The Personal Concert Experience

Yesterday was a good day. It was Thursday and I like Thursdays. There is every day magic in Thursdays.

The first good thing that happened was that I received the cover for my new Short Story Collection in the mail from the talented man who apparently knew exactly what that collection needed and that felt like the dot over the i, the final piece of identity for the book.

I will announce the collection properly shortly, but receiving the cover was the first good thing that happened.

The next thing that happened was one of those things, you know? While I was putting the final touches on the short story I published yesterday I happened to be browsing around when I noticed that suddenly there were tickets to VOLBEAT available.

I’ve been whining for weeks that I won’t be able to see the show because it’s been sold out. My family has been sighing over me. It was bad. But now it was Thursday, the day of the show, and suddenly there are tickets?

I didn’t have the time to plan anything, or to call people, I just bought a ticket and went by myself.

I am, to say the least, skeptical of concert reviews or criticism. I’ve seen a few of those and these reviews always puzzle me but since the reviews I saw of last nights concerts were mostly rather negative and grumpy I felt I had to share my experience.

I usually write to music and a lot of the time I’m listening to heavy metal. I do have my mellow moments when I listen to things like Ólafur Arnalds or Kent but lately three bands have been high on my listening list. Volbeat, Sabaton and the Icelandic band DIMMA. The old giants have been lurking a bit on the sidelines; RAMMSTEIN, AC/DC and IRON MAIDEN usually get some playtime though.

What these three particular bands have in common is that they are excellent storytellers. Sabaton tells real-life war stories (and how I, of all people, started liking that band is a long story in itself), Dimma and Volbeat both tell different kind of stories and of the three Volbeat is the best storytelling band. They’re clearly influenced by people like Elvis Prestley and Johnny Cash but have a sound that is just their own and an incredible feeling in their music, I feel. Perfect to listen to while writing in other words, because while the music tells a story it’s so subliminal and hard to put a finger on that it just enhances my process. It goes straight to the soul, skipping all the other bases along the way.

There were two pre-bands. CROBOT and an Australian band called AIRBOURNE. It can’t be easy being the first pre-band. I felt for them trying to create energy in a crowd that wasn’t really there yet, but still wondering about their workday or getting their bearings on their surroundings.

I sat reading a short story by Jeff Vandermeer while I waited. It was perfect.

Then the VOLBEAT flag came up, indicating that the stage was being set up and I stopped reading.

I’ve seen IRON MAIDEN live twice. Bruce Dickenson has an amazing presence on stage, and the band has an unbelievable energy still, but the music is always a bit compromised live. It’s hard to deliver it as well as on the album obviously, and so they compensate with other things – loudness being one of them.

RAMMSTEIN on stage was an experience like no other. Till Lindemann and his never ending costume change made the show bewildering and there is such energy in their performance.

But they are no where near to delivering the music as purely as VOLBEAT did last night. I was especially impressed with Michael Poulsen who can sing his songs just as well live as he does on the album. That’s rare, almost unheard of I fear. The soul and the energy of VOLBEAT gave justice to the music I listen to so much. The peculiar artwork VOLBEAT has associated with their music in the past supported the tones and gave a feeling of folk lore or folk horror if you will.

Experiencing a live concert is something very personal. I sat there watching an inebriated man in his 60’s or 70’s dancing away to the music on the floor downstairs. He chose a part of the floor where there weren’t so many people and he just danced away to every song. That’s living! And I sat up there living it in my way. Soberly reading a short story that I enjoyed while I waited for one of my favourite bands to come on stage and when they did I was floored because they were much better than I expected


I can now dot SEEING VOLBEAT LIVE off my bucket list. Though I immediately added SEEING VOLBEAT LIVE AGAIN to it I’m afraid. Next concert is SABATON. I already have tickets though the concert isn’t until next year. After that there’s DIMMA and only then will I have had my trifecta. Though I have no idea how or when I’ll be able to make that dream come true, but until then I’m still very much enjoying this one.


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