No Playback Festival on April 6, 2019
including interview with Matthias Häcker (organizer)
Germany – Karlsruhe – Festhalle Durlach
festival page: https://no-playback.events/festival/
The German version of the review can be found at our partner Metal Crash Radio under the following link:
Review by T-Boss (Metal Crash Radio)
Advance ticket sales for No Playback Festival 2020 will start in September. A reason for us to show you what you missed this year at this young festival and why you should be there next year…
YouTube-Link Metal Crash Radio with Live-Videos of the No Playback Festival:
Passionate Rock & Metal – all 100% live – that’s your thing? Then you’re in the right place at the No Playback Festival. Because as the name implies, you get to hear 0.0 from the can here. Here is only room for bands who can completely convince live. Also, bands that are not seen so often (or just too unknown), get a chance here. The organizer’s philosophy, Matthias Häcker, is quite simple: pay-to-play does not exist, fans should get great live performances, because they have paid for it – in short, no money without adequate compensation. More details directly from the organizer, Matthias Häcker, you can read in the personal interview, which is completely attached to this festival review below.
The concept appealed to me immediately, because it also fits great with the philosophy of Metal Crash Radio. All the more I was glad that I – together with our partner photographer, Marc Debus from Promopartal-germany – could get a personal impression, this, still quite young, festival…
At 4:30 pm, the festival kicked off – with Gefrierbrand. A melodic / dark / death metal band from Germany, also known as the Black Forest metallers, who so much beat in, with their intro and “Das Märchen vom Krieg” that after 10 seconds I’ve had the feeling to be already since a few hours on a metal concert. However, before Tom Seyfarth starts with his deep and appropriately nasty voice, he quickly took get a sip of beer from a fan. Gefrierbrand deliver German texts, even if on the album “Weltenbrand” with “Last Call” is an English title on it. Content is the abyss of human action, which of course fits perfectly with their music, which somehow also have a thrash touch. It’s with this power that they deliver the song “Trauma”. Even though not quite as many Metalheads have found their way to the Festhalle Durlach at this time, Gefrierbrand is causing the sworn in Metal community to get so excited that in the short term I feel like I’m at an festival on which the well-known headliner enters the stage. With speed it continues with “Vanitas”. Here I can not stop following the damn hot blows of drummer Yannick Argast. Who is not freaked out, was wrong at this festival. Next song – „Es liegt was in der Luft heut Nacht…“ for sure, an opening band that delivers with every single beat and reef everything the metal heart desires. “Goldstadt” convinces with both quieter tones, melodic, grunting vocals and a guitar solo at its best. At this point, I have to say that all that Säsch (Sascha Dummann), Frosch (Julian Fröschle) and Ingo Pfisterer at the guitars and the bass present first cream. And for whom Christmas was too long ago, could now once again become a bit contemplative. “Heilige Nacht” – for me personally the highlight of the band at this early evening, clearly shows the basic melody of the well-known Christmas carol. Since there was no mulled wine, Tom oiled his voice again before the vocal start with a sip of the sacred barley cold shell. Melodic, with a lovingly grunted refrain and kick-ass guitar playing, “Heilige Nacht” is really a song that everyone should hear once. With “Ideenreich” it continues rhythmically and dynamically. I do not know why, but here Tom’s voice reminds me a little bit of Till Lindemann von Rammstein, just nastier. Towards the end there are still “leaves wind” (here we are again in the rather melodic corner of the boys with a tender grunt) and “Blutsturm” (hard) from the first album “Zeitsturm” by Gefrierbrand. All in all a really impressive show by the guys and a first-class opening of the festival. If you want to get some impressions, just drop in on the Metal Crash Radio YouTube page – here are some live videos from the No Playback Festival.
After a really quick rebuilding phase, it continued with Pripjat, a thrash metal band from Germany (Cologne). For those who do not yet know Pripyat, some background information: Kirill (vocals, guitar) and Eugen (guitar) both come from Kiev (Ukraine) – 80 kilometers from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Their own life and the life of their parents was directly influenced by the nuclear disaster in 1986. The band name therefore has a very specific reason. Pripyat is the name of a city (now a ghost town) near the reactor accident. The music of Pripyat is therefore not only fun – rather their lyrics often act on their experiences. And with what can you let extreme emotions out better than with Thrash? But that does not mean that the guys are melancholy or something like that – on the contrary, they radiate a lot of joy and are consistently sympathetic. At the No Playback Festival the guys present songs from their album “Sons of Chernobyl”, which was released in 2014. The album name need not be explained further if the background story is known. With “Nuclear Chainsaw” the explosive guys start at high speed – if you have weak neck muscles, you should now go for tea with mommy. The thrashy yet clear vocals of Kirill convey the experiences that reflect this song. “Survival Of The Sickest”, from the 2018 album “Chain Reaction”, convinces with riffs and screams that get under your skin. “Bowed, Yet Unbroken” already features the talent of Yannik ‘Bobo’ Bremerich (drums), but also brings out the rhythm of Pablo Tapia (bass). Clearly that the drum sticks at ‘Bobo’ are in the right hands, shows the intro of “Snitches Get Stitches”. Here is actually worth a look at the live videos from the No Playback Festival. With “Returnless” we are again in the newer album and Pripjat surprise with quieter and slower tones. With the song “Born To Hate” actually the introductory story is coming of a sampler. But that’s really the only time at the festival and the time is used by the guys sovereign, to once again just tune the instruments. With typical, fast thrash-style, but still melodic, Pripyat concludes with “Chain Reaction”. Conclusion: With Pripyat the 80s are back, their influences of well-known greats like Slayer, Sodom or Kreator are undeniable and yet Pripyat are different. Every Thrash lover should know or get to know this band.
