Orange Goblin

support Bürner
author AP date 11/11/21 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

Copenhagen venue BETA is packed and steamy this dark and humid November evening, teeming with people who, like me, are likely about to have one of their first non-Scandinavian concert experiences since a semblance of normalcy was restored into the Danish music scene a couple of months earlier. It feels appropriate that Orange Goblin should have that honour, having been regular guests of this place for many years and made friends with its volunteer staff in the process. A homecoming of sorts. I have personally not been at the venue in 23 months, and I am surprised to find differently configured tonight, the bar having moved downstairs presumably in order to create less of a bottleneck between the toilets in the basement and the stage upstairs. It works extremely well, and actually opens up a new lounge area on the upstairs landing, from where the more reserved concert goers are now able to watch and hear the concert without needing to deal with moshpits and such. I am not one of these people though, so I muscle my way into the gig room just as the lights are dimmed and the support act emerges from backstage.

All photos courtesy of Jacob Dinesen /


The clue is in the name, I suppose: the Swedish veterans in Bürner like to call their music “gasoline fuelled rock with no brakes", and that umlaut on the U suggests they probably have an affinity for a certain, legendary British trio. This is exactly so. While the opening track, “8 Million Reasons to Cry” off their début album “Baptized in Gasoline”, bears an uncanny resemblance to the music of Danko Jones — just like the guitar wielding frontman Björn Böna Ohlson also looks like the Canadian hard rock entertainer — the pace soon picks up to reveal a groovy, driving and altogether riveting sound in the second chop “Murder”. It both sounds like Motörhead, and is delivered with the same kind of balls-to-the-wall, pub wrecking intensity as Lemmy Kilmister & co. were renowned for. Needless to say, it has the crowd enthusiastically banging their heads and pumping their fists to the infectious gallop and riffs (including yours truly, despite my initial skepticism about Bürner’s derivative style). It is not even Friday night, yet these three musicians are well on their way to instilling the sort of festive and drunken mood that an Orange Goblin concert deserves into the audience. They achieve this not by virtue of some wild stage antics, but through the power of simple and effective rock’n’roll ragers and Ohlson’s witty, British-inspired banter and outrageous explanations of the song themes during the breaks. At 32 minutes, the band’s set is short enough to mask the lack of any real variety in their songs. And although personally, I would have loved to experience a somewhat more in-your-face performance to go with such badass tracks, I head down to the bar thoroughly entertained when the last chord rings out.


Orange Goblin

Orange Goblin are given a heroes’ welcome by the jam-packed venue, and soon after they launch into the opening track, “Scorpionica” off their 2000 record “The Big Black”, the gentle giant that is the band’s vocalist Ben Ward is busy hugging and high-fiving the frontmost fans and spraying water on us from his mouth as though the novel coronavirus had never even existed. It warms the heart to see people letting loose like this after so much misery, and the London-based quartet — recently completed by bassist Harry Armstrong — look absolutely bamboozled by the crowd’s reaction as well. The band is belatedly celebrating their 25th Anniversary on this tour of the Nordics, and as such they have brought a setlist brimming with classics like “Saruman’s Wish” taken from their 1997 début “Frequencies from Planet 10”, which of course only adds to the celebratory atmosphere that has swiftly taken over the venue. People are eating those stoner metal riffs up, moshing and dancing and even mooning in euphoria, all the while the smiles on Ward & co.’s faces grow bigger and brighter. There are no holds barred here; various fans are given the opportunity to share the microphone with Ward, while the rest of the audience bounces up and down to the infectious beat of “The Man Who Invented Time” off 1998’s “Time Travelling Blues”, slipping on pools of spilled beer and being picked up and sent right back into the pit.

The level of energy, both on stage and on the floor, is reaching through the roof by the time “Some You Win, Some You Lose” from the band’s 2004 album “Thieving from the House of God” arrives ninth, and after taking this in, Ward goes ahead and pauses the show in order to express his gratitude that despite both Brexit and COVID-19, the four musicians are finally able to be here, doing what they love the most. It’s an old concert trope but it feels genuine — Ward actually looks to be on the verge of tears as he tells us this stuff. “The Fog” (taken from 2012’s “A Eulogy for the Damned”) then introduces a touch of classic horror cinema to the proceedings, before a wall of death spanning half the room’s length forms in appreciation of “They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls)” off 2007’s much adored “Healing through Fire”, delivering the climax before the encore. But instead of the usual ritual of walking off, and the back on after a few minutes, the four musicians remain on stage after “Sons of Salem” — the first track to be played tonight from their latest album, 2018’s “The Wolf Bites Back” — is brought to an end, Ward lifting his microphone stand above his hand in triumph and offering us his heartfelt thanks once again. “The Devil’s Whip”, taken from 2014’s “Back from the Abyss”, then pays homage to Motörhead’s late frontman Lemmy and drummer Phil Taylor, and at the very end, the spellbinding riff by guitarist Joe Hoare in “Red Tide Rising” sends us into the night with stars in our eyes.

It is a riveting performance even by this band’s usual high standard, one in which the willingness of the crowd to lower their shields, and the readiness of the band to embrace this as a refuge of sorts from the pandemic still wreaking havoc outside combine into something life-affirming and cathartic. There is not a single person that I see leaving with a sour expression soiling their face — it’s smiles all around and for good reason.



  • 1. Scorpionica
  • 2. The Filthy & the Few
  • 3. Saruman’s Wish
  • 4. Aquatic Fanatic
  • 5. Your World Will Hate This
  • 6. Made of Rats
  • 7. Blue Snow
  • 8. The Man Who Invented Time
  • 9. Some You Win, Some You Lose
  • 10. The Fog
  • 11. They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls)
  • 12. Sons of Salem
  • 13. The Devil’s Whip
  • 14. Quincy the Pig
  • 15. Red Tide Rising

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