It’s never great when a show suffers from delays and upon arrival at Sound Control in Manchester, the downstairs area of the venue was teeming with gig-goers waiting to be allowed upstairs and the wait was unbearable as more and more people came inside – it was a hot day to begin with, and the generated heat from everyone congregating was not pleasant, to say the least.
Finally we were allowed upstairs and after a short wait, the mighty Vredehammer took to the stage and powered into an absolutely awesome performance…but then as soon as the closing chords of the opening track rang out, frontman Per Valla introduced the band before saying that they were about to play their final song of the night and there was a few confused faces as they proceeded. It’s impossible to adequately review a two-song set as you can’t really get a good feel for a performance in such a short period of time, but nevertheless it was a small but mighty show from the outfit. It was just a shame that Vredehammer had their set drastically reduced as they were by far the band I was most looking forward to seeing but what I did get to witness was incredible. Hopefully they’ll be back in the UK soon to play a full set – Vredehammer is a band you really need to watch out for.
Up next was Oslo Faenskap and the atmosphere just seemed to drop completely in comparison to what we’d briefly witnessed from Vredehammer. It wasn’t a bad performance, so to speak, but it just all felt rather samey, with nothing really standing out about the show. As there still seemed to be some delay to the gig, Oslo Faenskap’s set was cut down too (although not as extremely as Vredehammer’s) but it still seemed to drag somehow, with everything merging into one long song and nothing really standing out as being massively memorable.
Finally it was time for headliners Satyricon to take the stage, although they did so after a rather long wait – after the techs had set up, there was at least fifteen minutes of ‘dead’ time (which begged the question whether the previous two band’s sets needed to be cut down at all). However minor grievances aside, the crowd got involved right away as the band took to the stage and got things underway almost immediately with their track The Rite Of Our Cross.
The set as a whole was a fairly impressive one; clocking in at over two hours in duration, and this both worked for and against the band. On the one hand, it was fantastic to bear witness to so many fantastic songs both from Satyricon’s back catalogue and from their newest self-titled opus, but on the other hand at times it seemed to drag and the crowd got a little disinterested during some of the newer material.
An unexpected highlight of the set was their cover of The Dead Kennedys’ Holiday In Cambodia, which caused some rather amusing scenes of very serious black metallers in the crowd dancing like crazy to their rendition, and of course songs like Mother North, The Pentagram Burns and closer K.I.N.G. went down an absolute storm, yet it seemed like there was something missing in Satyricon’s performance as it wasn’t quite as powerful as their last visit to Manchester at the tail end of 2013. It was good; there was no mistaking that, and it was a very enjoyable night, but the performance didn’t quite showcase Satyricon at their utmost best.
Photography by Phil Vidamour.
Satyricon Sound Control ManchesterSound Control, Manchester - 7th April 2015
Photographer: Phil Vidamour