After a Death and Thrash Metal band from Germany, the No Playback Festival takes me to Paris, the city of love. So much I know so far at this moment and that the Sticky Boys are more related to the genre Rock. What I do not know at this moment is that in the end I will actually love the sound of these guys and the way they play. But let’s start from the beginning.
With their song “Better Days” from the current album “Calling The Devil” (of which there is also a cool video on YouTube, by the way), the guys start off and actually catapult me into an even more perfect day / evening. Somehow the voice of Alex Kourelis and the sound reminds me a bit of Lemmy (Motörhead). And I have to say, I love it. It continues with “Bang that Head” and “Fat Boy Charlie” from the older album “This Is Rock ‘N’ Roll” (both songs as a live recording also found on the YouTube Channel of Metal Crash Radio). And what can I say … great guitar solo and everything your heart desires, if you love pure and heavy Rock’n’Roll. While we are still staying with the album from the year 2012 with “Girls In The City” we switch to the year 2014 with “Mary Christmas” and to the album “Make Art”. And no, it’s not really about Christmas, it’s about the hot girl from the neighborhood and what happens under the Christmas tree. It’s best to listen to the songs themselves and whom’s cold next Christmas, it’ll be hot if he pays attention to the lyrics … lol. Of course, the show is not over yet with “The Game Is Over” from the same album. Another song where I can not stop fidgeting because the rhythm just gets under your skin. After “Bad Reputation” the guys switch back to the album “This Is Rock ‘N’ Roll” with “Miss Saturday Night” and “Great Big Dynamite”. Consistently hard riffs, kick ass drums and f …. awesome rock’n’roll. After the festival, I listened in the current album “Calling The Devil” and I have to say I would have liked to hear more songs, especially from this album live. But on the other hand, one reason more to go to a next concert of the guys who have really wrapped me around their finger with their sound. And also the stage presence is simply the first cream. If you have not realized yet that the Häcker’s have a great knack for really awesome live bands, they just can not be of this world. The gig of the Sticky Boys is brought to the finale with a variation of the song “Surfin USA”. A version that does not exist on any album, but you should definitely hear it live. So look out for the guys’ side and the next gig. More than recommended.
Next up is Stallion, a speed / heavy metal band from Germany. And the 5 guys also start with full speed and the song “Rise And Ride” from the album of the same name from the year 2014. With “Down And Out” from the current album “From The Dead” it gets a bit more melodic, but the tempo is not lost. Stallion are no longer a blank slate. They already toured in 2014 as support with BULLET and also played at some well-known festivals such as at the BANG YOUR HEAD FESTIVAL or SUMMERBREEZE. With “Wild Stallions” and “Stigmatized” we are back at the album from the year 2014.The thrash influence is clear to hear here. And even though Thrash is not always for everyone, I can only say that Stallion is convincing and everyone should listen to their sound. My favorite was “Underground Society” from the current album. Cool riffs, thrashy but also melodic. At least here everyone should listen in (enjoy a live video from this song also on the YouTube Channel of Metal Crash Radio). Stallion have also delivered totaly with the last songs “Shadow Run”, “From The Dead” and “Canadian Steele” and have stayed true to their own style – mixing speed, heavy and thrash metal in a special way. Thumbs up.
