Friday, November 30, 2012
After a long layoff, I bit down and got back out to Ralph's for this one, despite a bit of surrounding work chaos; from my lookout it wasn't the most appealing bill in the whole entire world, but a decent metal show is a decent metal show, and it was still something. Due to that layoff, I messed up the timing and got in well before the bands started; I looked over the distro tables and generally hung out and acclimated to the strange new atmosphere. Ralph's, in the months that I've not been inside, has finished building the wheelhouse-style sound booth at the back, and has demolished the old familiar sound booth with the dishwasher foundry plate on it that was formerly in the middle of the floor. In terms of renovations, this is not a patch on O'Brien's a couple years ago, but has about the same effect in terms of opening up usable floor space.
Eventually, Alcoholicaust corralled their drummer and got set up, so I could give up on the architectural criticism and go watch bands.
Up from Connecticut, I'd heard of these guys before, but not seen them live; what they brought, despite or maybe because of the lack of a live drummer, was a mixture of death and black metal reminiscent of old God Dethroned -- or maybe Enthroned at Obituary's tempos and compositional reach. The density of the programmed drum tracks and the lack of anything really expansive in the music made for a restrictive and kind of rote impression, but at least there weren't a lot of desynchs, which is a continual risk whenever one of the members is an audio file that can't react to what the other guys are playing. All in all, ok, and certainly better than Neldoreth, but should they come back, I'm pretty sure the band is also hoping to come back with a live drummer and some more developed material.
Alcoholicaust roaring about zombies. Drummers are apparently an endangered species in Bristol.
Dark Was The Night [5/7]
I didn't know initially, but this is the band that Seth, ex of Ascendancy, Summoning Hate, Hekseri, and many other Boston-area bands is now drumming for; as such I was definitely interested in what they were going to present. What they presented was, in some ways, a band with a thoroughly split personality over two songs: the first two were muddled, overly-dense, self-satisfying, intellectually-sterile prog-thrash of the worst sort that the end of the '90s could offer, and then they switch to "When The World Breaks Down" and "Dawn" (the latter using a pair of 8-string guitars to great effect), and it's like a whole other band, one that is awesome and progressive rather than progressive and annoyingly tiresome. If they can continue to follow on in the latter vein, mixing dynamics, melodics, and varied tempos into their fusillade of technicality, this is going to be a band that a lot of people will have to pay attention to, and even this restricted sample was pretty damn cool.
DWTN rip down a wall of riffage.
It should be apparent that, like Alcoholicaust, DWTN was short a member from their desired setup; the bands were joking around a little later about swapping the one's bassist for the other's drummer.
DWTN equip their 8s for "Dawn".
Demoralizer, of course, I had seen somewhat recently, and they delivered pretty much exact to expectations, with a fifteen-song set of mile-a-minute grindcore interspersed with a couple of slam chugs. It had, as usual, all the subtlety of an out-of-control gravel truck, but the ruinous speed and complete abandon that they approached the performance with was a definite blast of fresh air after the relative restraint of the bands preceding. The floor did not see a whole lot of motion -- maybe people are still adjusting to the booth move and haven't got full moshpit prioproception yet -- but it was a little more than immediately previous, and the floor was pretty near full up.
Demoralizer get cranked up to start their barrage.
In this break, I checked Demoralizer's CD offerings and found out I'd picked up the demo they had back earlier in the year, so I hit the distro stand. In addition to the still-requisite new Borknagar and cult reissues from CNV and Graveland, I also picked up some interesting scuttlebutt in relation to potential tours coming into the area from further reaches....but with Josh waiting on routing confirmation and still locking down details on venues (and presumably guarantees) with the bands, I'm not going to leak anything before confirmation. That's a matter for another night.
