Trouble

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author AP date 06/11/14 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

Loppen this Fall has presented a wealth of excellent concerts within the realms of doom, stoner and psychedelic rock already this Fall, so the addition of the legendary Trouble to the bill hardly came as a surprise. What does strike me as surprising, however, is the low turnout of no more than 75 or so people. Are Trouble simply not as renowned as I had assummed given my colleague Ellis 'EW' Woolley's stories of them, or is the virtually non-existent promotion of the show to blame? Hard to say. But for me personally, missing out on the opportunity to behold one of doom's most fabled bands in such intimate confines was out of the question.

All photos courtesy of Nikola Majkic

Trouble

It is a fivesome of experienced looking gentlemen facing us as the eerie, witchy laughter at the beginning of the classic "Tempter" sets the mood for a nostalgia ride through the discography of one of the most legendary (if much lesser known than their kinsmen in Black Sabbath) progenitors of doom. Despite the fact that just two of the original members still remain part of Trouble (guitarists Rick Wartell and Bruce Franklin), the interplay between the two axemen and vocalist Kyle Thomas, whom some may recognise from his time with bands like Alabama Thunderpussy and Exhorder; drummer Mark Lira and bassist Rob Hultz (who joined the band in 1997, 2008 and 2013, respectively) is impeccable to a degree where without prior knowledge of the turmoil Trouble underwent during the 90's, you could be forgiven for assuming these five musicians have been performing together since the band's inception in 1979.

Thomas' measured howl is certainly up to par with the famed vocals of founding vocalist Eric Wagner, and at the risk of committing blaspehmy, one might even stretch so far as to say there is more raw power to it, listening to a song like "Assassin". Once the Iron Maiden-esque riffs of that vintage track from Trouble's 1991 album "Psalm 9" subside, Thomas reveals - much to the approval of the approximately 75-strong audience - that they intend to continue picking from that record for the next four tracks in order to commemorate that classic album and 35 years of Trouble, and indeed, the following uninterrupted salvo of "Psalm 9", "Bastards Will Pay", "Endtime" and "Revelation (Life or Death)" has all the makings of a small celebration. The band plays with such fervour, skill and energy they cast shame on any expectation one might have had leading up to this concert, that Trouble are somehow hindered by their age today; you will not find many younger bands staging such a zealous show as here.

Following this revisitation of "Psalm 9", Trouble then fast forward 22 years to "The Distortion Field" which was released last year, with "Paranoid Conspiracy" of the three songs picked in particular proving that the group's music can, and has stood the test of time, the otherworldly riff in that song sending chills running down my spine. Still, there is no denying that it is the early 90's stuff of which Trouble should be most proud, with even the 1995 piece "Flowers" not managing truly to capture the grandeur of a song like "At the End of My Daze" (from 1990's self-titled effort). A cover of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut" later, they thank us and exit the stage only to return almost immediately for a deeply satisfying encore comprising "R.I.P." and "All is Forgiven" both also off that self-titled LP, setting a superb plug on an evening of high class doom metal delivered with huge vigour.

Not a moment passes during the one and a half hours of set time Trouble have allocated for themselves when Wartell, Franklin & Hultz aren't toting and strumming their instruments like their life depended on it, and the godfatherly warmth with which Thomas guides us through the songs - not to mention the power with which he sings them - ensures Trouble remain very much a relevant entity, especially given the resurgence of these more classic metal genres of late. Based on the proceedings here, it would be a gross violation if Trouble were not to be found on the bills of various festivals next year.

8

Setlist:

  • 1. The Tempter
  • 2. Assassin
  • 3. Psalm 9
  • 4. Bastards Will Pay
  • 5. Endtime
  • 6. Revelation (Life or Death)
  • 7. When the Sky Comes Down
  • 8. Paranoid Conspiracy
  • 9. Hunters of Dom
  • 10. Flowers
  • 11. Wickedness of Man
  • 12. At the End of My Daze
  • 13. Supernaut (Black Sabbath cover)

--Encore--

  • 14. R.I.P.
  • 15. All is Forgiven

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