These past few days were absolutely exhausting so I almost completely forgot about this. I also forgot about the venue, the legendary SKC, which was THE place to be for a metalhead back in the day. Obviously, guided by nostalgia for the place and the atmosphere of the days gone by, I relished the opportunity. The place really has seen some of the greatest names!
Introduction to this evening was made by the charming Jo Quail. Her music melted with the venue with exceptional sound quality. Her specific style goes really well with the music of Mono (something that will be relevant later), a truly deserved spot on the tour. Ranging from calm and peaceful to dangerous and uncertain soundscapes. What made it even more special to me is that she was alone on the stage but never lost control of the situation. It takes a lot of courage to make such a bold move and I think we need to start appreciating that more. All in all, it was a pleasure listening to this perspective artist.
Second on the stage were Norwegians Arabrot. Initial impression of this theatrically dressed bunch was positive, as they clearly had only one thing in mind. Now, what I mean is bands like these, in terms of genre, stature and whatnot, can be stuff like “alright”, “solid”, “professional” but rarely, and it was the case here can you freely say they were “fun”. The strangest thing was that the personal story of the band and was anything but fun. Musically, as much as they’re shoehorned as “noise rock”, there’s a fair bit of folk motives, mentions of devil, death, red blood and at times I felt like I was listening to a skewed Nick Cave. However, this colorful, noisy, fun bunch wasn’t seen by many this time round.
Mono are an ancient band, considering the post-rock timeline. There’s really no point in listing their accolades or their approach. These people have been around (even around here a couple times) and you can tell from the word go. The beginning of the show was already somewhat of a sign of what would keep happening, a short quiet bit that almost instantly turning into a superblast packed with energy.
Zero spoken words later, and you can smell from a mile away, the anger and the glee, the hype and the boredom. However, as most of the times it’s the case, there’s dull bits and there’s just a hint of repetitiveness. But like I said, that was almost immediately turned around.
Moving on, the now packed venue was very much enjoying themselves, well, ourselves by the constant swings and turns, focusing on the momentary. There’s a lot going on despite the minimalistic set visuals and most of the band members themselves being practically stationary the entire time. The previously mentioned Jo Quail returned to the stage for some support. A few more starts and stops later with a degree of almost startling, this ended up being one of the few concerts that I can remember with zero spoken words in its entirety.
Well, technically that’s not entirely true as the band did address the crowd once before their encore which ended up being a blowout “Ashes in the snow”, bringing the show to a close with mesmerizing force, some of which the speakers couldn’t really handle. Ears ringing galore but nobody really expected any different.