2018-09-29 Union Scene, Drammen, NO

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      Having attended both the Kolbotn and Drammen gig, I agree the sound was far superior at the former. Although the guys for some reason seemed to be in a better mood at Kolben, and had less technical difficulties, that gig also felt a bit "safe" in comparison. The Drammen gig on the other hand, I feel had more of a nerve to it, and had some stellar jams. To me Lacuna/Sunrise was a definite highlight, probably the best version I have seen of that song. Dream Home, The Wheel and The Tower were great as well.


        I'll agree Lacuna was pretty good in Drammen – at least there was *something* happening during the middle section. I love the theme/song, but the mid section frequently drags on with not much happening. Taifun was beautiful but does not, IMHO need the extra part tacked on at the end. Bartok was strong with some wild soloing from Snah, Cuckoo similarly strong. Dream Home was also a very good version with nice parts from Lars H. The highlight was easily The Wheel which was great and very, very heavy. Manmower is another one of those stunning songs which do not benefit from the extended jamming. At least it was relatively brief in Drammen.


          @Punj Lizard

          Thanx for all the story, and about earplugs: can't do without them at an MP gig, and with them, it's such a joy to be able to hear but still feel the sonic waves through your whole body and experience the earthquaking Bentbass(-pedals), like at the culmination of Taifun for instance!

          …To quote The Breadingred Foggyroads (a cultband here in Holland): from the song 'Old Rockers': "they put in their earplugs and quote Spinal Tap, 'cause these go to eleven and it's way off the map!" Sail on, psychonaut!

          Punj Lizard

            @ JERO. Thanks 😀


              (Wrote this a few hours after the gig, but didn't post it for some reason – possibly because I felt it was overly negative. Read it again now, and thought it was pretty fair, so I'll post it. We have a lot to look forward to, so it's not like we're getting stuck on this one show anyway.)

              Back from Union, and a way below average concert imho, although if you just look at the setlist (which is one of the best of 2018), you would assume it would have to be excellent. But as we all know, in the MP-universe the setlist is first and foremost a map.

              Positives: The clear highlight was The Wheel in its entirety. It was absolutely amazing! So grateful I got to experience that again, and totally worth the trip. Other personal highlights were the lift-off in Taifun, Dream Home’s extended jam, a solid Plan #1, and the final jam in The Tower. I’d also add Lars to the highlights. He is such a versatile musician, and did a really good job.

              But the band seemed tired from the get go. The fire was there at times, but rarely for long, and hardly ever at the amazing levels we’ve seen earlier this tour. Snah had problems with one of his Hiwatt amps too, and spent half of SOF messing about with it. The sound was also very underwhelming downstairs for the first hour in particular. Very digital sounding vocals (too processed), and an unbalanced mix. It really harmed the psychedelic vibe the band went for, and some of the rockier numbers fell totally flat too, Cuckoo and Bartok in particular. Upstairs/Downstairs went nowhere, and I felt that they generally lost the momentum more frequently today than I’ve seen for quite some time. Lacuna got a good response from the crowd, and was good, but never really magical imho. STG was cool, and I’m glad Punj Lizard got to see it. It was a decent, but not great version (the ending wasn’t as ecstatic as usual), and they just didn’t have that sort of manic energy tonight to really nail it. Thomas did add some interesting accents, though.

              There seemed to be quite a number of seasoned psychonauts in the audience, and many MP-shirts and hoodies on display, but the crowd seemed to get easily restless and unfocused, with loads of moving about and heading back and forth to the bar. Electric mood during The Wheel and Plan #1, with a good singalong on the latter, but Manmower didn't get much of a response as a first encore. Maybe if they'd put it in the main set and saved STG for the first encore, the place would have erupted, but it would hardly have saved the gig as a whole, which was sub-par.

              Punj Lizard

                @ Devotional – thanks for your detailed and intersting review. Some of what you say makes a lot of sense in terms of my experience on the evening – personal issues with volume aside. I was disappointed overall, having travelled from London for the gig. But Elephant9 were superb and the rest of our trip in Norway was fantastic, so all in all it didn't matter. And as this was my sixth MP gig in twelve months, I had my fill of both good and incredible performances and as a result had first-hand experience of what it means for a band like MP to take chances and put themselves out there such that sometimes things don't work out, but when they do … they really do. Köln last autumn was a phenomenal concert and I'm quite happy if sometimes I get a Köln and other times I get a Drammen because the former more than makes up for the latter.

                The Other Anders

                  All that said, it wasn't that bad, was it?

                  I just heard the concert for the first time, and I am amazed how "blind" some of you / most of you were to the great stuff going on here. The sound must have been really bad, although the recording is fine. Thank you, Lars M! …I know, it's not the same as being there, but maybe listening over a cup of morning coffee sometimes makes for the better situation?

