After a long bus trip, we finally met in front of Amsterdam’s Melkweg to attend the Southern Lord High Mass. This fest was announced a few month ago and managed to gather fans and people dressed in black, ready to put up with no less than 6 hours of show. Tonight : Vitamin X, Wolfbrigade, Big Brave, Okkultokrati, Circle, Magma and finally SunnO))). A dream coming true for the afficionados of loud decibels. We arrived at the end of Vitamin X and missed Wolfbrigade to eat some delicious falafel, too bad for the Crust and Hardcore section in the line up.
With a lively Ardor this year, I was curious to see those Canadians on stage. The show begin slowly, with Sound, and finally all 3 tracks from the album will be played in the same order. The onset is loud and heavy. Not like a basic Sludge band but in a more sophisticated way, like Earth. The experimental side is definitely their forte, it is still uneasy to put this band in a category, even though you know the album well. Post-Rock ? Doom ? Psychedelic Rock ? Drone ? Noise ? Big Brave rolls it up into one, this is why their performance is compelling, with savage yet refine drums, two massive and discerning guitars and above all Robin Watie’ fantastic voice, reminding us of either Blonde Redhead or Julie Christmas. Big time.
Even though the venue and circumstances were much better than at this summer Hellfest, the hips dance of Black Qvisling did not drive the crowd wild, maybe we lost our habits of the Dutch public which is more aloof. Okkultokrati's tracks are pretty similar in their composition, alternating Black / Doom and Gothic Rock, or a mix of the two without ever standing out. Nevertheless the singer’s charisma is up to it, but the way he moves on stage is repetitive and can easily get you bored. And the Hardcore / Punk rhythmics the offbeat the set will not be enough to make it special. Too bad.
A quick travel to Finland to commend the show of the really crazy band Circle. Circle is a really prolific band, joyfully mixing Krautrok, Heavy metal and a lot of various stuff on stage. They have recently signed at Southern Lord, for their 32th album. On stage Circle shows the inventivity of Can, it’s Magma and Focus for the voice, and a steele panther in the attitude, but without the american way of live. They are insane, happy to be here, they have fun, we have fun. Every end of track is dedicated to a French kiss from the singer to one of his co-players. It went on without saying that according to Stouhern Lord it was an achievement from a musical point of view. This big shamble ends with a human pyramid, for the pleasure of both the musicians, and the public.
Yes, Magma with SunnO))) and Unsane in the same line-up. 10 years ago, it would have been a surprise for the most of us , but after playing at Hellfest, Roadburn and Fall Of Summer and their renewal of interest among metalheads, Magma undoubtedly bring everybody together. As I have seen them many times since early childhood, I was used to their sober, restrained attitude while playing their complex tracks. But, as seen at Fall Of Summer, they really adapt their stage play to their audience. The band warn us that due to logistic issue, they don’t have their own gear, and they spent the day gathering emergency musical instruments from musician from across the town. Frankly, we could not tell the difference. Stella exchanged friendly looks, winks and big smiles with Philippe Bussonnet, the band really bid their time. Even though we might have been bored by their usual setlist (Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré (Part I - III) and Theusz Hamtaahkon) we were still caught up in the Kobaiyan whirlwind, following Vander’s frenzy, tearing down his show without failing once. Magma is always amazing, warm, inhabited by a strange positive energy, which leaves you always speechless.
A few days after tearing down the Petit Bain rooms in Paris, the new yorkers pursued their tour for a Dutch stop to break the teeth to whom will be willing to take it. Unsane on stage it’s Rock as it should be forever, as it should have alway been : dirty, dangerous and ugly. A power trio with the best lineup ever to break everything. Loud bass, angry but super groovy guitar and relentless drums. The band played lots of their last album Sterilize as The Grind, Factory or Aberration but also pummeling classic as Only Pain or Against The Grain. It will be the only show this night with an angry mosh in the front rows. It was insane. (pun intended)
Each and all Sunn O)))’s fan will tell you that : a Sunn O))) show is not just a Sunn O))) show. It’s a magical and physical experiment, a fight against the sound. Breathing frequency. A decibel marathon, leaving you torn down but soothed. A small sound issue decreased Attila’s voice on the 2nd half but the so loud bass and the well played show will assure the rest. Like after every Sunn O)))’s show, you stay here, wandering, drunk on fog and frequency, ready to go back to Paris with serenity. It’s always hard to tell more about Sunn O))), it’ is best lived through, it’s both painful and relaxing, you have to let the sound circle you, let yourself go to the pulse and feel it to the full. Anyway, this line-up from Southern Lord Recordings had keep all his promises.