Looking back, I've seen this band a lot less often than I thought I had, which is probably due to how often End comes up in my CD rotation, and how the title track and "Wash All The Corpses Away" seem to get into every mp3 collection I make for travel or whatever. We got the former as an encore, but not the latter, in a still of-course strong, crunchy, and diverse set that pulled in a lot of stuff off the forthcoming Prophecy -- and if your ears didn't perk up immediately at the idea of a new, presumably full-length, Nocuous record, you weren't at this show, and you haven't been paying attention to the band generally. The rockstarishness of using stage fans (albeit a little more democratically than Coffin Birth) and the silly things they did to Reuben's hair were quickly plastered over by Nocuous' classic mix of punch and crunch, which was a little further evolved here than on prior samples. The basic idea, of doing Witchery's meld of black, death, and Slayer elements with a completely different selection of stuff from black metal, death metal, and Slayer (Nocuous is still the only band doing Show No Mercy screams, which reflects poorly on every other band claiming to be influenced by Slayer), remains the same, but time and possibly member change have put a different spin on it. Regardless, the band completely killed it, got an encore due to popular acclaim, and left approximately everyone there unsatisfied that the new record wasn't out yet.
Nocuous lay it down -- with Reuben's hair laying remarkably flat, for a ginger standing over an electric fan set on high.
Eventually, as noted, Nocuous had to close up, and I hit the road immediately, as I had a bunch of stuff to do for work in the morning, and even getting home at two, as I did, was going to be cutting it close. Those work obstructions and close-cutting will feature next week as well; I should be able to escape my work holiday do in time to catch Abnormality, even if I miss Weregild or Witch King, but between work, class, and baking commitments Sonata Arctica and their keytar trolling on Friday is probably a bridge too far. Sorry Gennaro, maybe next time.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Septic Flesh with Krisiun, Melechesh, Ex Deo, Inquisition, and Untombed [Middle East, Cambridge, 10/15/2012]
.....and just like that, I finished up my second on-call shift in three weeks and came clear till the solstice. This was written near on a month ago, but work got in the way, and then a bout of violent depression at missing first Suffocation, then Deiphago for work reasons. So it goes. Hopefully, more in the pipeline in the six weeks ahead.
It had been far too long since I had been able to get out to a gig, for a variety of reasons, and despite the deadweight on this bill, and the thorough well-poisoning that Septic Flesh had done in advance, there was more than enough reason to get out of work quick and over for the early start. Due to good old insane congestion on 93, I rolled up a little after doors, so there was no line, but there was still Untombed and everyone else's good buddy Rafe out front, and he ended up having an extra ticket, which saved me five bucks on the inbound, and probably a little time.
Thanks to this, I got through the patdown before Untombed had gotten too far into their set, and I saw a long slice of a damn class performance. The band keeps improving, and the Middle East PA let them show off the full capabilities of their sound. There was a little trickery -- see Dave standing in the lens flare in a gas mask -- but the main point of Untombed remains, as ever, the straightforward provision of solid, brutal, grooving but not over-slammy death metal. Good stuff, and despite the black metal balance of the bill, an excellent opener.
Untombed roar out of the gates.
As referenced above; Dave cosplaying as one of the dudes from Kommandant.
I went forward for Inquisition because space opened up, and I wanted to get the best possible experience I could in a shorter slot. Just not falling asleep wasn't going to cut it.
Inquisition's set did end up significantly cut, but I was in the first/first and a halfth row for all of it, and what we did get was choice. It balanced a little newer, but they did still get everyone fist-pounding along to "Empire...", and the split of folkic melodies, evil drone, and storming true black metal hit exactly the damn spot. The great attraction of Inquisition right now, though, is not really any of that, nor their purist devotion to Satanism, so much as that the whole sum of this is that the band is basically the band that Immortal has not been able to be for most of the last 15 years: not overshadowed by an epochal record, or bound by "line between clever and stupid" with regard to their paint, attitude, and presentation. If Inquisition has an ATHOW on the way, we will cherish these intimate sets in small clubs -- and if not, we'll be getting even more of them. Either way, win.
