Having been a big fan of the musical creations and mind of Neige, the man behind the more and more popular French “blackgaze” outfit Alcest, I was pleasantly surprised with the more old school sound of their latest release ‘Spiritual Instinct’ (for our review go here). That they consequentially embarked on a tour in 2020 through Europe, bringing a bunch of highly interesting artists with them, was a call for me to attend to their sold out show in Tavastia in Helsinki…
Kælan Mikla (***1/2)
First up was the ones that I was really excited about, when they were announced as support for this tour. Getting to see Kælan Mikla again is something you don’t have to ask me twice. After catching them at Blowup Vol. 5 last Fall, I truly fell in love with the mystical, magical and mesmerizing music of these three girls from Iceland. Just like last time, their dark synth with beautiful melodics, engaging beats and vocals going from fragile singing to frantic screams took me on a ride straight from the start. Despite quite a couple of technical issues, they thoroughly entertained me again.
Birds In Row (****)
French outfit Birds In Row was a bit of an unknown player for me. I tried to check them out quickly before the show, but the couple of tracks just came across as noise mostly and didn’t impress me much. So I was waiting to see if the click would come seeing them live. And man, did it… The stage was very sparsely decorated with some very basic light bulbs hanging from the drum and amplifiers, contradicting greatly with their extremely harsh and violent wall of “noise” spewing at you. And I say noise with the best of intentions. Rough and relentless hardcore inspired music with heaps of energy and emotions, they seemingly wanted to blow you away with their blasts of screams, riffs and pure unfiltered energy. A great discovery to me personally!
Once Alcest took over the stage, something quite remarkable happened. Normally at a Tavastia show, there are always still a bunch of people hanging around in the bar. Especially when the show is completely sold out, you’ll find people just hanging with their drinks, enjoying a bit more room than you’d have in the crowd in front of the stage. But when it was time for Alcest to perform, it seemed like every single person there tried to squeeze themselves into the same room to actually be overtaken by the atmosphere of the show.
And I’d say that is the perfect way to experience Alcest the way they are now. It’s almost like a religious experience. Their music is mesmerizing and beautiful, emotional and uplifting at times. Whether they’re playing their softer and melodic parts or the more dissonant heavy parts, it’s a wall of sound that washes over you like a gentle storm. As soon as it touches you, you’re in a different realm and won’t be taken back out until the last note slowly fades away. The level Alcest is playing on right now is higher than I would’ve ever thought when I first saw them live on a small stage in Belgium, but it’s very much well deserved! Neige thanked the crowd several times for coming to the show, but it feels like we rather should thank him for taking us on this amazing trip tonight. Hope to see you soon again!
- Les Jardins de minuit
- Oiseaux de proie
- Autre temps
- Écailles de lune – Part 2
- Le Miroir
- Là où naissent les couleurs nouvelles
For more pictures, go here.