M’era Luna 2019

I guess it takes some commitment to drive 500 miles to get to a music event. This is the fifth time Smith and I have done this. It is possibly going to be the last for a while, we kinda feel we need to seek out new things, but we shall see. M’era Luna does have an excellent atmosphere and I think we’ll be back at some point in the future.

As is now the standard we left on the Thursday and drove to a hotel in Bochum. We should have got there in time to have a meal out and see the town but instead there were power issues with the Eurotunnel that delayed our journey on the train by three hours, that was quite frustrating, but we did walk a couple of miles along the main road and find zero bars. Yep, zero. There were two gambling dens but zero bars. I’m not sure if that’s the Germany I imagined.

Lovely skies above the campsite
Campsite Sky

Friday morning means driving the last two and a half hours to Hildesheim and getting to the festival. This part of the journey went well. The traffic was queueing to get into the car park and so Smith ran to join the queue to get us a decent tent spot. It’s quite amazing how quickly the massive campsite fills up with tents. I got parked and dragged most of the kit to the tent. After that, we chilled and wandered and thought about getting ready for the disco that evening.

Friday Night at M'era Luna
Friday Night at M’era Luna

Tickets for the disco were different from years before, we had to buy a wristband which was the standard 5 Euros. As we arrived in the disco there was some decent heavier music being played and it was DJ’d by a guy from the band Unzucht. After a short while it did change style as someone else took over and the music went a bit shit. Smith and I had drunk quite a bit. He lost his glasses. It was about 0200 when we quit and I went for a shower. That night I wandered back from the showers down the runway to the tent, the air was warm and I was happy.

Saturday was going to be hard work. There is always one night when there’s a little too much alcohol consumed. Last year it was the Prodigy gig and Saturday night. This time we overdid it on the Friday! Hangover protocols were now in place. But, there were bands to see starting at 1100 and so things had to get ready. I sometimes feel I physically suffer for my art.

Saturday at M'era Luna
Saturday at M’era Luna

Saturday’s theme for me was future-dystopian-cyber outfit. This was pretty much all home-made and I was very happy with the results. Smith had problems with his horns and so I watched the first band by myself.

Null Positive – main stage. Female fronted metal band, bit like Arch Enemy. quite enjoyable. Two female”dancers” on stage, playing with smoke and fire.

The gas mask on my outfit was really pulling into my head and making me experience pain. Plus the hangover wasn’t helping.

Sudenklang – main stage. I didn’t write anything else here so I don’t remember how good or bad they were.

Centhron – hangar stage. Fast beats, bit boring. It was during this set that I decided to go and get rid of the gas mask. It was hurting me and the backpack was annoying. Also, it was a warm day and I had about three layers on. I returned to the tent [about 15 minutes walk away] to get changed into boring normal clothes. I had been photographed and so thought it time to feel comfortable.

Corvus Corax – main stage. Four bagpipers medieval/folk stuff. It’s basically metal but with bagpipes. It’s not very inspiring stuff and the singer was terrible but the Germans love this shit.

We heard Oomph! while we ate food and I don’t remember being impressed. It’s a terrible band name also!

Agonoize – hangar stage. Bit disappointing really, I had heard some of their stuff and I was hoping for a really “edgy” show. The singer squirted blood three times, he pretended to cut his wrist and let the “blood” spray out for most of the songs. Finished with Breathe as a tribute to Keith, but it was a terrible version.

Agonoize - Hangar Stage, M'era Luna
Agonoize – Hangar Stage, M’era Luna

Lacrimosa – main stage. 1.2 songs. Yeauugh.

SITD – Hangar. solid but only got going after second singers song. Lead singer doesn’t know words to some songs and was reading. The sound at front not great, the system speakers are quite wide and so a lot of the dynamic was missing from being close to the front.

SITD - Hangar Stage, M'era Luna
SITD – Hangar Stage, M’era Luna

Die Krupps – Hangar stage. Saturday headliners. We watched from slightly further back and the sound was much better. This band are really good and their show has been excellent every time I’ve seen them. I’d happily go and see them again. I’d recommend them to anyone.

Die Krupps - Hangar Stage, M'era Luna
Die Krupps – Hangar Stage, M’era Luna

That was the end of the Saturday for us. I think ASP were playing the main stage as we left, I wasn’t bothered at all about seeing him. It had been a long day. We had both had problems with the sun cream running into our eyes and causing massive hayfever type symptoms. Overall the music had been great but I felt dead.

