E-Tropolis 2022 Review

It’s come, it’s gone and now it’s time to memorialize the memories with an E-Tropolis 2022 Review!

What is E-Tropolis?

E-Tropolis is a huge one day EBM (electronic body music) and industrial festival that started in 2010. While it once was held in Berlin, today it takes place at the Turbinenhalle in Oberhausen, Germany. The 2022 line up was absolutely smoking hot:

Main Stage:

  • SynthAttack
  • Grendel
  • Leather Strip
  • Faderhead
  • Solar Fake
  • Combichrist
  • Project Pitchfork

Second Stage:

  • Mildreda
  • Centhron
  • The Joke Jay
  • Winterkalte
  • Agent Side Grinder
  • Aesthetic Perfection

E-Tropolis 2022 Review – The Turbinhalle

Next to my favorite venue, Kulttempel, sits the majestic Turbinhalle.

If you are any good at languages, you might be able to deduce that the Turbinhalle was an energy plant. Opening in 1909 it was meant to generate power to a local coal and steel engineering company. By 1986 the huge industrial complex was abandoned and fell into disrepair.

In 1993, it was refurbished and opened as a disco. Between that point and today it’s a huge concert hall sporting 2 stage areas, a gigantic locker area and a side hall.

Up until this point, I’d never been inside. I had tickets to E-Tropolis 2020 but well, that didn’t happen.

It’s Really, REALLY Big

It looks big in photos and the outside. You really don’t get how big this building is until you’re actually inside it! The main stage area can fit something like 1,000 people and I want to think that there was close to that. Unlike other venues or festivals, I didn’t feel like it was over crowded. There was plenty of space to dance for everyone.

Not a Fan of the Sound

One thing that always disappoints me is when the sound isn’t on point. I don’t know if it was the building (will have to test this again with another concert!) or if it was the sound techs but there was a lot of feedback coming from certain bands. Also, sometimes it was really hard to make out the words over the music. Unless you knew the song and your brain put the words out there for you, it was just kind of dancing along to good beats. But I’ll get more into that for each of the bands that I saw!

The Food and Drink Situation

E-Tropolis, like a lot of festivals and concert venues in Europe, use a token system for drinks. You buy the tokens (bons) at a desk and then you can use them to go buy drinks or food at the different stalls. The price per ticket was 1 euro.

I wasn’t drinking any alcohol (rarely do at concerts) so I mostly had water (sparkling water, it’s Germany after all and they have a carbonation fetish) and a Pepsi Max. Soft drinks and water were 4 euro a glass and we were getting roughly 450ml a glass. So that wasn’t too horrible.

The selection of food was small for what the concert was. We had 3 different kinds of chinese noodles (2 veggie, 1 chicken), the classic currywurst, pizza slices, tosti and the german pretzel. The prices were around 2 euro for the pretzel to around 9 euro for the chinese noodles.

The line for the currywurst was the longest with the pretzel being the fastest. Since I’m a T1 diabetic and was having a hard time keeping my blood sugar up, I treated myself to a fresh out of the oven pretzel. It was really the perfect excuse!

Who I Saw at E-Tropolis 2022

This was one of those one day festivals that there was absolutely no way to see the full set of a band if you wanted to try to catch them all. So I opted to stick with the following lineup:

  • Grendel
  • Leather Strip
  • Faderhead
  • Solar Fake
  • The first 15 minutes of Combichrist
  • Aesthetic Perfection
  • Project Pitchfork

The Grendel Set

I’ve been waiting awhile to see Grendel since the moment I heard Chemicals + Circuitry. This set didn’t disappoint.

I got up and was about 4 people back from the stage, center. There was plenty of room to dance and everyone was having a good time. The sound was OK, there were a few songs that the words didn’t quite overcome the music but it didn’t really matter.

I can tell you that if I can catch Grendel at a normal concert venue, I will certainly go see them!

FINALLY! Leather Strip After 30 Years!

If you read my last post, about my journey with Leather Strip, you’ll understand the… FINALLY!

First, hands down, best set of the show. The sound was great, the people around us were great, and the performance was great. It was only Claus Larsen on stage but there didn’t really need to be any more!

While the music beat on, the most polite mosh pit I’ve ever seen (who knew you could mosh to Leather Strip) started. Aside from a few people, nearly everyone in the pit was in their 40s. They would collide with each other then hug. If someone got hit too hard, they stopped to make sure everyone was OK. They stopped before they hit the people on the edges (like me). It was wonderful!

I do have 2 complaints about this set though.

  1. It was too damned short. Everyone else played for about an hour, or even a little over. This was only about a 40 minute set. I feel cheated.
  2. Claus did not do Body Machine Body. I feel cheated.

100% YES I will be trying to get to a club show at some point!

It’s Faderhead!

I’ve seen Faderhead at Amphi 2019 and at the Kulttempel in Oberhausen a few months after. Honestly, I think Faderhead is just a really fun act that you can dance your heart out to. No objections.

I had gone out to get a drink and by the time I came back I couldn’t get back to center stage. So I opted to start the set to the outer right. It was a few songs before I could worm my way more towards the center and the closer I got, the better the sound got. Once again, for the first few songs, if you didn’t know them you probably weren’t going to understand the lyrics if you were to the far side of the stage in either direction.

For this set, Faderhead had the 3 DJs to mix the music live. As usual, they were energetic and worked hard to get the crowd going. It really didn’t take much to be honest. We did some of the usual suspects, TZDV and No Gods, No Flags, No Bullshit. Unfortunately he started with The Acid Witch which I’ve come to hate for some reason. We didn’t get Fistful of Fuck You, Dancers, or Swedish Models and Cocaine.

