Black Sabbath

support Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats
author BV date 26/11/13 venue Forum, Copenhagen, DEN

In this day and age one might think that the behemoths of eras past might be of little-to-no relevance – after all, we’ve got so many revivalist movements at this point so why bother with the originals? Well, authenticity is the reason we should bother. I’m as big a fan of the revivalist bands like Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Witchcraft and Kadavar as the next guy, but for once I’d really like to experience one of the bands that they all seemingly pull massive amounts of inspiration from. Therefore, there was hardly any questioning as to whether or not I should secure access to what could either be a massive flop or a solid, dignified return to Danish soil. As I entered Forum, the anxiety grew into wonder and soon the show was under way.

All photos by Lykke Nielsen

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats

Since the release of their debut album “Bloodlust”, as well as their recent follow-up “Mind Control”, I have considered myself something of a fan when it comes to Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. Seeing them fill a support slot of this size warms my heart and it signifies that some bands really do get the opportunities they deserve. As Uncle Acid took the stage at 8 sharp, the band opened with a tremendously heavy “Mt. Abraxas”. The track, which is also heavy on record, took on a slightly larger, more ominous form in the concrete dome that is Forum. My initial anxiety as to whether or not Uncle Acid would be able to sound good in this setting was immediately laid to rest, and as the band launched into “I’ll Cut You Down”, a decent part of the crowd started getting into it.

Having been known for being extremely introvert on stage, I was actually surprised to see a surplus of extrovert energy and rampant movements coming from the stage. The soaring highs of the guitar leads, the sheer brutality of the riffs and the ominous vocal harmonies all had the first few rows completely convinced that they were witnessing a great band in the making. Closing their 40-minute set with “Desert Ceremony”, Uncle Acid demonstrated that they were a band to be reckoned with. Apart from the fact that some crowd members would subsequently argue that the solos went on for too long and even though Uncle Acid never really caught the attention of the entirety of the crowd, it would seem that a better choice of support for Black Sabbath couldn’t have been found. Uncle Acid fit the bill, and they did it splendidly – they simply just weren’t who people were really here to see, unfortunately.

Black Sabbath

Following a brief 20-minute changeover, Black Sabbath opened their set at nine o’clock sharp with the ominous alarms that have come to be inseparable from the track “War Pigs”. Sure enough, the alarms are only audible for a brief time before being swapped entirely for the maniacal antics of Ozzy Osbourne and the incredible tightness of Black Sabbath as a cohesive unit. Instant singalongs appeared a mere 2 minutes into the set, and as the crowd started shouting along to the lead line of “War Pigs” it became abundantly clear that this, this comeback of sorts, was indeed very welcome. Following the immediate success of “War Pigs”, Black Sabbath launched into the classic “Into the Void” from their groundbreaking album “Master of Reality”. Granted, at this point it already became relatively obvious that Ozzy Osbourne can hardly sing anymore – instead calling for the crowd to fill in some passages so that his own vocals drown in the near-maniacal screaming from the first few rows. However, it is of little importance when one is confronted with the powerful playing of riff-maestro Tony Iommi, the eclectic and dynamic bass-playing of Geezer Butler and the rampant, surprisingly efficient drumming of hired gun Tommy Clufetos.

The set-list peaked early with a veritable parade of tracks from the classic self-titled debut album. Going through “Black Sabbath”, over “Behind the Wall of Sleep” and into “N.I.B”. “Black Sabbath” was delivered with an ominous intensity befitting of the track’s mood where Osbourne’s vocals had a brief moment of glory wherein he was mostly on-pitch. "Behind the Wall of Sleep" rang with a ferocity few bands seem to master these days in spite of an enormous increase in the general heaviness of music since this band’s conception, effectively postponing any argument that Black Sabbath might come off as being incredibly dated at this point. As Geezer Butler’s wah-wah laden bass solo segues into "N.I.B", the first few rows go absolutely crazy in euphoria whilst the band also seems to open up for all the tricks of movement they have left in them, coming off as extremely extrovert as a cohesive unit at this point, rather than just letting Osbourne run around the stage like an aging maniac looking for his lost slippers.

The crowd cheered moderately after a relatively pointless display of recent material in the form of “End of the Beginning” from their comeback album “13”, and it wasn’t until the band got through that song and segued into “Fairies Wear Boots” with Osbourne mumbling; ”What the hell is this song called again?”, that the pace really picked up again, as the crowd once more felt a much deeper, personal relation to the tracks that the majority of this crowd have probably been listening to on and off for the past 40 years or so. As “Rat Salad” slowly segued into a magnificent, albeit rather time-consuming, drum solo by Tommy Clufetos the remaining members of the band left the stage for what seemed like a needed breather. As Tommy Clufetos wrapped up his drum solo with the slow banging of the bass-drum, it became rather obvious what the next track was supposed to be. As the band reappeared for their, perhaps, most well-known track, the crowd instantly jeered with exuberant amounts of energy, ready to sing along to every word, every melody line and every goddamn drum fill that would make its way to “Iron Man”. – For better or worse, that is, as most of this excited behavior also resulted in significant amounts of the song being drowned out by sheer crowd-noise. - Something that I, personally, wasn’t all too fond of. But hey, what can a man do – at least people enjoyed themselves.

With the words; ”Alright, we’ll play one more song. If you all go fucking mental and act crazy, we’ll play one more after that!” the tone was set for a crowd that would subsequently go nuts during “Children of the Grave”, jumping around ecstatically whilst singing, or rather shouting, ”Children of tomorrow live in the tears that fall today / Will the sunrise of tomorrow bring in peace in any way? / Must the world live in the shadow of atomic fear? / Can they win the fight for peace or will they disappear? / Yeah!”

As Black Sabbath would eventually reappear from behind the stage to play one final encore, the band teased us all by playing a short excerpt of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” before throwing themselves directly into “Paranoid” – to rampant applause, that is. Following this final, energetic encore the lights once again came on as the people of the crowded venue slowly started to make their way towards the exit to continue their lives after having witnessed a band that, in spite of their age, is still relevant to this day. Much to my own surprise, I can now check off Black Sabbath on my list of bands to see with little-to-no disappointment felt about their 110 minute set, save for the fact that I really wanted to hear “Sweet Leaf”. Alas, it was not to be.

8

  • 1. War Pigs
  • 2. Into the Void
  • 3. Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes
  • 4. Snowblind
  • 5. Age of Reason
  • 6. Black Sabbath
  • 7. Behind the Wall of Sleep
  • 8. N.I.B
  • 9. End of the Beginning
  • 10. Fairies Wear Boots
  • 11. Rat Salad
  • 12. Iron Man
  • 13. Dirty Women
  • 14. Children of the Grave

--Encore--

  • 15. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath/Paranoid

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