16th November 2019
ZEROMANCER announced this rare Oslo gig end of September and while the reviewer’s calendar was already saying “weekend in Zurich” (and so did the train tickets), it took about 24 hours to decide that this rare gig could not be missed. The show at the quite newly opened Youngs right in the city centre of Oslo promised to be unique - in an almost private atmosphere, full with highlights from the band’s 20 years of creating music and performing on stage like no one else.
Just two weeks earlier, ZEROMANCER were headlining two nights at the 20 years anniversary Pluswelt Festival - both editions in Oberhausen and Berlin and performing in front of two very enthusiastic crowds in packed venues, making especially the atmosphere in Berlin literally explode. Also in between these two performances and the gig in Oslo the “ZEROMANCER factory” surprised with a few announcements that came in like fireworks - first of them was the confirmation that the guys from Tønsberg are confirmed for the Amphi Festival in Cologne next year with more than 12,000 visitors every year, the second bang was the announcement of the special 20 years anniversary gig in of the debut ‘Clone Your Lover’ in Hamburg on 14th March 2020 and the third news that arrived short before Oslo was that ZEROMANCER will release the ‘Death Of Romance’ album on vinyl in early 2020. Those who follow them will know that the band is also currently working on a new, long-awaited long-player that is planned to be released in autumn 2020 and will be called ‘Orchestra Of Knives’. https://www.facebook.com/zeromancerzentral / http://www.zeromancer.com
Music & Performance
The doors of Youngs opened at 7 pm and ZEROMANCER were starting almost on point at 8:30 without a support band. The lights were dimmed and the intro, ‘Helvetesintro’, started, one after another the band members entered the quite small stage of the intimate Youngs basement. Just before the audience already started calling “ZEROMANCER” and welcomed the band enthusiastically. The intro flew into the first song of the evening, the energetic ‘Need You Like A Drug’ that set standards for the night. Holding on the energy that built up in seconds from the audience’s excitement with ‘Auf Wiedersehen Boy’ and ‘Doppelgänger I Love You’. For one person on stage that gig was the very first show with ZEROMANCER in Norway. After three festival performances in Germany, Per-Olav Wiik, the new guitar player, had his Norway premiere at Youngs. He was introduced by the band to the audience and got a warm welcome. The bond between the five of them feels strong and just right.
While the amount of people was smaller than at the festival shows, the energy level was nothing but great. ‘Split Seconds’ from the debut ‘Clone Your Lover’ showed a lot of passion and turned to be one of the many highlights. Powerful, melodic and tempting Synth Rock with the wide range of emotions - hate & love, sensual & forbidden fantasies, grief & lost, disappointment & anger, pain & hope - an exciting interplay of emotions. Getting just stronger in a life performance and in a setting like this where the band and fans are literally all together enjoying the international ZEROMANCER gathering - “Industrypeople” united. It is even crazier to see how many travellers followed the call from 1.5 months ago and joined that intimate evening considering the size of the venue - I was myself surrounded by people from Russia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Norway of course, heard of someone from Switzerland.
For some of them that happened to be the first ZEROMANCER live show ever. While one of them was waiting for it for more than ten years and travelled more than 24 hours to get to Oslo, another one just joined a friend and told me afterwards that he was totally impressed. I got myself flashbacks to my first ZEROMANCER, SEIGMEN and LJUGNBLUT shows and felt excited for them. One thing was very different tonight. There was no show fog - extremely unusual for their shows. Alex was joking around, that it never happened before and might not happen again. A very special day. It would have been the idea of the light technician and they thought the audience might enjoy to see how they got older. Well, the truth is, it was not possible to use the fog machines due to the venues restrictions which I think was not that bad - we finally got the chance to see Noralf behind his drum kit. Could get used to it.
Somewhere in the course of the show, the band that was very focused at the beginning, let go and the announcements in between the songs were joined by wonderful laughter and also the interaction between the band members and the audience was great to see and join. The barrier to the stage was obviously mostly to protect the first two rows from collisions with band members and instruments. Nothing happened, but some attention never hurt somebody. The non-existing distance to the stage was impressive. ‘Clone Your Lover’ sent out that massive energy package. Before ‘Mint’, the other guys left the stage to Lorry and Alex. ZEROMANCER’s specialties are these aggressive, wicked songs together with the heart-breaking, fragile, hauntingly beautiful ballads. Two contrasts that make one whole - like Yin and Yang.
‘Mint’ is one of these ballads that create crawling under the skin and a heart that is about to explode. ‘Sinners International’ once more as crowd’s hymn for the night. Somewhere in between Kim is heating up the audience with the question that he is usually using during the gigs in Germany - “Seid ihr bereit?” (German for “Are you ready?”), some might have been confused, others were happy to hear that. Of course, that crowd was on fire, as was the band. ‘Hollywood’, a heart-warming song, filled with the vibes and memories of forgotten times. ‘Cupola’, heard so many times, still able to surprise how deep it can cut. Alex’ vocals, so clear and vulnerable, the melody just painfully beautiful. Kim’s “hit me” screams intense like paper cuts.
With ‘It Sounds Like Love (But It Looks Like Sex’), ZEROMANCER activated the audience to shout along and party again. Way too soon, the 70 minutes felt more like seven, ‘Ammonite’ was about to start. ‘Ammonite’ is, along with ‘Cupola’, for me one of these rare songs that wander extremely close between the worlds of SEIGMEN and ZEROMANCER. The inward directed energy of ‘Ammonite’ is exploding with Lorry and Kim standing left and right from Alex and punching the drums; the sound and the iridescently glowing water drop fountains - pure energy evolving through all the channels audio and visually. The last lines - with ‘Ammonite’ being the only song by ZEROMANCER that includes some Norwegian lyrics - providing with goose bumps. Alex is altering the last line into “Uten Oslo har jeg ingenting” (“Without Oslo I have nothing”) and paying dedication to the special evening and audience.
To thunderous applause the band is leaving the stage and coming back for an encore de lux. ‘Tortured Artist’, a soulful, forward heading song, pure and so sincere. ‘Dr. Online’ kicks right in, also after so many years and for the grand finale, the DEPECHE MODE cover ‘Photographic’ followed in a very special ZEROMANCER interpretation. A worthy last song for a special night. Those who missed that night or are longing for more: before ZEROMANCER are kicking in with more dates next year, SEIGMEN (Kim, Alex and Noralf are members of both bands - for those who didn’t know yet) are coming back with another Pre-Christmas-tour next month, performing songs from 1989 to 1999, also playing around the corner at the way bigger Sentrum Scene - tickets are selling fast for that, so don’t hesitate to grab yours on time.
02. Need You Like A Drug
03. Auf Wiedersehen Boy
04. Doppelgänger I Love You
05. Split Seconds
06. You Meet People Twice
07. Clone Your Lover
08. Flirt With Me
10. Sinners International
12. The Hate Alphabet
14. It Sounds Like Love (But It Looks Like Sex)
15. Fade To Black
17. The Tortured Artist
18. Dr. Online
Total: 9.8 / 10
All pictures by Nastja Iz