The night before their Cologne show, dredg had already achieved great things: In front of the sold out Dortmund opera house they had played a special show celebrating both the 20th anniversary and issue no. 200 of German alternative music magazine Visions.
They were accompanied by their friends Anton and Lewis Patzner from the California based string-metal trio Judgement Day, who played cello and violin on a good couple of songs. German dredg fans, who lately weren’t blessed with overly long setlists, kept rubbing their eyes in desbelief, facing a show that lasted 2 and a half hours.
All the more surprising that the band didn’t shift gears back to a more relaxed mode for Monday night at the Live Music Hall. Instead the Cologne audience was treated with all the songs they had played in Dortmund minus 2. And they had brought along the strings with them. The setlist comprised of the new album The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion in its entirety, plus a mix of the band’s older classics.
The first part of the show illustrated once again that dredg’s new album keeps polarizing. While the larger part of the audience was seemingly very happy to finally get to hear all the songs from the new album live, some others later called this part of the concert boring and lackluster.
Indeed the band played all the way through the album without much commenting or introducing. Also from time to time the four musicians on stage seemed a little under stress, not a surprise if you consider their relentless tour schedule and their invitation to a very special birthday party the night before.
But most importantly, their performance was almost flawless. dredg’s songs are far from relaxed campfire strum-along music, and being a litle hungover for them results in being a visibly very concentrated band on stage, thus not being overly communicative. Certainly more preferable that way than carrying your party antics up on stage the way a lot of other bands do.
The headstrong dramaturgy of the album of course also took its toll in its live performance: the golden thread, being more one of lyrical content and conception than a musical one, only reveals itself after multiple and intensive listening. Both the studio version and the live performance of The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion demand much more attention than is usually expected of an audience in times of 30 second show-it-all trailers.
But it’s exactly that uncompromised attitude that defines dredg in comparison to most other alternative rock bands. They expect a lot from their audience, but confide greatly in its capabilities at the same time.
The songs new to the live set (live premieres for German ears of Gathering Pebbles, Mourning This Morning, Quotes, just to name a few), especially got a good grasp on the audience. Shouting for encores was not necessary this time around, with the band going from the last notes of Stamp of origin: Horizon directly into the intro of Ode To The Sun, thus opening the second part of the show.
Same Ol’ Road, Triangle and Eighteen People Living In Harmony recieved enthusiastic responses from the Cologne crowd. Bug Eyes and Ode To The Sun provided some punch-in-your-belly vibes, that luckily still can be expected at a dredg show.
The Patzner brothers kept supporting dredg also for this part of the concert. Triangle in particular gained a whole new dimension with the addition of violin and cello, one that will probably be missed at future dredg shows without strings.
BY THE WAY: The show was professionally filmed by German start-up-company livedome and was streamed to the web live via 53 websites (!) worldwide. You can either download or order the video on a usb-stick from their website, although you’ll have to shell out about 20 Euros. The livedome team also interviewed the band before the show, you can watch the interview for free on their site.
Review: Bjoern Kahlenberg – Photos: Elif Macit & LynMarieN
S E T L I S T :
02. Drunk Slide
04. Stamp of Origin: Pessimistic
06. Gathering Pebbles
08. Stamp of Origin: Ocean Meets Bay
10. R U O K ?
11. I Don’t Know
12. Mourning This Morning
13. Stamp of Origin: Take A Look Around
14. Long Days And Vague Clues
15. Cartoon Showroom
17. Down to the Cellar
18. Stamp of Origin: Horizon
19. Ode To The Sun
20. Bug Eyes
21. Same Ol’ Road
22. Eighteen People Living In Harmony
24. Drum Takedown
25. Sang Real