Isis - Rock Cafe, Tallinn, 07.11.2009

Event: Isis: European Tour
Written by: Ivor
Published: 09.11.2009


Isis - Rock Cafe, Tallinn, Estonia, 07.11.2009 by Ivor (39)

I had my doubts whether to go see Isis live or not. However, a couple of years ago I had a pretty jaw-dropping experience seeing Callisto; this experience was to some extent repeated again almost a year ago. Having heard a bit of Isis I knew that musical area covered by Callisto and Isis is somewhat similar, Isis being artillery of the genre. From pre-gig research I also knew that Mamiffer should be something I'd like as well, and Dälek... Hmm... Well, more about that shortly, let's start at the beginning and go in chronological order.

For once I arrived at the venue in time. Or, to be more precise, on time. I barely had the time to grab a beer for myself, when Mamiffer started out. If I was cynical enough, I could describe Mamiffer as a three-piece band consisting of keyboards, guitar, drums, and a bunch of weird instruments and tuning blocks to make all sorts of various noises. However, that would not do the band justice.

What Mamiffer was can barely be described as a constant ambient sonic experience. Their music is slow, heavily centered around piano-like keyboards and melancholic sound. Their music is a beautiful ambient background created by Aaron Turner from Isis on guitar. Their music is an experiment on drums with drumsticks, chains, bells and whatnot, you name it. It's not divisible into songs, at least not live. It's a whole half an hour of emotion and melody that is so fitting the dark times of late Autumn. It felt near perfect and peaceful.

What came next, however, nearly ruined everything. Although I don't want to sound close-minded – who would now? – I can't take hip hop. I don't like it, I never have liked it and I'm willing to make a bet that I never ever will like it. At least not in this form. Why Dälek was present at this event is by far beyond me. What was even more surprising than them being present there, was that the people actually liked it and were doing whatever stuff you do during hip hop. I mean they liked it for real. For most of a bit over a half an hour of Dälek on stage I was just standing by, disconnected, almost in pain...

And then there was the fleeting moment that was comprised of Isis on stage. It was a fleeting moment because when they finished, I was surprised that nearly an hour and a half had passed. Isis was absorbing. You dig in, you pop out a while later with zero understanding of time-dimension and a feeling that this time-lapse had been just awesome. There's one more feeling that you get from such moments. It's a feeling of satisfaction, a feeling of a time spent well. And Isis was good at delivering this.

However, as awesome as it may have seemed, there's always something to complain about. As is no surprise in Rock Cafe's case, Isis was a bit over-amplified and thus drowning Aaron's occasional clean vocals more often than not. As far as I'm concerned, though, Isis could as well be a purely instrumental band. As was the case with Callisto, Isis' instrumental delivery was just that good. I know very little of their material – their last album and a bit of some earlier stuff – but in their case it doesn't really matter live. It's more about the feeling and the atmosphere.

In the end, Isis turned out to be as good as I expected. The evening was a success ignoring the hip hop mishap. If you are doubting whether to see Isis or not, don't doubt. Check their sound, if it's anything you might like, fear not – Isis will definitely make a worthwhile live performance.

Mamiffer: MySpace
Dälek: MySpace
Isis:, MySpace


Written on 09.11.2009 by I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.

And one day I'm going to start a band. We're going to be playing pun-rock.


Comments: 7   Visited by: 94 users
09.11.2009 - 22:31
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Isis are indeed very good live. I prefer them live compared to them on album. Same for Callisto actually.
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

09.11.2009 - 22:59
Thanks for the review. I really enjoy your writing style.
09.11.2009 - 23:08
When I saw them the last time in Vienna, they had an unbelievable shitband playing right before them, which made some sort of experimental punk with a drum-computer... awful! we were so happy, when Isis came on stage at last. Maybe there is some strategy?

And your review was a good appetizer for their concert on saturday, thanks. Yeah, can't wait!
The struggle to free myself of restraints, becomes my very shackles
10.11.2009 - 02:08
hi-fi / lo-life
If I had the money to spend on a ticket to this tour's gig here in Warsaw tomorrow, I'd go solely for Dalek... Ivor, its not often that you can actually experience intelligent, innovative and even avant-garde hip-hop. Anyway, I'm just saying, there are people here who indeed dig Dalek quite a bit and I'm not in the least surprised they are a part of this tour. They did tour with Fantomas a few years ago after all...
10.11.2009 - 19:29
@marcel: I actually agree with you on both bands. Live it feels better than on the album.

@albatros: Thanks, man! I appreciate it.

@benvolent: It may be their tactics to feature warm-up that doesn't exactly fit their own genre. The band itself may not be bad at all, the contrast is really big.

@jups: I had a feeling you'd be defending Dälek. Anyways, I'm not saying that they are not good in their own right. They might be the coolest thing ever in their genre. However, it's me who can't relate to that music. That's all.

No friends for playing games
No foes who scorn my name
Computerized machines of steel and rust
No friends in my house on Mars
No foes in my house on Mars
I was born in my house on Mars
I will die in my house on Mars
-- Ayreon - My House on Mars
14.11.2009 - 18:03
The reason why Dälek was also performing on this tour might be that they are on the same label (Ipecac Records) with Isis.
16.11.2009 - 13:17
Wow, nice review. I Can't wait to see them live in a couple of days.
They'll have Transitional as opening act. Judging by their myspace, it'll be a slightly lesser contrast...even if I can't get into their music.

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