Saturday Steps
Saturday Steps

From the above picture you can see I walked quite a bit that day. I also hadn’t slept much, which was going to be the pattern for the whole weekend really.

On the Sunday I woke to the sound of someone calling “Kaffee”. I popped my head out of the tent and had coffee poured freshly for me from one of the festival workers. He had a large backpack with a supply of drink and all the accoutrements on his belt for a perfect coffee and only 3 Euros. Bloody lovely.

It might be time to talk about the pooing situation at festivals. I mean, this shouldn’t be talked about but too make the process as easy as possible it takes planning and hard work. Firstly, eating vegetarian reduces the amount of time required in the portaloos. Next, pick your portaloos carefully. The ones on the runway are very busy and stink. I mean they stink more than others. So, go to the toilets in the car park. Leave the festival site and walk a bit. This needs to be planned for after waking and coffee. Next up, take the portaloo furthest west. The one in the east gets sunshine on it and heats up. This increases smells. So, to sum up, find the least used loos, and use the coolest one.

Getting ready on Sunday was easy, it was an old costume being recycled.

Sunday at M'era Luna
Sunday at M’era Luna

I kept the hood with me as the Sun was warm and I didn’t want to burn my skin.

Fear of Domination – main stage. Finish. Male and female singer. Good bass drop. Good solid set.

Fear Of Domination - Main Stage, M'era Luna
Fear Of Domination – Main Stage, M’era Luna

Yellow Lazarus – hangar stage. Ok. EBM but fast, not great. Two songs. It’s like Aqua (Barbie girl) on speed. Pretty sure we only caught a few of their songs.

Scarlet Dorn – main stage. Slow melodic rock with female singer. Keyboardist is from LOTL. This sort of music is fine in the background but it didn’t really rock.

At some point I went to get changed, again! It was another hot day and I wasn’t enjoying being in my costume. My head was sweating a lot under the gas mask.

Formalin – hangar stage. Live drummer. Keyboards. Singer. Pretty good. Very good crowd interaction. Good song dynamics.

Heldmaschine – hangar stage. Blue LEDs on costumes and drumsticks. Two guitars (one a lefty). Bass. Drums. Singer. Backing track somewhere.

Combichrist – main stage. Fucking amazing.

Combichrist - Main Stage, M'era Luna
Combichrist – Main Stage, M’era Luna

There’s a video of the Combichrist gig. This one was amazing. You can see it here:
https://www.ndr.de/nachrichten/niedersachsen/Mera-Luna-2019-Combichrist-spielen-in-Hildesheim,combichrist104.html

I’m in there a few times, as is Smith, I’ll leave you to find it though. After this show I had to keep pouring water over my head to cool down. I think I had over done it. At least I didn’t get a cracked rib from the PIT unlike Smith.

Goodnight Skies - M'era Luna
Goodnight Skies – M’era Luna

Suicide Commando – hangar stage. Really good but I lefty feeling unwell. Sounds better a distance from stage, speakers too wide at very front. I needed cool air. Spotted the SITD guy in front of SC.

Suicide Commando - Hangar Stage, M'era Luna
Suicide Commando – Hangar Stage, M’era Luna

VNV Nation – main stage for a few songs. Ok, but the gig at the Scala was amazing.

After this it was shower time and a walk down the runway. Then, Monday we just had to drive home. On the way we had planned to stop just into Germany for photos but because of the delays at the tunnel we chose not to. We had plenty of time on the return journey and so we stopped on that:

Wankum, De
Wankum, De

I couldn’t tell you why we chose to stop here!

The excitement didn’t end in Germany! We got to the Channel Tunnel a few hours before our crossing and so paid a little extra to get home earlier than originally planned. This was good as Smith only had prescription sunglasses left after losing his in the disco and he didn’t want to drive home in the dark. As we approached the Maidstone junction on the M20 one of the front tyres blew and deflated quickly. This was very annoying. We managed to pull off the motorway and put the spare on. We were about three miles from my house.

I’ve had the car looked at and it it probably a tracking issue which caused the insides of the tyre to wear down too far. This will hopefully be fixed on Monday or Tuesday. I’m just glad that it blew where it did rather than 500 miles away in Germany. That would have been quite a shitter.

So, M’era Luna 19 was amazing and fun. It was also hard work and a challenge. Next year, we will see what happens. Maybe I’m too old for this shit?

