It was a warm and sunny day leading into the Negură Bunget gig at Bumper in Liverpool, which was somewhat ironic given the styles of music that would be witnessed as the night progressed!
The night got underway with a performance from Polish blackened death metal troupe Northern Plague. Although the music wasn’t bad, there were moments in the set that did leave a little to be desired due to the band playing it very safe – there wasn’t much that stood out about the music and there wasn’t too much to the performance, so it didn’t end up really sticking in your mind, especially with the minimal crowd interaction – however that could have simply been down to there being a bit of a language barrier.
Up next were Liverpool natives Ninkharsag, who added a tonne of atmosphere to the night courtesy of their rather powerful smoke machine! Although this was something I commented critically on after my previous encounter with the band, this time things seemed to be a lot more under control and it added a rather good sense of mystery to the performance without it being too overpowering – we could all still see what was going on, and it was an all-round tight and together performance from the band, who really took things up a notch.
Main support for the show came from Grimegod, who played a sublime combination of death and doom – it was crushing, to say the least, and performed to a very high standard, with each member of the band really giving it their all. Additionally, it was impossible not to want to get involved with the performance, especially with frontman Tibor commanding the crowd to yell and clap their hands along with the music, which resulted in a show that really stuck in your mind.
The highlight of the night had to be the incredible Negură Bunget, who put on a unique and engaging show from start to finish. Although beginning with a more standard performance, things slowly progressed into a more unique one, and a particular highlight of the performance was when the performance turned into a percussion-led one, with bass and steel drums, as well as the more unconventional instruments of digeridoo and a suspended plank played with a hammer (I’m afraid if that instrument has a name, I have no idea what it is referred to as!)
Additionally, the band were very visual, charismatic and engaging performers, and it really did make all the difference. Indeed, when the gig came to a close, I don’t believe I heard a single bad word said about Negură Bunget or the events of the night – which is clearly the sign of a great evening being had by all!
Negură BungetBumper, Liverpool - 13th May 2015
Photographer: Phil Vidamour