Inicio » Ombra 2023 » Ombra Festival

Ombra Festival


by François Zappa

Cover Photo: Rebeca Balas

The tiredness of the previous day together with a lot of sleep to catch up on, made me stay in bed a bit longer on Saturday and I could not arrive as early as I would have liked. Even so, I was one of the first to step on the industrial floors of the festival and one of the last to leave. It was a long day in which there were very good performances and very good feelings, which were mixed with the nerves I had because my wife, Dead Violets Night was playing at the Megabreakz stage in the last spot of the day. Coinciding with what was the clear headliner of the day, the German The Invincible Spirit of which we will not talk about because, obviously, we were in another room.


At noon Syneba, the project of the Catalan producer Esther Alarcón, was opening. As I was a bit lazy as I said before, had to look for a cash machine to have some cash for the record fair and had to find the best way to get there (I changed trains for subway), all this made me arrive more or less halfway through her performance. I was surprised by her beautiful melancholic sound, dreamy 90’s flavored electronica with lots of drums on percussion. I thought it was perfect to start the day. The end was a bit more danceable with a track with a sample that sounded slightly like a harp and some strong beats. Next time I won’t miss her.

Foto: Miguel Silva


Linear Movement

From there, I moved on to one of the most anticipated concerts of the festival: the Belgian band Linear Movement. The festival’s executive director Raúl Gayo told me that it had been his special choice for this edition. Last year he had asked Peter Bonne, who came to play the songs of Twilight Ritual, if he dared to play the songs of his poppier band. At first Peter hesitated, but after the reception of his concert, he contacted Lieve and told her that she had a year to prepare for the performance. For a duo that had never played live before, they were quite good: Lieve was fantastic and Peter proved to be a master of the keyboards and especially the compositions shone, several of them magnificent. The only downside was the few seconds it took to launch the videos, which broke the rhythm a bit. But well, we could taste that minimal synth sound that has risen so much in popularity in recent years. We took advantage of the intro to take a look at the audience and discover, among the rather large attendance for a one o’clock in the afternoon, the festival organizers quite attentive and excited. After a good start, Peter played one of his instrumental tracks which was followed by “Five Faces” with its wonderful melody. They followed with the more danceable “Eternality” and another of their best songs, “To Another Soul”, with its characteristic melody. With “To You” the audience got a little livelier and in “On The Screen” I discerned the beginning of the typical sound that A-Split Second, another project in which Peter was involved, would have later on. “The Game” sounded great, with everyone already dancing. We relaxed a bit with a fantastic “You Won”, and then Peter picked up the guitar for their most famous and perhaps best song, “Way of Living”, which was immediately recognized by the audience. We could see images of them when they were young, some of them already known for adorning the Minimal Wave compilations and a touching moment when they sang together one of the chorus of the track. The song had a very good interpretation with a little keyboard solo. They finished with the moving “Night in June” and the feeling of having experienced something very special.

Foto: Rebeca Balas



The next artist to hit the big stage was ManMachine, one of my great pre-festival discoveries. The album released by Oráculo has practically obsessed me during the weeks prior to the festival and I have listened to it a lot. In the concert we could find Croatian Goran Uroich telling his stories, his fears and pains in an imperfect but sincere performance. There are no tricks or falsehoods in his live, just a man baring his soul in front of the audience. The Croatian musician recovered songs from that album released by Oráculo like “Lilly”, but we also heard “Elvis is Jesus is Elvis”, the declaration of intentions that is “I Hate Human Race”, his peculiar version of Leonard Cohen‘s “First We Take Manhattan”, sung with a lot of passion, and songs like” Shelf Life” from his 2018 EP. He captivated us with the stark sincerity of “Sunday” (I am talking cause I am empty, I am laughing cause I am scared), one of his best compositions. He moved the few of us who were there with his “To my Dead Love” and showed us his soul with “Maybe Death is Home”. We will try to know a little more about this musician in the near future.

Foto: Miguel Silva


The Ne-21

Another surprise live were The Ne-21 of whom I knew the album released by the great label She Lost Kontrol. They were part of the fabulous Italian selection, completed with TeslaSonic, Tambori Neri and Zona Utopica Garantita. They are a trio from Naples with an image that seems to come from the eighties, with rocker bass player included. They started with “Stochastic Man”, the first cut of their In the Realm of Electricity to continue with a track from their first split, titled “Black Sea”. They sounded quite original live and I liked the way they transferred the songs I knew to the live performance. Among other things, they told us that they used Philip K Dick’s lyrics for the song “Jack Isidore”, one of their great compositions. They followed with “High Rise”, with a very catchy chorus and that seems to me perfect material to be released as a single, with a perfect mix between electronic and wave music. They played some more songs from In The Realm of Electricity like “Quite Strange”. In between they commented that they had only played four concerts in four years. If they play any more in the future, we will be there.

