It’s that time of year again – my favourite festival of the year, Wave-Gotik-Treffen, is upon us. Every year, on Whitsun weekend, Leipzig is invaded by some 20,000 black-clad fans of dark music, from gothic rock to synthpop, from cold wave to post punk, from industrial to neofolk. What started as a small gathering of like-minded individuals is now the largest festival of its kind.
Whatever you’re into, you’ll find something for you – with almost 200 bands on the lineup, you’ll be hard pressed not to. Here are my personal favourites on this year’s lineup.
This Icelandic trio was formed in 2013, and their music reminds me of the landscape of their country of origin: cold, desolate and heartbreakingly beautiful. Lead singer Sólveig Matthildur’s voice goes from screaming to whispering in the span of seconds. Their music could be described as synth-punk, their latest album, ‘Nótt eftir nótt’, is an absolute masterpiece, and their performances are consistently brilliant.
Someone described this Greek duo as “Lebanon Hanover on steroids”, and I totally agree. Their mix of darkwave, post punk and minimal synth is gloomy yet full of emotions, and their live performances have all the dramatic flair a goth could want. Think theatrical gestures, red roses thrown into the crowd and all that jazz.
If you’re a fan of industrial, you’ve probably heard of these guys. The London-born powerhouse became known for mixing distorted guitars and aggressive techno percussion. After splitting in 2001, they came back with a vengeance in 2016, and have been going from strength to strength, delivering energetic performances full of raw, brutal power.
One of my biggest musical discoveries in the past couple of years, The Soft Moon is a brainchild of producer, singer and songwriter Luis Vasquez. Verging on post-punk, darkwave and minimal wave, his music is something unique, and his voice range is out of this world. There’s something in his performances and his stage presence that touches my soul – and it might touch yours, too.
Listen to ‘Dark Allies’ closely and you probably still won’t guess that this deep, strong voice belongs to a woman. Shannon Funchess is one half of this Brooklyn-based electronic duo, along with Bruno Coviello. They may have just one full album under their belt, but boy, what an album that is! I’ve never seen them live, but somehow I feel it’ll be an experience to remember.
Who is on your must-see list? Do you have one, or do you go with the flow? Regardless of that, I hope to see you in Leipzig!