Motorpsycho @Het Depot, Leuven BE – 29 April 2016
Live, Motorpsycho’s impressive catalogue and decades of activity invite to one thing: attending their concerts with an open mind. You won’t know what to expect anyway. And anyway you can’t go wrong with them. For the 2016 Tour, Motorpsycho prepared a setlist which incorporated their latest album in full. Here Be Monsters, an introspective journey back to the ‘60s psychedelic, was launched in February at Rune Grammofon and was followed by a 12″, Here Be Monsters Vol. 2. The live experience in Leuven, made possible by Het Depot and Orange Factory Belgium, came with lots of surprises in form of songs form their back catalogue.
The start was given with ‘The Jig Is Up (Kiss the Snake)’, which made an excellent opener for a concert as well and heated up the ambiance for the album. What followed was an outstanding trip magnificently guided by Hans Magnus Ryan, Kenneth Kapstad and Bent Sæther. In the absence of Ståle Storløkken (the album was written in fact for that specific extended version of Motorpsycho), the trio backed up many of their songs with keyboards for a proper psychedelic journey.
Six of the seven tracks of ‘Here Be Monsters’ were performed in a row, with great accent on extremes, going from gentle keyboards openings or hypnotic sounds waves to sludgy metal moments. On the record, the songs are exquisite, elegant and somehow light although the main theme of the album treats the field of psychological distress. Performed in concert, they bite hard. Maybe one good argument could be ‘Spin, Spin, Spin’, which is a lovely tune with hippie accents that live becomes a very heavy trip.
The transition to the old songs’ part with ‘Sleepwalking Again’ didn’t give a chance to the audience to properly cheer loud after such a wind-up, as right after, the outstanding ‘The Bomb-Proof Roll and Beyond (for Arnie Hassle)’ from ‘Heavy Metal Fruit’ brought layers and layers of sound, one after another. What a journey so far!
A small respiro and Bent Sæther speaks to the audience: ‘Hello Leuven! We are Motorpsycho; in case you didn’t notice.’ (hahaha), and announced ‘Forget It’ as the drummer’s choice for the setlist. It was followed by ‘Promise’ and then the big surprise of the evening, a song to set everyone back in the 90s, ‘Flick of the Wrist’.
‘I’ll go anywhere I wanna’ shouts Bent Sæther on ‘Superstooge’, just to be clear that they can give to the trip any course they’d like and the audience will follow with great pleasure, any almost singer-songwriter experience as ‘Upstairs-Downstairs’ or by responding to the request of clapping hands on another track from Behind the Sun, ‘Cloudwalker (A Darker Blue)’.
‘We wanna do a couple of ones with feeling. We’re getting old and stuff …’ ‘Manmower’ next. ‘More feeling coming up …’ Bent’s promise was accomplished in the end with ‘Big Black Dog’. But in fact, the dreamy feeling at the beginning of the song progressively grew into some 20-minute massive wall of sound and an amazing highly charged atmosphere. One can hardly think of a better end of a concert. Which was even unimaginably exceeded by the encore, another some 20-minute massive wall of sound, the ‘Here Be Monsters’ version of the 12”, a track that inevitably makes you think of Pink Floyd’s ‘Echoes’ as base soaked in Motorpsycho’s genius.
One word for a performance of almost 3 hours: solid; from beginning till end.
The Jig Is Up (Kiss the Snake) from The Motorpnakotic Fragments 2014 /// Sleepwalking /// Lacuna/Sunrise /// Running With Scissors /// I.M.S. /// Spin, Spin, Spin /// Sleepwalking Again /// The Bomb-Proof Roll and Beyond (for Arnie Hassle) from Heavy Metal Fruit 2010 /// Forget It from The Motorpnakotic Fragments 2014 /// The Promise from Behind the Sun 2014 /// Flick of the Wrist from Blissard 1996 /// Upstairs-Downstairs from Let Them Eat Cake 2000 /// Cloudwalker (A Darker Blue) from Behind the Sun 2014 /// Superstooge from Trust Us /// Manmower from Blissard 1996 /// Big Black Dog
Encore: Here Be Monsters (pt 1 and 2)
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