Meshuggah is not one of those bands you fall in love easily, all at once. Their compositions are not particularly easy to digest and it takes time to start relishing with them like a fine connoisseur. I was no exception and even though I’d first heard them around 4 years ago, I’ve started to see what’s it all about around the beginning of this year. As soon as I heard about them playing in Poland, I didn’t hesitate long before I decided to hop on the bus and travel to Kraków to see them perform live on April the 25th.
To my big surprise, the venue was nearly fully packed when I arrived. It appeared as if the phrase “Meshuggah” was enough for people to put their jobs and responsibilities aside in order to experience this particular gig, not exactly caring if it was midweek. Although I’ve never been to a Meshuggah gig before, this observation made me suspect that I’d be participating in something extraordinary very soon. I wasn’t wrong, but I’ll get to that.
The gig itself started with a supporting band, Decapitated. The Polish technical death metal beast is finally recovering from its wounds and raising it’s (no pun intended) head. I would even say that they are in damned good shape and and they’re ready to crush the audience in upcoming gigs. So far I’ve heard Decapitated with Sauron and Covan, but new vocalist, Rafał Piotrowski, is coping well and has very good contact with the audience. Decapitated had a powerful set that lasted for about 40 minutes and warmed the fans in the pit tremendously, leaving them craving for more heavy music.
After the Decapitated gig came a short break filled with cheerful music (which one of you would expect to hear “Ghostbusters” played from the loudspeakers during a Meshuggah gig?) while the tech crew was adjusting the gear on stage. Soon, however, the lights faded and the show started.
The Swedes decided to start off with a number that does not strike straight in the face immediately. Instead they chose “Swarm” which starts slowly, but pushes forward with power like a Sherman tank. After, the band moved onto the much more energetic “Combustion,” which made people in the first row headbang like crazy. Quite appropriately, I guess, if you keep in mind what exactly the word “meshuggah” means. Compared to Rafał of Decapitated, Jens Kidman was less outgoing in the terms of contact with the audience. But his moderate talkativeness was sweetened by the damned delicious songs that followed (in no particular order): “Rational Gaze”, “ObZen”, “Lethargica”, “Bleed,” “Dancers to a Discordant System,” and my instant favorite from the Koloss album – “Demiurge.”
Since I’d spent the first three songs in the pit, I couldn’t actually admire the light setup (which wasn’t as accidental as I had previously suspected). From the first row, it looked like the light tech just hit random buttons on the console, making the lights unbearable and effectively blinding us. However, when I got out of the pit and headed to the balcony, the light tech stopped being #1 on my “to punch as soon as possible” list. When I got the view of the whole stage, beams of light started to have their own purpose, which was to match the music performed on stage, complementing the show perfectly.
To sum up, because I won’t write anything more clever, it was a great experience. I didn’t really know what to expect, since I’ve only recently became a fan of Meshuggah, and yet I wasn’t disappointed at all. But I know one thing – whenever those Swedes decide to play near me again, you will see me there for sure!
03. Rational Gaze
06. Do Not Look Down
07. Dancers to a Discordant System
08. The Hurt that Finds You First
09. I Am Colossus
11. New Millennium Cyanide Christ
Track – Mind’s Mirrors
13. In Death – Is Life
14. In Death – Is Death
Photos: Maria Sawicka