M’era Luna 2018 – 798km

One of my favourite times of year is when I drive the 798km to Hildesheim in Germany. It takes about a day to get there and a further day to return, however, it is so incredibly worth it. Smith and I go there to spend the weekend camping in a tent city of 20,000 people to watch bands and be a part of the atmosphere.

Thursday was the day to leave Kent around lunchtime, drive the short distance to the magical train where you put cars on board and it drives you underneath the English Channel. Once we arrived in France we set about navigating our way to Bochum which is where we have a stop for the night. We travel through France, Belgium and the Netherlands to get to Germany and I will be really fucking pissed off if next year we have to pay for visas to get through those. Also, I suspect that the “leaving the UK” system will be a crock of shit. Fuck Brexit.

Friday morning we woke early and headed to Hildesheim. It’s another three hours or so of driving and we wanted to get there before the campsite opened to try and get a good spot to stay. We’d filled up with fuel back in Bochum so we should be good for the rest of the trip. Once in Hildesheim we followed the SatNav to the festival and managed to find the normal entrance to the car park. This year the fields were dry and we were much earlier than other times and so able to park reasonably close to the festival. We got some bits together and then joined the 400m long queue to enter the campsite. We had about an hour before the campsite opened but the queue was long already. It took ninety minutes to get into the old Army Air Corps base.

Mera Site
Mera Site

The Google Map star in the field is where I parked the car. We then walked due south and the campsite started at the runway. The grass area to the north of the runway is all campsite. The festival pretty much all takes place in between four hangers, where the red cross is marked.

The Friday was spent chilling, looking around the Middle Ages market and generally getting used to what’s around. We also had to do another run to the car to collect more equipment. Around 22:00 we headed to the disco hangar.

Daniel Graves DJing
Daniel Graves DJ-ing

The disco was good fun. Daniel Graves of Aesthetic Perfection spent an hour at the mixing desk and it was good to see him doing this stuff.

At some point that night we went back to the tent but I have no idea what time that might have been.

Saturday started with getting dressed up for the day. I recycled a costume from a couple of years ago. I was planning to wear the coloured mask that day but it was quite heavy and not easy to carry [except on my head]. If I was going to dance and mosh then I wanted a simple costume. Therefore I went for the human butcher look again.

The bands on that evening were Ministry and Prodigy, I expected both of these to be really good and possibly ones I would dance along to. So, the following is a list of the bands seen and what I thought:

Whispering Sons – hangar stage – Goth. Androgynous singer. Goth indie. Songs were ok.

Erdling – main stage – German rock. Pretty good.

Cephalgy – hangar – heavy dance but not fast. Ok. Blonde keyboardist. Singer had shirt tucked into his jeans. Not great crowd interaction. Songs slightly too long? Left after about 5 songs. My anticipation for The Prodigy is immense.

Merciful Nuns – main stage – samey songs, but goth. Goth shit.

Eisfabrik – hangar stage – dance. Snowman on stage. I guess someone has to corner the snow market? Didn’t really watch it, just saw them on the screens from outside the hangar.

Rabia Sorda – hangar stage – best so far. Good solid rock set.

Lord Of The Lost – main stage – pretty solid set. The band did well.

Ministry – main stage – by this time I was drunk, had been for a few hours, but I have to say that Ministry were pretty amazing. I saw them about 20 years ago at Brixton and this was just as good, if not better. Smith and I were in the mosh pit for quite a bit of the set. There’s a live steam video and we appear a number of times. Just look for the two people dressed in white next to each other.

In the video you can see me and Smith at 18:42 in the middle of the screen. Look for the white and me clapping.

Next band up were In Extremo but I have written no notes about them so I can’t comment. I don’t remember a huge amount about the rest of the day/

The final band were THE PRODIGY. I was very pumped to see them. They were on stage for about 90 minutes but I will admit that apart from knowing it was amazing I have very little recollection of the event. I don’t think there is any video either which is a shame because I would love to see what songs they played and possible see me in the mosh pit. All I can say is that at then end of the set I was drenched in sweat and absolutely knackered. Smith lost his phone. I know I had an amazing time. I just don’t remember much of it.

The Prodigy
The Prodigy

Once the set was finished and Smith had used my phone to cancel his handset and we spent a short while looking over the ground it was time to head back to the tent [a 12 minute walk] and then shower the make up off. The showers were open all night so that wasn’t too much of a problem and to be fair the showers are pretty good. The biggest problem for me now was making sure I didn’t have a monster hangover, my hangovers are legendary.

