by Sven berger
pic by sven berger

We arrived in Dresden on Saturday afternoon. After dumping our stuff at the ?Mondpalast?, we then went to a meeting of Skinny Puppy fans at the Radisson Hotel. The meeting had been organized by Scott Graham, who runs the Litany website. It was great to meet quite a few people already I knew from the web. We left there at about 9pm to check out the festival site, which was about 30 minutes walk from the city center. We also picked up some crazy drunk Germans with some local knowledge on the way.

The site was huge. Basically a small football stadium with a running track around it. Most of the site was occupied by food and drinks tents. The stage was about the size of the one at the Brixton Academy. The PA was extremely good, but not loud enough (I could understand EVERYONE).

Sisters were okay, but it was not what I expected from them. Maybe it?s because I?m no longer sixteen years old. During the Sisters gig, cEvin was in the crowd, keeping and eye on the merchandise sales. I almost did not recognize him, because he didn?t wear his trademark hat and he had a tan. He had a chat with a few people, had some pictures taken and left again after about half an hour. As hard as we tried, he wouldn?t give anything away about the SP gig.

 We left at the end of the Sisters gig and headed into the Dresden night. There were some fantastic clubs. ?Der Bunker? is definitely bigger than the Slimelight and plays EBM, and Industrial (no Goth) over two floors with several bars. For about £2.50 admission and £1.80 a pint of beer, not bad at all. An excellent Techno-club is just about 50 yards down the road for the more energetic. Btw, it's true what they say about german techno: It's just miles ahead of anything you will ever hear in the UK.

 We crawled home at about 7am and stopped in a street café full of people for a pint beer on the way home. Needed to get some sleep. Skinny Puppy was that evening.

 We got to the site just in time for VAC and it was already busier than during the ?highlight? of the previous day. Velvet Acid Christ were great, or, at least they would have been, if they could have played indoors. But the songs sounded no different form the CD-version. 6 out of 10 then.

Next up were Terminal Choice, a band I have really been looking forward to, since most of their studio stuff is pretty damn excellent. But the fact, that they came on stage wearing Hannibal Lector masks resigned the whole thing to a travesty. Boooooooring, baby. So I spent the next half hour organizing trays full of booze. And why not? It was only £1.70 a pint.

Next up: Covenant. All than can be said about them has been said already. They were good, they were kicking. Nuff said.

 The only band I did not know, And One from Hamburg, were up next and turned out to be the low-point of the entire weekend. For those of you who never heard them before, think of a mix of Think About Mutation and Modern Talking (late 80s German disco of the worst kind). To top it all off, they were embarrassing (?Good to see so many Germans here in Germany?) and downright ignorant little snots (?We are Skinny Puppy from Hamburg!?). They completely missed the point of the occasion. Nevertheless, some people were dumb enough to enjoy it and happily sing along to lyrics like ?eins, zwei,drei? and ? I am totally wasted?. Not enough, so we got ourselves two 5-litre buckets of Sangria, complete with fruit and 10 straws.

It was nearly dark when And One left and the stage disappeared behind a huge black curtain. Skinny Puppy was the final band for the Doomsday festival.

The changeover took a full 65 minutes and one could only guess what was going on behind the black curtain.

The curtain still down, cuts from radio transmissions mixed with classical music and all kind of bass sounds blasted from the speakers. Eerie green lights and mist started the concert, random sounds collapsed into a full angelic choir, Choralone was the opener. Ogre and cEvin weren?t on stage at this point, instead a hydraulic Ogre-puppet which looked like something from the Evil Dead started twitching and rolling its head, apparently ?singing? Choralone. CEvin went on stage for the second song, wearing just a dark shirt and gray shorts. At times, it looked like he was drumming with one hand and playing the samplers with the other hand.

 The stage was dominated by a huge (16:12 feet?) video screen showing Ogre and Worlock-style stuff. In the center were four high white screens assembled in a triangle. Ogre would later use these to ?hide? inside and even climb on top of them. cEvin?s drum kit was littered with metallic objects, like circular saws and little dolls, all of which had something, an arm or a leg, missing.

