25th September 2019
Madrugada - “Industrial Silence” Tour 2019
Favourite bands often leave black holes when they disappear. Like a good friend who moves to another city. The greater the joy when you finally see again after some time. The news of MADRUGADA’s surprise comeback has sparked a wave of joy among fans both at home and abroad.
When MADRUGADA emerged in the 90s in Norway’s vibrant Rock scene, it was clear from the beginning that this band was unique. The intensity of their melancholic music, which left a deep, blue note to audiences and critics, was second to none. Timeless, raw and empathetic - energetic front man Sivert Høyem was captivating with his signature baritone voice and a perfect symbiosis with Frode Jacobsen’s powerful bass playing and Jon Lauvland Pettersen’s unique drumming.
Everything went its course until 2007 a stroke of fate shook the band. When Robert Burås, the guitarist of MADRUGADA died, it was quiet for the Norwegians in 2008, despite or even because of the mourning for their friend, they finished their self-titled album and published it still. Now, eight years after the last sign of life of the band, they announced their comeback. One thing is certain: it will be loud and it will be emotional when MADRUGADA 2019 are coming back full of energy. After several sold-out shows in early 2019, the band is now back it Germany again! http://www.madrugada.no / https://www.facebook.com/madrugada
Music & Performance
If you wanted to hear a MADRUGADA song live in the last ten years or so, you had to go to a solo concert of SIVERT HØYEM. There, the former singer of the Norwegian Indie Rock band always played one or the other song of that band. After guitarist Robert died suddenly in the summer of 2007 at the age of only 31 years, the band broke up a year later. Much to the delight of the loyal fan base, the Scandinavians announced their comeback in 2018. At the beginning of the year, we were already able to enjoy the first MADRUGADA gigs, in which Christer Knutsen (guitar & keys) and Cato Salsa Thomassen (guitar) from Sivert’s solo band were part of the live crew. This year MADRUGADA are back in this country and of course we needed to attend a show as well. For the Dortmund show, there was something special: the show was filmed by the legendary Rockpalast. Anyone who did not make it to the well-filled Dortmund FZW could alternatively watch the show as a live stream on the Rockpalast homepage from 8.30 pm, but of course cameras could not adequately reflect the mood in the venue.
Although the audience was quite reserved throughout the evening, it may have been only due to the age of those present, some of whom could be counted as fans of the first few hours. Those fans probably have an “original edition” of that record at home which was in the centre of the focus tonight, ‘Industrial Silence’, the debut album of MADRUGADA from 1999! 20 years have passed since the release and of course it makes sense with such a quite outstanding jubilee to celebrate the event with a concert tour. Who had the tracklist of the album even in mind, also quickly realized that the songs were played exactly in that order. The opening with ‘Vocal’ was correspondingly expressive, even if the voice of the bald-headed front man was not optimally controlled at this time. But the sound quickly got better and the music was so thrilling that you could easily overlook such a small flaw. With harmonica (Christer) and bell ring (Sivert) ‘Belladonna’ followed suit, before for the punchy and powerfully applauded ‘Higher’ the stage was bathed in blue light.
Meanwhile, ‘Sirens’ spread a mystical mood with a long instrumental introduction, supported by the red-orange stage ambience, to finally take off again and be replaced by the soulful ‘Shine’. Here, colleague Knutsen played the strings of a slide guitar for the first time, while the 43-year-old band leader proved his skills on the acoustic guitar during the following great ‘This Old House’. To quote Sivert: “...a beautiful love song...” - I have nothing more to add! Meanwhile, a bit of Western feeling came up with ‘Strange Color Blue’, which was full of haunting and rhythmic melodies and Mr. Høyem used a spotlight to illuminate the audience with. It went very expressive with this lively number… the microphone stand fell down and nearly hit one of the cameramen. ‘Salt’ joined in with great spirits, before the ‘Industrial Silence’ album cover appeared on the big screen in the background and ‘Norwegian Hammerworks Corp.’ with neat drive and whining guitars was on the agenda. Not to mention of course Sivert’s special outfit during this number. After getting rid of his black jacket already long ago, he disappeared for a short while to return in a silver glittering jacket as - let’s call it - a very slim living disco ball.
This rather special piece of clothing was exchanged against two maracas for the hypocritical ‘Beautyproof’ to add some support to the rhythm section, whereas ‘Quite Emotional’ with its discreet guitar and organ sounds took it a little bit back again. Sivert himself counts this piece to his own favourites and that quite rightly! The name already speaks volumes and who knows the distinctive voice of the vocalist, knows that goose bumps were guaranteed here. Not less soulful the show went on with ‘Terraplane’ and as at the end of the regular set, and thus the record, finally a flickering sea of lights was to be seen on the backdrop for ‘Electric’, you could look forward to a truly heartfelt end of the evening. Mr. Høyem talked about how this song was written in the rehearsal room and played all night over and over again and probably it is really the case that you can perform such a successful song in the right atmosphere again and again.
Most likely, the audience would not have minded an extended version, but after a total of 75 minutes of playing time, the troupe left the stage for a short break before returning with five outstanding tracks in their luggage. The encore block was opened with ‘Black Mambo’ from the 2011 ‘The Nightly Disease’ album in a very intense way, before ‘Hands Up - I Love You’ from the same record bass-stressed animated to reach out the arms. ‘What’s On Your Mind?’ the Norwegians immediately asked with the help of delicate harpsichord tone sequences, accented guitar chords and, of course, velvet vocals. In 2008, this heart warmer appeared on the self-titled last studio album, but in terms of emotionality, in the MADRUGADA discography to me nothing is better than ‘Majesty’ (‘Grit’ 2002)! I am probably not alone with this opinion if I have correctly understood the crowd’s applause.
You also get not tired of listening to ‘The Kids Are On High Street’ from the 2005 album ‘The Deep End’, and so was this melancholic-powerful indie street-dancer was celebrated after the band was introduced. ‘Valley of Deception’ actually meant the end of the gig, and those who did not quite knew which band had lined up at the edge of the stage to accept the fans’ acclamations could read this in large letters in the background. For their departure, however, the gentlemen then played good old ELVIS PRESLEY, whose ‘If I Can Dream’ was sounding through the speakers. This was truly a worthy finale for two really emotional hours, which have passed lightning fast. The MADRUGADA sound once again proved to be absolutely timeless, and if it’s up to me, the boys can now come close to me every six months. I even would not mind if the band releases new material, because I’m sure that these musicians still have a lot in store!
06. This Old House
07. Strange Colour Blue
09. Norwegian Hammerworks Corp.
11. Quite Emotional
14. Black Mambo
15. Hands Up - I Love You
16. What's on Your Mind?
18. The Kids Are on High Street
19. Valley of Deception
Total: 9.5 / 10
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)