Rockharz - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The day was still looking bright, and Rockharz was still ready for a party, even though Black Sun Aeon had done their best to put a stopper to all that.
What was next on the agenda for us was Coppelius, a to us completely unknown band which had made an impression on me through the band photo and description in the program. Now I only hoped they would deliver what the good book had promised…

I knew already from the beginning, when Bastille (vocals and various cleaning/waiting duties) came out dressed in a full Victorian age butlers uniform, and with torchlight in hand he climbed down to the fence and looked around to see that everyone was ready for the coming show!
The rest of the band came on after this, all wearing clothing form that same era, and of course top hats, which is also part of the Coppelius logo. Well, all but the drummer, Mr. Nobusama, that is. He looked more like someone who had just stumbled out of an opium establishment after chasing the dragon for a bit too long…
A quick introduction is in order here;
Bastille and Nobusama I have already mentioned, and apart from these two gents we have Max Coppella and Le Comte Caspar on clarinet and vocals, Graf Lindorf on cello and vocals, and finally Sissy Voss on double bass.
As you can see, this is not exactly your average metal band line-up, but then again Coppelius was everything but average, and thank God for that!

I had hoped for something good, yes, but I had never in a million years anticipated the wave of good feeling that swept us away as tsunami Coppelius hit the central German shore!
The metal was fun and traditional in an untraditional sort of way, mainly because of the choice of instrumentation, but more than that – Coppelius was showmanship incarnate!
All from the tightly choreographed movements of our two clarinet players, to the freely improvised insanity that the band let themselves delve into time and time again! One of my favourite acts was Bastille’s combination of a microphone and a feather-duster which he used to great length for both purposes!
There was another player in the Coppelius organization of which the story has not told yet, and that is the stage hand dressed in old mechanics overalls and a flight-hat, always carrying a large tool-box with him as he went! He may not have taken part in either singing or playing, but he played a large function in the show nonetheless.
Another extremely cool, and different, trick the band shared with us after the Da Capo (yes, we had to use that expression), Bastille took our enjoyment completely in his hands as he crowd-surfed (!) out over the hungry crowd to hand out refreshments in the form of champagne(!!)! At another point it got even more personal, as Bastille invited two members of the crowd to come up on the stage and headbang with the band.
The generally highly exaggerated movements, in combination with the costumes and the desaturated make-up more than once gave me the feeling of watching an old black and white silent movie. Back in those days, there was oftentimes also a band or a musician who played the score live during the screenings. Here, the players and the musicians were one and the same, but the atmosphere was still as present.
I can honestly say that I only managed to recognise and remember two of the songs Coppelius played, and they were both covers at that, but they were Iron Maiden covers – Murders In The Rue Morgue was played somewhere in the middle of the set, and Running Free was played as an encore. Even though the vocalists didn’t exactly strike me as the strongest in the world, both songs were highly enjoyable, as was the entire set.

Coppelius may have been unknown to me, but they seemed well-known amongst their fellow Germans, as they had pulled a very impressive crowd for their gig – the largest one for the day no less!
It wasn’t the wildest crowd though, and with the exception of a few crowd-surfers, people seemed content in standing still and taking the music in during the start of the show, showing the band love through cheers and applause between songs rather than moshpits during them. In a way, I suppose this was fitting for the visual impression the band was going for, but it surprised me nonetheless.
Still, things certainly picked up pace the further into the gig we got; more and more crowd-surfers floated by, and when the band reached the encore, we were given the real display of affection! They asked for us all to crouch down, and they were hugely successful in this with only a few people at the very edge of the crowd refusing to bend their knees. This has been seen by others before though, and impressive as it was, it wasn’t unique. What was a unique experience for me though, was that a girl who had been sitting on her guy’s shoulders when they stood still sat on him as he was trying to keep his balance sitting down, and if that wasn’t enough, there were still a few crowd-surfers floating by! Crowd-surfing on sitting people, now that is a novelty!

As you’ve probably guessed, I felt that Coppelius delivered to an unparalleled degree (counting this day at least), and they most absolutely managed to get the party going at Rockharz!
As I mentioned, the music and songs were good but nothing extraordinary in themselves, but in combination with the live-performance – it was magic! This is definitely something I will return to if given the chance!

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