Machine Head & Amon Amarth, 26th September 2022, Forum Black Box, Copenhagen, Denmark27th September 2022
Lamb Of God, Kreator & Municipal Waste, 22nd February 2023, Forum Black Box, Copenhagen, Denmark23rd February 2023
Karnivool & The Ocean Collective, 24th January 2023, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, Denmark
Archive photo: Zoran www.sonic-shot.com
There are several similarities to the two bands who shared the bill at Copenhagen’s Pumpehuset last night, but generally looking this seems like bit of an odd pair. The introvert and almost mysterious post metal approach to prog of The Ocean Collective, is juxtaposes the more open alternative rock approach of Karnivool. But the strong emphasis on prog and undeniably quality of both bands speaks to the advantage of getting them together on tour.
At exactly 8 PM The Ocean Collective took the stage quite anonymously as they always do, with murky stage, and no spotlights. And they kept it like that for the entirety of their 50-minute-long show, which worked eminently, taking their music into the consideration.
The band creates a dark post metal atmosphere, by focusing on intensity in performance and eminently handled stage lighting.
Musically their extreme sides did seem to come as bit of surprise for those unfamiliar with the band and that’s where the difference between them and the main band of the evening became apparent. But The Ocean Collective managed to win over big chunk of the sold-out crowd with their skill and intensity of performance as well as the material in general.
The overwhelming focus of the setlist was on band’s 2020’s album Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic and perhaps rightfully so, not only because of the fact that it’s their latest album, but also due to its quality and some truly memorable hooks. “Triassic” was as perfect an opener for the show as it is for the album. “Permian: The Great Dying” from Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic served as the biggest sing-along section of the show, with Loïc Rossetti even handing the microphone to someone in the crowd. “Holocene” was bone-chillingly gorgeous and the highlight of the show. The band closed the show with rather suiting epic “Jurassic | Cretaceous”, which even saw Rossetti doing a bit of crowd surfing. There is also a feel of gratitude to The Ocean Collective, despite their reclusive approach. All together is worked very well, and the band has without a doubt gained some new fans last night.
Some 40 minutes after The Ocean Collective finished their show, the Australian band took the stage for their first show in Copenhagen in almost 10 years. Karnivool took the brightly lit stage in a nonchalant manner, in many ways underlining the general difference between the two bands. The difference that would end up being the strong side of this show as well, because we got to satisfy out thirst for different musical experience all in the same evening.
As the band ripped into “C.O.T.E.” from their 2005 debut Themata, the impact of their sound was utterly overwhelming. Not in that louder-than-life Motörhead manner, thou. The sheer beefy body and clarity of the massive sound had that deer-caught-in-headlights effect on the crowd. Sonically this must be in top 10 of best sounding rock concerts, truly yours has witnessed, and certainly the best sounding since a certain open air show in California, USA back in 2015.
Another surprising facet, which was clear from the start, was the immediate impact Karnivool’s music had on the crowd. Despite the complexity, odd time signatures and length of the songs, the crowd was into it, off the bat, with those hands in the air, hips shaking and nonetheless with a big dose of sing-along.
There is a catchy quality to many melodies and despite complexity there is a infectious rhythmic aspect to Karnovool’s music. All that splayed a part in getting crowd involved to a degree where cellphones were rarely used.
Furthermore, the band’s alluring and jaw-dropping performance played a massive role in connecting with the crowd as did their simpatico aura.
And speaking of simpatico aura, massive portion of it came from band’s frontman Ian Kenny. He is ever-present and in constant connection with crowd and music. The smile on his face and tons of eye contact never seemed forced and his somewhat unorthodox moves added to the vibrancy of band’s overall performance.
And speaking of performance, all five band members delivered astoundingly. The sound quality additionally underlined the technical abilities of this band – abilities, which never came across as flashy. Kenny delivered his demanding vocals ease and conviction with each other band member impressing as music. Jon Stockman’s playing and nonetheless part more than justified that six-string bass.
Setlist too, was set up very well, representing each of Karnivool’s three albums and making sure to include the pivotal songs of their careers. But they also included several oddballs, such as gorgeous “Sky Machine”, new track “All It Takes”, baldly placed “Alpha Omega” and “Deadman”, which turned out to be second biggest sing-along of the evening despite it+ 12-minute running time. Biggest sing-along came unsurprisingly during the band’s “hit” “New Day”, which with it flawless +8-minute eminently closed the show and even resulted in a mosh-pit during tat heavy section towards the end.
There isn’t really anything negative to point out, but it can be noted that stage lighting could have been designed in a way which would support the mood of the music to a bigger degree. Also “Sky Machine” didn’t fully translate that goosebumps-quality of the album version into this live setting.
Last night Karnivool played a show that mastered and celebrated just about all the aspects of what live music is about. The skill, the joy and the feeling went hand in hand through the 90 minutes show. Utterly impressive on all levels.
- All It
- Simple Boy
- Sky Machine
- All I Know
- Alpha Omega
- New Day