Kadavar / Stray Train / Erosion – Belfast, Voodoo – 3 November 2016 Print E-mail
Written by Mark Ashby and The Dark Queen   
Wednesday, 09 November 2016 03:00

In addition to creating plenty of lovely noise on stage (which we’ll come to anon), Berlin-based psyche crew Kadavar like to stay busy, regarding time off as, well, a waste of time… so, not content with undertaking a six week trek across all Europe’s arts and parts as main support to Blues Pills, they filled the off days, or as many of them as they could, with their own headline shows. Hence, this debut visit to Belfast in advance of the main tour’s stop-off in Dublin the next evening…


Erosion - Voodoo - Belfast - Nov 2016


After briefly trialling an expanded line-up with a dedicated frontman, local openers Erosion are back down to a four-piece, with drummer Mark Stewart back behind the mic as well as the kit. I’ve written before of the difficulty drummer/vocalists provide in terms of providing a focal point for a band, but it’s hardly an issue on this tiny stage, especially with bassist Gavin Burnside adding additional presence at its centre.


Erosion deliver their thumping grooves with taut aplomb and a thick, dense bottom end. It’s hard to categorize their sound (which isn’t a bad thing in its own right): it is heavy blues mixed with touches of stoner vibes, elements of traditional prog, especially in the time changes, and a doomish sensibility. It also, despite its inherent complexity, contains plenty of harmony and melody, especially in Martin Donaghy’s accomplished lead work, and the band make it all seem so effortless, making it all the more effective. A classy opening to the evening’s proceedings (even without the distraction of an unwelcome stage invader toward the end of the set).




Stray Train - Voodoo - Belfast - Nov 2016


Slovenia’s Stray Train are the opening act on the aforesaid Blues Pills tour, but obviously relished the chance to be elevated to ‘special guests’ for Kadavar’s standalone gigs. They have a massive crunching blues-based vibe characterized by thick bass and rhythm guitar and a heavy, thumping percussive backdrop. Again, they make great use of melody and harmony amidst the heaviness, and they play with an obvious passion for what they do – and especially the blues, which infuses their sound at every level.


For a band practically nobody had heard of until they saw their name on the posters, they make a highly positive impression right from the beginning, with nearly every eye and ear in the house focussed on the stage and nearly every foot tapping along to their hypnotic rhythms. For a young band – they’ve only been going a little more than a year – it’s an accomplished performance, obviously honed by almost constant gigging, which could only be enhanced by a bit more charisma both on and off stage.




Kadavar - Voodoo - Belfast - Nov 2016 - 2


Kadavar’s pulsating, psychedelic blooze takes very much an old-school approach but one which works in the way such methods always should. Simon ‘Dragon’ Boutelop’s dense, rumbling bass – finger-picked of course – matches Christoph ‘Tiger’ Bartlet’s snappy percussion, with its sharp snare sound underpinned by punchy kick work. Frontman Christoph ‘Lupus’ Lindemann (these guys have a thing about animal nicknames) meanwhile delivers winding guitar harmonies and melodies in among walls of crescending noise, while his vocals in turn uplift and then sound as if they have been demonically possessed.


It’s the sort of vibe that gets both band and audience totally lost in the moment, and transports you back to the heart of an era when certain illicit substances undoubtedly would have added to the experience Kadavar are seeking to re-create. The trio’s experience on the road shines through the density of their sound, as they seem to possess that sort of psychic bond that every well-oiled rock ‘n’ roll machine should have in the back pocket of their (flared) jeans. It’s darkly enervating and joyous in its primeval evocation of the most tribal of instincts – and that’s just to dance and have a good time.


Kadavar - Voodoo - Belfast - Nov 2016 - 1




PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © The Dark Queen