Friday, 8th November 2019
Review by Kira Levine
On the evening of Friday the eighth, Leprous and their special guests played a sold-out show to over 800 people at University of London’s student union.
Alternative rock trio Port Noir from Sweden were up first. Their songs in general contain influences from genres such as hip-hop and R&B. After performing ‘Old Fashioned’, main vocalist Love Andersson thanked Leprous and The Ocean for having them on tour. Their last song ’13’ is quite similar to Beastie Boys’ late 90s hit ‘Intergalactic’, beginning with similar robotic sounds that are repeated throughout.
Port Noir’s setlist was made purely from songs on their album ‘The New Routine’, released earlier this year, with all selected songs containing elements of electronica and synth-pop. It would have been interesting to hear other tracks from their discography performed live and perhaps would have created a much more varied listening experience.
Port Noir setlist:
1. Young Bloods
5. Old Fashioned
Berlin, Germany’s The Ocean followed as direct supporting band. The combination of singing and unclean vocals that frontman Loïc Rossetti delivered created a sense of conflicting emotions. This was demonstrated by the audience’s reactions: head banging their way through heavier sections and swaying rhythmically during calmer moments.
The mixed vocal styles worked particularly well in the performance of ‘Permian: The Great Dying’, the song inspired by a mass extinction event. The track hosts screamed vocals with lyrics such as “Let’s not seek shelter / I wanna freeze and smell your neck / Soon every one of us will be dead / In the great scheme of things / It makes no difference”, conveying a sense of the narrator coming to terms with the end of times.
Throughout the first half of set, Loïc could be seen interacting with a few front rowers by shaking their hands as he sung, even crowd-surfing a couple of times in the middle of ‘Bathyalpelagic I: Impasses’. At times, the stage appeared very smokey, with the lights often transforming the band members into green, blue, orange and red silhouettes.
“Make some fucking noise, London!” – The first time the audience is addressed (by the main vocalist) as a whole during this set. Needless to say, the level of cheering is through the roof. Repeated chants of “The Ocean! The Ocean!” could be heard before their penultimate track, ‘Devonian: Nascent’. Blinking lights projected during screamed vocals were particularly effective in this song, adding some visual distortion to an already frenetic performance.
“Thank you for coming early, we are very glad to be back!” the front-man enthuses, before final track ‘Firmament’ is played. The Ocean are definitely crowd-pleasers, having received enthusiastic applause after thanking everybody one final time, with groups of people seen making a beeline for The Ocean’s merchandise stand as soon as the interval started.
The Ocean setlist:
1. Permian: The Great Dying
2. Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny
3. Silurian: Age of Sea Scorpions
4. Bathyalpelagic I: Impasses
5. Bathyalpelagic II: The Wish in Dreams
6. Devonian: Nascent
Then it was time for Norwegian progressive metallers Leprous to perform their headlining set. The applause was immense as Einar Solberg and co. walked out onto the stage, all dressed in black shirts.
Only songs from Leprous’ last four studio album releases were performed on the evening, which had been the case for most previous legs of the Pitfalls tour. Half of their setlist on the night had been made up of songs from their new album, released only a fortnight before this show. Despite this, a vast majority of attendees sang (some miming) confidently along to everything that had been performed.
During the performance of ‘Foe’ the simultaneous blue and red lights flooding the stage were reminiscent of emergency vehicle lighting, coupled with the chorus lyrics “Urgent and unaccidental / Broken foe in my sight”.
Einar thanked the crowd and explained that he had started a new project that involves him talking in between songs. Sometimes people would find him funny but in some countries they did not understand him, to which this audience laughed.
It was also mentioned that the musicians had to learn different instruments for songs on the latest album, before they commenced to play ‘At The Bottom’. The emotion in this song is for the most part conveyed by the dynamic vocals, with a cello solo from live musician Raphael Weinroth-Browne providing desolate atmosphere.
After ‘Distant Bells’, fans were once again thanked, still cheering long after Leprous left the stage. They returned a few moments later much to the joy of everyone in the venue, starting their encore with ‘Mirage’ from their fifth studio album.
For the final song, ‘The Sky Is Red’, the stage aptly glowed red while we received a fantastic guitar solo from Tor Oddmund Suhrke mid-way. The instrumental outro saw the red and blue hues flash while the band moved energetically to the last moments of the song, Baard Kolstad’s thunderous drumming creating a dramatic steady beat. Enthusiastic applause ensued as Leprous finished their fourteen-song set, clapping back to their adoring crowd who continued to applaud well after they had left the stage.
2. I Lose Hope
4. From the Flame
5. Observe the Train
7. At the Bottom
8. The Cloak
9. The Price
10. Third Law
12. Distant Bells
14. The Sky Is Red