Pentagram

support Pet The Preacher + Doublestone
author AP date 15/07/14 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Now here's a first: despite an advertised start at 21:00, the doors to the concert room proper are locked when I arrive at Vega, a sizable crowd of people sitting idly in the stairwell with a look of bafflement upon their faces. Such misinformation and/or delays are a rare occurrence at this smooth running venue, so I find it perplexing that the doors aren't opened until 21:30 - this on a weekday, and with three bands on the bill. Fearing the worst, then - i.e. a significant reduction in sleep time before work the following day, I stroll into the concert room and make my way toward the front of the stage via the bar to behold the first pillar in tonight's trinity of retrospective bands.

All photos by Stefan Frank thor Straten

Doublestone

First on is the local stoner rock outfit Doublestone, whose debut album "Wingmakers" harvested a flattering review from my colleague Bo 'BV' Kastaniegaard Vinberg last year. The trio, comprising guitarist/vocalist Bo Blond, bassist/vocalist Kristian Blond and drummer Mike James B.; have in their songs a mischievous tone that I find extremely intriguing, and boast such a vast assortment of intoxicating riffs it's hard to slight them, especially given the prowess with which those two pertruding elements have been stitched into songs. Indeed, it is the songwriting ability that proves the focal point in Doublestone's performance tonight, as although there is no finger to point at the threesome's capabilities as musicians, there is little in their demeanor on stage to inspire awe. Too introverted and shy is this showing to truly captivate me, and so it is left to my immense enjoyment of their songs, which range from the misty blues of Dwellers to the brooding 70's doom of Black Sabbath, and my admiration of the tightness with which they are executed to sustain my interest. Solid, but underwhelming.

6

Pet The Preacher

Confidence is not a thing this other trio, the much loved Pet the Preacher lack, however; so the transition from introspection to the dirty, ballsy, raw approach employed by vocalist/guitarist Christian Hede Madsen, bassist Torben Wæver Pedersen and drummer Christian Von Larsen feels all the more drastic. Their faces smudged in dirt, as has become their custom since the release of their latest album "The Cave & the Sunlight" earlier this year, Hede Madsen & co. assert their authority quickly and remorselessly with the hard hitting duo "I'm Not Gonna" & "Let Your Dragon Fly" from said record, Christian's ultra-macho singing sounding even rougher than usual, bordering, in fact, on a style that can barely be described as clean singing.

One of the reasons this band has garnered such appraisal lies in the promise that you'll never see the same Pet the Preacher show twice: they have an exceptional knack for tweaking, substituting and prolonging parts of songs; they share a common vision and what must be a telepathic connection enabling them to enter into jams that sound as though they were always meant to be there. Boosting their success here even further is the mingling of heat and plumes of dry ice, the latter of which inevitably conjures imagery of windblown desert scenery - something that has me spellbound all the way through the slow burning, evocative "Remains" and "Marching Earth, Pt. 2" until an alternative, but no less compelling version of "Devil's Door" - the only song off the band's 2012 debut "The Banjo" on the setlist tonight - and thte set-concluding "Kamikaze Nights" knock me back to the reality of yet another display of power from one of the best bands in Denmark right now.

8

Pentagram

When the legendary Pentagram last visited Denmark playing at the more intimate Loppen, things allegedy went awry as members of the band got into a physical altercation on stage and stormed off in the middle of their set - so there is reason to be concerned, anxious even as to what might happen tonight. Fortunately for all of us, Bobby Liebling and his motley crew of guitarist Victor Griffin, bassist Greg Turley & drummer Sean Saley look to be in high spirits, brimming with enthusiasm. Mind you, that this is so is not immediately clear: the opening trio "Death Row", "All Your Sins" and "Wolf's Blood" feels almost sluggish, the eerie atmosphere as only bands of the Sabbath school can summon not yet penetrating my skin and placing me under a spell. But with the aid of a their famous cover of Nina Simone's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" - a song Liebling explains tells how they have always felt - and Liebling's maniacal personality, the concert soon escalates into a feverish seance, the volume so loud, the temperature in the room so high, and the band emanating such passion for their art that surely no one is left untouched.

Despite this being a weeknight, Pentagram have no curfew, allowing Liebling to narrate for us the various chapters in the band's 43-year career, picking a total of 19 songs from 5 of their 7 studio albums ("Show 'Em How" and "Sub-Basement" are omitted). As you might imagine, that translates to a huge selection of tracks that seem only to grow better as the minutes roll past, in liaison with a performance that seems only to be growing more intense and otherworldly. Whether he's staring at one of Griffin's solos with a bewitched expression, dancing with a camp swagger, bulging his eyes at us or delivering some between-song banter in a virtually indecipherable south state slur, Liebling's antics are as disturbing as they are amusing, and produce more than enough of a visual aspect to Pentagram's performance of classics like "Sign of the Wolf", "Evil Seed" and "Dying World". Griffin, Turley & Saley, meanwhile, look more severe, focusing instead of delivering the songs without a hint of a mistake, and, as hinted at earlier in this review, I find myself in trance-like euphoria as chestfuls of riffs and rhythms are unloaded into my ears.

During the latter half of the set, where "Wartime" & "Live Free and Burn", as well as the seamlessly flowing, febrile threesome "Nothing Left", "Relentless" and "Broken Vows" emerge as my personal highlights; the temperature inside is suffocating. But rather than complain about it or succumb to it and collapse as one unfortunate concert goer does during "Dying World", I take in the heat as a factor significantly contributing to the hectic, druggy feel of the show. If anything, a concert this masterful should have younger bands green with envy, such is the experience, authority and performing ability of this aging band. I leave the venue with that rare sensation of having witnessed something truly special - and judging from the rapturous applause and noise from the rest of the audience, I am not alone in feeling this.

9

Setlist:

  • Death Row
  • All Your Sins
  • Wolf's Blood
  • Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (Nina Simone cover)
  • Sign of the Wolf (Pentagram)
  • Sinister
  • Forever My Queen
  • Review Your Choices
  • Evil Seed
  • The Deist
  • Wartime
  • When the Screams Come
  • Live Free and Burn
  • Dying World
  • Nothing Left
  • Relentless
  • Broken Vows

--Encore--

  • Be Forewarned
  • 20 Buck Spin

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