Sunday morning was a little rough and eventually I got up, had an intake of caffeine and tablets, there was a headache there, brewing, waiting for the right opportunity to strike and limit me to slow movements and quiet. I struggled through trying to get ready for the day, which meant mostly painting Smith.

So, here is the run down of the day, after we had been to the Info Point to see if a phone had been handed in.

Massive Ego – hangar stage -goth with a reasonable heavy but slow beat. British band. Buns on his head. Some of the longer deeper sung notes were not good. We saw this singer hanging around the main arena later on and that’s pretty cool,

FabrikC – hangar stage – heavy fast dance. Singer talks too much. Really heavy sound. No real singing and lots of samples from movies.

Aesthetic Perfection – hangar stage – really impressive again. Joe Letz on drums.

Rotersand – hangar stage – bloody brilliant, as usual.

Atari Teenage Riot – hangar stage – first two songs were really poor but after that it turned into high energy industrial punk. Pretty good.

Front 242 – main stage – really good sound. Songs were solid but very 242

Eisbrecher – main stage – A very good set. Impressive show. I liked the snow on stage.

Considering the amount of alcohol I drank on Saturday along with being drunk before midday, sobering a little and then getting drunk again, the Sunday went remarkably well. I didn’t have a headache, I did drink lots of water, I didn’t have any alcohol this day.

I think the show finished around 22:00 and then there were showers to be had. Monday morning was all about packing up, getting everything to the car, Smith going to the police station and then driving the 798km home. This was easily the best M’era Luna so far. My suspicion is that although I am into EBM now, I have been a metal head for over thirty years and this M’era Luna was more of that than goth.

Just so you can see, here are two diagrams that show how much I moved over the two main days of the festival.

M'era Luna Saturday
M’era Luna Saturday

M'era Luna Sunday
M’era Luna Sunday

I am already thinking about costumes for next year and looking forward to it!

M'era Luna 2019
M’era Luna 2019

Bands I have seen

This is a memory test. Trying to list the bands I have seen live. I guess this page will be edited as I remember the hazy days of long ago before children.

1st Concert
Iron Maiden (support: White Dwarf) 10 December 1988, Wembley Arena

After that:
AC/DC, Wembley Arena, Donington, Wembley Stadium
Aesthetic Perfection, The Underworld
Alice in Chains, Cambridge Corn Exchange twice, Download ’13
Asking Alexandria, Wembley Arena
Bon Jovi, Wembley Arena, Wembley Stadium, Twickenham
Bullet For My Valentine, Wembley Arena
Combichrist, Wembley Arena
Dan Reed Network, Wembley Arena
Diamond Head, Milton Keynes Bowl
Elvis Presley (kind of), Wembley Arena
Evile, Brixton Academy
Faith No More, Wembley Stadium
Gary Moore, Wembley Arena
Great White, Wembley Arena
Guns ‘n’ Roses, Wembley Stadium twice and Milton Keynes Bowl
Iron Maiden, Cambridge Corn Exchange twice and Earls Court
Jose Gonzalez, Shepherds Bush Empire
Killing Joke, O2 Academy Islington
King’s X, Wembley Arena
KMFDM, O2 Academy Islington
Level 42 (the shame), Wembley Arena
Lostprophets, Brixton Academy
Madonna, Wembley Stadium
Megadeth, Wembley Arena, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Milton Keynes Bowl, Brixton Academy
Metallica, Wembley Arena, Earls Court, Donington, Milton Keynes Bowl
Ministry, Brixton Academy
Motley Crüe, Wembley Arena, Donington
Nine Inch Nails, Wembley Stadium, Brixton Academy
Prince, Earls Court
Peter Green – Chatham Theatre
Queensryche, Donington
Rammstein, Wembley Arena
Senser, Portsmouth somewhere, Underworld
Skid Row, Wembley Arena, Wembley Stadium
Slayer, Wembley Arena Earls Court
Suicidal Tendencies, Wembley Area
Testament, Wembley Arena, KoKo
The Almighty, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Milton Keynes Bowl
The Black Crowes, Donington, Brixton Academy
The Darkness, Wembley Arena
Treponem Pal, O2 Academy Islington
Ugly Kid Joe, Wembley Stadium
UK Subs, The Square
Van Halen, Wembley Stadium
Wat Tyler, The Square
White Lion, Wembley Arena
Winger, The Astoria
Wolfsbane, Cambridge Corn Exchange twice, The Marquee
Yngwie Malmsteen, Shepherds Bush Empire

For the Download 2013 list click here.