When the gods of Goth-Rock call, you got to obey, even when the gig was postponed for almost a whole month. One thing I have always admired about this British band – the refusal to follow certain “commercial customs”, and still it seems that the fan community does not only endure for years and decades, it even keeps growing... Unfortunately such attitude also causes difficulties to get hold of merchandise in girlie sizes, and also this evening I had real bad luck. When I arrived, the club was already well-filled, and it seemed everybody had grabbed a rare item from the merch table – only one girlie still left, but too big ...
Murheenlaakso was previously unknown to me – no wonder, it´s kind of a tribute band of the legendary Finnish underground Rock act Mana Mana, which ended its career in 1991. Murheenlaakso still unites former members of the original band – which still has cult status in Finland. This explains the fact that I faced many fans in front of the stage way before the gig, and they seemed to know all the lyrics, too. And why the average age of fans as well as band was a little bit beyond teenage status... Murheenlaakso focused on slow and mean Doom with occasional input of some faster R´n´R rhythms, which had some powerful impact due to those 3 guitars. Sarcastic Finnish lyrics about life, death and the underworld also set the right mood for what was about to come.
Fields of the Nephilim had attracted many fans from the good old days, too, but there were also many young people – and many females – in the audience. Those who had bought all the girlie shirts before I had had a chance... When punctually at midnight the lights went down and the intro to “Shroud” began, every person in the now jam-packed club seemed to scream their lungs out. And even louder when(after original member Tony Pettitt) the mastermind and master-of-ceremony Carl McCoy – as usual in a dusty cowboy outfit – entered the stage. It´s hard to believe that this guy has seen some decades already and hardly looks any different than back then in the 80s, in the early days of the band... Unfortunately all those people at the stage made it almost impossible to get good photos... As this time the fog machine was left at home, I could give it a shot via Zoom, yet called it quits when they started to play my all time faves like “Love Under Will”; I rather preferred to succumb to the meditative-intense experience of a Fields show. Indeed a Fields concert should rather be seen as a ritual – sparse lighting, a minimum of stage action as well as audience contact – still an intense presence, atmosphere and music that puts you into a trance. When they played “Psychonaut” - a song which actually contains a Mantra-like part, yet using phrases from Necronomicon – and then the inevitable classic “Moonchild” - well, let´s put it like this, if I was a man, my jeans had suddenly turned 2 sizes too tight...
More photos here! No complaints about Carl´s voice, from clean-deep to growl, neither about the flawless performance of the band, a tight and precise homage to Cthulhu... After “Zoon” Carl uttered a “Thank You”, which ended the set – but the audience wanted more, and indeed, after a while the guys came back to play 2 more songs. Carl even reacted to the audience, gesturing and obviously appreciating the clapping/singing along. Incredible... “Last Exit for the Lost” almost made me cry... for me the perfect finale of a perfect gig.
Cthulhu be thanked, I did not leave right away – because, what a surprise, convinced by the enthusiasm of the crowd, the band came back AGAIN – what a nice kowtow to the Finnish audience! With the encouraging lines ”Relax, just try to sleep - I want to go home” (Vet for the Insane) and more “thank yous” the fans were sent into the night for good.
Summary: This gig was indeed something special and everybody who missed it should kick themselves – or give it another try in Norway or Sweden in the end of April ...
Straight into the Light
One More Nightmare
From The Fire
Love Under Will
Zoon Part 3
Last exit for the lost
Vet for the Insane