Concert Review Archive

 

Gazpacho

Tuesday, 27th March 2012
The Robin 2, Wolverhampton, The UK

Wednesday, 28th March 2012
The Garage, London, The UK

Thursday, 29th March 2012
De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands

Friday, 30th March 2012
Willem 2, Den Bosch, The Netherlands

Article By Edwin Roosjen, Roger Trenwith, Sue Doyle, Andy Read, Gert Hulshof and André de Boer
and photos By André de Boer and Roger Trenwith

Sue Doyle's Review (Wolverhampton)

The Robin 2 is well-known for hosting a plethora of excellent bands, and is a mecca for good prog. It’s a great little venue, oozing with character, its outer walls being plastered with gig posters which read like a musical “Who’s Who”. Inside it’s a cosy and intimate hall with low ceiling and a handy little bar tucked away left of stage.

I arrived about 15 minutes after the doors opened, my sat-nav guiding me effortlessly to the conveniently placed free car park (yes, free) to the rear of the venue. When I walked into the hall it was apparent that I was one of the early birds, but at a laid back gig like this, no one was in any hurry to leg it to the front. This augured well for me as, being vertically challenged (5’3” & a fag end), it’s a case of either get to the front or be relegated to reading the back of someone’s t-shirt for two hours. After a swift and delicious half of Stella Artois, I had a little time to wander about, chat to a few fellow gig-goers (I have to be careful with this though...woman on her own chatting to strangers...), as more fans filtered into the hall. I finally took up my place at centre front of the stage, at which point I began to question the wisdom of leaving my camera at home. The problem I find in having a camera with me at a gig is that the best bits are often viewed entirely through the lens. I’d never seen Gazpacho live before and certainly didn’t want to find myself preoccupied with taking pictures (like the woman next to me) and then finding it necessary to review them immediately (like the woman next to me), by which time half the song has been missed.

At 8:30pm on the button, Jon Arne Vilbo (lead guitar) emerged quietly and without fanfare onto the stage, followed by Lars Erik Asp (drums), Thomas Anderson (keyboards), Kristian Olav Torp (bass...and hat), and Mikael Kromer (electric mandolin, electric violin & guitar), taking their places to a round of welcoming and appreciative applause from the much-swelled audience. Counted in by Lars, Gazpacho opened their 2 hour set with a few tracks from their latest album, March of Ghosts, the first of these being Monument which served as a prelude not only to the emergence of vocalist, Jan Henrik Ohme to the stage, but was also a hint of the couple of hours of stunningly beautiful music yet to come. Monument gave way to all four parts of Hell Freezes Over, Jan Henrik’s haunting and effortless vocals taking the reins. I’ve only heard March of Ghosts a couple of times so this was still quite new to me, however it was a stunning piece of music and, according to Jan Henrik, the four parts were being performed together on this tour for the first time. Hopefully they’ll perform them as suite again on future tours. The audience was mesmerized from the first note to the very last and understandably so.

Next up was one of my absolute favourites, The Walk parts 1 & 2 from Tick Tock and I recall letting out a small gasp of delight when Jan Henrik introduced it. It’s an incredible song about an even more incredible journey, a song filled with emotion and it was performed beautifully, as indeed was every song in their set. A couple of Missa Atropos contributions followed with Defense Mechanism and the beautiful and melancholy Vera. They did have a slight blip during the instrumental part of Vera, everyone seemed (in the words of the late great Eric Morecambe) to be playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. They pulled it together eventually amid obvious amusement from the band and the audience, Jan Henrik calling it the free jazz version. Two more songs from March of Ghosts in the form of Golem and Black Lily, yet again performed beautifully and with such deep motion. The lyrics to both are deeply moving and Jan Henrik delivered them to great effect.

We were then taken back to earlier Gazpacho days with a with an excellent collection of songs taken from the aptly named Night album. First up was Dream of Stone followed by the goose-bumpingly gorgeous Chequered Light Buildings, Jan Henrik’s ghostly vocals holding the audience utterly spellbound, and finally from Night, Upside Down.

