God Is An Astronaut - Tapper, Tallinn, Estonia, 18.05.2014

Event: God Is An Astronaut: European Spring Tour 2014
Written by: Ivor
Published: 03.06.2014

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God Is An Astronaut - Tapper, Tallinn, Estonia, 18.05.2014 by Ivor (30)
Fred walks up the steep and narrow stairs and pulls the door open. Sounds that were muffled a moment before, erupt into background music and people talking on the couches in the bar. He looks at the guy in a red shirt and a baseball cap sitting behind the desk. The bigger guy blocks him from going further in.

Fred fishes for his wallet in the back-pocket of his jeans, opens it up and looks for the appropriate amount of money. Cash. Fred hates cash. You always have to remember to bring cash. It's either that, or the ticket. And naturally, Fred hasn't got the ticket. It's not that he forgot. Once again Fred thinks it'd be sensible to get a ticket beforehand. But... that just wouldn't do. It cramps his style to buy tickets weeks in advance. How is he supposed to know what he'd be doing in a months' time? Well, yes, he'd be at the gig, where else would he be? But still, you know, it cramps his style just to think about planning ahead like that.

Fred looks up from his wallet. Oh, right, the ticket. He hands over the money to the baseball cap and thrusts out his hand to the big guy to get the stamp of approval. No, the other way. What? Oh, the palm up, right. Go on. He moves past the bloke and looks at the mark. He tries to rub it off. He wets his thumb and tries again. Well, that was useless. This ugly mark is going to stick with him for a while. God, it's awful. If you look just right at it, it looks like a little ugly rat with a looping tail. Never mind that it took him more than a couple of tries to figure out that it represented the grim reaper. It's about as illegible as death metal logos. Only that this one really looks like a rat.



Torsten Kinsella


He breaks his reverie and heads off towards the toilet. Wouldn't do to have a piss when the band plays, lest he miss something important. And besides, the beer will need some room too... There. He zips his pants and looks around as he moves towards the washbasin. This place is really starting to deteriorate. Nothing tells you that like a broken toilet: one cabin is closed, the other doesn't flush, the third is occupied. You'll carry your piss home yet if things keep on like that, Fred thinks. He recalls the time when it all was new and you could even get a paper towel to wipe off your hands. Now he just has to improvise as he tries to dry them off on his pants.

Emerging from the lavatory district, he looks around. The faces around the bar area look familiar. Some of them have been around these gigs for years. Professional giggers as he likes to call them. Fred moves to queue up at the bar stand for a beer. Thankfully it's a short line at this time yet. When was the warm-up supposed to start now? He glances at his phone. No clue. What was their name anyway? Ocean something, wasn't it? Right, Ocean Districts. Hopefully it's more worthwhile than that horrible electronic band that other time. That one really was terrible. Made you feel all out of sorts and all. Shit! Fred turns his head around, his thoughts interrupted, as suddenly sounds start coming off the stage from the hall area further behind him. He still hasn't got his beer yet. Move, damn it!

A moment later Fred walks into the hall. Thankfully they take cards at the bar. He takes a long pull on the beer, his other hand searching in his pockets for the earplugs. He can't have forgotten them now, can he? Where the hell are they? Shit! Fred starts to get frantic. Oh, there we go. Fred smiles and plugs his ears one at a time. He may look ridiculous - in fact, he is fairly sure he does - but he likes to think it'll do him good. At least he won't have to listen to the waterfalls after the gig again. There can be helicopters, though, he thinks as he takes another long pull at the beer.



Leaving piloting helicopters for later, Fred tries to find a Good Spot (TM) in the crowd. Something that's down the centre, not too close but not too far either. It can't be occupied, now can it? Well, no. However, a tall bamboo stick seems to block his way, so he takes up a position more to the right. No biggie. At least he doesn't need a stool to see the band. And can move around if he wanted to. It's never really packed, this place. More importantly, though, it usually has a pretty good sound so you can really enjoy the gig.

