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Leprous – Live in Adelaide

 

Leprous – Live in Adelaide

It’s a great night in Adelaide, Australia for a Progfest sideshow, headed by the Norwegian band Leprous and ably supported by three Aussie acts. The venue for tonight’s gig is the Jive bar, situated at the west end of Adelaide amongst a cluster of live venues. It’s the right size venue, with great sound quality and prompt bar staff, surely one of the top measures for any venue that puts on rock/metal gigs. The only problem is that the light show has all the lumens of someone leaving the fridge door open backstage, so my camera is set to ‘bottom of a well’ light quality.

Let’s start with the opening acts of Colibrium and Dyssidia, both of whom we’ve covered in the last twelve months and they seem to pop up as a pair on most bills. Colibrium were as strong as ever, because we know that their debut album is excellent, but they still struggle with stage presence. That aside, this band need to get out more, as their sound and material needs to be heard. Dyssidia, who I think we saw live about nine times in 2017, are on the up. I whined about their need for new material last year and that problem was solved with the EP but they have since moved to a much harsher and heavier sound, a bit like NeO shaping dark themes and lighter melodies. Awesome on the night and they always seem to fill the stage, bolder every time I see them. Also note the new keyboard player. The band is fast becoming to keyboard players as Spinal tap was to drummers.

Before we get to the main act tonight let’s talk about Alithia who turned up without a vocalist and played the most eclectic set I’ve seen for a long time, probably even topping the Tony Font Show. Already grinning from prompt bar service, I grinned all the harder after watching this performance. They came on stage and just gave everything. Without a vocalist you get to study each band member as an individual and it’s a wide collection of styles and ideas. The keyboard player looks like he should be in a 90s house music band backed up by a drummer that played some of the most aggressive beats I’m heard since watching the Algorithm’s Jean Ferry play live. The bass player should probably be in Clutch and plays like he is putting out random spot fires on the fret board. The guitarist is so similar to our mate Aaron Marshall (Intervals) in style and composure, but in this band he manages to play beautifully while chaos goes on around him. That leaves Jeff Ortiz on South American drum setup and keyboards, who hammered his way through the entire set. I’ll probably leave it at that, but seriously, check Alithia out. Many other bands would have walked away on the night but this was a superb performance, up there with when LORD turned up with one guitarist. Expect the unexpected from Alithia, this is how new genres are created!

So to Leprous and has it almost been seventeen years since they kicked off and six years since I first heard them? With the amount of touring that these guys do they seem to everywhere at once. Here we have them in Adelaide as part of a sideshow for the Wildthing Presents Progfest which brings together Leprous with some of the best acts Australia has to offer.

Leprous look casual but they are on their game from the off. With Einar on vocals you know that you are going to get a show and it turned out to be a show with the ‘new’ album Malina well represented as well as the classics. Kicking off with Bonneville, it’s a chilled and reserved start to the show, but as the track rises and we drift into its partner track on the album Stuck. It’s a song that is as emotional live as it is on the album. The crowd is hanging on every word, singing every word. The synth line is so meaty I’m being bounced back to the bar.

The Flood, the track that opens the Rockefeller live album, is a monster. Thick synth line and crystal clear vocal washes over the rows. It’s a sublime track, which builds and builds, but somehow Einar always manages to stay on top. The outro, that synthesised heartbeat, drops us back into another track from Malina and its time for Illuminate. It’s immense on the album and it’s immense on the night. It’s the track that you can play to the newbie to define Leprous as it has the experimental trademark of the band woven through it. That’s four tracks into the gig and it’s been a roller coaster. The sound is superb and the band have that musical tightness that only comes from touring.

We weave through The Cloak, Salt and From the Flame, with everyone transfixed, and you can hear the ideas and concepts that are inspiring other bands, both here in Australia and in Europe. By the time we get to The Valley the bar has lost its lustre and everyone is packed around the stage. This is my favourite Leprous track, maybe because the bass line reminds me of the Rush classic Cygnus X1, but its breathtaking and, for me, the song of the night. It shows everything that this band is; the complex, the experimental, the melody and the haunting vocal.The Price and Mirage take us to the end of the gig and its Mirage that tells what’s left of the statics in the crowd that it is time to let loose. We close with Slave and I can see where maybe a bit of Leprous has rubbed off on Dyssidia, as this song just explodes about five minutes in. There can be no doubt that Leprous are top of their game, whatever you want to call this game, they are at the top of it. Never fearing to take a twist and never failing to take an unexpected turn, Leprous are neither rock, metal or experimental, they simply define progressive.

Catch Wildthing Presents Progfest while you can. Too early to book next year?

Reviewer: Craig Grant

Review: Leprous € Live In Adelaide

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