One of the (many) highlights of the show for me, and the last song before the encore, was delivered in the form of Winter is Never, once again from Tick Tock. This is one of those songs that just hits the spot with me - I could have listened to this on a loop all night. After a brief interlude and with obligatory rhythmic hand-clapping and foot-stamping, the band re-emerged for the encore and, my goodness, it was worth the wait. Splendid Isolation from Missa Atropos summed up the entire evening for me; the lyrics, the vocals, the faultless musicianship from everyone on the stage pulled at every emotion I had. Finally, Bravo rounded up the evening in fine style, featuring Mikeal’s energetic electric violin solo. This was an absolutely stunning gig performed by a group of musicians who play as a band - no egos or showboating here. Every chord, every keynote, every drumbeat complements each other perfectly. Who need pyrotechnics and gimmicks? Not these guys. They let the music speak for itself. I’ll be at the next tour. See you there.

Andy Read's Review (Wolverhampton)

I’ve always enjoyed a good soup, but Gazpacho-the-band has been a recent introduction to my listening palate. Last year I happened to be in London on the same night as the Norwegian sextet was playing. It was only their third headline gig on UK soil, but it gave a chance for their music to win me over. London, the band’s recent live album from that very show, has provided a wonderful lasting memory. The band’s newest creation, the mesmericly melodic March of Ghosts will be one of my favourite albums of 2012.

Bilston is a market town in the former industrial English heartland of The Midlands. At 8pm on a Tuesday night it was one of the most depressing places I’d ever been to. The only buildings in the town centre not clad in security shutters, were the funeral directors and the (many) betting shops. Bilston’s only contribution to world music thus far is as the birthplace, 66 years ago, of Don Powell, the drummer who founded glam rockers Slade.

With barely a soul to be seen, it seemed a strange location for a 700 capacity standing music venue. Gazpacho is still building a profile in the UK and with this gig being only their fourth headline show, they are still exploring virgin territory. Barely 100 people were inside. Like London last year, it would be an intimate concert.

With seven studio albums from which to build a set list, there will always be debate over song selections – none more so than within the band itself. What they compiled was a pretty comprehensive selection across their nine-year recording career. We had half of Night, half of Tick Tock, more than half of the new album and a good chunk of Missa Atropos. Bravo was the only reference to the first three albums. After winning one of the biggest cheers in London last year, I was surprised that River had dried up from the set list. I was also looking forward to hearing the folk energy of newbie Mary Celeste let loose in a live setting. Speaking to him after the show, so too was singer Jan-Henrik Ohme. Apparently his colleagues had other preferences. The downside of a democracy.

This concert was only the third date of the tour. With it being almost a year since the band’s last live action, the sextet was still finding a unified stride. A couple of false starts, forgotten lyrics and Jan-Henrik’s occasional reference to a cheat sheet on the floor brought a few stutters.

With a band whose music relies so heavily on getting into a unified groove, some songs were still gelling better than others. Defense Mechanism, What Did I Do and Golem didn’t work so well for me tonight. However as is the desired way with Gazpacho’s music, the remainder sucked me in with an alertness and appreciation of familiar songs in a different way. There is an added energy, bite, edge to the songs played live that a studio recording will never capture. Not necessarily better, but different - and all the better for it!

A great example of such was the decision to open this tour with all four parts of Hell Freezes Over combined into one piece. I know why this ‘song’ is split into four sections and spread across the current album. In that context it works. But as a piece of music it is so much better heard as a whole. The recurring themes build and evolve brilliantly. Brought together, this is one powerful piece of song writing. Probably the band’s best. This is the sort of song that becomes a band’s standard set closer in perpetuity. Similarly the performances of both Upside Down and Dream of Stone captured new dimensions for me tonight. Having started with their most recent songs, the band ended at their beginning with an up tempo Bravo.

As someone who enjoys both elements of the words ‘live show’, I would personally prefer just a little more of the band’s character to emerge from the stage. The between-song banter is as limited as the stage movement, but I did agree with Jan-Henrik’s challenge to English venues that provide Danish beers for bands – ignoring the indisputable fact that England produces some of the world’s greatest ales!

