October 19, 2022 was a night of otherworldly music at Olympia in Tampere, Finland. Jonathan Hultén (formerly of Tribulation) opened the night with a highly anticipated show. His music and live performance is truly a work of art, and it is easy to believe his artistic abilities span many mediums. “Dark Folk” would be the most generic way to describe his music, though it is hard to label as there are so many unique elements. Hearing the music live was completely different on its own, almost as if just listening to the album was not meant to be the full experience. The sound, accompanied by Hultén‘s presence, aesthetic and stage decor made for an inimitable performance. There was a constant stream of nature/bird sounds in the background between songs that gave off a sense I had never experienced at a club gig, playing tricks with the mind as to where exactly you were standing. Hultén‘s presence was typically quite stoic, almost meditative, which enhanced his every movement and facial expression, giving them so much more meaning and power. At times it felt he was performing his own personal ritual. My only complaint was that it was too short! I could stand there and watch for hours more.
Hällas continued the night with quite a special performance in a very different way. They quite authentically give off a 70’s prog rock vibe. They have nailed everything from the sound to the shiny space boots. It truly felt like a shift in space and time to experienced their music live. Although it is easy to see where they get their inspiration, they do it justice!
LIVE REVIEW by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy
UK’s heaviest metal festival, Bloodstock, returned to Catton Park during a heatwave, but that didn’t stop thousands of metal heads clad in primarily black clothing. The festival keeps getting bigger and better, initially starting as an indoor event, and now it’s an open-air event with a capacity of 20,000. 2022 was hot as hell, both in terms of the impressive line-up of big well-known acts to upcoming rising stars of metal and, of course, the scorching temperatures.
Download Festival –LIVE REVIEW by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy
The UK’s biggest rock and metal festival returned to its full glory with its first full-scale event three years after the pandemic following the historic pilot event last year. It was a surreal and joyful feeling to be back at Donnington for festival goers and bands alike and was the sentiment of the weekend. We have all waited so long for live music to return, and it was worth the wait. The variety and calibre of music, the atmosphere and unusually stunning sunny weather made this anticipated return even better.
Swallow the Sun played at Pakkahuone in Tampere on 27th of May. It was the second date of their Finnish tour promoting their new album Moonflowers which was released last year. Kaunis Kuolematon and Edge of Haze were the opening acts (for only two of the seven dates in Finland). It was a solid lineup. Edge of Haze opened with energy and heaviness, and Kaunis Kuolematon brought it down to a more melancholy yet powerful level. Then, Swallow the Sun hit all of the above, including songs from their first few albums that they haven’t played live in a while. From the more melodic “Stone Wings” to one of my personal favorites, and heaviest song off the new album “This House Has No Home”. So heavy in fact, that a mosh pit broke out! I don’t think I have ever seen a pit during a Swallow the Sun gig! It was great to see all three bands at a bigger venue. I don’t believe this gig was sold out but it was pretty well attended. I, like many others, cannot get enough of Moonflowers and it is just magic to see live. I wish I could say more, but this band always leaves me speechless. Let the photos speak for themselves…
Eivør and Lucky Lo played not one but two magical shows in Tampere Finland 11-12.4 2022. The first show at G Livelab was a very special show for both acts. Lo excitedly mentioned that it was the only show on the tour she had a piano to play and looked like she was truely enjoying herself while playing! Both acts included the grand piano in their set, as well as Lo with her banjo and Eivør (accompanied by Mattias Kapnas on the piano) with her drum and guitar. They played unique renditions of songs as well as other songs not previously played on the tour. I was only at the second gig at Olympia on “official” business but since I also attended the G Livelab gig I want to include it in the report. I really loved the idea of these two shows together, very different venues and atmosphere that complimented each other well and gave us an opportunity to see, feel and hear these beautiful artists in unique contexts.
I have to admit, Lucky Lo‘s music is not something I would naturally listen to, but I thoroughly enjoyed both sets. She has such a humble charisma that delivers her music to the audience in such an honest and comforting way its entrancing. Although her music spans themes and sounds that are light, funky and uplifting as well melancholic and fragile, it all feels intimate and warm. In the state of the current world, it was a welcome feeling.