The sound, Fred thinks, coming out of another reverie. This doesn't appear to sound too shabby. Especially considering that last time. This not only doesn't sound shabby, this actually sounds great. More importantly, this is more fitting to the occasion. Fred nods in apprehension, takes another pull at the beer and nods again. Post-rock that has some good drive to it. Yes, Fred likes it. That tall bass player in a hoodie also seems to like it, appearing all immersed in his own bass grooves. And that guitar player, over there to the right, tries to look all cool headbanging as a couple of photographers aim for a steady shot of him. Fred considers how that guy would look if he had hair up to the royal task of headbanging. Hairy and anonymous, most likely. He takes another pull on the beer.

Oh, look, that other guitarist is a lefty. Didn't notice that, at first. Although it doesn't look systematic to have a lefty on stage, Fred thinks jokingly. Left, right, right. Not systematic at all like that. Between the songs the lefty does a small introduction of the band and appears considerably tongue-tied. Even the bass-dude finds it funny and motions him to shut up and get on with playing. That this band is instrumental suddenly makes more sense to Fred. He crosses his hands on his chest while holding a beer, and nods again as the aerial post-rock atmosphere gets some groove going. This is the stuff, Fred thinks, as he lets the music take him along.



Whoever these guys are, they seem to know how Fred likes his post-rock, he thinks apprehensively as he drops his empty bottle off and heads to the water passing corner at the end of the set. Short but good. He has to remember these guys. Emerging a moment later, the beer line is considerably longer, so Fred wanders to the merchandise stands spotting a familiar face looking at Ocean Districts CD. Hey, did you know one of the guys in the band is the organiser? Fred looks surprised. Oh, that is one cheeky manoeuvre to pull. However, Fred has to admit, it's by far not the worst choice for a warm-up act that could happen. As things were, it was all hip and cool as far as music was concerned. It's what he expected from a warm-up.

Yes, one beer please. Credit cards: so easy. He smiles. Taking another bottle, Fred looks around. Contentedly he has to conclude that more people have turned up. It starts to look quite good. He nods to familiar faces. Some of the unexpected ones have even made the appearance. A good name like that seems to draw people out. Were you here the last time God Is An Astronaut were here? No? Ah, shame, man! You missed a good gig. I know, right. That really was something. So amazing visually. Very beautiful. And they totally rocked. Fred thinks back to the previous gig. If this one isn't at least as good, it'll be massively disappointing. Probably would serve him right to have high expectations but what are you going to do about it once the bar has been raised high?


Jamie Dean

This better meet his expectations, muses Fred, as he walks in search of a new Good Spot (TM), another beer in hand. However, it isn't as simple as it was during the first band. People seem to know when to turn up. Their loss, though, smiles Fred, thinking back on the opener and focusing on the band entering the stage. One... Whoa! Look at that guy! He's grown some proper hair since the last time! Fred is really surprised at Jamie Dean's new outlook. Two. Three. Four... Four? What?! Fred is pretty sure there were five of the band at the previous gig. Ah, there we go, that makes sense. It looks like in addition to keyboards Jamie has picked up the guitar duties instead of Gazz Carr. The rest seems in order: Kinsella brothers, and Stephen Whelan again at the drums. Looks good to go.

But what is this all then? Where are the visuals? Where are all the beautiful patterns overflowing the stage? Fred cannot comprehend how a beautiful element like that, an element that fits God Is An Astronaut and their music like no other, has been dropped. Slowly, Fred starts to feel cheated and disappointed. It was supposed to be aurally and visually stunning performance, just like the last time. Apparently, the slow start to the set is letting Fred think thoughts that aren't really fitting the moment. He's not all there. And that is the moment when one of the previous encore tracks "All Is Violent, All Is Bright" is thrown in for a good measure of energy. If this track comes this early, there's got to be more in store. Fuck it, thinks Fred, takes a deep pull at his beer and let's go of his expectations. Definitely not a good way to go into a show expecting it to be the same as before.



As the show goes on, Fred has to conclude again that God Is An Astronaut are a spectacular live band, whether with or without visual aids. It doesn't necessarily mean spectacular in the show sense. Fred thinks more along the lines of music. Live, their music becomes alive. It appears to be so much more than on the album. Whether it actually sounds heavier, or just appears to be heavier, is irrelevant. Maybe it's just the added passion and energy that intensify the songs. Live it feels all-encompassing. It flows around him and over him. It resonates deeply with Fred.

