Support Acts: Se Delan, Bruce and Jon from the Pineapple Thief
Review and photos by Yiannis (John) Stefanis
On the 15 April I decided to ignore the fact that I was travelling the following day, and surrendered instead to my insatiable desire for good quality music by attending the Gazpacho gig taking place that day. The band were in town to promote their latest musical offering “Demon”, an album that I absolutely adore, so not going along to Islington’s O2 Academy simply never really crossed my mind.
Arriving at the venue half way through the set of Se Delan (no thanks to London traffic), a band whose focal point is the duo Justin Greaves (Crippled Black Phoenix) and Belinda Kordic (Killing Mood), what I did manage to catch from the band’s performance left me impressed and confused in equal terms. Style-wise, Se Delan’s music is a mix of subtle melodies and repetitive/back-to-basics power chords which work really well together.
My main issue, however, was with Belinda Kordic’s performance. Her vocals were almost consistently off key and while, at times, this proved to be strangely beneficial to the compositions on offer, at others, created the kind of cacophony capable of driving one out of the venue out of sheer frustration.
Lacking in technical knowledge (distance between mouth and the microphone, desired distance between said mic and frontal monitors) and massively lacking basic human/front woman skills, Kordic looked more like she was performing a chore rather than leading a Rock band, to the point that quite a few of the people around me looked quite relieved when she finally decided to lead her troop off stage after the end of the band’s set.
Thankfully, Norwegian Art/Prog Rockers Gazpacho were in a different league altogether. Choreographed to the finest detail, well rehearsed and clearly in tune with their surroundings and the venue’s capabilities, the Oslo-based sextet captivated the attention of their loyal and varied (age-wise) fan base almost immediately with top quality renditions of “Tick Tock, Part 1” and “Tick Tock, Part 2”.
With sound quality achieving pretty high standards and lights perfectly fitting to the band’s emotionally charged music, songs like “Vulture” and “Golem” were as much impressive in technical terms as they were pleasing to one’s ear.
Looking more like he should be in IT support, rather than being a Rock singer, Jan Henrik Ohme was nevertheless proven a pretty impressive and jovial frontman. When not interacting with members of the audience or teasing his band mates, the clearly overwhelmed singer added much passion and feel to recent material such as “I’ve Been Walking” and “The Wizard Of Altai Mountains” – the folk themes of the latter providing additional entertainment to the more juvenile members of the crowd.
Ask me to name one composition that showcases Gazpacho’s greatness and I would say “I’ve Been Walking (Part 2)” – a song whose performance brought shivers to my spine, mainly thanks to the performance of the band’s multi-instrumentalist genius Mikael Kromer.
Though vying for supremacy, “Splendid Isolation” and “Black Lily” were received equally warmly by the crowd, which through its enthusiastic participation brought “Vera”, the concluding song of the band’s main set, to a glorious end.
The band’s ‘Exit Stage Left’ was fairly short-lived as the crowd’s demand for more brilliant music was satisfied first by “Upside Down” and “Massive Illusion” – both taken from the band’s recently reissued masterpiece “Night”.
It took quite a few years (and albums) before people realised and appreciated what these Norwegians have to offer and performances like the one I experienced tonight will only help strengthen the band’s grip over the Prog Metal world.
With a stunning new album in their arsenal and an impressive stage show, Gazpacho are, quite simply, at the top of their game. A top class performance from one of Norway’s most entertaining and musically challenging Rock bands!
Gazpacho Set List:
- “Tick Tock, Part 1”
- “Tick Tock, Part 2”
- “I’ve Been Walking”
- “The Wizard Of Altai Mountains”
- “I’ve Been Walking (Part 2)”
- “Winter Is Never”
- “Splendid Isolation”
- “Black Lily”
- “Upside Down”
- “Massive Illusion”
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