It felt like we had only just arrived, and the final day of Amphi already loomed. As this was the last day to party properly, it was time to let our hair down and go hard, or go home!
Our day got off to a surprisingly early start, as Ost+Front were due to take to the main stage just after the crack of noon. I’d vaguely heard their music before, but couldn’t recall it. However, upon their show starting, I was instantly hooked. I’m a massive Rammstein fan, and here the Rammstein influence was clear. They even have a Mexican themed track of their own, “Fiesta de sexo”, which got played quite early in the set, complete with one of the band members donning a sombrero (I wonder what Hocico though of that?) As much as the influence was strong, they still had their own distinct flavour of Industrial Metal, and it was pretty epic. The tongue-in-cheek “Heavy Metal” was extremely entertaining, and it’s always great to see artists not take themselves too seriously. This carried over into the theatrics, giving the performance extra dimension, adding to their massive presence. As they closed with “Bitte Schlag Mich”, they released a flurry of black balloons into the crowd. I feel this is the perfect metaphor to explain their show; it was a very fun experience.
Next, it was off to the Orbit Stage. This takes place on the ship from the pre-party, but docked to act as the third stage. In previous years, due to issues with the tide, it had been docked all the way at the other side of the river, which was quite a trek. Thankfully, this time round it was docked on the same side as the Tanzbrunnen, so the journey took mere minutes.
This is where the round of surprises for the day started, firstly with Jäger 90. I was confident I’d not listened to them before, but a few songs from their set were quite familiar. Their EBM style, presented in an old-school fashion really resonated with me, and was enough to get me moving (even in the sweltering heat!) This came across in an extremely pleasing way in a live setting, especially in such a small space. It was packed with so much energy, that I was sure the sides of the ship would burst under the pressure! This was owed partially to frontman Thoralf Dietrich, who danced wackily around stage with much enthusiasm. He really went for it, and I’m honestly surprised he managed to keep it up without suffering heat exhaustion. It’s hard to blame him really, as their music is extremely catchy and I’m sure some of it is stuck in my head even now.
Next up, and on a recommendation of a friend in the group, we watched Cryo. This was yet another surprise, as they were superb! It was a lively showing, full of catchy synthpop goodness. Their style was quite varied, balancing between moody and melodic, with some bulky bass added in for good measure. Of course, big basslines are always going to be great live, so this worked perfectly. The difference in moods really helped to create a rich atmosphere, and the shift in pacing made for an interesting ride. There was something about their sound that made them really stand out, a unique feel to the music that captured a different essence to other artists of the same genre. It was very compelling. Oh, and the light-up mic stand they used was pretty funky!
The last band we witnessed on the Orbit Stage were Spark! The duo took to the stage in creepy clown masks, and from there, an onslaught of infectious EBM filled all corners of the ship. This is yet another band that stood out, but that’s mainly due to the fact they sang in their native tongue of Swedish. The crowd went particularly wild for these guys, and it was easy to see why, as the hooks and melodies took complete control. Sadly, we had to miss out on a chunk of their set to return to the Tanzbrunnen, but I shall be definitely try and see them again!
Back at the main venue, we found a decent spot quite close the the stage, for a band that needs no introduction; Project Pitchfork. The first thing I noticed is that time hasn’t been kind to Peter Spilles’ voice, as his vocals came out with a menacing growl. However, rather than hindering the music, it complimented it extremely well, giving the songs a bit of a darker edge. Somehow, in just 12 songs, they covered a massive amount of ground, picking key hits from throughout their history. They still didn’t cover the entirety of their mammoth discography, but they did a damn good job! “Timekiller”, “Alpha Omega” and “Conjure” were among the tracks they rolled through, and they did so with style and finesse. The mood they generated was absolutely incredible, and the atmosphere was so powerful that I’m sure it could be felt even beyond the boundaries of the venue. It was during “Beholder”, towards the end of the show, that is my absolute favourite moment of the entire festival. The sun had been slowly setting for the duration of their set, but it was at this point where the culmination of many elements came together in unison. From the beautiful lighting illuminating the Tanzbrunnen in a magical way, to the pitch perfect, epic performance on stage, to the crowd fully invested in the music, and experiencing it all alongside dear friends, who were all joyfully partaking in the festivities, it was perfection. This wasn’t just a summer festival moment, it was the summer festival moment, and it was euphoric. It was enough to make them my favourite band of the whole weekend.
And, for the grand finale, were In Extremo. I had previously seen them at M’era Luna last year, and walked away impressed by their show. It was pretty much the same story this time round, as the metal and traditional folk elements blended together, creating a cheerful, energetic mood. It was genuinely a joy to experience, even exhilarating at times, especially with the pyro effects that were utilised to spruce up the performance! This pretty much echoed my previous experience, as “Sternhagelvoll” ended up becoming my favourite moment of their set (although not quite on par with the M’era Luna performance.) It was a fantastic note to close the festival on, even if they weren’t my highlight.
I can honestly say, with complete confidence, that this was my favourite Amphi Festival yet! Not a single band disappointed, there was the discovery of some excellent new acts and, of course, I got to enjoy so many moments with friends old and new. As I said in the previous instalment of my review, a festival is about the people, and that’s what truly made it for me this year. This is of a more personal opinion, but seeing so many of my friends experiencing their first Amphi, and absolutely loving it, was incredibly rewarding and wholesome. It actually made me a bit nostalgic, taking me back to how I felt the first time I went to the festival. It just goes to show how much of a great festival Amphi is, and I simply cannot wait to do it all again next year!