Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE)

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STILLBORN / ROAD TO JERUSALEM

Date: 01st December, 2017
Venue: Sticky Fingers
Tickets: 250SEK (€24/$29)
Promoter: Triffid And Danger Concerts
Photos: Erika Wallberg


The fact that STILLBORN is back with the original line-up was one of the sweetest news of 2017 and the waiting seemed too long for the new record to be released. I had seen the band back in 1989 but that was before “Necrospirituals” had fully settled for me, so I didn't appreciate it as much as I would have just a few months later. But after that and throughout the years, that album became one of the most frequently spun and one of my all-time favorites. But that one was what we got, the band split with vocalist Kari Hokkanen and transformed into something more mainstream and not at all as unique.

But to keep the waiting interesting a little while longer, ROAD TO JERUSALEM was booked to warm up Sticky Fingers before STILLBORN. The band looked a little reluctant to the sparsely crowded venue when kicking off their set. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by what ROAD TO JERUSALEM delivered. I don't know why I expected more of a monotone, Drone or Stoner type of music from them. It's all good I suppose, I didn't check them out at all prior to the show, but I really enjoyed the more Progressive, Post-Rock and weird vibe coming out from the stage. A Doom-y mix of ARMORED SAINT (prominently Josh Tyree's vocals) and TOOL. Or perhaps more contemporary bands as CULT OF LUNA and LIGHT BEARER, without the harsh vocals though. ROAD TO JERUSALEM's hypnotic beat was captivating and it was fun to see people come around to it. That really is the best grade anyone can get, when people come closer to the stage and actually stay and listen to the opening act. Josh's vocals on top of it made it all very interesting. They delivered flawlessly and knowing musicians in the lineup it was no wonder. It was great to see Per Møller Jensen play this style, I think I've only seen him with THE HAUNTED earlier.

During the second half of ROAD TO JERUSALEM's show, Josh introduced a track that was going to be Heavy Metal for the people who had shown up at Sticky Fingers. This more up-tempo didn't have the same flow and nerve as the other stuff ROAD TO JERUSALEM played and, frankly, became the low point of the show. Luckily, they still had more time and moved back to that fantastic gnawing groove they set the show off with, and restored the order before handing over the stage to STILLBORN.

ROAD TO JERUSALEM

Road To Jerusalem @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Road To Jerusalem @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Road To Jerusalem @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Road To Jerusalem @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Road To Jerusalem @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Road To Jerusalem @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Road To Jerusalem @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Road To Jerusalem @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Road To Jerusalem @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Road To Jerusalem @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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The break between the sets while the stage was getting prepped for STILLBORN felt like an eternity. The promoter said the sound-check had been great and that it sounded just like it did back in the days. Could it really be that? I mean, we're talking about almost 30 years ago...

I could hardly breathe when the intro accompanied the band showed up on stage and the music slowly was set in motion. No doubt, STILLBORN was as heavy as it used to be and when Kari Hokkanen approached the microphone and delivered his guttural voice I could finally relax and enjoy the show. His voice too sounded just like it did back in the days. It felt like the band had been conserved or stuck inside a time-bubble. It all was very raw, barren and primitive. Also Kari's persona, he looks like a science teacher who just ran by the music-studio and picked up the bass before hitting stage while sounding like someone picked straight from hell. Normally, with this time-span it normally get cleaned up musically but not here. Again, it was just as back in the days and it sounded absolutely fantastic and the whole thing was so wonderfully bizarre.

The first half hour of the show was really an emotional overload, altering a huge smile with goose-bumps. Opening “I, the Stillborn”, that song itself is absolutely fantastic and to hear a song (or songs really) I've listen to as much as I have, as goes for the rest of “Necrospirituals”, live is a hard-to-beat feeling. “Lorelei”, which was released as a single a bit before the record, went down well too while fabulous “1917” got a colder reception. Classics versus new, it was clear that the new “Nocturnals” had not been studied by the crowd as the old school material but I'm sure it will come around with time. I was hoping for a few special songs from the “Necrospirituals” record and I got most of them. “Calvaria 1939” was one of the ones I was looking forward to the most so of course I was extremely happy when it was played. And around here it took a turn towards crazy at Sticky Fingers. It was a good show-up but I guess many were like me, wanted to see if STILLBORN could deliver, plus that the pre-party was over and the level of drunkenness at the floor increased severely, hence the movement. If the place wasn't sold out during the evening it must have been close at least as it got really packed a few songs into the STILLBORN set.

One song that kind of passed me by from the new record which struck the hardest live was “Anathema”, the volume, groove and frenzy did it good and afterwards it sounded much better on record as well. Then, I was pretty sure STILLBORN would play “Albino Flogged In Black” but the longer the set went on and it didn't show up, the more nervous I got. I mean, the lyrics are rather brutal and direct and with all the buzz around #metoo it might just have been discarded from the set. But it wasn't and damn it was good. I thought it was a quite odd move to close the main set with a new one, “The Walking Dead” is of course a great track and since there were a few more ‘musts’ from the old ones left I guess this worked perfect as raise the anticipation of the encores. Another new one, “They Forgive Nothing”, started round two and went very smoothly over to the Swedish Prog-classic “Bängen Trålar”. I didn't expect that and you know when you think you heard something familiar (or, as in this case, something that doesn't really belong with the rest) but you're not sure. It was that song and done in STILLBORN style I think it is my favorite version of the tune.

“Flesh For Iesus” came as the last of the first round of encores and then I could relax. I was still hoping for a few more but how good it all sounded, new and old material and how STILLBORN delivered it all left me very happy and satisfied. But that wasn't the end of the evening as the crowd kept shouting for more. “Nuke 'Em All” was the most requested but the crowds’ will was not granted. Instead Kari introduced this absolutely last one as another one of the classics. The raw and up-tempo “Streetsatan” closed the whole evening. THAT one I never reckoned STILLBORN to play. It sounded just as filthy and hillbilly as it needs to and if I was happy before I guess this turned me over to euphoria.

There's really no words to describe this whole thing, the re-union, the new record and this show. It was damn cool and sounded incredible and just as freaky as it should.

STILLBORN setlist:

01. “Intro”
02. “I, The Stillborn”
03. “Lorelei”
04. “1917”
05. “Calvaria 1939”
06. “Dresden”
07. “Maaemo”
08. “The Animal Within”
09. “Anathema”
10. “Albino Flogged In Black”
11. “The Walking Dead”
12. “They Forgive Nothing”
13. “Bängen Trålar”
14. “Flesh For Iesus”
15. “Streetsatan”

STILLBORN

Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stillborn @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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