turbostaat – Freitags-Headliner der Zeltbühne – kann ich mich auch nicht anfreunden. Dafür aber umso mehr mit dem Samstags-Headliner der Zeltbühne, Wirtz! Außerdem u.a. am Samstag im Programm: Kraftklub, Emil Bulls, Itchy Poopzkid und Vierkanttretlager – da ist auf jeden Fall für jeden etwas dabei! Und auch der Freitag wird mit Rockstah, Cro und Yakuzi ganz sicher ein voller Erfolg. Zumal das Tolle beim Mini Rock ja gerade immer das Kennenlernen neuer Bands am Nachmittag ist. Ich bin gespannt!

Taubertal-Festival / Open Flair / Rocco del Schlacko (10. – 12. August),,
Die drei “Schwester-Festivals” am gleichen Wochenende, wie immer mit sehr ähnlichem Line-Up, wobei das Rocco del Schlacko wie immer ein bisschen kleiner ausfällt – nicht nur vom Line-Up her, sondern auch ganz allgemein von der Größe, was ja nicht unbedingt schlecht ist. Die Beatsteaks, Social Distortion, Boysetsfire, Kraftklub, Panteón Rococó, die Monsters of Liedermaching und einige weitere sind bei allen drei Festivals mit von der Partie. Bush, Madsen, Sondaschule und Skindred sind tolle Schmankerl beim Taubertal und beim Open Flair, dafür hat das Rocco noch die Donots zu bieten. Bei den Headlinern gibt es einen entscheidenden Unterschied: Rocco del Schlacko und Open Flair konnten sich Korn sichern, während das Taubertal Festival mit Placebo einen – in meinen Augen – noch größeren Fang gemacht hat. Die Frage ist also eigentlich nicht, ob man dieses Wochenende auf einem Festival verbringt, sondern nur, auf welchem…

Open Air Gampel (16. – 19. August)
Beim Gampel wurde in diesem Jahr lange geunkt, dass das Line-Up sehr schwach wäre – bis dann angekündigt werden durfte, dass die Foo Fighters zugesagt haben! Als weitere Headliner sind Placebo und Cypress Hill dabei, sowie u.a. Deichkind, Bush, Nada Surf, Eagles of Death Metal und Royal Republic. Und leider auch Frei.Wild, was dann doch Punktabzug gibt. Die scheinen auf Schweizer Festivals dieses Jahr beliebt zu sein…
Wie dem auch sei, insgesamt ist das Line-Up sehr hochkarätig, und ich finde es schade, dass sich das Festival in diesem Jahr mit dem Berlin-Wochenende der Ärzte überschneidet. Denn das Gampel ist schon an sich ein tolles Festival, und mit diesem Line-Up ist es erst recht die Anreise aus Deutschland wert!

Rock am See (1. September)
Als Abschluss des Festivalsommers bietet sich wie immer das Rock am See in Konstanz an. Green Day, Beatsteaks, Social Distortion, Flogging Molly, Jupiter Jones und Itchy Poopzkid – und alle an einem Tag! Viel besser geht es nicht, oder? Zumal das Festival erfahrungsgemäß auch von der Lokation und Organisation sehr angenehm ist. Jetzt muss nur noch das Wetter mitspielen – am besten bei allen Festivals…