Festival Report : New Noise Fest 2015 / Karlsruhe

New Noise Festival 2015 - © Gaëlle Pitrel // www.plugin-mag.com
New Noise Festival 2015 – © Gaëlle Pitrel // www.plugin-mag.com

We didn’t take it to the madness level this festival season, we did however enjoy ourselves here and there at some music events, New Noise Festival being one of them. Taking place in Karlsruhe in Germany on a very hot and sunny day, New Noise was everything a perfect music day should be. Although this was the first ever time we’ve attended, the festival was celebrating its 10th birthday and they did it with class!

New Noise Festival was relocating for this edition so, set between a bunch of independent venues, the festival area was roomy enough to host all the attendees, providing them with everything needed, from yummy generous food, to drinks and merch. We could also notice that New Noise make a point of serving the environmental cause, something visible from the food provided (see One Heart), the presence of Peta, for instance and the respectful attendees, who didn’t fail to respect their surroundings, using the recycle bins provided. It all contributed in making the environment clean and enjoyable.

Now let’s get to the music part. Performances kicked off early in the afternoon, and for us, it was at the Alte Hackerei, after having waled around a bit, discovering the environment. The venue consists in an narrow venue located in a bar. The least we can say is that it immediately got us into the swing of things : we were going to sweat. Gone To Waste quickly set the mood, sending us crashing against the walls. With people relentlessly stage diving, and a fully packed room, it was already a struggle surviving the set, but most of all it felt GOOD. Quite a perfect reunion with hardcore shows for us after a long summer pause, allowing us to make an excellent discovery of powerful madness 100% made in Germany. The next hours led us to wander in between the stages, with different atmospheres each time. Our favorite was probably provided by the Fleischmarkt Halle, which is a “floorstage”, rather than anything else, with enough space all around it to host a few hundred people, preserving the closeness and intimacy at the same time.

The likes of Endless Heights, SandlotKidsLandscapes, Break Even and Guns Up! Followed up at this stage, and it was smart making them play there as these are bands who essentially embody the power of music and the strong relationship it creates among the people, precisely between the performers and their listeners. They emphasize the sense of community this type of music is about, which is probably why some of the best times we’ve had at the festival were spent there. In fact, we spoke to some of the performers throughout the day who all agreed on the fact that they were truly delighted and impressed by the atmosphere provided by the festival, for many reasons including its location and obviously its people.

We particularly appreciated watching Break Even, first of all, because these guys are true legends in their genre and second of all because well, it was one of the most beautiful, heartfelt hardcore performances we’ve witnessed in a long while.  As for Landscapes, it’s always a pure delight to see them in this type of environment which seems to be designed for them, sailing through their heart wrentching tracks off popular album ‘Life Gone Wrong’, Landscapes also presented a new song, which reminded us that it’s high time we did hear new stuff from them. Not that we do not like their older stuff, but it is so good it’s frustrating not to be able to hear a larger repertory.

(MA) Heroes Guns Up! Who are kind of celebrating their rebirth, played later in the day, and the least we can say is that it was…muscular! Following up on songs from their last record ‘Outlive’ -which was released 9 years ago- and its predecessor mostly, Guns Up! did nothing but remind everyone that they’re masters.

As for the discovery part, we fell in love multiple times, starting with Endless Heights’ heartfelt melodies and heavy-hitting sounds. The band was in the middle of a huge European tour, alongside their Australian counterparts Break Even and the lads in Landscapes. The young band does well, offering stage presence full of that looked intense and full of commitment. Endeless Heights have just recently released an EP called ‘Teach You How To Live’ and were delighted by the time they were spending in the European summer.

We also got to discover Sandlotkids live, although we had already heard of this band before. They made it to our list of top live discoveries of the year – and we’re not exaggerating – go listen to Colors and you’ll know what we mean once you turn into an ocean of feelings. Bonus points for them : the acoustic set performed at the beer garden late in the night to close off the kickass festival day.

The Substage, which was sort of the main festival stage, on the other hand, was the biggest venue, with barricades and a large stage, where various bands performed, including local newcomers Grizzly, Twin RedPolar., Lionheart, MalevolenceNapoleon and festival headliners The Story So Far.  If you’re into classic post-hardcore sounds, Grizzly might be one European offering you could enjoy. We had never heard of this German outfit before, but they surely secured in our opinion, their position as an interesting band of this genre. Not the most exciting we could see, yet, they have however potential to do great things, so we’ll keep an eye on them and see where all of this goes.

 Polar. are used to European off shows, especially in Germany, which is rather comprehensible giving the warm welcome they often get there. Taking a break from the studio for a weekend (spoiler alert : Album #3 is done as you’re reading this!), Polar traveled all the way from England for the event, determined to have a hell of an evening. Despite having to play this huge stage which isn’t necessarily what they’re used to, Polar. Delivered as per usual a killer performance, with frontman Adam ‘Woody’ Woodford looking for more closeness with the crowd. People however did respond well, opening huge circle pits and performing one or two wall-of –deaths.

We caught Napoleon halfway through their set, and for the first time with their new line up which brings Wes Thompson as a lead vocalist. Warmly received, Napoleon show enough confidence and craft with a hint of fun that is pleasant to watch. The band should be releasing their debut album soon, and giving the cool performance these guys gave us in Karlsruhe, it’s safe to say that we can’t wait to hear it!

It was also fantastic to notice that french band Birds in Row’s success abroad, in a fully packed Alte Hackerei (we never really made it inside the room.) Playing their powerful emotional hardcore to a few dozens of passionate kids, Birds In Row managed to captivate everyone in the room in a transcending atmosphere. They naturally imposed themselves as the french flag carriers of their dark and chaotic music universe, in the most brilliant way. Birds In Row will be releasing a new EP next month (October 30th),  on Throatruiner Records.

The Story So Far, New Noise Festival 2015 - © Gaëlle Pitrel // www.plugin-mag.com
The Story So Far, New Noise Festival 2015 – © Gaëlle Pitrel // www.plugin-mag.com

We finally made our way to see headliners The Story So Far play their new material for the first time, even though -as they even said themselves on stage- they didn’t really match with the rest of this line-up. Their performance made us realize that now that the band has three records in stock, their setlist significantly changed and expanded, whick makes up for a whole new experience. The highlight of their set at New Noise Fest, and the moment that completely caught us off guard was probably the presence of heart-wrenching, slow and calm song Phantom (off their eponymous record) in the setlist, as The Story So Far did not accustom their crowd to hear this kind of tracks live. Overall, their show was a nice way to close the evening with a softer feeling, even though they sure didn’t lack energy and all looked genuinely happy to play in Karlsruhe that night.

Overall, the atmosphere at New Noise Festival was lovely, and it all felt generally friendly and positive, which is why we didn’t really feel the need to flee the heat and hide inside the rooms, waiting for the performances. In a nutshell, we had a brilliant day in Karlsruhe on this particularly summery festival day and New Noise Festival provided us with exactly what we needed during this summer break: A great day of powerful music, summer vibes and a pinch of holiday-feeling. Mad respect to the organizers for this and of course to the bands. It takes a lot to these guys to go and play shows everywhere possible, because this isn’t the glamourous life being in a rock band was back in the eighties or so. The reality is way different and the least we can do to keep all of this alive and thank them for providing us with this thing that is so important in our so called busy lives is to be there, to show we are happy to be there, and show respect.

And finally, we will say thank you to all of the friendly and respectful people attending the event.

See you next year?

________

Full photo album available HERE

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