At the Olympia show, she explained how playing simply on the banjo is a glimpse of the core of her music and writing process, and that the recorded music might sound a bit different than what we were hearing then, since it includes a full band and much funkier vibe. One moment that gave me chills was when she was introducing the song “Sunrise/Sunset” explaining it was about life and death inspired by a good friend who had passed away.
As she struck the first notes of the song, a puff of smoke shot up behind her, illuminated by a light, like a ghost. I don’t think it was intentional or if many others noticed but it struck me.
She seemed to go with the flow of the gig, and at one point was openly pondering which song to play next. Someone from the audience suggested one of her songs and she bashfully admitted she could not play it on banjo, that she had tried but she just didn’t think it sounded right. She then remembered the previous night she had been inspired by Eivør when she played a Leonard Cohen cover (which she hadn’t done on the rest of the tour), and decided to also play a cover, and excitedly jumped into “Strawberry Fields Forever”.
These two shows were also special because they were the last of the tour, at both shows they both deviated from the setlists they had stuck with for the tour, and graced us with songs they hadn’t played live in a long time or ever!
Eivør‘s set at G Livelab was quite different on many levels (an intended pun because I personally experienced the gig both from the balcony of the venue and standing in the crowd, and even that provided a different experience). Watching from the balcony felt a bit more like watching a show, still intimate with the ability to also watch the audience but a bit detached. When I went to the floor though, it was surreal. Eivør‘s voice was so ethereal and being closer to the stage and closer to the music was almost other worldly and yet made it all more real. She played a few songs there they didn’t play at the other show such as “Verð Mín”, “Silvitni”, and few covers from Leonard Cohen and Julee Cruise. As well as really interesting adaptions of the songs they had been playing, since it was a somewhat acoustic show, or at least “Duo”, minus the full band plus a grand piano. A few of the more melancholic slow songs had an almost old timey cabaret feel.
However, at Olympia, even the intro music took the night into a completely different atmosphere. It was intense. Epic yet melancholic low grumbles of orchestral, electronic music that slowly built up the anticipation. I think because it was the last show of the tour, the whole band also helped build that anticipation through out the night. As the end came closer, they all played harder, more passionately, more loose. Eivør‘s music strings together such a wide spectrum of emotion and sound into a short space of time its really intense to see live! One moment you’re dancing to a light-hearted beat, the next you’re traveling into another time and place, something ancient and foreign yet nostalgic, and the next you’re almost in tears with a raw melancholic comfort. And of course those ethereal chants and throat singing she does with her drum are always an experience on their own. Although they are simply sounds and chants, her movements and facial expressions while she’s singing almost tell a story of their own, up for interpretation on a personal level yet clear somehow.
It was great to finally be able to see her “new” songs live, unfortunate that her latest album Segl had been released amidst the first year of the pandemic. Although I had seen her perform some of them during her live stream shows during the 2020 summer (I have to mention it was really great to kind of get to know her and her music during those weekly home recorded live streams that summer, and made me even more eager to see her live again!). And was also a treat to see, again, some songs they had not played during the rest of the tour, since it was the last show (I have a personal history with the song “Boxes” and that was one extra song they played, not to mention seeing that insane vocal magic live, gave me chills!).
To introduce the song “Gullspunnin” she recited a poem and explanation of the song and its meaning, with low atmospheric background sounds as accenting her words. It almost felt like a guided meditation, which, as I think now, isn’t such an unexpected thing to experience at her gig. Her spoken words, and sung words, chants, throat singing, growls, laughs and all the lows and highs of the music hit so many different themes and emotions its like acupuncture of the soul, in some ways providing a release that ends in peace and contentment. Even if you aren’t familiar with her music, or don’t have any personal history with her songs, it is such an intense and magical yet humble performance it will be an unforgettable experience for anyone.
Download Festival –LIVE REVIEW by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy
Download Festival is the UK’s biggest, friendliest and most diverse rock/metal festivals and it gets bigger and better each year. This year particularly had a strong theme of environmental sustainability, with their new recycling scheme for beer glasses, using plastic reusable cups which you could keep and reuse or give back and made for a nice memento along with the introduction of Greenpeace’s Eco Campsite. Viewing platforms for wheelchair-users were available across all stages and British Sign Language interpreters on two, again highlighting the festivals diversity and how it accommodates for everyone which is great to see.