This tour contains an interesting line-up because the opening band PORT NOIR has a solid fan base that they brought along to the gigs, even though they were “just support act”. A wide range of people who came for Port Noir had never seen Leprous live and vice versa. The chances were good that both bands could win new fans from the visitors of the other.
Port Noir had only short playing time of about half an hour, which the Swedish prog-rockers used carefully. Their stage sound was incredibly good and the played tight. The musicians were passionate and their fans had a great time. They performed “Young Bloods”, Flawless” and “Blow”, literally blowing the audience away with it. Good songwriting seems to be their strength, there was not a minute of boredom, as long as they were on stage. “Champagne” and “Old Fashioned” were to follow, before this surprisingly diverting act had to finish their gig with “13”.
Next up were THE OCEAN, a progressive band from Germany. They played in almost complete darkness and did focus on show effects such as their singer appearing somewhere in the back within dazzling light, before he later jumped right on stage, singing directly at the audience. As they enjoyed having a tiny bit more playing time, they managed to perform more of their demanding tracks such as “Permian: The Great Dying”, “Mesopelagic: Into The Uncanny” and “Silurian: Age Of Sea Scorpions”. The band was like a thunderstorm that leaves no choice to the audience but to be carried along. The musicians showed their skill and offered an enthralling gig. “Bathyalpelagig II: The Wish In Dreams”, “Devonian: Nascent” and “The Origin Of God” marked the end of this noteworthy show.
The fans had waited for their appearance curiously and eagerly, and around 9:30 p.m. LEPROUS finally entered the stage. Their new album “Pitfalls” caused a lot of discussions about style changes and too much focus on the frontman. However, Pitfalls turned out being a great success right from the beginning. Consequently, the current tour’s venues are all close to be sold out. So all those negative initial statements fell flat in turmoil. Furthermore, sometime before the tour, the band had promised to take their shows to new heights. So the fans obviously felt a lot of pleasant anticipation which caused a lot of applause when the Norwegians entered the stage starting with the highly emotional song “Below”. And even though it is almost impossible to decently sing along to the demanding new Leprous songs, the fans tried anyway. They had to release the energy somehow. So the mood was set perfectly right from the first minute.
The very catchy and groovy track “I Lose Hope” followed and let many feet tap along to the swing rhythm. While many bands have only two or three new songs in their setlists, Leprous obviously rehearsed all the songs, varying them a tiny bit sometimes from show to show. In Frankfurt, believe it or not, seven new songs (out of nine) were performed, including the very emotional “Observe The Train” and the very difficult to sing “At The Bottom”. Still, the highlights among the new songs probably were “Distant Bells” and “The Sky Is Red” which was accentuated with a fancy light show and a noise bridge, as well as a great cello input by their live cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne, who gives support to almost all songs on stage, making everything more cinematic and bombastic. The vocal performance of singer Einar Solberg was brilliant and superb. The high notes in tracks such as “Alleviate” were perfectly hit and it felt like the audience can witness one of the most skilled singers alive these days.
Drummer Baard Kolstad did an awesome job, bringing character to the slower tracks, smiling behind his drumkit as if no one in this world loves his job more than he does. Except for him, all band members were playing some new instruments within the show, to spice the concert experience up, just as the lavish light show was supposed to do. Another tasty gimmick was the comments of Einar Solberg in between the songs, showing his entertaining, socializing side.
Some older tracks still found their spot in the setlist as well, such as the beautiful “The Cloak” that was opened by a touching vocal freestyle part. “Mirage”, “Bonneville” and “Illuminate” were also included. Of course, there had to be a few “dance-and-jump-tracks” as well, to which the fans could rock the place. This part was given to “From The Flame”, “Third Law” and “The Price”, which seems to be the Leprous flagship song per se. After almost two hours Leprous cashed in their well-deserved enthusiastic applause before they left the stage drenched in sweat. As a matter of fact, the standards within this gig were high, the audience was entangled at all levels of emotions and we can only recommend everyone to catch them at one of their future gigs.
Text & photos: Uta Arnold
Managing editor: Filipe Gomes