Those critiques aside, I enjoyed this concert even more than London. Maybe it was being more familiar with the music? Maybe it was the addition of those great songs from March of Ghosts. The final bow was delayed while Thomas Andersen tried to find a way around, then behind and finally under his bank of keyboards. They exited to the delighted faces of existing fans and with new converts heading for the merchandise stall.

It had been an amazing-value set of two hours and ten minutes. The biggest compliment is to say that it seemed like half that time. I believe some festival appearances are in the pipeline next. With a fantastic new album and a growing live reputation, this show could be final time that Gazpacho plays such an ‘intimate’ concert.

 

Roger Trenwith's Review (London)

The Garage is an all standing venue, holding about 700 when full, and I'd hazard a guess that tonight's crowd was somewhere between 350 and 400, so everyone had ample room to nod vigorously and jig from foot to foot, or in the case of the girl next to me, drink a lot and occasionally flail her arms about like a dysfunctional windmill!

At 8pm, Mikael and Thomas enter from stage right as we look, Mikael taking up his position over on the far side of the compact but not restrictive stage and Thomas installing himself behind his keyboards. They gently glide into Monument and are joined by the rest of the band bar Jan-Henrik and we are off into what will be a musical journey of over two hours, collectively celebrating splendid isolation, if such a thing is possible. As Monument ends singer Jan-Henrik enters to rousing cheers and the band launch into the anthemic Hell Freezes Over, here presented as one piece of music, as it was originally recorded.

Gazpacho

The setlist took in songs from a large chunk of the back catalogue, and after the initial selection from the sublime March Of Ghosts album Jan-Henrik told us with a smile and more than once that it was on sale at the merch stall just in case we hadn't already got it, which judging by the kind of audience that goes to these kind of gigs would be somewhat unlikely. As a late-comer to this splendid band, anything prior to the Missa Atropos album is unknown territory to me, and I can safely say that all the earlier songs are well worth a listen and show the group's stately progress to the vast cinematic vistas of March Of Ghosts. After a selection from Missa Atropos and The Walk Parts I & II, we go back to March Of Ghosts for a trio of songs culminating in what for me is the album highlight, the atramentous mirror that is Black Lily, the kind of song that could only be written in a land that spends a fair proportion of the year in a state of permanent night.

Thomas on his keyboards, the trailing leg of the "R" of Roland painted out to reveal a Poland piano (hoho) and Jon-Arne on guitar create the deep soundscapes for Mikael to embellish on violin, mandolin, and occasional second guitar. Holding this down is the rock solid rhythm section of Lars on the drums and Viking warrior Kristian on his mighty bass, a thing that could anchor a deep sea trawler such was its strength. Indeed, the selection of tracks from the Night album had a distinct Anekdoten feel to them in places, so heavy was the rhythm. Jan-Henrik then teased us with the possible prospect of a reissued version of Night with extra tracks and live renditions. Well, I'll get it if it happens, that's for sure. Jan-Henrik, whose impish sense of humour shone through, completely at odds with the doomy introspective nature of his lyrics, also informed us that this whole tour is being recorded. If they made each show available as a download, I'm sure it would bring in a healthy profit - how about it guys?

Gazpacho

The set ends with a triumphant Winter Is Never from Tick Tock but you know there's more to come and the encore serves up Splendid Isolation and, no doubt a surprise for the long time fans, the title track from their first album Bravo, which reveals a far more more rootsy sound that intrigues this newbie no end, Mikael's violin to the fore. An uplifting and truly wonderful gig, which no doubt will be in my Best Of for 2012 along with March Of Ghosts. Come back soon guys!

