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madrugadaCarlswerk Victoria, Cologne, Germany
20th February 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 in 2019 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 Høyems 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. /

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Music & Performance
On this Wednesday evening, not only a few people in their forties saw themselves wandering around haphazardly on the old factory premises of Felten & Guilleaume in Cologne-Mülheim. There was a very good reason for that, because MADRUGADA played there in the Carlswerk Victoria, which was not necessarily to be found straight away. The location opened its doors only last autumn and even though the individual buildings are numbered, the size of the former industrial plant was a challenge to find the concert venue with 1,600 visitors if you haven’t been there before. However, the search was well worth it, as Sivert Høyem (vocals & guitar), Frode Jacobsen (bass) and Jon Lauvland Pettersen (drums) as well as their live support Christer Knutsen (keyboards & guitar) and Cato Salsa Thomassen (guitar) enchanted their fans not only with the songs of the first MADRUGADA album, ‘Industrial Silence’, which was released in 1999 and was the occasion for the re-union and tour.

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Sivert, Frode and Jon were in 1995 among the founding members of the band, which was put on hiatus in 2008 after a year before the guitarist Robert S. Burás died at just 31 years. After his death in 2008, the self-titled fifth long-player appeared and over the years, Sivert Høyem always had MADRUGADA pieces in his solo setlist which were always enthusiastically received by the audience. The crowd did not spare the applause when the soulful opener ‘Vocals’ was presented and was rewarded in the course of the show with a great presentation of the entire ‘Industry Silence’ album. So ‘Belladonna’ took over with a lot of pressure and yelling guitars, before the stage was bathed in blue light for ‘Higher’ and cool instrumental parts provided for a crashing final. Fluttering guitars and spun-driving melodies meanwhile marked ‘Sirens’ before ‘Shine’ with Christer on the slide-guitar created a particularly emotional moment. Orange light beams lit up the stage at the magnificent ‘This Old House’, for which the front man had grabbed the acoustic guitar, which he also used in the demanding ‘Strange Colour Blue’. While the stage was in the dark, Sivert shone with a strong flashlight into the audience, which celebrated the song and the performance.

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The same was true for the bangling ‘Salt’ and certainly for the rhythm-driven ‘Norwegian Hammerworks Corp.’. Although the sonorous vocals went down a bit here, this was compensated by the bald man with the usually strong voice with the glitter jacket he was wearing during this song. However, he had already taken off of this special piece of clothing during the bass-emphasized ‘Beautyproof’ and the visual part once again was taken over by the video installations that could be seen in the background. ‘Quite Emotional’ belongs by own admission to the band favorites and the name describes the number so aptly that I don’t have to lose any further words. The show continued with the smooth ‘Terraplane’ which was especially carried by Pettersen’s percussion. Colleague Høyem referred to ‘Electric’ as “most miraculous”. The song once more went to the heart with the great MADRUGADA emo cutlery and with a sea of lights on the screen reflecting the feeling that the band had when writing and first playing the song in the rehearsal room.

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70 minutes had meanwhile passed quickly and the long-player ‘Industrial Silence’ had been celebrated in accordance with all the rules of the art. But of course there were more MADRUGADA pieces from the remaining four records that could not be left un-played. So the encore block started with the powerful ‘Black Mambo’ from the 2001 album, ‘This Nightly Disease’, of which Sivert Høyem assumes that it only had fans in Germany. Whether that was really the case, I cannot say, I have always liked the album and the reactions to the rousing “Hands Up - I Love You” from this very CD tell me that I was not the only one in the Carlswerk who felt like this. Another title of this release was ‘Only When You’re Gone’, which took off with a sustained rhythm to an opulent finale, and then led over to the melancholic-beautiful ‘What’s On Your Mind?’ From the ‘Madrugada’ album. Delicate harpsichord sounds met Cato’s pithy guitar - a truly engaging interplay that earned much applause.

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Now my very personal highlight was on the program: ‘Majesty’ from the 2002 album ‘Grit’. The number provides again and again for pleasant Goosebumps moments and is just so beautiful moving to tears. ‘The Kids Are On High Street’ (‘The Deep End’ - 2005), however, is in no way inferior and of course the attendees followed the request to clap along, then with ‘Valley of Deception’ after two hours playing time finally the audience experienced a great finale with lots of feeling and horn reinforcement. MADRUGADA comes from Spanish or Portuguese and means “dawn”. In fact, the band comes from Norway and brings to the fore this very special Scandinavian melancholy which has already captured me 20 years ago. Nothing has been lost on this magic for over two decades, so this concert was not just a revelation in the past, but a great musical treat, which may also be continued in a new MADRUGADA record?

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01. Vocal
02. Belladonna
03. Higher
04. Sirens
05. Shine
06. This Old House
07. Strange Colour Blue
08. Salt
09. Norwegian Hammerworks Corp.
10. Beautyproof
11. Quite Emotional
12. Terraplane
13. Electric
14. Black Mambo
15. Hands Up - I Love You
16. Only When You’re Gone
17. What’s on Your Mind?
18. Majesty
19. The Kids Are on High Street
20. Valley of Deception

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8.5 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /

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