After being in Cologne and struggling with an overcrowded venue, I decided to go to Haarlem as well to catch the current Agent Fresco and Leprous tour; a decision that totally was worth it. The venue, the sound and the light show made it into one of the most intense experience that I personally had this year. It put the performances in the right light (proverbially and literally), while delighting the audience as well. About 800 people made it to the show that took place on a Wednesday in the oh, so beautiful city of Haarlem.
Astrosaur made it to the line-up because guitarist Eirik is none other than Leprous‘ fill-in guitarist on their tour with Between The Buried And Me and Devin Townsend Project earlier this year (read my live review here); that he is able to play his instrument was proven once again. Together with a drummer and a bassist, this band from Oslo created an interesting live experience. While the early visitors got caught by the atmospheric music, Astrosaur managed to create an interesting vibe. Their compositions didn’t function as common songs, and neither did they have vocals. Those tracks were perceived as something else, something that is stunning but also experimental and a pure joy to watch. It might take some time to get into Astrosaur and their music, but they made for a very good opening performance, being able to convince the crowd in avery self-assured way.
Speaking of AlithiA, the band came off as probably the wildest mix of individuals you can imagine. They made a very wise decision in having Marjana Semkina join as a vocalist. The singer, originally part of St. Petersburg-based duo Iamthemorning, added a very interesting vibe to the already interesting music of AlithiA. Besides that, the set had a lot of surprises to offer. Whether it was the guitarist dropping his instrument for his vocal parts, or the overall mind-blowing vocal performance by their percussionist Jeffrey Ortiz Raul Castro. Each member had their very own way to feel the music that AlithiA performed, and this was the point that made them so awesome. Keyboardist Danny Constantino was on fire, while Castro added a lot of details with his percussion. It is quite unusual that bands use percussion in this genre, but it truly made a difference!
I could replace the review of Agent Fresco‘s liveshow with only one word repeated all over, said word being love. The Icelandic four-piece turned up with Nicolai from VOLA replacing bassist Vignir, who is about to become a father (congratulations to him!). Nicolai did very good and perfectly fits in with the performance of Agent Fresco. Starting with “Anemoi“, they unleashed the common ‘bangers’ of their discography, such as “See Hell“ and “Dark Water“, but also some surprises, like the band closing with “The Autumn Red“ and also playing a new song… wait, what?
YES, there is a new Agent Fresco song! Even if we don’t know the name, let me tell you the following: it contains a very rhythmically composed chorus that works similar to “See Hell“s verse, but wilder, while Arnór Dan completes it with his angelic and heartwarming timbre. I can’t wait to get a studio version soon! Another highlight of Agent Fresco‘s twelve-song set was the shorty “Angst“; every time Arnór was about to scream, it provided multiple rushes of goosebumps, and an emotional level that simply had to convince everyone attending. When he joined the crowd to dance with people, I found myself smiling once more. How passionate and close to their fans is this band?
What more to tell you? What a show!
Touched by the awesomeness of Agent Fresco‘s show, most visitors have already been thoroughly enchanted. But having Leprous on stage was the cherry on the sundae. With the addition of Raphael Weinroth-Browne, their set started with him soloing, before turning to play the guitar flageolettes of “Bonneville“ on his cello. The song did not start as smooth as expected, but got into its vibe very fast.
In case you didn’t know. Leprous decided to perform different setlists each nights, which ends up in many surprises on stage. One of these surprises was them playing “Bilateral“ for the first time since 2012. Songs like “The Price” didn’t miss the mark as well, even if I hoped to see “Slave” live too, but unfortunately I was disappointed in that regard. But even that disappointment isn’t a proper one; the fact that one doesn’t know the setlist beforehand made it so exciting to see which songs will actually make it.
Beside the overwhelming vocal performance from Einar Solberg, Tor’s backing vocals where also totally on point, and helped shape the band’s set into a very good experience. Having Raphael on board, they rearranged some songs for cello as well, which draped the older songs in a fresh, new outfit, and was a very good addition for sure. It might not be the last time we got the chance to see him perform with Leprous, who knows! Overall, this was by far the best performance of Leprous that I have seen to date, which was basically based on the sound and lighting of the venue, and the of course the setlist!
Also Patronaat, Harlem is home of Complexity fest, which is bound to be happening on February 23rd and 24th, and which I’m impatiently waiting for!