Cult Of Luna bring a storm of noise alongside the exuberant GGGOLDDD and the dreamy Slow Crush. A night to remember in Manchester.
A truly mouth-watering evening of music is what is on show on this night in Manchester. Swedish post-metal giants Cult Of Luna brought The Long Road North, GGGOLDDD showcased cuts from their new self released EP and Belgians, Slow Crush, added the lighter hues with their glorious shoegaze sound.
Hailing from Belgium, Slow Crush have a couple of albums under their belt. They’re a relatively young band but by god do they know how to impress. Isa Holliday fronts the band, and although listed from Belgium and living in Belgium, Holliday has local ties. Knutsford to be exact. For that, she remarks that this is a bit of a homecoming. The crowd are more than happy to greet this event as such.
‘Good evening Manchester. We are Slow Crush,’ announces Holliday after opening with Aid & Abet. Another cut from Aurora (their 2018 debut) sees plenty of shapes being thrown on stage in amongst a smoky atmosphere. With the crowd amassing, The reception for the band seems to grow with each and every song.
Tremble has a little more of a softer introduction but it is no less powerful as it builds. It is dreamy and ethereal; the kind of music music to close your eyes to and drift away. This is powerful stuff.
‘How’s everyone doing? Thanks for coming out early,’ remarks Holliday. Manchester nearly always shows up for all the bands on a bill. With this bill, you’d be foolish not to.
As the set progresses, confidence seems to spark from the band. Their movement is wholly energetic when you consider the music that they create is quite melancholic. Holiday almost slow dances with her sparkly red bass guitar and Jelle Ronsmans plays with a myriad of pedals and loops to achieve the density required.
The up-tempo Glow closes out the set. ‘Get ready to dance,’ says Holliday as Slow Crush veer closer to grunge than ever. Manchester gives a huge ovation to the band as the band leave with hands raised. A wholly triumphant start to proceedings.
GGGOLDDD offer a change in pace and style to Slow Crush. From the equipment set up, it is clear that there is going to be more of an electronic element. With guitars being blended with the electronic drums and digital flourishes, this electro-gothic combination of music is truly riveting.
Milena Eva is the enigmatic centrepiece of the music as she uses definite hand movements and gestures in a kind of contemporary dance. Her poise and stare when performing is chilling. Chilling is right. This Shame Should Not Be Mine is the bands latest long player. It is a personal account of Eva’s own experiences of sexual abuse. She refers to this explicitly as GGGOLDDD close out their set with the incredibly haunting, On You. After she makes the context and content clear, their is a deafening silence in Manchester Ritz. The vulnerability and transparency of the song and lyrics is stark and thought provoking, and performed under a single spotlight, nearly solo, it makes the hairs stand up.
A mixture of songs from This Shame Should Not Be Mine and brand new EP, PTSD, make up the set. I Won’t Let You Down is a set highlight. Two guitars are used with one being bowed. Eva repeats the chorus line showcasing her great vocal range as the song builds to an almighty crescendo.
I Let My Hair Grow is introduced from the PTSD EP. Notes On How To Trust is a blistering statement from the band. Repetitive and hypnotic, the piece is loud and heavy. Some Gilmour style licks adorn the introduction. With such a heavy subject matter, and the emotions that go with it, GGGOLDDD know how to deliver an abrasive and yet transcendental set.
Genuine thanks are offered, and a huge ovation follows from the crowd. Like Slow Crush, GGGOLDDD brought their A-game.
CULT OF LUNA
With two amazing opening slots in the books, the sonic shift is set to overdrive as Cult Of Luna take the stage to test the foundations of Manchester Ritz.
Beyond II rings around as the pulsing white lights illuminate the stage before the crushing start to Cold Burn. The volcanic red lights greet the song before the volcano erupts. With two drummers, the rolling nature of the rhythm section sounds terrific. Intersperse that with Johannes Persson’s vicious vocals, two guitars, bass and keyboards and electronics, and you have quite the force. Key to the success is the mix of the band in the live arena. It has potential to be a complete mess, but such is the quality of the band, the mix (to my ears) sounds top class.
This is emphasised further when the guitar solos that appear are crystal clear. The clarity is joyous. Like the support bands, Manchester is very giving in their reception. Sometimes it is hard to know where certain songs ends and begin, but with lights dimming, Manchester is on cue to show their appreciation.
The bass opening of The Silver Arc is epic and when the layered guitars enter the fray, it is completely devastating. Persson stalks the stage (perilously close to the edge it must be said – it’s a long drop) to make eye contact with the front rows through the haze. The connection is clear, but it is unspoken. Musically; that is where Cult Of Luna do their talking.
A dazzling spectacle of light backs each and every song to really enhance the cold mood of the music. I: The Weapon is just that; a weapon of sonic destruction. It is harsh and dissonant and every head bobs/bangs along in unison. Lights On The Hill moves seamlessly into the oldest cut in the set; Finland.
Cult Of Luna are a unique entity. For years, they have trod their own path. They have the ability to lift, to batter, to punish and to wow. Their latest album, The Long Road North, is a thing of crushing beauty (our review here) and to hear it live is an honour and a pleasure. A superb night of music with three contrasting acts all bringing their own style of ‘heavy.’ Music is the best.
Categories: Live Reviews