Fred finishes his beer and puts away the bottle. He thinks of getting another one but doesn't want to miss anything, so he resumes his position in the crowd. He decides to close his eyes. There's not much to look at anyway. No visuals, though lots of colours in dry ice. A bunch of guys just rocking out to their music. The faces of the brothers are impossible to make out. He reflects on the guy from the first band with no hair to speak of. These two have hair aplenty. Suddenly he thinks of Jonas Renkse of Katatonia. The face of that one is also impossible to see behind the curtain of hair.



Niels Kinsella


Fred closes his eyes to focus on the music. That intensity! That energy! It sounds magnificent. In his private world of flowing soundscapes he almost misses how Jamie steps down from the stage to rock out in the crowd and with the crowd. Some people and photographers immediately try to push closer. Not Fred. Fred likes the way it is. He likes to observe, hands crossed. He nods in apprehension. It's nice to see the band engaging in the crowd, not just being on stage engrossed and oblivious. This way is good. Just being there, letting the music wash over him.

The concert seems to pass in a moment to Fred. Quite suddenly he is staring at the empty stage. It was definitely a great show, he thinks. And a new song was a nice touch, too. If the new song is anything to go by, the new album will be excellent. Fred looks around, and decides that a bottle of water will do nicely. He wanders back into the hall to see the band starting to pack their stuff. Some people are trying to get autographs. A golden pen of one of the photographers seems to be in high demand. That guy appears to know how to go about it.

He listens as Torsten explains why there were no visuals this time around. The band doesn't seem to want the people to focus on the visuals. They are trying to mix it up, so to say. Have it different each time. The music is what's important after all. He hears Jamie joking how Gazz Carr is nowhere to be found for a couple of months. Then he tells that in truth Gazz has gone to focus on his own project, the Butterfly Explosion. Fred thinks Jamie is a funny guy. It's nice to see the band come out after the show to meet their fans. Brings them closer to their fans.



Carefully, Fred walks down the steep and narrow stairs. He thinks of calling a taxi but remembers something. He reaches for his wallet. Cash? No cash. Not good. His last notes were spent on a CD at the merchandise stand. That is good, though. He takes a look around and sets off in the general direction of a cash terminal. He knows there was one around there somewhere. He feels good, though. The concert was another success. He shouldn't have doubted these guys. God Is An Astronaut easily pull their weight.

Set list:
1. Weightless (Origins)
2. Transmissions (Origins)
3. All Is Violent, All Is Bright (All Is Violent, All Is Bright)
4. Reverse World (Origins)
5. Echoes (God Is an Astronaut)
6. Spiral Code (Origins)
7. A Deafening Distance (All Is Violent, All Is Bright)
8. The End of the Beginning (The End of the Beginning)
9. Fragile (All Is Violent, All Is Bright)
10. Calistoga (Origins)
11. Forever Lost (All Is Violent, All Is Bright)
12. Worlds in Collision (Age of the Fifth Sun)
13. The Last March (Origins)
14. From Dust to the Beyond (The End of the Beginning)
15. Dark Passenger
16. Fire Flies and Empty Skies (All Is Violent, All Is Bright)
Encore:
17. Red Moon Lagoon (Origins)
18. Suicide by Star (All Is Violent, All Is Bright)
19. Route 666 (The End of the Beginning)



Disclaimer: Exploring the mind of another may yield quantum results. All elements of this story may or may not have been fictional, may or may not have happened. One thing is certain, though, it was a day in May.


 



Written on 03.06.2014 by
Ivor
I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.
More articles by Ivor ››




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Ag Fox - 04.06.2014 at 04:27  
Nice nice.
Wish I was there )=
tea[m]ster - 05.06.2014 at 00:38  
- I am with you, I've seen MoTA, Rosetta and Russian Circles live, I am there for the music, not the visuals, not to bang my head, not to mosh. Post rock/metal music takes me to another place.
- Hard to believe GIAA sound good live. Their albums are all so multi-layered and loaded with platinum production. Glad they pull it off.
- I will have to check out the opening band.
- great article Ivor ...err...I mean Fred...err I mean Ivor...
Darkside Momo - 05.06.2014 at 03:35  
Didn't know your second name was Fred
D.T. Metal - 06.06.2014 at 04:54  
AWESOME review in the eyes of Fred

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