Cult Of Luna’s curated Beyond The Redshift festival was an incredible experience. Each and every act I managed to see impressed and the organisation and atmosphere of the whole event was extremely on point. There’s something very special about being able to look out across a venue and see hundreds of people collectively lose their minds to what is happening in front of them.
Beyond The Redshift was fantastic and so I’ve collated some little write ups and a few pictures and videos (taken with instagram, naturally) in order to somehow express just how enjoyable the day was. As I’m a one person publication and a girl has to have a break to eat now and then, I wasn’t able to see everyone I wanted (God Is An Astronaut suffered due to a much needed coffee break) but I caught a good majority of the groups I was interested in.
pg.lost start off the day in beautiful style; their ethereal vocal strains filling the space of The Dome with gorgeous melodies and sweet, uplifting harmony. In stark contrast, and once you’ve figured out how to get there, Canaya switch things around completely downstairs in The Boston Music Room. All snarling vocals and grooved out rhythms, the Leeds quartet are a blinding wake up call. Next, Atlantis add touches of electronics to sublimely heavy and crunchy instrumental work before Syndrome begin the day at The Forum with droned, ambient soundscapes from Amenra member Mathieu Vandekerckhove, which entrance and lead in perfectly to Amenra’s exceptionally intense performance.
The Belgian’s have always been a band to push boundaries – both in terms of their live presentation and in their ability to wrench every ounce of emotion from their audience – and today is no different. Taking heavily from 2012s breathtaking Mass V, Amenra punish in the most painful of ways yet somehow they bring a touch of salvation to their work, one that is wrought in cathartic interpretation and is wholly exhausting to witness. Amenra are untouchable and their set was one that shan’t be forgotten.
A quick walk back to The Dome and Esben and the Witch bring their unique gothic slant on pop to a head with frontwoman Rachel Davies drawing you in with startling vocals and an enrapturing presence. Jesu don’t play all too often and so getting to see Justin Broadrick’s project is an event in itself. “Conqueror” is sublime and the mix of live bass and guitar alongside heavy, pulsing programmed drums is mesmerising and altogether wonderful.
The Old Wind and their sort of hardcore tinged post-metal are an outrageously heavy prospect and they take over The Dome with ease while H A R K sadly never manage to hit the heights they’re clearly capable of down in the Music Room. It’s unfortunate because they have some great things going on, it just didn’t come together for the Welsh trio on this occasion.
Bossk, however, absolutely inspire and the much-loved group evoke shouts and physical expressions of passion on the fringes of the crowd, one attendee holding his hands to the speakers to feel every single note. The band are on fine form and the spare use of vocals and Sam Marsh’s delivery when they appear is ardent and dramatic. Their new material cannot come quick enough.
God Seed may seem a little out of place on this mostly post-rock bill and the smaller crowd for the black metal legends certainly seems cause for concern but if the Norwegians are perturbed by the turn out, they don’t show it. Muddy sound initially causes a few problems but once they hit “Carving The Giant” (a track from Gaahl and King ov Hell’s Gorgoroth days) the band are completely in their element.
Their set is monstrously heavy and as the crowd finally builds up (and around that one guy everyone wants to avoid) the band take it to the next level. “Lit” is devastating and the introduction of Cult of Luna’s Johannes Persson to accompany on the stunning “Alt Liv” is a moment that will stay with those here for a long time.
Amplifier close out the day at The Dome with progressive tones and a crowd that hang on every word. They’re still not my cup of tea but there’s no doubt that these gents are excellent at what they do.
Cult of Luna had promised something very special for tonight’s set and with the news that ex-vocalist Klas Rydberg would be joining them for the show already common knowledge, the anticipation for his arrival was tangible.
The most impressive thing about Cult of Luna’s live show is the attention to detail and the lighting, set up and all round experience is one that stays with you. Tonight is no let down and the spectacle is divine and enthralling and when Rydberg makes his appearance the crowd let him know exactly how they’re feeling. Tracks are thrown at the audience with passion, devotion and absolute ecstasy and the bittersweet knowledge that this is the final two hours of live music from the much-loved Swedes is certainly an emotional prospect.
“The Watchtower” is huge while “Eternal Kingdom” sounds bigger than it ever has before. Cult of Luna constantly strive to reach the next dimension and tonight they attain perfection. The utter joy and heartbreak that occurs during their time on stage sweeps across the venue and in looking down into the crowd towards the end no one wants to come reveals a mass of bodies moving as one. Heads are thrown, arms reach out to take hold of the band and Rydberg falls to his knees in exhausted ablution – it’s phenomenal to bear witness to.
“Passing Through” is gorgeous and “In Awe Of” is deliciously heavy and signals the beginning of the end. “Leave Me Here” is as perfect ending to the two hours that you could hope for. The lyrics speak of salvation and finality and it’s on this, although desperately sad, theme that Cult of Luna take their leave but not before giving their sheer, unmitigated all. Their emotion at the closing notes shines through with many band members giving themselves over to their hearts and destroying their equipment in the heat of the moment. It’s affecting and truly poignant to see a band so utterly in their element despite their uncertain future.
We all know that Cult of Luna are taking a break yet only the band know how long that hiatus will last, and whether they have a time scale in mind already is anyone’s guess. Despite that, I hope that they know that this kind of event is something that people want and even if they aren’t making music for the foreseeable future, that we need something like this. For such an event to happen in a tiny corner of North London is something quite special indeed, let us hope that it isn’t the last time and is only the beginning of things to come.