Eclipse – headline act
Monumentour – European leg – 2018
Supercharger – support act
Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
26/1 – 2018
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
Swedish melodic hard rock act Eclipse is currently out on a short European tour that began in Germany and ends in Sweden. In Europe the band is supported by Xtasy but in Sweden they hooked up with Danish rockers in Supercharger for this show only. The band’s debut album was released back in 2001 titled THE TRUTH AT A LITTLE MORE; their most current release is MONUMENTUM which came out in 2017. Today the line-up includes only two remaining original members in Magnus Henriksson and Erik Martensson while the newest addition to the band is drummer Philip Crusner (ex- Fatal Smile), who paired up with the band in 2015. The place for the show was Kulturbolaget and I arrived to the club about 30 minutes before the doors opened and a short line of fans was already waiting outside. It was really nice to get inside the warm club and when I got inside I saw that there weren’t a photo pit this night which was too bad.
From Copenhagen Denmark comes Supercharger who released their debut album, HANDGRENADE BLUES back in 2009. Two years later the second album THAT’S HOW WE ROLL followed and with that album a lot of member changes started to take place and I began to lose interest in the band. Swedish label Gain released 2014’s BROKEN HEARTS AND FALLAPARTS and that was when singer Mikkel Neperus parted ways with the guys. Last year the band released two singles in “Rottenburg”, and “The Ride” which is a duet with the ex- Thundermother singer Clare Cunningham. A few days before the Malmo show Supercharger said they had a surprise for the fans which was that old singer Neperus was going to join the band on stage.
“Suzi the Uzi” kicked off the show and was followed straight away by “Like a Pitbull”, both songs taken from the latest album BROKEN HEARTS AND FALLAPARTS. Singer Neperus said it was fun to be back in Malmo; “We are very jet-lagged from the long travel over to Sweden!” he said and laughed. “Supercharged” continued the show and parts of the crowd seemed to know about the band. The rest of the people there didn’t have any idea of who the band were and focused on drinking their beers. The line- up in the band today is:
Thomas Buchwald – guitar
Benjamin Funk – drums
Karsten Dines Johansen – bass
Ronni Clasen – keys, harp, guitar
Mikkel Neperus – lead vocals
Dennis Post – guitar
Guitarist Dennis Post (ex- Starrats, ex- Forever Still, White Trash Presidents etc.) is the newest edition to the band. Nepperus thanked the fans for the support and said it was time for the next song in “Are You Satisified”; he then had the fans to wave their hands in the air. “The next song”, he said he hadn’t written since he hadn’t been a part of the band for over three years, “here is “Rottenburg!” That song was also the first single off the new album. The band’s music is best described as edgy hard rock/rock n’ roll or pure energetic Scandinavian turbo rock n’ roll; I really loved the bands earlier albums a lot. The people at the club seemed to like what they heard and applauded when Neperus said he had been sober for 5 years and now has a partially boring life but is doing much better now than before. “The next song is a song taken from when life was a little funnier, here comes “Hungover in Hamburg”. That song woke up the crowd and it was obvious the fans had missed seeing Neperus doing his thing on stage. The sound picture of Supercharger of today has a lot in common with how the band sounded back in the day, when they hadn’t added female backing vocals and didn’t have keyboards. With Neperus on stage it felt like the Supercharger of yesterdays… he is an amazing stage persona and a great singer.
“Rise and Fall” followed after which Neperus asked if the crowd understood Danish and the fans clapped their hands. He said that it’s really important to get the first single of a new album played on the radio, he noted the band featured Ralf Gyllenhammar from Mustasch on their single. “No, he’s not here tonight”, he said and laughed, “but here comes “Blood Red Lips”. Bass player Dines Johansen took the vocal parts of Gyllenhammar after which the epic “Hell Motel” followed, sending the crowd into ecstasy. Neperus invited the fans to sing the chorus and the mayhem was a fact. Neperus shouted “Welcome to my…”and the fans responded “Hell Motel!” as he encouraged the fans to scream louder and louder. Dines Johansen took the mic thanking Neperus for standing in as singer this night and that ended the 40 minute Supercharger show.
It was a blast to see and hear Neperus in action with Supercharger again; the band isn’t the same without him. The show featured a good mix of older and more current songs but I had wished to hear a few more older songs from when I listened to the band. The band did a solid show but as an old fan of the band I missed to see the old line-up in action on stage and therefore I haven’t seen the band with the “new” line-up and the new singer before.
