Gig Review :: Summerstorm :: Palace Grounds, Blore, Feb 5th

 

[youtube_video id=sc5qVo9UOms]

 

The textbook definition of a metal concert: A celebration of the world’s loudest, most technically sound genre of music after jazz; that and thousands of fans and music aficionados alike, congregating at a venue for said celebration. That wasn’t completely the case with Summerstorm ’12 at the Palace Grounds, Bangalore on the 5th of February.

CROWD: Far Too Tame

Rare moment of energy

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge metalhead and if you knew what I looked like, you’d agree. Let’s talk about the crowd that convened shall we? First, the list of t-shirts worn within immediate viewing range of 180 degrees; Opeth, Opeth, Opeth, Lamb of God, Ironmaiden, Gojira, “The core principle of freedom is the only notion to obey”, a few more Opeths and finally a Motörhead. Second, the crowd itself; absolutely boring, not to mention one character who wore tight leather pants and bling. The only people who headbanged (the ritualistic dance of metal), were few & sporadic. And in this minor list were my little posse & me. Everybody else looked at us with scorn and disdain every time we made ‘noise’. 

OPENINGS ACTS :: EP & Theorized

 

Okay, on with the program, I know. What about the bands you ask? Absolutely amazing if I say so myself. But there was one single factor that did all the bands in. The sound. I’m not a music tech guy but even I know when the lead guitar and hi-hats can’t be heard. The first band that came up on stage was Theorized, a Bangalore based Thrash Metal outfit. They warmed the crowd up. These guys bring out an in-your-face metal assault that leaves the listener zapped as he sets his dishevelled hair from all the head swirling. And there was a lot of head-swirling that evening.

Second up was yet another Bangalore band, E{c}centric Pendulum. What we had was twenty minutes, of clear-cut Thrash-laced Progressive Death Metal, exploited to the full and CYNIC-ally adorned with expensive Jazz elements fused generously into the compositions. But like I said before, I couldn’t hear any of this in all its glory courtesy the sound desk.

NOTHNEGAL & SUIDAKRA

Moving on, Maldives-based Nothnegal (I still can’t pronounce it right) came on stage and surprised me silly. Why? Because their keyboardist looked like one of Norse God Odin’s sons and played the most mellow of chords. The big mystery is how this remote isle act wrangled drum services from Kevin Talley (Six Feet Under, ex-Hate Eternal, ex-The Black Dahlia Murder) and keys by Marco Sneck (Poisonblack, ex-Kalmah, ex-Charon). Despite the endless array of interesting keyboard noodling and effects however, the band quickly sunk below the waves of mediocrity.

The penultimate act on stage was German Celtic Folk-metal act, SuidAkrA. They definitely set the tone for the evening. The crowd suddenly started losing it and that gave us a sense of hope, that the day wasn’t dead, yet. The band walked up on stage and Arkadius Antonik introduced the blokes for us but not before a tall bald man accompanied the band, wearing a kilt and playing a bagpipe.

 
Wait what? No one told me that they actually have a bagpiper in their band line-up! Their setlist comprised songs that I’ve never heard of, barring Pendragon’s Fall that is. The band reminded me so much of Ensiferum and their song ‘Token of Time’ to be precise. 

ARGUABLY, The Most Charged Moments @ Summerstorm

It was some time during the band’s third song that something amazing happened. The barricade collapsed, taking my boss and pretty much anybody else who was leaning on the barricade, down with it, me included. And that wasn’t even the best part. One crowd member had his foot stuck underneath the barricade before it fell. Any guesses where that left him? In serious pain, that’s where. His foot did the unthinkable, it folded underneath the wreckage. The owner of the foot will now go down in history as Bangalore’s most metal-ready metal-head. Even the band asked if the poor boy was okay, lucky him.

The next most amazing event during the SuidAkrA session was this one lone ranger who kept throwing a Nazi Flag up in the air. Guess he thought the bands that came to play there were, um, angry with the world?! As awesome as this band might have been I still couldn’t hear as much as I’d have liked to, thanks to Mr. You-don’t-know-how-to-mix-sound Man. 

Opeth Onstage

It was then time for the main act of the evening to take control of everything in the immediate vicinity and blow it to smithereens. But that’s just it. They didn’t blow people to smithereens. What they did, no one could fathom. They hypnotised the crowd with some of the most depressing interpretive jazz and classic rock, all from their new album Heritage. They did play a mixed bag of songs ranging from those on the Heritage album to their older songs from Deliverance, Watershed and Blackwater Park.

Strangely though, I wasn’t too kicked about Opeth this time around. They weren’t ‘metal’ enough. But they were very friendly. Mikael Åkerfeldt, the band’s founder, guitarist and vocalist made the crowd feel at home with his original crowd chant, “$%^& you Michael!!!”. It worked. Every time he counted down, we’d scream those three words and we were instantly pumped up. Some members of the distinguished audience claimed that Mikael couldn’t growl anymore; to which came retorts in the form of a slight flip of the finger. The sound at this point in time was okay-ish while being much better than the other bands. the last song of the evening (it all happened too soon) was Deliverance and that, dear readers, is what is responsible for this bad case of headbangerilosis I now nurse (I’m opportunistic like that. Despite the ratio of heavy to mellow tunes, you can’t hold a true metal head down m/) It was crazy but not as wild as the mosh at IIT where Opeth played 3 years ago. Where there was an actual 2-minute mosh during just the intro.

All in all, the evening was not unsatisfactory. We experienced a softer, thought provoking sound of Opeth, apt for the kind of gathering & the nighttime breeze. It had its moments and I would still cherish it.

Setlist

Here is what Opeth played. You might want to look them up in case the band decides to come down for a third show.

1. Through Pain to Heaven (Popol Vuh cover)
2. The Devil’s Orchard 
3. I Feel the Dark 
4. Face of Melinda 
5. Slither 
6. Credence 
7. To Rid the Disease 
8. Folklore 
9. Heir Apparent 
10. The Baying of the Hounds 
11. The Drapery Falls 
12. Deliverance  


CAMERA CREDITS: PRAVEEN S R (It ain’t no joke to record a ten minute Opeth song with a heavy DSLR. Ur DA MAN!!!!)

SPECIAL THANKS:

 Sutapa @ Kingfisher

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