                  Anyway, why hasn't anyone mentioned the astounding beauty of the extended Cuckoo? Nine minutes in, and it's still raging. The outro is given a treatment similar to the outro of STG, a song it also finally floats seamlessly into, making this a 10 min+ version! And STG continues the seamless floating into a loose and jamming Lacuna/Sunrise.

                  Lars's contributions are easily noticeable. They make for yet another exciting take on many of the songs, like Dream Home, and before that Taifun and Lacuna, just to mention a few.

                  Upstairs/Downstairs "went nowhere"?! Where do you want it to go? It's beautifully played here, even with a bit of a prolonged intro. Another beautiful moment lost on a restless audience? Pearls before swine?

                  I just had to go back to Cuckoo. Wow… Favorite version so far! After more than a year, having seen 12 of the concerts, and having listened to more than 30 recordings, I still love how the Tower songs continue to evolve. I am actually worried about which songs they're going to take out of circulation when moving on, just like I still miss IMS from HBM. My guess is that Ship of Fools will be the survivor, while I would hope for Bartok and Cuckoo to survive as well, not to forget Dream Home.

                  Also someone said Manmower does not benefit from extended jamming. How is that even possible to say? It's amazing how many different ways this song has been played during more than 20 years. This way it never gets old, and I haven't grown tired of it yet. It is a huge part of what I love so much about this band. If Drammen, which btw is another fine take on it, didn't move you, check out some of the versions from fall 2017 (the Roadwork V video, for instance). Wonderful stuff.

                  Anyway, I love the direction the band has taken the last many years, and it is no secret that I am in it for the jams. Those other songs I have heard so many times before. They're the same every time. Nice to hear them every now and then, but not every concert. I have heard Greener now. And Plan #1. Maaaany times. Even STG, which some years ago used to throne on top as their most played live song, doesn't really bring anything new to the table, although I am pleased that it has an outro again closer to the 98-version instead of that boring stop/start routine which they also tend to add to The Wheel. Back then the STG outro could float and float and float for 10-15 minutes, making the longest versions of the song over 20 minutes long. Wish they would do THAT again.

                  To sum up: Positively surprised about Drammen 2018!


                    I am the lowly, filthy individual who doesn't enjoy a jammed-out Manmower. I just think some of these jams they get into these days are extremely predictable and un-Motorpsycho-like. No motor, no psycho, just a lot of jazzy noodle. And this comes from a jazz lover.

                    But it also depends on the mood and the moment, so I fully accept that they jam it out in search of something. Sometimes they hit, sometimes they miss. In the case of Manmower, however, I think the original song is so beautifully crafted, the pacing is just right and it slays me emotionally every single time, even 20+ years later. Any jamming on this one just dilutes the impact, at least to my ears.


                      But I do agree about your assessment of the Drammen gig. I didn't get it into the mood, but mostly out of the circumstances (up on the gallery, no alcohol, and the most annoying drunkard 5 feet away talking loudly during most of the show). Musically it was fine, and Cuckoo was indeed great.


                        "No motor, no psycho, just a lot of jazzy noodle…"

                        Yep, it's called Grateful Dead tradition ;-) And I love it…


                          @The Other Anders, I'm glad you stand up for the things you like, and recordings can change perspectives either way, which is exciting in itself. I haven't heard the recording, but I wouldn't be surprised if I'd pick up things I didn't at the actual show, which save for the fact that they were tired and had technical problems, had many factors going against it that were of no fault of the band. The sound and general 'vibe' downstairs (I was row 3 or 4 slightly to the right)? Ugh. The "Cuckoo" you mentioned was killed by that for me. I wonder where Lars M was stationed. Agreed about Lars' contributions.

                          Re: Manpower-jams – I think I prefer Thomas' approach to the last one I saw with Kenneth in particular, which I remember felt almost ironic. There's such a fine line between playful and… But yes, I'm not one to complain about jamming at all. I'm soooo relieved that the yacht-pop phase is over (for now).

                          That being said, I don't particularly enjoy the RW V version of Manmower (save for the final magical minute), but it's well played (of course), and I enjoy watching it. It's just down to personal taste. The clear highlight for me on that album (which is good overall, and the sound is brilliant) is Taifun, which is godly, and I also really like the Köln intro to Un Chien (a bit too much Kristoffer on the 'faster we go'-bit in the main song though imho). RW III still sucks in my book save for Hogwash and STG + a decent Starmelt/Lovelight.

                          But I'm so grateful for everything they give. We're all spoilt with too much goodness from this fantastic band.

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                        …hanging on to the trip you're on since 1994