Foto: Rebeca Balas


Codex Empire

Codex Empire played at a quarter to five but they played as if they were closing the most underground club in Berlin. After a very short intro it seemed that Mark Crumby wanted to demolish the factory using his robust bass drum as a wrecking ball. His live set was especially forceful, he delivered a hard and oppressive industrial techno with disturbing melodies and a very hard percussion. As a curiosity Lieve from Linear Movement was passing through the room in front of us with his friends at that moment and looked at the stage with surprise. The audience was very engaged during what was one of the best and most unique performances of the festival. The red projections and distorted vocals really transported us to another, darker, hellish world. Tremendous.

Foto: Miguel Silva



Hammershøi were the big surprise live of the day. If their two albums, released by the label Swiss Dark Nights, had pleased me in the previous listens to the festival, live the band seemed overwhelming. They appeared in trio format, with another musician reinforcing the pair formed by Anne Dig and Ben Montes. The latter proved to be a stage animal, with a seemingly endless energy and a lot of stage presence. They opened with “Extra Communication” a track that can be found on the compilation Unterschall Compilation 2 which was followed by some of the tracks from their album Cathédrales, such as “Hammershøi Assassiné” or “Hélas!”. The most surprising moment was when a girl from the audience came up and accompanied the singer for a while with good results. The French band sounded much more powerful live than on their two albums, being a real feast for EBM lovers. They were approaching the end with “Désillusions” and finished in a big way with the whole room really excited.

Foto: Rebeca Balas


Radical G

I moved on to the Operator room where Radical G was going to start. I had spoken lightly with him and Dirk Da Davo backstage while Glenn Keteleer was painting his face. His performance was another winner of the night and of the festival. His mix of EBM and Techno delighted those of us who were there and completely blew us away. He started with a catchy “The Deserted Kingdom” which sounded more powerful and less dramatic than the original. He got more aggressive with “Commander of the Wheel”, which was followed by some pretty powerful instrumental tracks. From their album Manking we could hear a “Love Ain’t Fashion”, a quite really potent track and with a killer kick drum. We could listen to “4Ever” which appeared on a Deviate compilation, much harder live. Glenn shocked us with his performance, climbing on the table or having moments of real madness. He amazed us with “Birds of Prey” from his incredible The Deserted Kingdom, an ambitious work that, if you haven’t heard it, we recommend you and ended up leaving us with a very good taste in our mouths.

Foto: Miguel Silva


Radiation 30376

I rushed to Megabreaz to listen to Radiation 30376 live. The duo released their first album two years ago on Pinkman and just when I arrived they were playing one of their songs “Nietoperz”. Surrounded by a lot of gear, it was another of those lives with proper machines, without laptops that we could enjoy at the festival. I was only there for about five minutes but I loved that modified version of the track I already knew.

Foto: Rebeca Balas


Little Nemo

At festivals I usually prioritize to see bands I have never seen before, but I make the exception when I really like something, as is the case of coldwave band Little Nemo. I already saw them before the pandemic in a long concert they gave in Valencia but I was looking forward to hear their songs again. In the eighties they were part of what they called Touching Pop with other interesting bands like Asylum Party and Mary Goes Round and recorded masterpieces of their time like Past And Future, Sounds in the Attic and Turquoise Fields. On this occasion, they opened with the dreamy sound of one of their best tracks, “Seconds”. “Running in the Sun” followed, with such a characteristic keyboard sound and incredible drumming. Maybe it was because he was the only drummer I saw at the festival (I missed Manisdron) but it seemed to me that Little Nemo‘s percussionist was particularly inspired that night. On “A Day Out of Time” he was also quite good and they followed with the beautiful “Empty House” with a powerful ending. With two voices, Nicolas and Vincent sang “You Again”. In the band sing both Nicolas Dufaure who is in charge of guitar and English songs and Vincent Le Gallo, who plays bass and sings French songs. Like the slow and solemn, “La ballade des pendus”. They continued with “Alan is Waiting” one of their most powerful compositions, “Sandcastle”, “Les Valles du songe”, and even presented some new songs. For the final part of the show they left the classic “Cadavres Exquis (Howard Song)”, which was presented as “Tasteful but old”. The keyboard player sang “Love is a Lie”, a rather catchy song that had to end abruptly because Nicolas tripped over the wires and fell to the floor. After getting up, they said goodbye with a powerful version of “City Lights (Long Way).” Hopefully we can see them here again soon in concert of their own.

Foto: Rebeca Balas


Dead Violets Night

Dead Violets Night had to start a little earlier her session because Fotocopia gave a shorter concert than stipulated. His intensity and viscerity is difficult to maintain for a long time and that’s why I missed the beginning of the DJ who started with “Michi Michi” by Esplendor Geométrico that, at least, I had seen rehearsing at home. In her session, she paid a small tribute to some of the protagonists of the festival, such as Years of Denial from which she included the track “Resonance”, Chino with his “Autostrada” or Umwelt with “Accelerating Universe”, which sounded almost at the end. We also heard the recognizable “Schwarz” by Inhalt in the mix of Black Merlin that was mixed very well with the fantastic “Unstable Isolation” by UHF that appeared in a various artists of District 91. After a track by The Hacker signed as Amato, titled “Physique” we had a who’s who of the best electronic of the moment: Schwefelgelb (remixed by Crystal Geometry), Ansome, Thomas P. Heckman, Phase Fatale and Persona Non Grata with the great track “Cöm Dig” that appeared in Barro 2. The last part of her set featured Ethan Fawkes, Ionic Vision, remixed by Milimetric and Minimum Syndicat and a pretty full house dancing. One of the star moment of the night was a track by The Hacker with Miss Kittin that got the crowd crazy. The legendary French DJ was one of the stars of the evening with three of his tracks spinning on the DJ decks. For the end a classic was left: “The Fashion Party” by The Neon Judgement in which the DJ herself, happy, started to dance.