Inquisition stirring the pool.
Dagon delivering some croaks.
Starting the intro into "Empire...."
I moved back for Ex Deo, because they had been weighed and found wanting on a previous occasion. Some may blurt out here, BUT U R WOP HOW CAN U HAET ROM, but in truth, my blood is far more, by volume, of that of Boudeicia, Hermann, and Saladin than of the Caesars...that and this band is basically modern Kataklysm doing Gladiator cosplay, and my feelings on that topic are well known.
Irony? The eagles on Ex Deo's Roman standards are pretty obviously the same as the ones we saw on American flags in school every day growing up, which would make an interesting commentary on American military dominance and national decline, if there was the faintest suggestion that this band was self-aware, let alone politically-aware, enough to do this intentionally.
Ex Deo [5/7]
While they didn't play anything especially gripping or interesting -- justifying my decision to cut out in the middle for a food break -- Ex Deo did put on a decent show and delivered a high-test, professional, set. Mauricio is no longer capable, it seems, of playing good or interesting music, but he is a goddamn professional, on stage as well as booking these tours, and the execution here was as high as anticipated. Decent escapist fun, but the band is lucky that their boss is also about the most competent and professional booker/tourmanager operating in North America, or they would have no chance, on the merits, of getting onto bills like this, or getting this kind of audience.
Ex Deo receives the acclaim -- but not the salutes -- of the audience. Amazingly, everyone here kept their right arms from doing socially obnoxious things, even when this band gave them ample excuse to troll. Standards are slipping.
Melechesh and forward again; I'd been on the rail at Party.San, of course, but here would be still closer.
Most of the set was not quite at this level, and in truth there was not a ton of separation between them, Inquisition, and Krisiun to come. However, they ended in grand, aggressive style, pumping out a pure fury that got them up to the mark; not a bad impression for the first US tour. The material was heavily biased towards their newest record, but I'm not sure how much off Sphynx, let alone As Jerusalem Burns... people would have recognized anyways. Should they come back, they'll do better keeping the whole level high, but their attitude and intensity in delivering what has always been class and deep as well as violent music can stand no complaints. Killer.
The hood only lasted for one song here too....
....but as shown, it isn't the same guy.
Ashmedi bows his guitar with a drumstick for some interesting sounds. Only one intro with this, but it was pretty cool.
I stuck for Krisiun, as I'd never actually seen them this close in a room this small. The only space that compares is the Palladium upstairs, and the front there is an audio killzone as well as permanently hogged by kids and other tryhards. No chance of that in Cambridge.
BRAZILIAN BAND SO TEHY WERLD CUPS HURR DURR
Ok, for real; Moyses tuning up.
Krisiun, of course, delivered, with the immense sound, ceaseless brutality, and undying professionalism that has made them legends (as well as punchlines) for fifteen years. They don't look it, and the performance is even less weighted by years on years of small rooms and violent crowds. They built on the openers, who had some motion, but really took the pit up to another level, as expected from the first actual death metal band since Juan and co. packed up to let the touring bands on. Some people may have left due to it being a Monday night and Septic Flesh's disastrous prior performance in Providence, but Krisiun sent them out the door with a legit headliner-quality set that, even without the last band, was eminently worth the admission price.
Brutal music demands brutal lensflares.
Alex gives ceaseless appreesh to the crowd.
Cameraman getting stuck in; several of the bands on this one were filmed, so watch out for a DVD from this tour, either independently or bundled with the physical release of their next albums.
I was also a little worn, and backed up in order to bail if necessary, but I wanted to give Septic Flesh a fair shake. They got it, though as Melechesh might say, mene mene tekel upharsin.
