Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats

support Black Moth
author BV date 27/03/14 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

I’ve recently been yearning for the opportunity to finally get to experience Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats at a slightly more intimate setting than that of my first live experience with them – namely their support slot for Black Sabbath. Naturally, as one such opportunity arose I immediately decided upon shifting around whatever conflicting scheduling there might have been, so as to not lose this golden opportunity before the band will probably be playing venues larger than Pumpehuset, which provided the framework for Uncle Acid’s occult doom-rock on this very evening. Armed with beers in hand, the mood was set for a night of occult rock.

All photos by Philip B. Hansen

Black Moth

My colleague AP (who also saw it fit to join me on this very evening) has been telling me to check out the debut album of Black Moth for quite some time now, claiming for them to be quite the band, apparently. My own experiences with them therefore limit themselves to a few brief listens on the day of the gig to get in the right state of mind for what was to come. Following a rather nonchalant, almost anonymous entrance on stage, the instrumental section of the band kicked off the rather sludgy, almost murky openings of the set whilst the crowd eagerly awaited the arrival of vocalist Harriet Bevan on stage so that things could finally get going. Rightfully so, as the powerful riffing of Nico Carew and Jim Swainston’s guitars were complimented by Bevan’s roaring, yet strangely soothing vocals the proceedings elevated to an entirely different league than what I had initially expected Black Moth to sound like. “Blackbirds Fall” provided the first elevating musical experience of the night, doing what initial singles are supposed to do best – serving a memorable experience, a set highlight if you will.

However, as their set progressed Black Moth went on to play several new tracks off of a forthcoming album, effectively testing them out on the audience. “Tumbleweave” was one such song, providing the crowd with an amazing riff, an unnervingly tight drum groove and a persistent, groovy bass-line. The dual guitar leads of the track made sure that the whole thing quickly escalated into a state of doom-laden euphoria – as contradicting as that may very well sound. Concluding their 40 minute set, Black Moth achieved something in the live setting that I had not entirely expected. They exceeded my expectations by a remarkable length - all in all a very fitting support act for the night.

8

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats

Following a brief intermission, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats took the stage in a far more grandiose way than that of Black Moth. Accompanied by an ominous, almost orchestral intro-track ringing through the speakers, the individual members of the band picked up their instruments and launched into a fierce rendition of “Mt. Abraxas”. The ominous and slow riff set just the right tone for the proceedings as the crowd started banging their heads in pure awe of the rather mighty soundscape. The haunting dual-vocals of Yotam Rubinger and K.R. Starrs and the crushing guitar sounds the two of them produced rang clear as day in the phenomenal mix of the night, which also saw it fit to provide added volume for the bass whenever the emphasis was on the particular grooves stemming from that instrument. As the band worked their way through classics like “Mind Crawler”, “Crystal Spiders” and “I’ll Cut You Down” – the latter having several crowd-members mouthing the lyrics ”I was born a wicked man, no hopes or dreams / I get my kicks from torturing and screams”, I began having an overshadowing feeling that they might indeed have blown out the greatest, or at least most recognizable material, far too soon in their set.

However, this was most definitely not the case. As the band introduced “Poison Apple” by dedicating it to Charles Manson, they also proved that most of their material works splendidly in the live setting when accompanied by their, at this point, rather overwhelming stage presence. I’ve seen them once before and so had AP, but neither of us have ever seen the band as active on stage as they were on this very night. Everything exuded sheer energy – so much so that the rather stoic Dean Millar (bass) bounced around like the rest of us – portraying just how much the band has developed as a live-act in a relatively short time-span. With “Valley of the Dolls” the band slowed down the proceedings by introducing it as a love song. Love song or not, it was a well needed change of pace and served as a breather in-between what was otherwise a quite hectic set with the first five or six rows of the crowd going utterly mental at times. “Valley of the Dolls” also portrayed some of drummer Itamar Rubinger’s finest work of the night, as he kept the slow groove going in a way that, on one hand signified minimalism at its greatest, but on another also showed just how massive a drum sound can actually be when the emphasis is placed so heavily on the groove coming from the kit, as it was during this part of the set.

Reaching the inevitable end of the main part of the set, the band introduced the obscure “Vampire Circus”, which comes off the band’s first album “Vol. 1”. This track sounded quite unlike much of the newer Uncle Acid' material and, as such, it served as a quite intriguing point of variety upon which their initial set could end. Following a very brief break, the band returned for their encores which were started off with the phenomenal “13 Candles” – much to my joyous surprise, as this track is probably one of my absolute favorites. However, the real treat of the encores was most definitely the long, intertwining guitar-solos during the lengthy version of “Desert Ceremony” which essentially converted the first many rows of the crowd from frantic movement into an entranced state that was just standing there, taking it all in. With the words; ”Copenhagen, you guys are fucking mental. See you next time” , Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats left the stage whilst the crowd – now drenched in sweat and beer – left for the surprisingly cold March night from which we had escaped, however briefly, into the world of Uncle Acid’s occult doom-rock.

Setlist:

  • 1. Mt. Abraxas
  • 2. Mind Crawler
  • 3. Crystal Spiders
  • 4. I’ll Cut You Down
  • 5. Death’s Door
  • 6. Poison Apple
  • 7. I’m Here to Kill You
  • 8. Valley of the Dolls
  • 9. Over and Over Again
  • 10. Vampire Circus

--Encore--

  • 11. 13 Candles
  • 12. Withered Hand of Evil
  • 13. Desert Ceremony

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