Foto: Miguel Silva


What did I miss? I wish I could have seen Fotocopia, but I guess I’ll have more chances to see him in 2024. Radiation 30376 I do think was one of those performances that you only get to see at the Ombra, and I wish it hadn’t coincided with a Radical G that wants to end their project. I missed Belgrado on their last visit to Madrid and here again. Let’s see if the third time is the charm. And Teslasonic, with whom we ended the day having dinner, I would have liked to see him djing too.


Alba Aranda

Saturday, second day of the festival, third day if we are realistic and count from the beginning..


I arrived to see the last hour of Asymetric80‘s DJ set, for me one of the most outstanding (and beloved) artists of the local scene in Barcelona. I was very curious to see the great Gonza playing vinyl, because until that occasion I had only seen him doing Live. And like everything else, he did not disappoint me, what a way to dance as soon as I arrived at the festival! I didn’t move from the front row the whole time. Powerful EBM, dancing electro, the room full of people giving it all at 2pm, a fantasy… you can tell that this artist, originally from Barcelona, has been playing vinyl for many years and that he supports the local scene, as I could recognize tracks from some local artists during his impeccable vinyl set.

Foto: Cristina Del Barco


After Asymetric80, Andi started, but the truth is that although I thought the beginning of her set was promising, I was starving, tired of being stressed running from stage to stage, and I also wanted to have the chance to enjoy the food area, flea market and exhibitions. I tend to be so focused on the musical performances that I often forget those things that are also part of the experience and that are a hallmark of a festival like Ombra, integrating other arts and giving a chance to brands and labels of the music scene within the framework of the festival.

On the way to the catering area I made a good stop at the exhibition halls, and the truth is that I found all of them interesting, and some of them very interactive. The room with the columns of televisions, which are already a flagship of the festival Ombra (Jaime Ripoll) was very interesting for the attendees, as I have had enough of seeing videos of that room in stories of many acquaintances. In my opinion, the best exhibition was that of H.R. Giger, with paintings, huge plates and some sculptures of the imaginary of the Alien saga, an artist who fits perfectly with both the theme and the aesthetics of the festival.

Foto: Cristina Del Barco

There is a very important part in festivals (especially in daytime festivals) that I think is little mentioned and that in my opinion also deserves to have a space in these lines, as it is a determining factor for the experience to be better or worse. I am talking about the gastronomic offer. Personally, there is nothing that makes me more angry at a festival than when I am starving and want to eat, the offer is limited to preheated frankfurts, cold bimbo bread sandwiches and chips with ketchup and mayonnaise. Fortunately, this was not the case at the Ombra Festival. There was, within the possibilities, plenty of variety. Burgers, pizza, Asian food, crepes, etc… After Asymetric80‘s set and visiting the exhibition halls, I sat down for a while to eat a delicious Pad Thai and a Nutella crepe, while friends were passing through the food area, and we could chat without having to do it loudly in the middle of the dance floor.

In the market, which was next to the catering area, there were several stands with local underground brands like Antidoto28, Human Nausea or Zannahona, record stores like Vinilarium, exponents of labels as representative as Oráculo (of course), Industrial Complexx or Phersephonic Sirens, plus a stand available to artists participating in the festival, where you could buy their merch or their latest albums. Even some of these stands prepared very interesting performances, but it was already difficult to see all the concerts in the main halls…



After two impressive lives, Codex Empire and Hammershøi , I did not move from the Ombra Stage, where finally, and after some time with several failed attempts, I could enjoy Belgrado‘s live, which I found a delight. I knew the singer of the band (Patrycja Proniewska) from another project, Fatamorgana, and I knew in advance that her performance was going to be interesting, but the truth is that it exceeded my expectations, both for the energy of the staging and for the dynamism of the band in general. Modern and danceable post punk, very fun and they made me not move from the dance floor during the whole performance, until I ran (of course) to the Megabreatz room to one of the things I knew I didn’t want to miss, the live performance of the talented Galician artist Fotocopia.

Foto: Rebeca Balas



I still remember the first time I enjoyed Fotocopia‘s broken and dynamic rhythms at the Pumarejo, and how he also turned the dance floor upside down at DOMINANT’s anniversary last March. I think Teo’s performance (the name behind all that screaming and all that smoke) is one of the few that I wouldn’t get tired of seeing even once a month. In my opinion, one of the most impressive live sets I saw at Ombra Festival without a doubt, it looked like the Megabreatz room was going to collapse. Industrial meets punk, noise, ebm and rave with a brutal dynamism and agility. Minimalist live but full of details.

Foto: Cristina Del Barco

We close the festival in the same room with Dead Violets Night.

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More