Meshuggah

support Kongh
author MH date 06/05/13 venue Voxhall, Århus, DEN

Voxhall rarely draws the lucky straw when it comes to which day of the week the metal shows tend to lie. And it is unfortunately something you can feel in a city like Århus, when you look around the venue and see how many people attend these shows. This Monday evening however consisted of no less than Swedish Meshuggah whose polyrhythmic patterns and heavy sound reach out to a wide and dedicated audience. So this night Voxhall would slowly be packed with a wide range of hopeful fans ready for their week to be kick started in an awesome manner, let's see how that went shall we?

You can see the rest of my photos from the gig here

Kongh

This night's warm-up were Meshuggah's kinsmen Kongh. They play a dark and atmospheric form of sludge and doom. This is not a band that gets you pumped up and ready to jump around in a drunken haze, however it can be quite an intense experience if you allow yourself to just listen and feel the vibe of the music. Kongh would play an entire concert without much interaction with the audience, given their genre this is not necessarily a bad thing, since it is more about the music and the overall feeling in the room, rather than the actual performance by the band. That being said frontman and guitarist David Johansson did an excellent job with his appearance on stage that radiated with true passion and empathy for the tunes as he sang and screamed through their mostly 10 minute plus songs. The drum kit was moved all the way up front of the stage to make room for Meshuggah's stage drops and drum platform. Drummer Tomas Salonen is without comparison the most happy looking drummer I've ever observed, he would smile through the entire set, and it was a refreshing, yet with a wee bit of weird, contrast to the before mentioned singer and especially bassist Oscar Ryden who also had a very serious and intense look. The bass had a lot to say in their overall soundscape as it was very loud and dominating as a crucial part of the heavy and gloomy sound that so greatly filled the venue, while the occasional atmospheric riffing from the guitarist added character and a certain feeling of darkness, without which Kongh could have been more easily compared to the likes of Mastodon. However, as much I would like to praise them to the skies for the simple reason that their music is deliciously gloomy, I have to emphasize that halfway through the set, the intensity of the experience fell, and it was no longer easy to keep an interested focus on whatever was going on stage. Also, the tunes weaving out into the venue slowly faded into a somewhat monotonous experience that seemed to lack a last little spark, to make it more than just average good. And as much as diversity can be appreciated, it felt like this warm-up act did not come to its full justice given the fact that just maybe a more hard pounding band would have fitted more into the main event of the night. But I would gladly go see Kongh again in more intimate and dimmed surroundings.

Meshuggah

So let me just say before I really get started: That light show! Wow. It was not entirely to the advantage of the photographers as it mostly evolved around the background lighting rather than the light on the band members, however this was one of the coolest light shows I have ever seen, it was, mildly stated, insane and perfectly synchronized for the tempo, atmosphere and feeling throughout the entire show, and could probably have knocked out a few epileptic people on its way as well. Now for the important part, Meshuggah's concert, and I dare say this already: It was awesome, there you have your conclusion already, and to be honest, no more needs to be said, especially after AP's excellent review of the Copenhagen show, just a day prior to this one. If you weren't there, then you should have been. But for the sake of this site's standards I’m obligated to brief you about the events of this night's technical djent mayhem. So I hereby expose some of the details I noticed.

Frontman Jens Kidman is, for those of you unfamiliar with Meshuggah live, extremely characteristic with his movement on stage and weird facial expressions when he walks around between vocal parts looking grim. And to say that his vocal performance was tight would be a complete and utter understatement, as there was no single glitch of exhaustion nor cracks in his vocals – his voice sounded just like it does on the albums. Speaking of tight performances I do not think that I've ever seen a live band play that tight and with an undeniably good sound as Meshuggah's – apart from Gojira of course. These Swedish brutes delivered an unmistakably hard pounding concert with such a sheer force that one could only be left with terrifying shivers that build up from your inside out and chilled down your spine, whilst beholding a light show so fierce accompanied by a heavy crushing sound, that projectiles right into your god damn chest. And not to forget the face melting guitar leads that shrieked like the sound of pure evil being knifed directly into your veins. Normally I take notice of each band member's performance on stage, but there wasn't much to notice in that matter. Sure, it could seem quite indifferent if you pick apart each individual on stage, and analyze the show based on movement and interaction with the audience. But I cannot put myself to feel as if anything was severely missing from their show. Because when assaulted by so many impressions and great amounts of adrenaline during a single concert, it is not significant whether or not a musician raises his fists and encourages the room to scream, bang their heads or whatever. The professionalism that dominated the stage, alongside excellent sound, and an insane light show, needs no extra effort to keep people from losing interest. What is left to say is that I do not believe many, if any, went home after this concert feeling disappointed, though it's possible that it felt like the concert ended way too quickly. Voxhall was simply tilted upside down, left with an audience floating about in a cloud of ecstasy, and most likely a racking neck pain for days to come.

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