Septic Flesh [5/7]
I tried not to be influenced by the bad reviews from attendees and supporting bands on the PVD gig. The thing was, I could see exactly where they were coming from. Playback Flesh put together a decent bit of execution, but it was so overwhelmingly from the sound board as to make the band's presence on stage of questionable necessity. I can understand the economics -- especially coming from Greece -- of not paying for a live keyboard player, but when you have string lines that are not being played by guitarists for lack of a goddamn pedal, it is really, really pushing it. They're probably better on record, where the playback element isn't as disruptive, but so is Therion, and Therion isn't going to draw me to a headlining tour either. Septic Flesh were not terrible, but in the last analysis every single band on this bill put up better results...and that's not where you want to be as a headliner.
Septic Flesh concelebrate "The Great Mass".
Eventually, Septic Flesh stopped without degrading their score any further, and I hit the road, eventually getting this posted more than a month after the gig in question. Hopefully, this won't hold for coming shows...which I also hope to actually, like, get out to between now and the end of the year.
Monday, September 10, 2012
8/19 - Nürnberg
It's 7:00 and it's already boiling. Today's going to be just nuclear -- hopefully, it'll be a little better across the state line. (It wasn't.)
- Würzburg -
A little break; about 15 minutes till the regional train to Frankfurt. This is about half as fast as the ICE, but I don't really need to get there with any great speed. As long as I do get there, and as long as I don't have to stand so much on the next leg.
- Frankfurt -
558. Yin/yang symbol cut into the waste ground between the hotel and the Ostbahnhof.
Since it's Sunday (nothing being open), and too boiling hot to actually go do anything, it was off to a nearby gas station for dinner and what turned out to be four new beer caps. This makes at least 20 on this trip, which is a new record.
8/20 - Frankfurt
It's still boiling, but I have about an hour to wait until heading out, in order to skip the Mainhattan rush hour on the way to the airport.
As noted, this is likely the last festival run, and while I'd've liked to not be so injured as to skip Summer Breeze, I don't have many regrets. I did all my distro, saw a bunch of cool bands, and left it all on the table. As long as I'm still breathing, I'm going to be driven to the corners of the world to do hard, dumb, and/or interesting things, but after this trip, I won't mind closing the book on Germany. What I've seen of the west is decent, but further reinforces the impression that I had from the start: that I'm too acculturated to the east (and to Saxony specifically) to really stick west of that notional decades-retired line. Maybe doing the border crossing reinforced that line, maybe not. It is what it is, though, and with a calm and even heart I can turn away from the Rhine and set my sights on Siberia.
- Flughafen -
559. Frankfurt continues building up.
Too early; the check-in gate isn't even open yet. As soon as it is -- hopefully in an hour or less -- I can get digested by the security apparatus and get on with the process of getting back to Boston. I have another shot at Iceland, and this time about an hour on the ground, modulo delays. We'll see what that allows in about 5 or 6 hours.
Signs of life from the check-in counter. I really should've stopped at the stadium to see if I could get some Eintracht swag, but oh well. On the plus side, I'm rehydrated and with a dry shirt; the weather isn't storming yet, but that just means that outside the air-conditioned halls, it's oppressively hot, which is even worse with the pack loaded up. The sooner I get my pack checked in the better -- even inside, moving that kind of load gets sweaty.
On check-in, I found that each passenger is allowed up to 13kg of cabin baggage. My pack tipped the scales at 12.5 kilos (yes, notably down from Boston at the start) -- and I stand by the requirement that if you cannot military-press your thirty-pound "carry-on" over your head and shove it into the bin unassisted, it really ought to be checked. Thirteen kilos FFS.
My player's running a little low on social insulation fuel, but not only are there occasional free outlets in Keflavik, Icelandair has upgraded at least this aircraft to have leechable USB ports. Unless it stops beforehand, last hour to retank. (Retanking did not work but was mostly unnecessary, as will be seen.)
