If there was ever any doubt about the buzz and momentum that young Scandinavian rockers In Solitude have going for them right now then the long line of journalists waiting to grab a few moments of their time before the show would surely send such skepticism out the window. Like me these members of the press were not there because this was an assignment but because they had personally requested to be on hand for a show that was in every sense a hot ticket. The band were in demand before doors opened and were very popular with Manchester’s rock community too, a tremendous crowd of enthusiastic fans filling the place up for what was expected to be a real kick ass gig.
The people trickled in as one man acoustic act Daniel Bay got things started. The aesthetic juxtaposition of a man playing somewhat folksy and ambient acoustic rock while sporting the look of a good old rock and roll rebel was quite something, many of us couldn’t help but be distracted by the guy’s extensively cut open jeans. I mean seriously, that was a lot of exposed skin for such a cold night. Nevertheless at this early stage of the evening the mood was very much one of polite interest. The audience gave him a good reception and appeared to partake in the wonderful atmospheric mood which his music conjured up, setting the stage for the rest of the evening’s entertainment perfectly.
The lights went out as the main support for the evening made their way on stage. The dark vibe would continue throughout the set with the youngsters backlit by dimmed strobes that flashed during the particularly bouncy numbers. ‘Fear Your Mind’ provoked a vociferous crowd sing-along and the audience would remain vocal throughout the performance. Speaking of vocals the somewhat baritone, almost post punk style of front man Kvohst was really quite pleasant to hear. His assured confidence not just in singing but in interaction with the crowd between songs was great to see, he really knows what it takes to be the guide for the audience through the performance, encouraging singing along and boisterous feedback like a real pro. ‘Children of the Atom Bomb’ and ‘Nuclear Winter’ proved real highlights here, and as they left the stage it was clear that this act will receive a tumultuous welcome whenever they decide to return.
Just as with Beastmilk darkness shrouded the stage as the anticipation built for the night’s headliners. With the fog of the smoke machine illuminated only by the emergency exit sign, the silhouetted profiles of the popular young rockers took their places and launched into a boisterous rendition of ‘Death Knows Where’. This was a demonstration of unbridled energy from the outset, with each band member banging their heads furiously, and believe me they weren’t the only ones. It was quite appropriate that the bombastic second number was entitled ‘Witches Sabbath’ because there was indeed a quite Sabbath-like vibe to In Solitude’s sound throughout the night. The guitar work was particularly tonally reminiscent of the metal forefathers. Giving the music an extra punch, this gave an already engrossing sound a real hook. The speed which charged the performance had a low down, almost sludge tone that was quite hypnotic.
Indeed the way these lads laid their riffs down had a really hypnotic quality to it. Rhythmically entrancing and seriously loud, it was exquisite music that displayed maturity beyond the young band’s years. A loud, wah-driven solo during ‘Sister’ was a highlight of this bombastic atmosphere, as was ‘Horses in the Ground’. Humble front man Pelle Åhman thanked everyone in attendance for their support with real sincerity, and I can predict with real certainty that these guys will be enthusiastically welcomed back by the Manchester metal heads any time, be it in support of another huge act or headlining as they did tonight. In Solitude are here to stay!
Review: Michael Dodd
1) Death Knows Where
2) Witches Sabbath
4) A Buried Sun
6) Jesus I Belong
8) To Her Darkness
9) Horses In The Ground
10) He Comes