Concert Review Archive

 

Gazpacho

Sunday, 30th January 2011
Dingwalls, London, The UK

Saturday, 5th February 2010
De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands

Article By Andy Read, Tom de Val, Andrť de Boer, Derk van Mourik and Ian Butler
and photos By Shirin Kasraeian

Andy Read's Review (London)

If youíre a subscriber to the idea that a musicianís style is a reflection of their home environment, then Norwayís Gazpacho offer the perfect illustration of that idea.

Dominated by fjords, forests, glaciers and mountains, Norway offers vast, open expanses of wilderness where individuals have to seek out the details within. Across six albums Gazpacho has invited listeners into their world; to touch the landscapes of their music. Spaces that remain ever-cloaked in winter. Places where time can seem timeless.

Gazpacho

This was only the bandís third time in the UK. Porcupine Tree, Floyd and Radiohead t-shirts were in strong evidence at a well-filled Dingwalls. Some call it post-rock, others prefer ProgRock. If I had one, Iíd have worn a t-shirt for Icelandís Sigur Ros as my personal reference point. Iíd soon discover that Gazpacho are heavier and more intense than all of these. At times I wish Iíd worn my Karnivool shirt.

With no support and two-and-a-half hourís worth of music on the set lists laid out by their tour manager, the last thing needed was a failure of the venueís power supply as they headed onstage. The 70-minute delay merely heightened expectations.

Gazpacho

This is a band that owes everything to the sum of its parts. Whilst guitarist Jon-Arne Vilbo and violinist and mandolin player Mikael Krømer are to the fore onstage, the bandís identity is shaped behind them. I donít usually watch the drummer and bassist too closely, but Lars Asp and Kristian Torp are a special combination. The extraordinary, slowly evolving atmospheres they create are the perfect backdrop for the remarkable voice of Jan Henrik Ohme. With a huge palette of tones and styles, rarely have I seen a vocalist sustain so much emotion on stage with such ease, such consistency and such intensity.


Not to forget the constantly grinning man behind two expanses of keyboards. Thomas Andersen is not there merely to add depth to the musical picture. His are the small little details that add character and interest.


Being a recent convert, I was happy with the emphasis on their newest release Missa Atropos. River mesmerized, as its power and spirit slowly built into a sonic cathedral. Defense Mechanism and Snail left a similar impact. The set then traveled into their back catalogue with selections that ensured Iíll be exploring much deeper. There were unrequited calls for Bravo, but encores of Winter is Never and The Secret ended the journey on familiar ground.


Their efforts were received with warmth. Despite the long delay, no one in the 150-strong audience departed early. It suggests evidence of a growing appreciation on these shores for an all too rare musical magnificence. This show was recorded for future release on the bandís website. Future gigs are unlikely to be so intimate.

 

Tom de Val's Review (London)

Gazpacho are probably still best known amongst prog fans for their association with Marillion, although they are becoming increasingly known as a force in their own right. Their last three albums Ė Night, Tick Tock and the new Missa Atropos Ė have all been highly praised (not least by this site), and I was keen to see how these albums would translate in the live environment.

Dingwalls is a small-ish venue in the heart of Camden, probably more used to hosting comedy nights than rock concerts. Maybe this is why the band managed to blow the fusebox due to using more power than the venue could handle! This led to a delay in the band appearing, with the concert not starting until well after 9pm (there was no support). Yet when Gazpacho do finally appear, the sound is thankfully crystal clear, and the atmospheric backdrops (often based on the bandís album covers) seem to work without a hitch. The audience for the bandís previous London show a couple of years ago had been less than fifty; whilst hardly a sell-out, there are probably around 140-150 people here this time, which has to be encouraging for the band, and was certainly enough to create a good atmosphere.

Gazpacho

Gazpachoís music is probably best described as a mix of nineties Marillion (particularly the Brave/ Afraid Of Sunlight era), Radiohead circa The Bends/ OK Computer, and Muse, with hints of Porcupine Tree in places. If this makes it seem as if their music is simply a mish-mash of other influences, rest assured this isnít the case Ė over the course of the three aforementioned albums Gazpacho have established their own distinct sound, and coupled with Jan Henrik Ohmeís warm and commanding vocals, have become a force to be reckoned with.

