BLACK DEBBATH – Thank you for being exactly the people that you are
Black Debbath has started 2015 by releasing a new album, ‘Universell Riffsynsing’ and 6th of February was the date when they held a release concert at Rockefeller, in Oslo, and had two support bands for the event: Lonely Kamel and Solstafir. I missed the first one as I had to photograph another show, but I got back just in time to watch the Icelanders once again. It was already rather crowded in the venue and I was glad to see a lot of the audience enjoying the gig and getting into the right mood. I was also very surprised to notice the absence of the usual drummer with long dreads, but after checking their Facebook page I understood that he didn’t join the band on this tour. I didn’t get used to his presence and it felt like he’s an intruder, but then again, I’ve seen this band so many times in the original formation, that any change would feel alien for a while.
Solstafir released a wel acclaimed album, Otta, at the end of last year. I still didn’t get to digest it too well, but it’s as atmospheric and dark and intense as it should be, and that’s exactly the state or the mood you’d be led to after each song, be it new or old. It’s simply fantastic how the guys build up the madness, starting from some very soft beats and finishing more powerful than a thunderstorm. If time allows, it’s always cool to checkout their stage clothes as they do have a certain style that you don’t necessarily expect from Icelandic folks. Yet it suits so nicely. And the new design on the singer’s guitar is simply fascinating.
The ending song, ‘Goddess of the Ages’ doesn’t require two guitars for a while, giving the singer the chance to climb down from the stage and sing from near the crowd, making the experience more personal. It was a pity they had to end so quickly and I believe that if you have Solstafir as support band, you need to allow them at least 60 minutes. 90 would be ideal, since they don’t really bother much with 4 minutes songs and it’s always nice to witness more than 5 songs during a concert.
A rather short break and the stage was completely transformed to match the ‘new looks’ of the Black Debbath’ers. The main microphone stand has got some red lights and aluminium foil. Actually a lot of things were pimped up with such foil. The stage crew was wearing orange costumes (later on I noticed that even the soundguys would be dressed in orange costumes). Then, all of a sudden, the stage was ‘invaded’ by 4 tall tents from which 4 silhouettes dressed in silver costumes and with astronaut like helmets emerged from them and fetched their instruments (or sat by the drum kit). So actually the first song was performed with the helmets on. That was really hilarious and probably a bit challenging as well. The helmets were removed, but the silver costumes stayed until the end, even if after a while the zippers were open in order to display a bit (more) of cleavage.
There is a lot of talking between songs, but it doesn’t make much sense to translate, since most of the jokes are on daily Norwegian subjects, political or less political. And sometimes the jokes are so bad you can’t stop laughing. Like, for example, during the classical quiz, when the band (coming from another planet) wants to test the intelligence level of Earth’s population and how much it has increased since the last visit and they ask ‘What is the name of the band in which the Scorpions guitarists play?’ ‘What band does the Scorpions singer sing for?’ and so on.
The new album doesn’t have any big hits yet, but songs about Munch museum and the ballad of the pensionist are getting a good reception. Especially when the ballad is sung in duet with Bjørn Eidsvåg, who is well interpreted by the guitarist Aslag. But the songs from the previous album, "Nå får det faen meg være rock! Akademisk stoner-rock!", are well loved by the crowd and sung by everyone in Rockefeller. I think they could have gone on and one screaming ‘Nei til runkesti på Ekeberg!’ or explaining howgood it is to change the kitchen cloths more often – actually it has become a tradition that before they play this song, the band is throwing some of their merch (kitchen cloths, slippers, etc), but if you didn’t catch one they can always be bought at the merch stand. Afterall, it must be pretty metal to wear Black Debbath slippers around the house.
I hope the new album will quickly be ‘learned’ by the audience, so that next time I watch Black Debbath live everyone could sing along the newer songs and didn’t make such a big difference between them and the older ones. But nevertheless, the guys are always great to watch as they are fantastic entertainers and serious enough to act so silly on stage, and even if their hair gets more and more white, hey stay young at heart. And that’s what matters in the end. And the fact that they are thanking us for being exactly the people that we are. This was one of the coolest words adressed by a band towards its audience.