Supports: Birds in Row, Kælan Mikla
Location: Pumpehuset, Copenhagen (DK)
The legendary Alcest is back with the latest release “Spiritual Instinct” and so it was time to celebrate this amazing album with a special occasion. The band is currently on the European tour and Copenhagen’s cool venue Pumpehuset was one of the stops and one of the shows we wanted to cover. The show was sold-out shortly beforehand as well so we knew this was going to be one hell of an evening.
Kaelan Mikla was the first act we got to see. Hailing from Iceland, this trio is formed in 2013 and their style is all about the mix of darkwave and synth punk. They have three releases so far, with the latest one “Nótt eftir nótt” released in 2018. The venue was already quite crowded from the beginning, forming that nice, cosy, warm-up atmosphere, which is always a big plus for the first warm-up act. We have seen many support acts in the past but KM have been one of the most interesting and breathtaking acts we have seen in a while. Not only does their music and show comprise different styles but they also incorporate that dark and spiritual elements in their music, giving it a bit of the nordic touch.
Soundwise, it was quite a magical experience to hear their interpretation of this genre and to do a bit of time travelling; at times the audience was dancing along to the tunes and sometimes we were mesmerized by the spiritual atmosphere, with some highlights being Næturblóm and Kalt. From the bass to the captivating vocals, each bandmember had their own highlight and complemented each other perfectly. This could be seen and felt at the overall stage decoration like the incense sticks or the neon drumstick used by the vocalist as well as the outfits of the band members. At the end of their performance, we were pretty sure that they stayed in the memories of many in the audience!
After dancing and experiencing some electronic magic, it was time to get heavy with Birds in row. This French act has been active since 2009 and make hardcore punk with related sub-genres. The latest record “We Lost The World” was released in 2018. During the sound-check, the stage was decorated with light bulbs to create quite an interesting ambiance. The band set off to a dynamic start, offering a raw style throughout the show. The fast but progressive guitars combined with the dynamic drumming and harsh vocals got everyone in the mood right away as we could see some fans headbanging. We could tell that the frontman was a bit excited and nervous but this didn’t matter as his passionate, raw and from-the-heart vocals was one big highlight that stayed on our minds.
There were also some emotional moments as the band addressed today’s problems such as environmental issues or the problems with humanity. Some interesting aspects were also shared as the frontman mentioned sharing the tour bus with 15 other people and how great it has been considering everyone has been so nice and kind to each other, and he even dedicated a song to the two bands as well as the audience. These moments are always nice to hear and experience, and made the show quite special! Overall, this was quite an intense experience and the band managed to prepare the audience for the headliners Alcest pretty well! It was especially fascinating to see how 3 guys could create such magic, rawness and emotion. A pretty impressive show overall!
A band like Alcest needs no introduction. The latest release “Spiritual Instinct” was my personal favorite of 2019 and so I knew this show was going to be special in many ways. The way the band built up the anticipation from the first song Le jardins de minuit, followed by the ultimate explosion of the emotions with the guitars and the vocals, was simply breathtaking! There were many emotions and some tears as many lost themselves in the magic of the music, and the great dynamics within the band as well as that magical tension between the band and the audience was the highlight for many.
Alcest is a band known for their different styles throughout the years, not being afraid to try different elements and never losing their essence. This time travel was depicted pretty well in the setlist; the band played almost all of the new gems from “Spiritual Instinct”, with our highlights being Protection and Le miroir. However, the band also played some classics from older releases such as Kodama, Oiseaux de Proie and Autre temps. In this sense, this show was not only a feast for the lovers of the latest release but also a delight for the lovers of the older songs. This colorful setlist also proved the immense talent of the frontman Neige and the magic the band creates.
At this point, I also want to add how the lights during the set added another dimension to the show in general. This was especially more obvious during the last song Délivrance, where blue dominated the venue, and merged with the sphinx in the backdrop at the end of the show. This last song was also the emotional peak for many and a perfect ending to this mesmerizing performance.
From the stage dynamics to the atmosphere that the band created, this night was indescribable and it will be surely remembered by everyone. I even get shivers writing this report! Kudos to all three acts for this fantastic and intense night!
Text & photos by: Basak Günel & Heavy Harlequin
Le jardins de minuit
Oiseaux de Proie
Écailles De Lune Pt. 2
Là Où Naissent Les Couleurs Nouvelles