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heathen apostlesBallonfabrik, Augsburg, Germany
4th September 2021
Heathen Apostles

American Goth band HEATHEN APOSTLES made it to Europe just in time for their third European tour, before authorities-imposed travel restrictions on travellers from the USA and other countries. Legendary rocker Chopper Franklin (THE CRAMPS) and vocalist Mather Louth (RADIO NOIR) have teamed up by bass player Thomas Lorioux (THE KINGS OF NUTHIN’) and violinist Luis Mascaro to give the fans a perfect Southern Goth experience.

HEATHEN APOSTLES created their own unique sound of Southern Goth, breathing Blue Grass, Gypsy, Jazz and Blues, with lyrics that cover murder ballades, songs of dark memento mori and influences of NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS that won over many fans and the band received an accolade in the music world by being invited to perform at Wacken Festival in 2018. The gig in Augsburg was originally booked for the City Club but was relocated to the outdoor area of Ballonfabrik due to the current Covid regulations. The new location had the advantage of plenty of free parking spaces close to the venue.

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Ballonfabrik in Augsburg is located between two rivers (Wertach and Lech), so if mosquitoes like you, bring a repellent. The check-in was brilliantly organized by very friendly and welcoming staff an everything went smooth. Beer benches and tables were placed in the yard and candles on the tables gave the whole thing a really nice and cosy atmosphere. People had dressed for an outdoor gig, as nights already are becoming colder and quite moist due to the rivers close by. The improvised stage reminded me of the one at LOGO in Hamburg, where band and audience are on the same level, only divided by a small crash-barrier. Around 19:30 the yard started filling with people many clad in black, all looking really excited to hear some live music tonight. https://www.heathenapostles.com / https://de-de.facebook.com/HeathenApostles

Music & Performance
The show started around 20:00 directly after sunset, so a perfect dark and Goth atmosphere was granted. The band tuned in their instruments and opened the show with some energetic music. The tuning in of the instruments became a frequent thing tonight, but it did not annoy anyone in the audience. It was rather the contrary, it was being appreciated that the musicians wanted the best sound, although their instruments were affected by the moist air. Chapeau! Then the audience witnessed a fantastic show of 21 songs that took us through many emotions, from sadness to happiness from a lullaby to a dance song. The setlist was good mix of songs from previous releases, the recently released ‘Bloodgrass Vol. 3’ and covers of well-known songs.

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The gig was a perfect example of how a band with their instruments and amps can a deliver a perfect show and entertain a dedicated audience. There was no need for any special effects neither on the visually or sound wise. Mather Louth has a voice with an enormous range and power, she can give you the chills or make you dance in the yard, if you please while the musicians perfectly underline the whole situation. Mather often gave us a short introduction to the next song and explained details about the ones from the new EP ‘Bloodgrass Vol. 3’ I won’t get too far into the details, but my personal highlight was their cover of Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ from the opera ‘Porgy & Bess’. There are countless covers of this song, but a Goth lullaby is quite unique. The violin solo part gave it a fantastic and melancholic touch and the guitar solo I the second half of the song gave it a wonderful Blues attitude, while Mather’s voice gave me the chills in the outro. I never heard such a versatile and intense performance of this song before.

Halfway through the set, the band took a short break, then came over to the Merch to sign CD’s and LP’s before tuning in the instruments of the second part of the set. As soon as the band ended the regular set, the audience demanded more songs and definitely meant it. We got three more songs before the 22:00 curfew in Augsburg let come all things to an end. The intro of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ performed by Luis was amazing and let over to the last song for tonight ‘The Reckoning’, one last time you could marvel at Luis skills on violin, Chopper’s incredible guitar play and Thomas who gave the songs the perfect beat on bass, while Mather performed the vocals in absolute perfection. Then, nearly two hours of fantastic live music lay behind us and you could see that everybody was genuinely happy, that HEATHEN APOSTLES had decided to tour in Europe again.

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At the merch, the musicians signed the CD’s and LP’s and talked to the fans, something only few bands do these days and something I really appreciate. If you are looking for a band that performs very versatile Goth inspired music, you should check the bands website and social media for tour dates, as they will be touring in September in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and France. If you’d like to hear the songs from the new album, check out https://heathenapostles.bandcamp.com/album/bloodgrass-vol-3-ep or your favourite streaming service.

Setlist
01. Paint the Stars
02. Fool’s Gold
03. Death’s Head
04. Bad Patch
05. Tall Rider
06. Black Hawk
07. Drowned
08. Ramblin’ Man
09. Lily of the West
10. Get Outta Dodge
11. Without a Trace
12. Two for the Road
13. Forget Me Not
14. Dark was the Night
15. Red Brick Dust
16. Summertime
17. Shady Grove
18. Drowned
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19. Dark Days
20. Long Gone
21. The Reckoning

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 10
Light: 6
Sound: 10
Total: 9 / 10

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All Pictures by Munich Vampire
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