One thing I’ve got to say, for a “festival” the main stage at the Turbinhalle was perfect for this act. At Amphi the stage was huge and almost engulfed everyone.

The one thing that really pissed me off is during Better (a collaboration with Chris Harms of Lord of the Lost) 4 people off to the right of me decided to hold a very loud conversation. It was almost like “oh, not dance music, lets annoy the crap out of everyone around us!” There’s always some in the crowd, isn’t there?

Solar Fake Had it Under Control

I’d seen a little bit of Solar Fake at Amphi this past July (wish I’d have stayed there instead of going to go see Rome with my friends). I’ve liked their music for quite some time now and was excited to see the full set.

This was the set that never ended and went for a full hour (maybe more). We did all the popular songs like This Pretty Life, All the Things You Say, Not What I Wanted, etc. It was glorious!

Know what wasn’t so glorious? The jackass that kept trying to hump my back side and spilled his drink down the back of me. I think he realized he fucked up a bit when I turned around and gave him “that look”. He backed off of me pretty quickly after that.

For Solar Fake I was center, about 2 rows back from the stage. The sound was ok for some songs, but for others once again, the music overtook the microphone.

Combichrist Tiny E-Tropolis 2022 Review

The reason that Combichrist is only getting a tiny E-Tropolis 2022 review is I only stuck around for about 15 minutes of the set. Had to get off for the start of Aesthetic Perfection!

Because I was going to make my escape, I was waay back for this particular set. I can’t say that being way back really helped bring out the sound from the microphone. By this point I was thinking that either this is one of “those” venues where the sound just never is quite right or the sound techs of the night didn’t have it together. I don’t know…

Anyways, the Combichrist set was old school. It was just Andy and then Elliot Berlin mixing the music. No drums, no guitars, no base, no keyboard. Pure electronic music and beats.

The songs I heard were WTF is Wrong With You People, Blut Royal and another really old one that I probably don’t listen to enough to recognize it. At this point it was time to go get some food and get placed for the next set! I had already seen Combichrist twice earlier this year and Andy again as Icon of Coil. Trust me, I was good.

Aesthetic Perfection

For those who’ve never heard Aesthetic Perfection, they are industrial pop. Whenever I get to see Daniel Graves live, I always get a huge grin on my face because the music is great and it’s always a really fun time.

Now, Aesthetic Perfection played at the Second Stage. This room was much smaller, more like De Helling in Utrecht in size. Really quite perfect for an act like Aesthetic Perfection.

Everyone around me was happy, excited, danced, sang and in general had a really good time! The things I didn’t like was the feedback from the microphone. That just plain hurt ears. Also, if I stood still for longer than 30 seconds I literally stuck to the floor. I almost twisted my knee, it was like industrial grade fly paper glue.

The other thing that irritated the holy fuck out of me was the guy who kept backing into me. I’d take a step back, he’d take a step back. I finally had enough about half way through the set and he finally went away. It looks like a new super power is slowly starting to emerge.

Overall, if you overlook the feedback and sticky floor, it was a great set. Also, Daniel introduced the drummer and keyboardist/guitar player who’s done the festival season with them.

Project Pitchfork – Last Act of E-Tropolis 2022

The last act for this E-Tropolis 2022 Review is Project Pitchfork.

Now, I’ve seen these guys a number of times both in regular club shows and festivals. They have some great music and it’s always fun seeing them. Especially with the duel drummers and keyboardists. Well, except for this set…they only had 1 keyboardist for whatever reason. No idea why, might be the weird “after covid” situation that’s going on.

This time we didn’t try to get up close to the stage, we decided to hang back between where we were for Combichrist and the stage. This really didn’t improve the sound situation until we got up closer by about 4 or 5 rows. Plus, there was a bit of microphone feedback as well. Not pleasant to listen to.

Overall the set went on a good long time and we got a lot of great songs. Rain, Acid Ocean, Timekiller, Circus, and The Queen of Time and Space among others. However, like a lot of the bands before them, you had to know the lyrics otherwise you just heard the music.

Also, I seemed to attract yet another one of “those people” who had no clue about personal space. The guy was dancing his heart out, in a 1.5 meter by 1.5 meter square. He was literally leaning into me and my friend while he danced. What was worse is, we’d move up and he’d move up right with us. I honestly thought about grabbing him, hugging him and asking my friend if we could keep him.

Final Thoughts for E-Tropolis 2022

So, lets wrap up this E-Tropolis 2022 review!

I arrived at the Turbinehalle at around 4pm, right in time for Grendel to go on stage (it was a little over 2 hour drive and we stopped off for lunch). Before I knew it, 1am rolled around and the whole night was done.

Unlike a few bands at Amphi a few months ago, the only time I was watching my watch was during Combichrist. That was ONLY so we could get some food and get off to get a good spot for Aesthetic Perfection at the other stage.

Yes, I was a little disappointed with the sound but it could have just been rusty sound staff or it could be the location itself. I will give the venue a second chance to see what it is and make my verdict later.

The crowd overall was fantastic, (most) people were polite and sweet. There were a lot of nationalities that made their way over as well!

Overall, well done! If the 2023 line up were a little better (I really don’t want to see Suicide Commando…again) I’d be buying my ticket already! But I’ve noticed with these things that it tends to be every other year. Hopefully I’ll be back for 2024!