- Keflavik -
560. Salt haddock and another two caps, from a country I haven't collected from yet.
The Americans here mostly have inside voices, but those in close contact seem to be especially stabworthy. Lunch was expensive and yielded no ISK, but I got those two new caps and kept a usable stock of euros for next time. The salt fish provides a cool experience and enough protein to put the rest of the budget into vegetables (and beer), but also like 900% of the salt RDA to the point of being inedible. Give and take, give and take; if any haddock's left by the time I get home, I'll try washing it to remove some salt before eating.
- off Greenland -
The plane is packed, but I've still got Moonsorrow pumping (for now at least), and every so often I get some water and can eat more harthfiskur. This stuff is dead inedible without copious amounts of liquid, but packs all the nostalgic savor (despite all efforts, I'm still from New England) of rich Atlantic haddock as an aftertaste -- provided that you've got something to cut the salt with and allow you to get to that point.
- over New Brunswick -
The player finally ran out of gas with about an hour to go, but fortunately Icelandic has the new Solstafir disc in their music library, and that should last till we touch down. (It did, and while it's not as good as their live set this year, it's a decent look at the Solstafir experience -- i.e., doomy, drawn-out, more mystical than raw while containing both, not completely repellent to charges of hipsterism. Check it out if you can't see the band live.)
- Lynn -
I'm supposed to be on a burn phase in order to fit into the custom togs for my brother's wedding, but I still went all-in on pizza at North Station. 1) It's better than fucking McD's, and 2) Germans can't make decent pizza and I was jonesing. Late dinner and I've got a 2-mile hike yet; it'll work out.
561. The circle completes itself. Most of these samples retrieved from Party.San will get passed out locally; a few of them are mine, but the flow in this last example goes both ways. I do what I can, when I can; the northeastern scene is worth it, and the stronger connections we can make between us, through whatever agency is available, the better for all of us. And while this explicitly applies to the metal continuum, travel, at least as I've lived it in the last eight years, makes a pretty strong argument for applying it to everything else as well.
Lower the flags; this has been my final chapter -- at least as far as festivals are concerned. Regular shows, and further farings, will continue to get documented here until further notice.
8/17 - leaving München
It's about an hour to Nürnberg, and then some subway Kakerlak and a half-mile hike to the hotel. Delays built in. Once there, we'll see what there is to see, and what supplies I need to get in.
The hot air is boiling yesterday's rain out of the ground; outside the city, a thick fog lies over much of the landscape. Really cool.
This trip also set a personal land-speed record. On the leg between Ingolstadt and Nürnberg, the train ticked over 300 km/hr, which was the first time I've gotten to those kinds of speeds on the ground without, fifteen minutes to either side, being airborne.
- Nürnberg -
416. Lolbalkon. I'd say it compensates for the spectacularly useless kitchenette (want to make something other than instant beverages? No tools for you!), but I got an absurdly good rate in-season on 3 days' notice. Everything else is gravy.
8/18 - Nürnberg
Because I started too early, I missed all of my built-in delays (1.FCN shop wasn't open, didn't feel like eating again at Zum Guldenen Stern -- or drinking hefe either for that matter) and now have 45 minutes to kill before the Dürer-Haus opens. Time enough to write the inbound leg up.
417. Tower and wall section at Plärrer.
418. Church in Jakobusplatz.
419. Dome above the subway exit.
420. Old wall and modern buildings south of Plärrer.
421. Zum Guldenen Stern. Maybe on the way back.
422. Local Pirate Party HQ. (Nine percent and growing!)
423. Old restaurant on Sommerpause.
424. Church from 418, different face and in better light.
425. The building below the dome in 419.
426. The Weisser Turm. No uruk-hai in evidence. (Or Aes Sedai for that matter; we are a full-service nerd reference shop here.)
427. Fountain below the tower.
428. Tower and subway exit.
As shown, one of the passages to the Weisser Turm subway stop goes through the eponymous tower, probably due to easy basement access when the tunnels were first being cut.
