Sunday, 26 April 2009

My concert experience: Pain

Yesterday I had my newest concert experience: the Swedish industrial metal project Pain. Despite not being any close to a die-hard fan of Pain I enjoyed myself a lot and still have a mild headache from the mind-blowing sound. For those of you, who don't know what Pain is here is some useful information: Pain. I cannot say that I couldn't wait to see Peter Tägtgren live as I knew only about his solo project and had no idea that he was such a big name in the Scandinavian metal scene. Tägtgren is responsible for the development of the dead metal genre and the establishment of such bands as Hypocrisy (his own band), Dimmu Borgir, Amon Amarth, Marduk, Dark Funeral, Children of Bodom and many more. In other words Peter is a big deal!

Going back to the concert itself I had no idea what to expect, which sometimes is better as you cannot be really disappointed (or can you?). I was there at sharp 20:00, which was the announced time for the gig to begin. Of course, the organization was rather crude and they wouldn't start letting in for the next two hours and a least I got in at 22:30. Fortunately I had someone to spend the time with otherwise I might have gone back home, had dinner and come back again and most probably I would still had spare time. The concert found place at BlueBox club, which hosted the Combichrist concert just a month ago. I was quite surprised to see that many metal-heads waiting for Pain, having in mind that ummm industrial music is not that popular among them...later that evening I came to realize their majority, after all Tägtgren is an important figure for the music they listen to. I am still not very sure, but I believe that most of them were there to see the frontman of Hypocrisy and in the mean time to see his side project Pain.

The Bulgarian alternative metal band Culn were supposed to be the support, but either the entrance flow was very slow or they played just a few songs as I didn't get to hear or see them at all. Actually when I was in the hall sound check was already running and the whole place was packed...I didn't expect to see that many people, for real.

The show started at 22:40 and it blasted my ears as it began like a dead metal concert. Let's say that the first three songs sounded to me absolutely alike and if it wasn't for the short paused they made I wouldn't have realized that they are separate. Honestly I wasn't very pleased to listen to growling and speedy guitars as headbanging has never been into my blood. I wondered if this was really a Pain concert, or a surprise Hypocrisy show, which was going to turn my brains into soup. I assume that once a dead metal singer, you always stay one and that it explains why most of the live versions were trashier, faster and included less electronic elements that your average industrial act. Of course, the majority didn't care much as they were there for the wire and the disturbing vocals of Tägtgren, who had no mercy on them. Obviously Peter has realized that the people that come to watch him live are less interested in electronica, which explains the lack of an actual synthesizer, although some songs began with their original electronically influenced intros.

Either the equipment was bad or the acoustic in the hall was horrible, but I could hardly hear the vocals and for most of the time the drums were not to be heard. The sound was too high for such a small venue (it has a capacity of some 800 people) and some of the songs were indistinguishable until the chorus was sung. There were some problems with the microphones as well, but I assume that some of the equipment belonged to the organizers and Pain had come only with the instruments.

Still, the concert had a plenty of highlights, which no doubt were their best known songs: "Shut Your Mouth", "Same Old Song", "Just Hate Me", "Dancing with the Dead" and of course my personal favourite "Bye/Die", which was as expected played at the very end. I was very pleased with "Bitch" from their new album, "I Don't Care" and "End of the Line". Honestly I am not sure if "Eleanor Rigby" was played at all and I have no idea which were the opening three songs, but it doesn't matter anyway.

I am not looking forward to seeing Peter Tägtgren's other band Hypocrisy, but I might see Pain live again some time in the future. Oh, yeah, and sorry there are no photos, but I decided that metal concerts are not the best place to bring my camera, if it is going to make photos of Madonna or Ladytron.

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