At this point, I have to say that it was really impressive how fast the reconstruction work on the stage was done. It was very difficult not to miss any highlight, but I could not and did not miss the delicious food too. Therefore, from the next band DEBAUCHERY VS. BALGEROTH I doesn’t experience all songs up close to the stage. But I can say one thing, DEBAUCHERY Vs. BALGEROTH were already a really great and exciting addition to the No Playback Festival because of their stage presence and of course their outfit. With DEBAUCHERY VS. BALGEROTH we experience a (or strictly speaking two) Death Metal bands from Germany, but this time in a fantasy world. While Debauchery is the leader of a weird horde of beings who favor the vampire cult, Balgeroth is the king of blood gods. I have to admit that I found it a bit difficult to decide if I should focus on the stories and thus on the lyrics or the music. Ultimately, I chose the music and had to say “Blutgott” I liked the most. Or rather the German songs like “In der Hölle spricht man Deutsch” or “Mörderkult der Zerfleischer”. Here is the grunt of Thomas Gurrath something more melodic. But even the English tracks like “Warmachines At War”, “Let There Be Blood” or “Blood For The Blood God” are pithy. The rhythm is consistently good, also if for me all songs have sounded a bit similar. But as always, that’s a matter of taste. In the package of the No Playback Festival, the guys have definitely fit in.
And now the No Playback Festival presents us with WIZARD a very special treat as the first headliner. WIZARD – the spearhead of German underground Metal celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. 30 years! And 11 albums released! Respect! WIZARD takes us through 7 albums of their career – one as strong and top notch as the other. “Midgards Guardian” (Thor 2009), “Liar and Betrayer” (Fallen Kings 2017), “Dark Wings” (Bound by Metal 1999) or “Defenders of Metal” (Head of the Deceiver 2001) are just a few examples from the Journey through the last years. The biggest challenge for me this evening was to stay reasonably calm while filming these last three songs and not to throw away the phone and just rock out of euphoria. But at least I wanted to capture some live impressions for those who missed this festival (these videos can also be found on the Metal Crash Radio YouTube Channel).
There’s no need to talk about individual songs of WIZARD because they’re always in the middle of the Twelve for me. Drums that get under your skin, awesome riffs that make my heart beat twice as fast and a Sven D’Anna who simply shows that it was a perfect decision to switch from drums to the microphone. If you do not know that Sven once sat on the drums, you should take a look at the WIZARD documentary that the Häcker’s lovingly created to commemorate WIZARD’s 30th anniversary. Here many a “secret” is revealed. The set included also “Circle of Steel” (Magic Circle 2005), “Hall of Odin” (Odin 2003) and “Dragon Lords” (Battle of Metal 1998). As I said 13 songs from 7 different albums of the WIZARD world. Simply spectacular what the guys have delivered. So I am all the more pleased that the next album is already being worked on. To describe the mood only in words is almost impossible with this performance. The fire and the euphoria that sparked WIZARD (not only with me), was clear at the latest as the Häcker’s and some of the fans jumped on the stage to the song “Defenders of Metal”, singing and headbanging together that the walls were shaking. It was like a finale with big fireworks and would actually have been a festival finale, as it could not have been better. But it sounds like it was. Yeah, right… it was followed by the second headliner…
… Uncle Tom Angelripper… I do not know, is there a need to say anything? Everyone who knows Motörhead, knows that Uncle Tom is the German Lemmy Kilmister. No? Ok, then maybe a short intro… Uncle Tom originally worked as a miner and is the founder, singer and bassist of the thrash metal band Sodom. One of his quotes: “Metal was religion for us. I had 30 guys in the vocational school class, no one except me knew Motörhead, and I did not care.“ His solo project under his stage name Tom Angelripper (and later known as Uncle Tom), he initially devoted folk- and drinking songs, but then his own compositions in metal style, which mostly praise the alcohol. What for Kilmister whiskey was, for Uncle Tom beer is. That evening songs like “Bier ist die Seele vom Klaviers”, “Alkohol”, “Flasche zu Flasche” or “Trink Brüderlein, trink” was almost a must. And I have to say, I just thought it was awesome. No mood in a marquee can top what Uncle Tom offered us this evening. With songs like “Im tiefen Keller” (Bon Scott hab ich noch live gesehen 2004) or “Ich finde nur Metal geil” (Bier Ernst 2018), he presented us with a broad spectrum from his treasure chest. Before, in the middle, after… even during each song, a bottle of beer was beheaded, drunk, and most of all shared with the fans. Uncle Tom presented us rocking German rock, like anthems, which is just fun and lets everyone sing along. But also extreme headbanging, e.g. while the song “In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus”, is not missing. And no one, really no one can stand still for a second in the hall. To the predecessor WIZARD an absolute contrast program, but that’s exactly what made it perfect. Because only on that way and with the style of Uncle Tom was achieved that the evening had two equal, albeit different headliner. Chapeau Häcker-Family! No other festival would have had such a good feel for this unforgettable combination.
Conclusion: First-class band selection, excellent organization, delicious food, more than perfect value for money and really 100% No Playback with bands which are just great. Thank you!
More than just to be recommended and who missed the No Playback Festival 2019, should secure a ticket as soon as the presale starts. Because friends, every bet, this festival will soon be among the fastest sold out festivals.