429. Jeweler's in an old building, heading for the river.
430. View across the Peglitz just short of the Karlsbrücke.
431. Perfect reflections off the bridge.
432. Latin pillar in the middle.
433. Off through greenery from the Henkerturm.
434. Another calendar shot to the west.
435. And to the north from the south bank.
436. North side and bridge to the Henkerturm.
437. Further west over a flood dam.
438. Henkerturm and covered bridge, completely backlit.
439. Massive old half-timbered building.
440. Latin inscription on a corner, heading northwest.
441. Tower up in the northwestern corner. Nürnberg built their Ring mostly outside the walls, rather than pulling them down.
442. Strongpoint tower, heading up to the Dürer-Haus.
443. Square above the Dürer-Haus.
444. The house itself.
445. View along the top of the walls, from a traffic-control pillar where I wrote all of this up.
There are more antsy German tourists around now, waiting for the doors to open, but still like 20 minutes to go. This should be enough time for me to check out the fortress, then come back for the museum and start working the south-east leg, back to the Hbf. Losgehts!
The fort was cool, and the Dürer-Haus quite so, but there are only guided tours through the Felsengänge. We'll see what we can get out of this -- especially after a liter of Rotbier in 15 minutes while waiting.
446. Passage under/through the walls.
447. Tower from the other side.
448. Along the moat, with inner and outer walls. It's gardens down there now.
449. Into the inner wall, flooded with light.
450. Garden and ramparts; the tower above is lost in the light.
451. A better shot; there's an almost Japanese feel from the greenery and the way the walls stack up to the tower.
452. More of the fortress.
453. Passage going in; the supports are new.
454. First room past the gate.
455. Labeled, in case you couldn't tell. (Yes, this is a street sign. Yes, it's still funny.)
456. Artificial composition and a wooden gate.
457. The main tower rises above the ineer courtyard.
458. Nürnberg panorama from the castle.
459. Closer look out towards the churches.
460. Up from the foot of the tower.
461. Courtyard, wide shot.
462. A tighter look out through the walls.
463. Greenery in the inner Hof.
464. Double eagle on the door -- Nürnberg was a free city of the Holy Roman Empire before getting absorbed into Bavaria.
465. Wall houses going down.
466. Gatehouse over the passage.
467. Looking up at the fortress from outside.
468. Built into and over the andstone bluff.
469. Zur Waffenschmied -- a restaurant now, but an important part of the past. In the Renaissance, Nürnberg was it for superior weapons and plate gear.
470. Fachhaus and slate.
471. Golden knight at the bottom of the Ölstraße.
My first cheap pen from Erfurt gave out here, making for a very long recap back at the hotel, four hours and three museums' worth of stuff later. Fortunately, I had a second pen -- despite not having it in the shoulder bag for this day -- and this was the next-to-last day of the trip.
472. "The Hare", 1984, after Dürer. There were other tourists looking at this as I got closer, and they kept using words like "unheimlich" and "ekelhaft" to describe it. Albrecht Dürer; still upsetting and confusing conservative old Germans, even 500 years on.
473. In close and gruesome detail.
- Dürer-Haus -
The museum was now open, so I went in.
474. "Tanzende Skeletten", 1489. This needs to be in more metal albums. Everyone and their brother rips chunks out of the "Apocalypse", broaden your horizons a little.
475. One of the "Wanderer" rooms, a 19th-century re-dressing to the period.
476. Up to the upstairs chimney room.
477. Stair furniture.
478. World map of Waldseemüller, 1507.
479. Slate for 478.
480. Woodcut plate and prints, after the master.
481. Reduction plate for "The Rhinoceros".
482. Tower on the wall after coming out of the museum.
As noted a ways up, there were only guided tours of the Felsengänge (a good thing, as will be seen), so I had to wait till eleven to go ahead. This left 25 minutes, so I got a liter of Rotbier (no cap, boo) and took a break, the sun not being completely impossible yet. The beer was gone in ten minutes, and I took the rest of the time to dry out.
