Photo by Hasan Jensen
I was back in Voxhall for the first time this year last night to witness an incredibly solid show by Russian Circles (Chicago) and their chosen touring act for Europe, Cloakroom (Indiana). I always get kind of worried when I’m incredibly excited for a show, and I see the numbers attending on Facebook are small – thinking, maybe if nobody turns up, that will hamper the concert and they’ll never be back. My worries were put to rest when a sizeable crowd began lumbering in from the windy Aarhus evening just as Cloarkroom hit the stage at around 8pm.
Admittedly, I knew more about Cloakroom than Russian Circles – Cloakroom’s brand of “stoner emo” hits me right where I like it – a little indie, a little heavy, a dose of old school emo, and quiet/loud dynamics that scream an affinity for shoegaze and other ‘alternative’ genres. I was a little fan-boy, close enough up front to get close to the band, and far enough away not to look like a twat I guess. They opened up with their newest track, “Paperweight” from a forthcoming LP. It was pleasantly loud and the crowd even seemed to enjoy it, so I was happy. Sometime during the second number though, the singer/guitarist broke a string – so there was a little pause to mend it, however there was so much pedal loopage going on, that there was no awkward silence. The band finished their 40 or so minutes out with tracks from both their LP, and first EP – and a Songs:Ohia cover as their closer. The crowd was pretty much thick by then, and I think deservedly impressed with the group, as there was a little line at the merch booth for some Cloakroom stuff. I was happy as larry having seen one of my current favorite groups play in my hometown. I really wish we could get them back for their own concert, possibly in a smaller venue so we can see them properly spread their wings.
Russian Circles immediately began setting up. I did a little crowd watching – because I was very curious to see what kind of fans would turn up to see them – would it be the metal community in battle vests? Would it be indie guys? Russians? RC’s brand of music is undeniably heavy – in fact, I’d be so bold as to say this was one of the heaviest shows I’d ever seen – but there’s also a sense that there is an extreme reverence for them for fans of Post-rock (ala Mogwai or Sigur Ros). It seemed about 60% metal guys – and a real pick n’ mix of all kinds of guys and girls that made up the crowd.
The stage was set and a delicately minimal ambient drone was playing on the sound system. The band came out and immediately launched into the first two tracks from last year’s Guidance album, “Asa” and “Vorel”. The quietly pretty “Asa” contrasting the absolute ferocious wave of heavy that comes with “Vorel”. I gazed out into the crowd and just saw heads bobbing in rhythm, it was a sight to see – the crowd already hypnotized by the chugging machine that is Russian Circles. It was tough for me to identify what tracks came next – the bulk of the set came from Guidance, peppered with other tracks from previous records. Thankfully I made friends with the Cloakroom guys, and they guided me through the set. They seemed just as thrilled as the crowd, if not more, to be seeing this spectacle every night on tour.
The show was over in about an hour, however, it didn’t seem that long at all. It is very transcendental – the waves of pounding riffage coming at you. It was like seeing a minimalist symphony – I left Voxhall still in a kind of daze. The two acts we saw were quite different, however not entirely worlds apart, so I think fans were won from either side of the field.
Luckily I ganked a setlist – thanks to Cloakroom, I’d definitely see either of these bands again, just not tonight, my ears are fucked.
The show was over in about an hour, however, it didn’t seem that long at all. It is very transcendental – the waves of pounding riffage coming at you. It was like seeing a minimalist symphony – I left Voxhall still in a kind of daze. (5/6)