 During the first four songs, Ogre was not visible on stage, you could occasionally see his image on the screen, but you didn?t know where he was. That was a bit long, because after seeing the Evil Dead-puppet, I was kinda ready for Ogre coming at me. I think it was during ?Inquisition? when then ritual killing of the Ogre took place. Ogre was crawling towards the front of the stage, slowly stood up as if in excruciating pain and was shot by some guy from behind. Ogre was then gone for another 5-10 minutes, but then reappeared wearing combats, a black and white face and all kind of shit all over him.

The set was a good mix of old songs and new ones, but you couldn?t help noticing the absence of a few real classics, such as ?One Time, One Place?, ?Addiction? or ?Assimilate?, but then the entire concert would have taken 4 hours or so.

 The visual highlight of the show was ?Harsh Stone White?, when Ogre trapped himself inside the screens and climbed all the way to the top, his shadow following him up there in 3 different shapes on the three different sides to the triangle. Then he somehow managed to fall back down into the triangle in slow-motion. God only knows how he did it.

 That was the end of the regular set, but it the crowd got to the boiling point and we were hosed down every 5 minutes by now. I started looking around to see what was happening behind me, and I noticed the lightening of the huge thunderstorm which was about to descend onto Dresden.

 There was now music, when Ogre and cEvin walked back onto the stage. It was their moment. Standing there in the middle of the stage and smoking a big fat joint! cEvin passed it on to Ogre and sat down behind his drum kit. Ogre had a coupla puffs, handed it back to cEvin and said ?smoking peace plant!?. cEvin duly finished it off and started to fiddle around with his samplers. Ogre walked away and rumbled ?I ain?t talking much?.all this electronic shit!?

They played ?The choke? and ?Smothered Hope?. I think, only ?The Choke? was planned originally, but there was just enough time for the second encore.

 The concert was over, but most people hung around to get some of the stage decoration. They threw all kinds of stuff down, dolls, puppets, syringes, meat, etc.. But it wasn?t too long, before the rain came. The heavens opened and the worst thunderstorm that I have ever seen. Quickly brought everything to an end. Streets were flooded and two people actually died in the floods in nearby Görlitz. You can read into that whatever you want. After two hours walking through the quiet streets of Dresden, we got back to the hostel. People kept turning up there over the next two or three hours, all having been hit by the storm. We sat down, in the bar had few quiet beers and threw our clothes in the dryer. Totally out of it.

 I wasn?t quite sure in the beginning, if this would be a SP, or a Doomsday 2000 review. It is both in a way. The whole event was basically nothing but 15 bands over two days warming up for Skinny Puppy. It has reasserted Skinny Puppy?s standing in the industrial scene, even though most of the stuff they played was ten years or older. It just showed, that they are untouchable compared to what else there is around. Apart from Wumpscut, I can say, I have seen every band in the world who in the past were credited with being the next Skinny Puppy. Bullshit! If you don?t agree, you probably haven?t been there. Or you know a band that I don?t.

 Either way, I never thought I had the chance to see this band live, and I can only say how gobsmacked I, and thousands of others, were by their show.

For pictures of the event, I suggest you check out Scott's Litany site, or Renee's One time, One place site. These are some of the best. The webmistress might put up my own pictures, which show Ogre in full flight from close up, but my camera got wet, and the picture has a nice wet-lense-effect.

 The following play-list may not be entirely accurate, but I have pieced it together from talking to others after the show and checking other websites. It looks alright to me. I just wasn?t standing there with my notepad in my hand, DUHHHHH!

 1. Choralone
2. Deep Down Trauma Hounds
3. Love in Vein
4. Inquisition
5. Hard Set Head
6. Convulsion
7. Worlock
8. Grave Wisdom
9. Killing Game
10. Social Distortion
11. First Aid
12. Testure
13. Dig It
14. Tin Omen
15. Nature's Revenge
16. Harsh Stone White

 17. The choke
18. Smothered hope