483. My only souvenir of the strongish, slightly sour Nürnberger Rotbier, famous in the same recipe -- thanks to the upcoming cliff cellars -- since the Middle Ages. That same old obsession with pack weight prevented me from taking the bottle home.
- Felsengänge -
484. Down Dürerplatz to St. Sebaldus, with the tour group.
485. Bombenhagel. The entrance passages were dug as bomb shelters/connectors to the same during the war.
486. Gas-tight door into the bunker.
487. Air-raid warning network.
488. War-era signage.
video8: Affengang -- there's a 1,7-meter height limit in this emergency tunnel (dug by POWs in a matter of days after the Hamburg firebombing, neatly killing any sympathy any tourists related to Allied POWs (like your correspondent) might have had for the city population under bombardment). Hunch over and make gorilla noises as your hands bump against your shins.
489. Inside the old beer cellars.
490. Law's the law -- specified cellar requirements for anyone who wants to brew.
491. Shelves built into the rock for unknown purposes.
492. A hand-forged keg filler apparatus from the late 19th century.
493. "...a maze of twisting passageways, all of them alike..."
494. Lime deposits, headed down.
495. More headroom, three levels down.
496. Sixteen meters up a ventilation shaft to the surface.
497. Wide vaults allow the light to carry.
498. Granite incursion between sandstone layers.
499. Old corner, not covered in spraycrete reinforcing.
500. Old ice cellar for cooling.
501. Ice-working tools. The ice, when imported rather than local, came from the Alps and Norway, not Wenham.
502. Laboratories of Bierschutz. City-level regs that laid the base for the Reinheitsgebot 200 years later.
503. Rubble and reinforced wall. We're still five stories down in a cliff made out of compressed sand.
504. Empty, dangerous passages -- adventure awaits! (Hence why there's only guided tours, to cut down on the volume of overly-adventurous, still-just-as-dead tourists.)
505. Year marking, headed up.
506. In use -- "bierbrand" (beer brandy wtf) ripening in the darkness.
507. Dürer statue in Dürerplatz, back on the surface.
508. Side of the Sebalduskirche.
509. The tower catches the sun.
510. Towers from the front.
511. Schönbrunnen in its tourist-ringed glory.
512. Front of the Frauenkirche.
513. Front from the side after striking gold (three new beers, including one with an alligator on the cap) in the neighboring Edeka.
514. Memorial to the old synagogue.
515. Tower house on the far bank of the bridge.
516. To the west; flat and green.
517. Tower by the library entrance.
518. Memorial stone, with the declaration of human rights, below the Lorenzkirche.
519. Wide back end of the Lorenzkirche.
520. Towers toward the front.
521. Old house across the square.
522. Church through some trees.
- Reichsparteitagsgelände -
On the way out from the Hbf, on tram #9, you pass a stop for the Meistersinger stage. Echoes of the past -- this is what people used to identify Nürnberg with, before racial laws, mass rallies, and the anything-but-a-victors'-court convened to put everything back in order. "The most German of German cities", Hitler called Nürnberg -- and it may be here that the wound of fascism's cut the deepest.
523. Congress Hall, from the tram stop.
524. Entrance to the exhibition.
525. How to take over -- the Nazis consolidated the right much more than converting the disunited left.
526. ((didn't come out))
527. The Nazis took over and/or banned and replaced every civil or fraternal organization, as well as the government.
528. The full code for KzL-Haftlinge. The impression that we have in the US (yellow stars, pink triangles) is the simple version; even evil Germans are still Germans, and every possible combination must be worked out, coded, and documented.
529. Granite blocks in the vaults of the Congress Hall -- if this doesn't remind you of the Völkerschlachtdenkmal a few days back, it should.
