Free Pariah

: Posten, Odense, Denmark
: September 22nd 2010


Through the haze of cigarette smoke and bad language I watch Jesper, the lead singer. He looks more like a living corpse than the front figure of a rock band. He is running a fever and his bowels are eating him from the inside. Still, he is there, waiting for the time to play, shooting sick laughs and dark jokes in every direction.
Next to me in the couch Steffen the guitarist looks just as sick. His nerves prevent him from consuming anything but beer and gummy bears. During my one hour stay in the backstage bunker he runs to the toilet to scream cries for mercy into the giant white floor phone four times. Every time he returns he looks a bit more ready to rock.

I’m embedded with Free Pariah – a rather vibrant quartet that traverses normal genre categorization – and the situation around me is pretty much the quintessence of rock’n’roll. Beer, smokes, dirty humor and last minute preparations. The concert is less than half an hour away, and the band is discussing the set list.
”Where should we put the T-Rex-song?”, seems to be the big question.
The manager, Ib, leans over and tell me in a low, excited voice: ”They finished that song the day before yesterday – it fucking rocks”.

The time is almost upon us, but Lasse and Oscar – drums and bass respectively – is the epitome of zen, in stark contrast to the sickly green singer and the maniacally twisting guitarist. Lasse and Oscar are talking trade with the off duty sound wizard who invited me here. The favorite subject seems to be a gig Free Pariah did in a derelict warehouse at the harbour – it had no toilets, no seats and no heat. The current location – a refurbished mail-depot made club scene – is pure rock star luxury in comparison. Out in the corridor a beer tab protrudes directly from the wall, for everyone with a backstage pass to exploit. While I do exactly that, the divine smell of roasted duck makes me wonder if anyone would actually need to compose a rider.
”Time” says the stage manager, who seems to be tranquility incarnated, when you add the fact that the other band of the evening was almost two hours late. They finished their sound test seconds before the doors were opened.

The local hard-core of rockabilly fans comprises half of the audience. Other than that the crowd is just as diverse as the band we are about to be blown away by.
Free Pariah appear from the wings of the stage in a somewhat clumsy and very un-star-like way. They grab their instruments while looking everywhere but out into the room. Someone does the 1-2-3-4-count and BAM! They are transformed into rock gods!
Every member of the band disappears from the real world and enters some ethereal plane of flowing, tangible music. The four of them becomes one. Free Pariah is now a machine, pumping out some of the most catchy rock’n’roll tunes Denmark has had to offer for a long time!

Think rockabilly, with some heavy blues influences. Then add The Doors, Led Zeppelin and Danzig to the mix. Yes.
Rockabilly/Blues/Heavy/Acid/Deathpunk all in one. If I had not repeatedly been visiting their myspace profile, I’m not sure I would have been able to absorb it all. It is simply rock’n’roll, yet intricate with mysterious, unpredictable breaks, extremely emotional delta blues chords. Jesper – even though he was sick as hell, has the voice of all my favorite fallen angels: a doomsayers roar with notes of Jim Morrison, Glenn Danzig and Nick Cave.

But… Though musically adept and inspired, Free Pariah are not very good at controlling much else than there own instruments. The time between songs is a puddle of muddy mumbling, lack of discipline and internal debates with the backs against the audience. They even interrupt each-other during the presentation of the next song. Rock’n’roll leave room for some confusion and every band has stories to tell about the time when the bass player forgot his bass, or the pyrotechnics fired off-beat and set fire to the lead singer. These stories make up part of the legend of rock. But this night was a circus!

The interchanging of brilliant music and travestied intermezzos continued throughout the concert, until the very last song. Suddenly the showmanship was there, and the audience responded in kind. According to Lasse, Free Pariah like having their fans on stage, and about ten people went up there, rocking along with the band. The concert soon erupted into a sort of controlled anarchy, and ended as seemingly well-organized as it started in chaos.

Free Pariah has fostered a strange idea about a tour of the top of the world – geographically that is. Nothing is official yet, but if you live in Greenland, Canada or Alaska, keep an eye out for these guys. The music far outweighs the lack of organization!

Style: Rockabilly+

Rating: 78/100

Set list:

01. Hurryman Blues pt. 1
02. Hurryman Blues pt. 2
03. Funtex
04. Candyman Countryclub
05. Can't get it Up
06. Purple King
07. Koodies
08. F#se Cruise
09. Stupid is as Stupid Does
10. T-Rex
11. Don Garcia

< Pictures from the Show >

Attending: Martin Schjönning