The last time Diablo Swing Orchestra played in
the UK was about 8 months ago, incidentally at a venue only about 200 metres
from the ‘Underworld’. Although I had missed that gig, I’ve been playing their 2
albums incessantly since about then. Now, only hours away from tonight’s gig, I
find myself wondering how they could possibly adapt their intriguing and
accessibly complex music to a live setting.
Supporting DSO are to be Lovecrave and local progsters Haken,
both bands totally new to me. I can safely say, therefore, that I had no idea
what awaited me. Maybe I should say my last prayers just in case…..who knows…..
Unfortunately when Haken were on stage I was conducting an
interview with Diablo Swing Orchestra and hence missed the former’s show
entirely. Haken play Progressive Metal with a bluesy vibe – musically speaking
they seem to draw inspiration from bands such as Shadow Gallery, Dream Theatre
and IQ. The band is scheduled to play at the ProgPower festival in Holland this
October so make sure you don’t miss them, as happened to me tonight.
Lovecrave reminded me a lot of Mandragora Scream, which might
be a co-incidence since both bands are Italian. The vocalist of Lovecrave is one
Francesca Chiara, who possesses a voice isn’t so technically adept but for this
genre of music - an emotive strain of Gothic Rock - it seemed to quite suitable.
Frankly I was put off by Francesca’s exploitation of her own
sex appeal. (“It’s hot here. Maybe I need to have a shower…anyone has some
water?”) Call me a purist if you may, but when I seek music, I seek just that.
If I want sex entertainment I’ll watch a porno or strip-show. Apart from that,
or despite that, she seemed to struggle to form a bond with the audience.
As already mentioned, this was the first time I heard the
band but I reckoned the songs were easy to hook on to. The band’s musicians
sounded well grounded in their trade. Besides revisiting their first album,
Lovecrave’s setlist also served to showcase the band’s brand new album (“Soul
Saliva”). ‘Little Suicide’ was their show’s high point, in my view. On the other
hand, a Gothic version of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ just didn’t work out and
the band itself seemed to be well aware of this.
Another thing I noticed was that the backing vocals were very
often superfluous and in fact I felt they should have been dropped altogether.
Despite my criticisms, I genuinely feel the band has a potential to grow, as
long as they fine-tune their act.
The Other You
Can You Hear
Get Outta Here
Diablo Swing Orchestra
Headbanging to Opera? Moshing to Swing? Who’re you kidding?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, honestly neither I imagined that would ever
For those unfamiliar with the art of Diablo Swing Orchestra,
these Swedes fuse together Prog Metal, Opera, Jazz, Swing and whatever genre
happens to take their fancy at any particular moment. Amazingly, their music
still manages to flow beautifully. Tonight the band members proved themselves to
be top-notch musicians on both technical and interpretative levels. Not only
that, but it turns out that they’re great entertainers too.
An incredible vibe reigned when the audience took over Daniel
Håkansson ‘s vocal duties and together sang the refrains to ‘Rag Doll Physics’.
The same audience seemed justifiably enthralled when soprano and main vocalist
Annlouice Loegdlund sang ‘Stratosphere Serenade’ and ‘Vodka Inferno’, amongst
other numbers. They looked on amazed as Johannes Bergion made the electric cello
part of the music, rather than either filling in or making the cello the
focal point of attention, the latter having been famously practiced by
Apocalyptica. In the end the band responded to screams for more with renditions
of ‘Ricerca Dell’Anima’ (‘Search For The Soul’) and ‘Balrog Boogie’,
respectively from the band’s “Sing Along Songs…” and “Butcher’s Ballroom”
I stand to be corrected on this but tonight must have been
the first gig of drummer Petter Karlsson (ex-Therion) with DSO – Petter, too,
was amazing and he really seemed to have fit in well with his new band.
If you haven’t yet checked out this ensemble, you’re missing
a treat. DSO’s gigs are truly the Metal equivalent of a circus. And I mean that
in a positive way.
Lucy Fears The Morning Star
A Tap Dancer’s Dilemma
Rag Doll Physics
Poetic Pitbull Revolutions
Wedding March For A Bullet
Ricerca Dell’Anima (encore)
Balrog Boogie (encore)