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· 4 June 2008 ·

Immergut Festival 2008

Every year, near the end of May, there is a small festival in a town called Neustrelitz, about 100km north of Berlin. Since 2001 independent fans from all over Germany have been coming to this place to celebrate the Immergut Festival, a festival dedicated to independent music.

I’ve been going to the Immergut Festival since 2003. And this year, I’ve been there again. It’s almost a tradition. I even went there when I didn’t really know any of the bands playing. But at the end of each festival I would come home with a list of bands that I really liked. That’s how I got to know Ms John Soda, Palestar, Blackmail, for example.

So this year’s Immergut… I must confess, I did not stay overnight, unfortunately. But I only arrived the night before, not having slept at all Wednesday night as I had to pack all my stuff. It was all to no avail, I still got a cold, as I always do when I don’t get enough sleep.

This years line-up was damn good, I have to say. Notwist and Slut are amongst my favourite bands. Apart from that I didn’t know most of the other bands beforehand, but, again, I fell in love with some of them. Right the first act I saw was the Icelandic Ólafur Arnalds. Arnalds is a classically trained artist and creates really beautiful soundscapes. As he is from Iceland, you might want to compare him to Sigur Rós. (In fact Slut’s “Failed on you” from their new album sounds very much like Sigur Rós!) But Arnalds does in fact sound different. Whilst his music is as atmospheric and enigmatic as Sigur Rós’, you can clearly hear his classical influences.

Lo-Fi-Fnk take the opposite approach. Their music is quite danceable (some tracks more, others less). But hey, what’s up with their bass player? This guys was absolutely nuts! He was totally hyperactive. It was fun nevertheless…

A friend of mine already recommended the German band Get Well Soon to me, but I had to see them life before I really acknowledged them. They have a tendency to melancholy, but are still very intense and energetic. This is also due to the large number of instruments on stage, which included a violin and up to two trumpets! (Yes, bands get bonuses from me if they have trumpets!)

Personally, I was mostly looking forward to the Notwist. Those who know me, will already be aware of the fact that I’m in love with this band, and all related projects. I was not disappointed. What a joy to see them life again! Their set list (which I managed to nick, btw) included “My Phrasebook”, “On Planet Off” (my favourite song from their new album), “Consequence” and “Pilot”. And Martin Gretschmann, aka Console apparently had a new toy: Instead of keyboards, mouse or similar things, he controlled the sound using something that resembled the controller of a wii. It looked really interesting, I have to figure out what it is!

I’ve been a fan of Slut (yeah I have no idea why they picked this name, if it helps “Slut” also means “the end” in Swedish). In fact they have been the reason why I came to the Immergut in 2003. However, this gig has probably been one of the most intense, and the band seemed to enjoy it quite a lot, too. I only wished they would play some tracks from Lookbook, but their set list (which I nicked, too!) was still really good.

What else is there to say? The weather was absolutely stunning, the people really nice. I was hoping to see more labels in the label tent, but nevermind. I met a guy from Stirling University who studies Politics and Philosophy. Funny, eh?

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