Although not a great idea slating some of our potential readership it has to be said that some so called “extreme music fans” are whiny ass bitches with a massive sense of self-entitlement and tonight just proved this. Firstly it shouldn’t have been any real surprise that this gig, announced ages ago was likely to sell out, nobody should be moaning about the fact they couldn’t get in. More importantly and the Internet is to blame for this really but why do people insist on constantly haranguing the promoter for stage times? You have been told the show is due to take place roughly between 6-11 giving you ample opportunity to plan journey home but too many have no clue about all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to organise events and make them run smoothly. Perhaps information is not available due to extenuating circumstances on how long bands are going to play until they arrive at the venue. Indeed actually getting to the destination on time after playing another European date the night before could be the key concern and indeed today, although the bands were meant to be at the venue early afternoon they didn’t make it until just after doors were due to open. Deal with it, the show goes on and just because you can’t be bothered to watch all the bands and don’t want to turn up till your favourites are on stage this constant clamouring of messages to organisers with more important things to deal with does nobody any favours.
There’s really no hardship having a couple of extra drinks and waiting patiently and once doors opened, those that could be bothered were quickly in to witness Norwegian group Slegest. At least the band were not playing to an empty room and set about things with an extra vigour no doubt glad to be un-caged after a tedious lengthy journey. The outfit led by ex Vreid member Stig Ese plugged in and got down to it with their take on rocking, rolling bluesy stoner riffs with a large touch of Motorhead about things. New album Vidsyn, their second had got just a couple of listens from me prior to this and gone down very well on its review elsewhere on the site. I could hear exactly what the writer had said about it as we are jangled and bounced around by the first couple of short, sharp numbers. Focusing more on the rock side of things rather than adroit blackness, songs such as ‘The Wall Painted Black’ helped us shake off the cold from outside and got people moving toward the front. There’s a little bit of a garage vibe about things and even a Stooges kinda grit but also a grimmer and gnarly tone as the vocalist dangles his neck chain in front of the crowd and gravely rasps away. Mixing it up later with some classic NWOBHM style riffs, more than a touch of Orgasmatron etched melody and a burst of what wouldn’t be out of place on a Kvelertak number, things seemed to go down well with many although truth be told I wasn’t fully engaging with it all. As Slegest wrapped things up there was a mention that they were playing it up a bit like an 80’s pub rock band; I think I need to go back to the album and give it another try.
It’s a bit of a coup having Taake and Shining on the same bill but obviously there are going to be those in the audience only here to see their favourites (more on that later). It’s the Norse mob on 1st and all resplendently painted up and looking grim they come on as the lights dim and everyone shouts out “ughhhh,” before the band explode into things. It’s a full bloodied and frenzied assault pretty much from beginning to end and there’s a definite air of jubilation about the volatile performance. Hordalands Doedskvad material is particularly destructive and it is as though the band are here to wreck us all, the pit has no shortage of takers as it spirals into its own devastation and its crazy down the front. There’s plenty of thorny guitar play escaping from the melee and some of the more folkish melodic breaks get through with a bouncy tenacity. Der Todesking at the front Hoest seems to be revelling in the craziness of it all and his unholy barked shouts penetrate every nook and cranny of the venue. Drums pump away and belching fetid death grunts ring out as punk laden barrages up the intensity and rabid fervour even more, driving it ever onwards. It’s pretty damn uncomfortable with so many rammed in to witness the carnage but everyone seems united with the likes of Nordbundet adding a groove laden head-banging furrow to things that’s impossible to ignore. Feeling like having been dragged through a hedge backwards I wasn’t alone in falling out into the fresh air as this ended to get second wind after being torn asunder.
Most people seemed to come back to celebrate 20 years of Shining, unfortunate as this turned out to be in some cases. Not long after the Swedes had taken the stage and started playing and hailing darkness Niklas suddenly stopped things in their tracks shouted out that someone had lobbed a bottle at him and said the show was over. The feckless wonder who had thrown the missile must have done so with some force as I completely missed seeing it (others have since said it was actually a bottle-top or bubblegum) and it’s a damn shame others had not witnessed where it came from and stomped the person right out the venue. After a lecture from the tour manager (I assume) to behave if we wanted the rest of the show the band started up precisely where the song had been curtailed but it was obvious the singer was not at all well. We got an apology from Kvarforth that he was suffering terrible flu but he seemed amicable enough and shared bourbon and germs with those hemmed in at the front of the stage. There’s no shortage of booing and catcalls throughout the show though and it seemed like a fair few baying hyenas had no respect for someone trying their best to put on as great a show as possible whilst suffering incredibly. The bourbon sips rather than normal gulps were probably the only thing keeping him going; let’s face it a Lemsip is hardly going to do anything to take the edge off as he strove through songs like Claws Of Perdition actually having to leave the stage in the capable hands of Hoest momentarily to take a toilet break backstage.
The rest of the band seemed to be quite accepting of things not being quite as normal a night (is any with this band) as they might have hoped for. Peter Huss and Euge Valovirta’s guitar trade-offs and solo parts are as sublime as ever and the musicality really shone through. New bassist Marcus Hammarström seems a perfect fit and gave out plenty of moody glares and with the band bathed in cold red light the atmosphere was edgy and full of tension. Niklas is ever humble and apologetic and at one point says he might have to stop the show and go to hospital. He really is dripping sweat and battling demons, regularly throwing up in a bin at the side of the stage but somehow keeps going with determination. Still managing to give a full range both clean and particularly dirty vocals on songs such as Ohm (Sommar med Siv) somehow he managed to keep going on what could well be one of the most difficult shows of his whole career. Having managed to defeat the USA recently and pretty much play non-stop all over the place it was obvious that short of keeling over and dropping (which he seemed on the verge of a couple of times) nothing was going to stop him tonight, not even an encore and still sticking around to shake hands (and spread disease) with those still at the front at the end of the show. Dickhead behaviour had somewhat soured the evening but even in the face of adversity the proof that some things simply cannot be stopped made this a winning night. Hopefully Niklas has been recovering on route to next shows in France and will be back with us at full strength soon.
(Review and Photos Pete Woods)