 

Edwin Roosjen's Review (Zoetermeer)

It was two years, two weeks and one day since I saw Gazpacho live at the Zoetermeer. Then they were on tour for their album Tick Tock and now two years later for their latest album March Of Ghosts. The album in between, Missa Atropos, did not really ring my bell. The new album March Of Ghosts I get but my opinion about Gazpacho music has not changed since my last concert review. They create beautiful music, atmospheric sounds that, when in the right mood, take you on a trip in a dream like state. These moments are very scarce in my hectic every day life so I rarely fully enjoy the music of Gazpacho to it's max at home. I know, I must do something about that but from the conversations I had I was not the only one with that problem.

How different is that when I attend a Gazpacho concert. No distractions from work, children, TV, facebook, etc. Full and complete attention and focus for the music of Gazpacho.

Gazpacho

First their was the announcement that this show was going to be recorded for a DVD. Nice but I was afraid I was going to miss a lot of the show because of cameras in front of me but that was not the case. Only once they had to restart a song because it had to be perfect for the DVD recording. One small error that can easily be cut out of the DVD.

That was not the only mistake. Singer Jan Henrik Ohme made a small "boo boo" when he introduced the wrong song. He said it was because "the funny setlist" was on top but if that was really the case, who knows? Check for yourself if you think the funny setlist is confusing. It is at the bottom of this review just below the actual setlist. Whether or not the boo boo will appear on the DVD is not certain, we must wait for the release. Ome's escape was funny enough to keep it in or use it as an extra.

On the print of the funny setlist it also stated the date and the location, "home". Ome mentioned that going to Zoetermeer is like coming home. I think for many progressive rock lovers De Boerderij has become a home away from home. The only venue that I can find without my navigation system.

The setlist differed a lot from two years ago. Obviously a few songs from Night were in the setlist and scattered were songs from the new album March Of Ghosts. Two years ago they were really into When Earth Lets Go and they played a couple of songs from Firebird, two albums they completely ignored this year. Ah well. not really ignored, they just played a lot of songs from other newer albums and therefor there was no room left for those albums. The only old song was the title track from their debut album Bravo. A good choice of songs in my opinion. I loved The Walk 1+2 and my favourite song from March Of Ghosts, Did I Do That?, was played. Though the vocals were not as heavily layered as on the album it still was enough to make me close my eyes and wander of.

Again Gazpacho amazed me live. No dazzling show with fireworks but a great atmospheric evening of passionate music. Just above 450 people witnessed a great show, next time when Gazpacho is on tour I hope to be there again. And maybe in time I will have the calm and rest and learn to listen to Gazpacho music at home. Wouldn't that be great!!!

André de Boer's Review (Zoetermeer)

Being present at Gazpacho’s hundredth gig was a truly historical event. Despite of this milestone and despite of the band’s release of its seventh successful full length studio album they are as humble as always. In strong contrast with their sublime work and high quality performance they are obviously still very grateful and obedient to the audience. And this is one of those facts that adds to the fun and enjoyment of experiencing a Gazpacho live set. The best out of five sets that I have been fortunate enough to witness. Although all of those live performances were enchanting and of high quality, this one was even better. The sound was almost perfect too in spite of the bass managing to get the floor trembling quite a few times. Thus diminishing all instruments and vocals for a moment or two.

Gazpacho

Let me recapture. Jan Henrik Ohme’s mesmerizing voice, so tender and fragile. Jon-Arne Vilbo’s flexible work on guitar, especially while playing the banjo-like part in The Walk. Thomas Anderson’s fluent contribution on his Poland(!) keyboards. The powerful drums by Lars Erik Asp were really, really awesome and Mikael Krømer managed to get his violin and mandolin even noticeably more bright and steady as I was already used too. Very impressive. All together a great musical experience, unfolding a vast part of their catalogue, playing songs of the brand new March Of Ghosts as well as the Missa Atropos, Night, Tick Tock and Bravo albums. I must say that I was very pleased by this set that included Golem, which I think is one of their best songs, and did not include the lesser March of Ghosts folky tracks. Playing all four Hell Freezes Over sections together as one was another good choice.