Unsurprisingly, the emphasis is on new album Missa Atropos tonight. Having not heard the album properly before this (it has been out independently for a while, getting a re-release through K-Scope in February) I thought I might be at something of a disadvantage, but thankfully the new material keeps the quality level high, and is relatively immediate as well. Of the opening few tracks they played from the new album, my personal highlight was Vera, a highly atmospheric, mid-placed number with a slightly haunting feel and a strong chorus. Following River, the latter part of which features a particularly strong bass groove courtesy of Kristian Torp, we move back to the Tick Tock album. Desert Flight sees the tempo increasing, with more of a leading role for guitarist Jon-Arne Vilbo; the song surges to Muse-like heights on the chorus. The pairing of The Walk I and II follow, making strong use of Mikael Krømerís skills on the violin to add some dramatic texture.

Gazpacho

Weíre back to the new album for Splendid Isolation, a real slow-burner that serves as an object lesson in how to build atmosphere and gradually develop a song so that when it reaches a crescendo, it hits hard. Following Mass For Atropos II, we get the final three songs of the main set, and what songs they are, taken from their Night album. Dream Of Stone is, I think, my favourite song of the band to date, a wonderfully atmospheric piece that blends ambient and symphonic elements to hypnotic effect. Thereís definitely a latter-day Talk Talk influence on this song. The balladic Chequered Light Buildings and Upside Down, which sports a particularly fine guitar solo, closed out the main set.

Having looked at other set-lists on the tour, it seems Tick Tock I and II were played at some dates on the tour; the late start meant we didnít get these, but were still well served with the Tick Tock track Winter Is Never, and the only Ďolderí track of the night, The Secret, a long-time concert staple which sees the band and audience alike loosening up a bit after an intense set.

Overall, this was an excellent performance; around two hours of intensely atmospheric and emotional music, played with supreme skill by six fine musicians. Gazpacho are a band that really deserve to be much more successful than they currently are, and hopefully the move to K-scope (to whose stable they fit like the proverbial glove) will see their profile rising significantly.

Setlist London
Mass For Atropos I
Defense Mechanism
Snail
Vera
River
Desert Flight
The Walk, Part 1
The Walk, Part 2
Splendid Isolation
Mass For Atropos II
Missa Atropos
Dream Of Stone
Chequered Light Buildings
Upside Down

Winter Is Never
The Secret
 

Andrť de Boer's Review (Zoetermeer)

Gazpacho

My fourth Gazpacho gig. The first one was back in 2008, also at de Boerderij and I was totally blown away by what was at the time a very new band for me.

That little guy on stage, Jan Henrik Ohme, intoxicated me in an instant. Gazpachoís sound, together with his tender voice, really touched my musical soul deeply. It was an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure. The other concerts by the band that Iíve attended were splendid too, including this one.

Intense, mystical, fascinating, intriguing, magical, enchanting and delicate. Just a few of the words that come to mind to describe this Norwegian art rock band. Brutal from time to time as well. They really offer their very own style and sound. Not only by using a violin as an add-on, beautifully supplied by the always fairly modest Mikael KrÝmer, but primarily by the compositions, the lyrics, their craftsmanship, the way it gets to you. Very close to what I would call perfection. Not to mention the pleasure they share with the audience.

This gig, being a part of the Missa Atropos Tour, contained many songs from that album, but also quite a few old songs, or as Jan Henrik explained on stage: Ďolder songsí from their back catalogue, Tick Tock and Night. All were performed technically perfect and close to the studio versions, scarcely any stage additions. The venue was almost sold out, and the audience responded with enthusiasm.



On returning to the stage for the first encore, Jan Henrik mentioned that he forgot to sing River. So luckily they still played this, because together with Vera this is one of my favourite tracks from their latest album. They rounded up the encore by Winter is Never.

After a while the band returned for a second encore. Next to praising the beer, they closed the two-and-a-half hour set with the beautiful song The Secret from the 2003 album Bravo. Everyone was invited to meet them at the bar afterwards. An invitation I could not resist.

Gazpacho

Touring for Gazpacho means using their own holidays. One more gig at Den Bosch on Sunday. Then back home again and right back to their regular jobs on Monday. Tough.

Conclusion

I cannot conclude otherwise than this was again a smooth and great show. Although there are no more surprises left for me, itís not hard to enjoy the set because of the high quality this band is offering. The sound and lighting of this venue is equally high in excellence, making it possible to regularly close my eyes and drift away in the vastness surrounding a certain lighthouse. Thank you guys.

 

Derk van Mourik's Review (Zoetermeer)

Gazpacho

None in the scene does melancholy better than Gazpacho. The band's music has always had a certain wistful quality to it. A sense of longing, if you will. Perhaps it's because of the long winters in their home country of Norway. There has to be some reason for the proliferation of doom and death metal bands in that Nordic land. Doom and melancholy are not far apart. Having said that, Gazpacho's sound is as far removed from doom metal as classical music is from punk.

