Kadavar have been steadily carving themselves a strong reputation as one of the bands to watch in the modern blues rock scene since their deal with metal label heavyweights Nuclear Blast. Having released their third album Berlin for the label earlier this year, the tight triplet garnered a fair audience for a Sunday night with help from a quite varied bill of some of the underground’s scenes most talked about acts.
The first to hit the stage were Sweden’s Horisont. Having also just released a new album in the form of the fantastic Odyssey the band were clearly out to show off their latest material with a set largely made up of the new opus. The catchy Light My Way showed just how far Horiosnt have come since their debut Två Sidor Av Horisonten with incredible musicianship lighting up the night with enough flair to wake up the crowd.
Although no early numbers were played, Writing On The Wall from previous opus Time Warriors made for a set highlight with the sheer togetherness of the band a sight to behold. Vocalist Axel Söderberg was as always in fine form, now switching between the keys and his classic rock style vocals, which prove unbeaten in the modern rock circuit.
Horisont have clearly used their countless touring opening for bands such as Graveyard to their advantage and are now a denim powerhouse on the stage. It is rare that an opening band prove to be band of the night but these Swedes, now on album number four, have little left to prove.
Followers Satan’s Satyrs had an understandably hard act to follow but have built up more hype with their occult imagery and connections to Electric Wizard. Their set, again largely made up of newer material, was played with the right amount of gusto and seemed to bring a few new converts from the crowd.
However, ultimately it felt that their sound was a little flat and the music was at times too minimalist where it felt more creativity could see them go further in the right direction. This is not to say that their more hardcore fans were put off but made for a band that were definitely an acquired taste.
Third on were The Shrine whose fuzzed up rock n roll brought in the biggest crowd of the night up to that point. The band’s energy levels were admirable and they did not look like a band that were capable of getting burnt out or lethargic.
As was the running theme for the night, The Shrine also had new material to promote with their most recent Rare Breed getting its first promotion in Manchester. Being a support band that gets a more enthusiastic response with each song is a sign of a good live unit and by the end of their set it was evident they had more than a few new fans.
After three differing support bands it was up to Germany’s Kadavar to demonstrate why they were top of the bill. Their choice of a minimalist stage show lit up by three triangles behind the band was a wise one and complemented their less is more attitude.
Kadavar‘s setlist was more lenghty than imagined and the tectonic trio were clearly enjoying demonstrating their new material, such as the blues filled The Old Man. It was songs off previous album and Nuclear Blast debut Abra Kadavar which got the biggest responses of the night, however with Doomsday Machine being the closest the band felt to a proper headlining act.
Out of the three musicians it was drummer Christoph ‘Tiger’ Bartelt who stood out with a tight and commanding performance that proved their set highlight. Bar this noteworthy performance, the riffs alongside the drumming were at times not up to headlining standard and it seemed as if a rotating bill may have been more appropriate for this tour.
Kadavar‘s most recent trip to English shores was a mixed bag which unfortunately for the headliners had the real gem right at the start of the night.
Scribed by: Alex Varley
Photos by: Lee Edwards