MOONSPELL – Oslo – John Dee
The part 2 of the ‘Road to Extinction’ 2015 tour edition, with Moonspell as headliners and Dagoba and Jaded Star as support acts, has stopped at John Dee in Oslo on a dark-as-usual November evening. When I entered the venue it was somewhat empty and I took advantage of this and went straight tot he merch stand so could buy a Moonspell tshirt. By the time I asked to try a model or another and made a few jokes with the guys at the merch stand, the band on the stage had already had finished their act. So, I simply cannot make any comments on the Greek band since all I did was to notice their presence on stage and I am sorry for not even hearing what kind of music they were performing. Will have to wait til next time.
Dagoba are four guys from South of France – more precisely fucking Marseille, as we were constantly reminded during their set. The band had a fantastic energy that managed to slowly convince the Norwegian crowd to gather in front of the stage and to ignore the headbanging showers offered by the vocalist and bass player who would constantly empty a bottle of water on their heads. It added a nice effect to the show. The metalcore music performed by the French guys is not something I’d play on purpose if I had a choice, so this was not a highlight for me. Neither when there was intense and mean, harsh voice type nor it went into – rather pleasant – melodic parts. But altogether it’s not my cup of tea so I spent the concert watching the drummer showing off with the drumsticks whenver he had more than half a second free to lift an arm and rotate the stick in the air. Then I switched focus and wondered how much worse can a light show get.
A rather long break with way too loud music in the speakers, revealed the Moonspell stage up – a drumkit decorated with a huge horned bovine skull, keyboards surrounded by organ like pipes (a rather cool effect) and the good old microphone stand with the pentagram bottom and some wooden items attached to it somewhere in the middle. Even if the lights were turned off, we still had to hear some extra songs in the speakers before the band actually made it on stage, reasons unknown. But once they arrived, they started a 90 minutes promo of their latest release, Extinct (which I personally love very very much), nicely blended with old and classic tunes, or even less classic ones, but something for fans of any period in the 23 years of Moonspell’s career.
It might have been disappointing for fans who haven’t listened to them sine somewhere at the beginning of the 2000s, since the band didn’t get stuck in their original sound and just experienced here and there, attempting to be meaner, softer, or even weirder, but always being genuine in their attempt to be what Moonspell is at a given date and time. ‘Extinct’ is a beautiful catchy blend of those smooth and deep/harsh voice mixes and choruses, nicely tuned in with groovy drums and bass line, on which the guitar and keyboards are working mini symphonies and solos that make the songs stick to your mind with each listen. The lyrics should still be very appealing to any fans of the dark/goth style, but the mood is more ‘light’ and even dancy at times. The show started with the intro of ‘La Baphomette’, the one track in French from the album, a short and perfect back in time kind of track sang with devilish passion. Unfortunately, it was just an intro. I would have loved to hear it live. But instead the dancy rhythm Medusalem was performed a tad later and that was a good reason to move the hips or any other body part that would give in to the groovy oriental sounds.
Back and forth between songs from Extinct, and hits like Opium, Vampiria, Alma Mater or a nicely rearranged Magdalene Moonspell even decided to give ‘Scorpion Flower’ a try and invite the cute vocalist of Jaded Star to perform along with Fernando. She doesn’t have a bad voice, but that song is so ‘sacred’ as it’s originally performed by Anneke, and I don’t think there’s many who can even get close to that. I respect when you try to interpret it your own way, but when it comes to this one I can’t help but be very conservative. The moment was quickly forgotten when the band decided to play Ataegina (probably instead of Trebaruna?) due some issues reported by the keyboard player, issue that delayed the show a tiny bit. For my part, they can play Ataegina for 90 minutes in a row and it would be the best concert ever, although my neck and ankles would totally disagree with the amount of jumping and headbanging. I think this is one of the most uplifting rhythms I ever heard from the band. I simply love everything about it and I am never sorry if they have to replace any other song on the playlist with Ataegina.
As we have already been announced, the band left the stage, crowd cheered, band came back and played two more songs, out of which the last one was Full Moon Madness. It had a great vibe to it since the crowd reacted rather well to the whole concert, but I missed watching this live under the open sky and within the mountains of Transylvania. That’s pretty much where this song belongs, yet, still looking forward to hear it live in any venue on this planet. Moonspell has a good stage experience, a very charismatic vocalist who has a way of moving his arms as if he’s sucking in all energy from the crowd, and then, together with all his hairy companions, they breathe that energy back to the audience with intense headbangings and passionate interpretations of the lyrics. I wish them good health so they can go on for maybe other 23 years from now on.