BLUES PILLS – Bergen – Hulen
The fabulous Blues Pills, who have totally taken the underground by storm and risen to success within the last couple of years or so, were back in Bergen in order to satisfy its lovers of retro-sounding (hard) rock dating back to the 60s and 70s. Contrary to so many other newer bands who perform vintage-sounding material, Blues Pills rule beyond belief and have totally nailed and encapsulated the sounds and atmospheres of the brilliant music of old. Tonight would be my second time watching the band on stage, and, naturally, I was pretty damn excited about seeing these young gods of ancient "stoner" rock performing at one of my favorite venues in Bergen, namely Hulen. I put "stoner" in quotation marks simply because Blues Pills transcend that limited tag and description, but most fuckers out there tend to label them a stoner rock band. Anyway, the first time I watched Blues Pills live was brilliant. As it turned out, tonight’s show turned out to be mindblowing and memorable as well.
When I turned up at Hulen there were hardly any people there, which both shocked and surprised me. When Blues Pills played at the very same venue about 9-10 months ago they totally ruled, and nearly every other show on this European tour of theirs was sold out from what I was told. I guess I thought that the Bergen crowd would have caught on and realized that this was the perfect opportunity to witness the band in an intimate setting. Gradually more and more people started showing up, though, but I did wonder what the fuck was going on before the show, that is for sure. During the show I noticed that people from all sorts of different (musical) backgrounds were there; you had the doom and stoner rock fans, you had black metal fans, you had a bunch of guys who were basically…well, my dad’s age, let me put it that way! I find it pretty cool that certain bands attract such different listeners from different age-groups and so on.
The stage itself and the whole setup were simple and stripped down to the bare essentials. No back-drop or any props or anything like that, which suits the band and its expression I think. Simple and effective. The quartet walked on stage at approximately 11 PM and launched into "High Class Woman", and from then on I dare say most of us never looked back and were totally captivated by the band and its performance. The divine and soothingly melancholic vocals courtesy of Elin Larsson are simply haunting. The band as a whole was very tight and yet fittingly loose in certain places, and they did jam a bit inbetween songs, which only added to the strange feeling that one was transported back in time to 1970 and witnessing a new and exciting band on stage. We were handed awesome tunes such as "Ain’t No Change", "Dig In", "No Hope Left for Me", "Astralplane", "Jupiter", a cover of Tony Joe White’s "Elements & Things", "Devil Man", "Little Sun", and "Black Smoke". The sound was slightly rough around the edges from where I was standing, but I could hear all the instruments somewhat clearly, so I really had no complaints with respect to that. All in all the show ruled, and it was nice to see that people flocked to the merchandise stand once the band left the stage. This was definitely one of those nights to remember and I was more than fulfilled. A great night!