Links and contact details of our partner Promopartal-germany, which made the band pictures:
No Playback Festival, 06th April 2019, Germany/Karlsruhe
Interview with Matthias Häcker
è Publication at Metal Crash Radio & Metalheads Forever Magazine & Promoportal-Germany
I have to admit that I heard about the festival for the first time when you asking if we wanted to report on the No Playback Festival. Although your festival is already in the second round. However, I immediately liked the concept and the idea behind it. So thank you very much for the invitation and for taking the time for an interview direcktly after the festival.
First of all, I would like to know, what exactly was the reason for organizing your own festival? And please explain the concept a bit more carefully.
I’ve been a heavy metal fan for 18 years and have watched with horror as in our scene playback has slowly become everyday. More and more often I felt cheated for my ticket I payed for. Especially at the big festivals there are hardly any bands that play everything live. When I got to know Schmier of Destruction in 2016, we came up with the idea of launching a festival that has no playback. That was the idea and the name was born.
The concept is: no recorded music/songs during the show. But also everything else that bugs me in the music business, I refuse consistently at the No Playback Festival: No band has to pay for playing, no overpriced VIP tickets without adequate compensation, no security people who throw you out of the hall 5 minutes after the show, to give just 3 examples.
Especially in times when it is becoming increasingly difficult to organize and organize a festival economically – did not it scare you that it might end up financially suboptimal?
Financially, things are not going according to plan yet, but what does that mean, when hundreds of people with beaming eyes thank me for one of their best days?
The Festhalle Durlach holds at maximum capacity how many people? 800-1000? How many were there?
A maximum of 1200 people fit into the Festhalle, but I do not want to exhaust that, because otherwise the cool atmosphere, with places to sit down and the space for merchandise and meeting with the musicians lost. There were around 500 people this time, and I would like to thank them wholeheartedly.
A festival always means a lot of work – especially in preparation. What was the overall organizational effort (estimated) and how much time is involved in the planning alone?
I have not counted the hours for a long time. All in all, I spent a good nine months preparing, with only the documentation for WIZARD’s 30th anniversary claiming three months. After the festival there are still some administrative formalities to do and then the fun starts again: negotiations, booking, graphic design, advertising…
Let’s get back to the concept – what criteria did you use to select the bands or did you come up with the bands through referrals?
First, I always ask the bands that impressed me the most live. If it fits on a personal level then that’s the perfect deal for me. I also make sure that the mix is right. A pure Thrash, Death Power Metal or Hard Rock Festival would be too one-sided for me.
Headliner was Uncle Tom – a cult figure and a guarantee of a hellish mood. Personally, I have to say that WIZARD delivered fantastic and at the end, as well when you and some fans were on stage and rocked, already had something of a great finale. It was not easy for Uncle Tom to make that better as the last headliner. Or how did you perceived it?
WIZARD and Onklel Tom were equivalent co-headliners, with WIZARD playing even longer. I’ve been a Sodom fan for 13 years, so it was an honor for me to have Tom Angelripper on stage with me. Indescribable the feeling! WIZARD are my absolute favorite band in their genre, so that was a moment I’ll never forget.
Funnily, a few days before the festival, I heard a story about Uncle Tom (I have not had time to check if it happened that way). But let’s assume it was like that. A few years ago, Uncle Tom would have rocked his show at the Wacken Festival in a familiar way on stage with a lot of alcohol, until he had to vomit. Would you have been prepared for something like that? Or. How would you have reacted? (Grin)
I would have taken a mop, cleaned up the mess, and Uncle Tom would have continued to play. No problem! (Grin)
Is there a special band you would like to have at your festival? If so, which and why?
SODOM! They are the biggest for me! The epitome of German Thrash Metal!
What was your personal highlight at the No Playback Festival 2019 (band, maybe a certain situation)?
The whole day was a total intoxication. Two moments, however, remain unequaled. I knew that many WIZARD fans wanted the song “Dragonlords” and I knew exactly when it would come. Standing in front of the audience in the moment and experiencing the reaction still provides goose bumps all over. Just like the moment when, together with Michi, I stood on stage at the end and applauded hundreds of people.
Was there any glitches that happened during the festival that the fans didn’t realized?
We ran out of beer in the backstage, and even at the bar it was not sure if it would last until the end. So I bought beer during the show.
It is always said “after the festival is before the festival”. Are there any ideas for 2020, what is the plan for 2020?
Indeed it starts again. I’ve received more band requests since Saturday than I can answer and have already stretched out the feelers for a headliner myself. After all, I do not need to worry about a new crew, because they all did such a great job and had so much fun themselves that I can rely on the same people in 2020 as well. With that a huge load is fallen from my heart.
Finally – is there anything you would like to share with us for all readers?
Support the local scene, go to bands that you have not seen live yet and do not believe every hype that is sold to us as Metal! Otherwise, heavy metal will degenerate into a pure business model and playback is only a consequence of it.
Thanks for your time. The festival was really a great experience.