The sextet have perfected their sound on their last two albums Night and Tick Tock. Even a track like Tick Tock's Winter is Never, which was played as the first encore tonight, falls into this mold. While the song's message is a positive one, its slow, mournful melody instead conjures up images of plodding through knee-deep snow on a blizard-stricken plain where a time when winter is never seems very far away. You can hardly be at fault for getting this impression when even the band themselves name the song Atomic Winter is Forever on their setlist!

Gazpacho's latest offering Missa Atropos - the promotional tour for which brought the band to Zoetermeer's Boerderij tonight - is a deviation from the norm of sorts. The melancholy has certainly not been abandoned, but the album definitively has a more positive vibe. This was especially evident in the first of two batches of Missa Atropos songs the band played in the nearly packed Boerderij. Gazpacho played a home game in the Dutch venue which is fast becoming legendary for its quality programming. The band looked to be in their element, as if they were playing in their own living room.

The setlist was rounded out with selections of tracks from both Night and Tick Tock, meaning the evening's proceedings where heavily dominated by the band's recent output. In fact, the only oldie played was The Secret, from debut album Bravo, which saw the Norwegians goofing around during the band member introductions, proving that the melancholy nature of their music certainly doesn't signify personal problems of any kind.

Maybe Spring is in the air after all.

 

Ian Butler's Review (Zoetermeer)

Having been thoroughly impressed last time by Gazpacho live at the Boerderij it was time to experience them live again. It was also good timing as I have been enjoying their new album Missa Atropos. Obviously you can read more reviews here on DPRP about this new album. The venue was nearly full and it's testament to the band's hard work and good music. The band seemed genuinely pleased and grateful by the turn out and voiced this opinion several times. They begun the concert with the first tracks from the new album, which are nice but perhaps don't inject much life into the concert. As always, the sound at the Boerderij was excellent and got better as the concert went on. The track Vera brought some life to the proceedings as the band began to sound on form and the audience went wild! The bassist Kristian Torp, with his hat, (a la Colin Edwin) brought his array of 'rock star' moves and stances to the stage. His moves are thankfully no way as good as his bass playing, as this guy has such a funky edge and swaps between fingered bass and a plectrum/pick to get the right attack for the song required.

Gazpacho

The band are good at mixing their on stage material. They next played the first two tracks from Tick Tock, where many other bands might have predictably just played the new album in its entirety. It reminded me of how good Tick Tock really is and for me as the highlight of the evening. These tracks sounded fresh and typically Gazpacho. If I were looking to get into Gazpacho, I would start with the Tick Tock album. Returning next to the new album showcased the interplay between bass and drums and how much they add to the sound. Structurally I find a lot of their songs are quite similar, but the creative nature of the band members add intricacy and interest to the music. For me, none more so than Kristian Torp and Lars Erik Asp (drums).

No Gazpacho concert review can be complete without a reference to the vocalist Jan Henrik Ohme. He has to remember so many lyrics and also between 'serious' elongated prog songs he give amusing bits of information and comments on random things like the 10% beer he was drinking on stage (towards the end of course!). I wouldn't be surprised if he has been a stand up comedian in a past life.
All the musicians are pretty special and add their own dimension to the sound, but perhaps none more so than Mikael Krømer. With the violin he brings another dimension to Gazpacho, which I think they could use a little more, but I think he's more like a secret weapon that they bring out when required. :-)

If I am not mistaken they played the whole of the Night album that starts with the epic Dream of Stone and for me it works so much better live than on the studio album. They made the whole of the 18 minutes positively electric and again slightly embellished the original giving it a live kick. Later they also finished off the Tick Tock album with the amazing Winter is Never. There was even a 'drum solo' (just to prove they are prog!), or really it was a showcasing of Lars' spectacular drumming, which he always conducts in a very tasteful fashion, never to little and never too much.

Gazpacho

Gazpacho played for around 2+ hours and gave a great concert and played 2.5 albums. You can't doubt their commitment to giving a great show and value for money. The audience applauded so much they had to perform 2 encores! I am sure the other reviews here will give you the set list and a few photos and talk a little more about the music. It was a great concert from an up and coming band who are getting better and better with experience.

Setlist Zoetermeer
Mass for Atropos I
Defense Mechanism
Snail
Vera
Desert Flight
The Walk 1 & 2
Splendid Isolation
Mass for Atropos II
Missa Atropos
Dream Of Stone
Chequered Light Buildings
Upside Down
Tick Tock 1 & 2

River
Winter Is Never

The Secret
Slideshow

Links

Gazpacho Official Website
Gazpacho Myspace

DPRP's review of Gazpacho's: "Missa Atropos"

DPRP interview with Gazpacho

Dingwalls
De Boerderij

 


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