Eisheilige Nacht 2023

It is Christmas time 2023. Jingle Bells, Whamageddon, mulled wine and maybe a wee bit of snow come with it. At least we had loads of snow in my local area but it is all gone now. White Christmas is out of sight again. What we have instead is the Eisheilige Nacht 2023. Read our preview to learn about the history of this late year festival tour.

Together with buddies

Surprisingly good – mulled beer

And if you are going to one of these shows, what is a better way to enjoy it than with your mates? Exactly, a visit to the nearby Giessen Christmas Market, just ten minutes’ walk from the Hessenhalle where the Eisheilige Nacht 2023 festival is held. Once you get there, a glass of mulled wine or beer (which is delicious, by the way) and a grilled sausage will round off your pre-show meal.

Ready to Rock

Just arrived and getting sorted

The  Hessenhalle itself is one of those multi-purpose buildings, not very romantic but very efficient, with enough space to park your car, queue for the entrance, beer and food stalls. Soon we’re checking out the place, where the toilets are, the merch stalls, the beer bar, the stage, etc., and it doesn’t take long until we’re enjoying the first cold beers from a well-known local brewery. We are ready and in the perfect mood for a rock’n’roll Christmas party when the lights go out for the first time.


Welcome to the show – Eric Fish

Grandmaster Eric Fish himself enters the stage, welcoming the audience in the already very well filled venue to the Eisheilige Nacht 2023. It is obvious that he is happy to be on stage again and calls out for the first band tonight. He welcomes the newbies of the festival, Manntra from Croatia.


First band, shortest slot but most energy, Manntra go from zero to hero in milliseconds! Anyone who has seen them in the past knows that they are one of the hardest working live bands around. Everyone else is surprised and overwhelmed by their powerful show. I bet they will make a lot of new fans on this tour. Manntra’s unique style and mix of heavy riffs, harsh vocals and folkloric melodies convinces not only me once again. It is pure pleasure to see Manntra live. They will be on a headliner club tour in spring, check out the dates.

Letzte Instanz

The second band of the evening with a longer slot are Eisheilige Nacht-veterans Letzte Instanz. If I counted correctly, this is their fifth time since 2009 when it all started. They thank Eric Fish and Subway to Sally for always supporting them and believing in them. Now it is time to return some of that trust. Their only downside is that Manntra played a really furious show that could have blown away lesser bands. Their advantage is that Letzte Instanz can pull out all the triggers of their live experience gained over the past 27 (!!!) years. They still sound young and fresh with their unusual instruments like cello and violin alongside bass, drums and guitar.

Fiddler’s Green

You can tell when bands have a really good road crew. By the third band there is barely enough time for a beer at the bar in the back OR a visit to the toilet, although the queues are not too long anyway. So welcome to Fiddler’s Green with their Irish folk inspired metal music. As Letzte Instanz they use unusual metal instruments like violin, bouzouki, accordion, bodhrán or flute. All I can say is “Yes, yes, yes, more of that!” It is their fourth time at Eisheilige Nacht and once again Fiddler’s Green deliver a fantastic show. Of course, as the third band, their slot is longer than that of the previous two bands, but not a second of it is boring. Fiddler’s Green are pure party, fun and action and leave you wanting more.

Subway To Sally

What comes next is of course the headliner. For the 13th time in 13 years of Eisheilige Nacht we can enjoy Eric Fish and his band. And this time, I didn’t even have to count, it’s the creators of Eisheilige Nacht, the mighty Subway To Sally! What a blast! It all starts with a blizzard pouring down on the band and the first rows of the audience. Everything else is just magic, pure “Eisheilige” magic. And once again we enjoy a lot of unusual instruments, I did not count but I think Subway To Sally used more than a dozen different instruments besides the usual stuff. And “usual stuff” this time INCLUDES instruments like violin or hurdy-gurdy.

On the website the festival was scheduled as “doors at 18:00, start 19:00, end 23:00″… Well, failed! Sure, the doors opened at 18:00, Manntra played their first chords after Eric’s introduction at 19:00, but including encores and a final farewell of all bands together, the festival ended somewhere around midnight. To be precise, maybe two minutes to midnight, but I’m not really sure.

The people behind and in front

What I am sure of is that I saw and enjoyed a fantastic Eisheilige Nacht 2023 festival with my mates, four excellent bands and an amazing audience in a nearly sold out venue. What, or rather WHO I don’t want to miss mentioning are the people behind the festival, they did a great job, the very nice security, first aid crew, light and sound guys of the bands, roadies, bar crew, toilet cleaners etc. Live music is only possible because of you! You did a wonderful but often unrecognised job and I want to thank you for just being reliable and calm. And of course there are YOU, the audience, metalheads and fans!


Some people buy their merch and CDs before the show, others between the slots, but most buy after the last note has been played. The chances of meeting the band or at least some of the members for a photo and a chat are usually highest after the show. This time is no different, although there is “always someone around”. The merch area is perfect anyway, all the bands are lined up in a row, no “support act in the dark corner”, all equal among equals. This is true camaraderie between the bands, who all seem to be having a really good time after the show.


No real Christmas

Talking to Zoltan and Marko from Manntra, they tell me that they now have six days off and the tour will continue on the 22nd of December, but unfortunately they won’t be home for Christmas. That’s the glamorous life of a metal musician… For them it was ok to have the shortest slot “That’s usual for the first band, we’re happy to be on this tour anyway. AND we have our headliner tour in early spring, so we hope to see many faces again”. That’s the right spirit and at least they will see me again for sure, what about you? What are your plans for 2024, concerts, festivals? There are so many new or unknown bands to discover, so many of your usual musical heroes to see again and again! Don’t miss out on seeing them live in 2024.

Or take the chance to enjoy ths four-band package Eisheilige Nacht 2023.

29.12.23 BREMEN PIER 2

Meanwhile, most of the bands and all dates 2024 are confirmed as well:




Letzte Instanz

Fiddler’s Green

Subway To Sally

Please buy merch and physical music or downloads  from the bands official sources and don’t stream music for free because it steals your artists’ income

proof reading by DerminBoad

All pics by Friend.X aka Mr. Deep

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