Gazpacho

If you like a lot of flashy entertainment or interaction with the crowd, coming to a Gazpacho gig is not a grand idea. The band is somewhat glued to the stage floor and at the same position as last year and the year before. The beauty is they have more then enough charisma available so they do not need any stage action at all. And the audience does not miss it a bit. The music and the serenity it brings, makes you get wrapped up in the musical message they carry out. Only few bands know how to do that and reach one’s heart. There were DVD recordings going on, I sure hope they will find the funds to get it edited and released so we can all try to relive the experience at home later on. The encore was predefined with Splendid Isolation and Bravo. After which the band members posted at the top of the stairs for autographs, a high five or a cozy chat.

I cannot conclude otherwise than that it was a great performance. Highly appreciated by the audience as well as by the band. Thank you guys!

 

Gert Hulshof's Review (Den Bosch)

I arrived in Den Bosch a little earlier and had some diner across the street of W2. So I could easily follow what was happening out there. The first fans stood at door already when I arrived making sure they got in on time.

The door was to be open at 20:00 but this was absolutely not the case, Doors opened more than 15 minutes later, luckily it wasn’t freezing outside, but you couldn’t say it was warm.

Some 300 to 400 die hard fans had gathered to see their idols this evening, on a Friday night so not to worry about time.

Gazpacho started the show as expected with material from the new Album March Of Ghosts. We were treated on Hell Freezes Over 1,2,3,4 all in one long session, played like this it is an amazing set of songs.

After this stunning opener Jan Henrik told the crowd they would be playing songs throughout their entire career which they did, the carried on if I am not mistaken with The Walk from their Tick Tock album. The band was rocking and had a good time out there on the stage. Really really enjoying themselves giving it their best shot making it worth while.

Every now and again the sound was just a bit to loud, some of the speakers started to “sing” , soon to be cleared by the sound tech. The great video wall was up this time also with the video’s the audience in the Metropool saw during the Missa tour.

Bass player Kristian Olav Torp was really kicking ass, and having a blast especially at his time on the stage where he was the main man sitting on the edges nearer the crowd playing his bass like a madman. He is one amazing bassplayer I tell you.

I saw a band in top form in front of an audience I have seen better. There were cheers oh yeah but it was all a bit weak, The show was good and Gazpacho deserved better.

Setlist
Monument
Hell freezes over I-IV
The walk 1 + 2
(Mass for atropos)
Defense mechanism
Vera
What Did I do?
Golem
Black Lily
Dream of stone
Chequered light buildings
Upside down
Winter is never

Splendid Isolation
Bravo
Funny Setlist Bilston
Monument
Helga fiser Over I-IV
Vulva 1-2
Flass til Atropos)
Defense Mechanism
Ræva
Who Will I Do?
Goblin
Svarte Trilly
Marerittet til Stalin
Smaarutete Lys Bygninger
In og Ut
Sibirsk hyperkulde slutter aldri

Spleens and Glava
Marilyns Fotsopp
Funny Setlist Zoetermeer
Mormorment
Hylle Farse Ove I-IV
The Vulkan 1+2
(Farse For Atropos)
Defarse Mechanism
Varg Verum
Did I do That?
Gralle
Fattige Ludder
Steinars Vonde Traume
Sjekk Lette Bylleting
Upside Downs
Snø Neve

Spleen Isolation
Børk Børk
Funny Setlist Den Bosch
Monument
Hell on Wheels I-IV
Running up that Hill 1+2
(Fido's moment)
Defecate Masochism
Valarie
What Shall We Do?
Grendel
Black Napkins
And Dream of Sheep
Chequered Flag Beatings
Sideways In
Winter Wonderland

Spent in Isolation
Fiddly diddly

Links

Gazpacho Official Website
Gazpacho Myspace

DPRP's Review of Gazpacho's "March Of Ghosts"
DPRP's Review of Gazpacho's "Missa Atropos"
DPRP's Review of Gazpacho's "Tick Tock"
DPRP's Review of Gazpacho's "Night"
DPRP's Review of Gazpacho's "Firebird"
DPRP's Review of Gazpacho's "When Earth Lets Go"
DPRP's Review of Gazpacho's "Bravo"

The Robin 2

The Garage

De Boerderij

Willem 2

 


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