The Music Box, Manchester 20/02/07
Well, it was a long wait since first hearing that Cult of Luna were making their return to Manchester, but it had finally arrived courtesy of the folk at The Music Box. They had Flatpaktmind and Bossk in tow, and it looked like it was going to be a really decent show. Well, minus the concert beer prices that always seem to do more damage to my wallet than the music does to my hearing.
Flatpaktmind were up first, and to be honest, I wasn’t really expecting much from them. They exceeded my expectations, though, but they could’ve done with a bit more synchronicity on stage. The bassist seemed to be shouting out his orders to his bandmates mid-song, and they seemed pretty uncomfortable to begin with. It eventually picked up, though, and they were delivering some very Pelican-esque sounds. Slightly generic at times, but if they can get their live act tight enough, then with a bit of direction I think they could make a decent go of it.
Up next were Bossk. I was really looking forward to their performance after seeing them play at The Attic. They were pretty much spot on (instrumental-wise), and played the two tracks off of their debut album. Unfortunately, The Music Box’s microphones hindered all of the vocals during the night’s sets. The sound technician really deserves a kick in balls, because I was told that the same problem with the mics happened at the Brutal Truth gig that was there. Bossk persevered, though, and the singer really gave it his all despite technical difficulties. Unfortunately, the human voice is only so apparent behind the lush soundscapes that the band was laying down. They even threw in some dry ice for extra effect. Kudos on the effort.
Finally, the wait was over and Cult of Luna came to the stage. They played a few classics from their Salvation album, as well some of those from their latest one. They really had a stage presence that was larger than the venue that they were playing. The crowd swarmed to the front when the instrumental version of Marching With the Heartbeats started. I was surprised at how little the lead singer participated in the actual set; the majority of the vocals being left in the capable hands of the guitarist. He definitely played the part when he was on stage, though. Mic stands in the air, rhythmic headbanging, and sly smiles to the crowd. They really played well. Again, The Music Box’s ongoing microphone problems weren’t lost on the Cult of Luna lads. It marred the vocals, causing the singer’s voice to be barely recognisable above the wall of noise. My only other gripe was that they disregarded the vocal section to ‘Crossing Over’, but besides that, they played their music to a good degree. Finishing with the epic ‘Dark City, Dead Man’ couldn’t have ended the concert in a better way.
Overall, there wasn’t really a weak link to the night’s performances. Flatpaktmind need more experience, and the technical problems were in no way a fault on the bands’ part. Lee mentioned to me that the gig could’ve done with a band that was different to those that were playing; I agree completely. The bands do have a sound that is similar at times, and a slower doom band would’ve split it up really well. Either way, it was well worth the money, and the main act gave it their full.
Scribed by: Lewis Hunter
Photos by: Lee Edwards