530. Jede Menge Hitler-schrott.
531. Dürer-stadt ist auch Streicher-stadt. Something genuinely new (for me), and genuinely impactful. You tend to think of Julius Streicher as some kind of inhuman spirit, summoned from the nether reaches of the German psyche, but he was a real man who had a hometown as well as a burning and insane obsession with Jews, and it was here.
532. Labor sources. Even this early, Nazis didn't build with paid labor when they could get slaves.
533. Postcards from the Parteitagen.
534. As it was -- references from before worse references became everyday.
535. Board game for "young and old" -- pogrom by roll of the dice.
536. Ads for insanity -- insufficiently "Aryan" businesses work themselves over, get cleared, and put it in the paper.
As always, statt Aryan Ayran.
537. A complete record -- the whole of the Nürnberger Prozess.
538. Typical Wessis or deliberate culture jamming? Post-war attempts to use the giant white elephant.
539. Ruins from the inside.
540. Panorama of the empty courtyard. You go out onto the landing to look over this giant mess of brick, the weeds poking up through the concrete, and if you don't get the spontaneous impression "what a great pile of useless garbage", if you don't here the air whispering to you "nie wieder, nie wieder", nothing in this museum will get through to you, and any measure of KzL carnage is similarly useless. Such a great empty space, and almost completely closed in on itself: like nothing more than a giant hole kicked in the world.
541. Cleating in the brick at the close side.
542. Stones in the bed of a railway into darkness. Each of the "stones" is a card with the name and vital statistics of a victim of the Nazis.
543. Temporary exhibition -- a reworking of an old French edition of Mein Kampf by various artists.
I was suspicious that here, like in HK, I might get told to stop shooting. So, few pics, but this work should be on the internet somewhere, and this is an exhibition that ought to travel as well.
544. Sample pages showing transformations.
545. A favorite one -- the book as a sardinecan of death.
546. Old brickwork at the ceiling. Without the history, much like the Alter Schlachthof in Dresden.
547. Practical denazification in a time of shortage -- and a severely mangled city iconography.
Museums done, I went outside to see the Große Strasse, the only other remaining element of the gelände. This was also a break out of a weird feeling; the museum in the Kongresshalle was the only one in Nürnberg where I encountered foreign rather than just German tourists. Maybe non-Germans don't get up as early in the mornings, and that was it, but if not, then after a certain point only seeing the Nazi ruins in Nürnberg, rather than also the relics of Dürer and the cliff passages, bleeds over from remembrance into something darker. The NS history of Nürnberg isn't ever going to be erased, and it's an important part of the city's history, but it attains that importance in the context of everything else: without understanding that previous history, the Nazi focus here rather than in München makes little sense. To remember Nürnberg as a place with some old churches and giant decaying Nazi buildings is not only to do the city a disservice, but to fail to really understand what is being allegedly "remembered".
548. Completely occupied by the Volksfest setup. The old saw is that fascism can't survive humor, but I bet it has a hard time with cotton candy and tiltawhirls as well.
549. Entrance to the Volksfest on the Große Strasse.
550. View back to the Congress Hall over the fence.
551. Back by the Hbf, starting an ultimately unsuccessful search for the Tucher biergarten.
552. St. Lorenz over the tour buses.
553. Along the Frauentor-mauer.
554. Pillars of justice: articles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights in front of the Deutsches Nationalmuseum.
555. Back along the walls.
556. Block with date at the Frauerntor.
557. Gate above the pillars; backtracking to go home.
It was about 4 PM, but this was after about 7 hours of hard and often hot hiking here and there. My pen was dead, and the camera was running low on power; things have to end at some point, and this was a good enough place, with everything done, and time, with those constraints, to bring the really active portion of this tour to a close. Despite not making it to Summer Breeze -- it ends as it began -- this did become a successful and interesting trip, and it will end as such on Monday morning, providid I don't get stabbed of lose my gear or something between here and the Frankfurt airport. Two hours in, then either go check out the SGE stadium or just sleep out the heat.