Suzi the Uzi
Like a Pitbull
Are You Satisfied
Hungover In Hamburg
Rise and Fall
Blood Red Lips
As the band went off the stage the crew began to prepare the stage for the headline act. Eclipse comes from Stockholm Sweden and was founded by singer/song writer/ producer Erik Mårtensson. In 2015 the band entered the competition to become the Swedish representatives to the Eurovision Song Contest, an appearance that made many hard rockers angry and surprised. The band’s contribution to the competition was named “Runaways” and landed the band in 5th place. Besides Eclipse, Mårtensson and the other Eclipse member Magnus Ulfstedt also are involved in W.E.T which features members from Talisman and Work Of Art, and also Nordic Union (together with Ronnie Atkins) and Ammunition (together with Age Sten Nilsen ex- Wig Wam).
A huge backdrop with the band name on it framed the stage on which the gear and the mic was placed. It took a while to get the stage ready and the crowd started to get a but anxious, but finally the intro music was overheard and the stage lit up and it was finally time for the headline act.
The members walked out on stage during the intro; as soon as the band showed up the fans started to scream and sang along to the first song which was “Vertigo”. Mårtensson ran out at the beginning of the song and the fans clapped their hands a little bit extra for him. “Bleed and Scream” followed and before the fans had time to catch their breath it was time for “The Storm”. Eclipse consists of:
Erik Mårtensson – lead vocals, guitar
Magnus Henriksson – guitar
Magnus Ulfstedt – bass
Philip Crusner – drums
Mårtensson invited the fans to sing a long with him and thanked them for the support. “For those of you who don’t know who we are, we are Eclipse!”, he said “and thanks for coming to see us tonight. Without you we are nothing, here comes “Wake Me Up”. The lights worked really well and it was nice to see that none of the members were standing in darkness. “It’s fun to be back here again”, Mårtensson said, “the last time we were here were was in 2015 on the album ARMAGEDDONIZE”. Mårtensson was handed a guitar and said “We have a new album out now and the next song is one of the band’s favorits songs on it, here’s “Jaded”. It felt like the fans had listened a lot to MONUMENTUM and sang along in the lyrics like there was no tomorrow.
The band put on a really solid show with Mårtensson as the perfect vocalist with a magical voice, and some skilled musicians to back him up. Since the crowd mostly consisted of middle-aged men & women, it was pretty calm at the club, they mostly sang along and clapped their hands. “Hurt” continued the show and then it was time for a song taken from ARMAGEDDONIZE that the band doesn’t normally play live: “Caught Up in the Rush”. Even though the band plays melodic hard rock, their music sounds heavier and edgier live. Maybe their music is a little too melodic for my personal taste but I do appreciate the well written songs and excellent music skills. As well, the band seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage and that is always nice to see. So was it time for Crusner to show off in a solo and everyone but him left the stage. As a whole it was a pretty plain solo but on the other hand, how many drum solos are actually fun?
As Mårtensson returned to the stage he introduced the new drummer to the fans and said, “He’s not only a great drummer, he’s good looking as well”. The fans laughed with Mårtensson who once again donned a guitar, this time an acoustic one. Henriksson joined up and the guys did a semi-unplugged version of “Killing Me”. Mårtensson looked happy with the way the fans reacted to the song as they sang along. “Wide Open” followed and it seemed like the song was the one that most fans had been waiting to hear. Again the song was played only by Henriksson and Martensson, and again they did an amazing job. “Battleground” continued the semi-unplugged part of the show and Mårtensson had the fans sing at his command. Mårtensson introduced Henriksson on guitar and thanked the fans for the support they gave the band. “You fans mean the world to us and without you we are nothing”, he said. “Now it’s time for a song from the new album that we all love and the song is going stay put in the set list for a long time – here is “The Downfall Of Eden”. Mårtensson changed back to his electric guitar and then it was time for “Black Rain”, also taken from the new album. Mårtensson and Ulfstedt walked off the stage and left Henriksson and Crusner behind and it was time for a guitar solo. After a few minutes Ulfstedt re-joined, and then later he and Crusner left the stage leaving Henriksson doing his solo on his own. It felt like the first part of the solo where he was accompanied by bass and drums worked better than what he did on his own.
Finally everyone returned and Mårtensson wanted us to give a hand for Henriksson. “Blood Enemies” was the next song in line during which Mårtensson wanted the fans to raise their hands in the air. “Stand On Your Feet” was the last song out from the ordinary set and it was an amazing end to the first part of the show. The fans sang along at the top of their lungs and the band was on fire. Mårtesson walked over to the edge of the stage looking at a fan that was filming the show with his smart phone, the singer took his phone up with him on stage filming the band and himself after which he handed back the phone to the fan. That ended the show and the band thanked the fans for the amazing and solid support. All told, the show lasted for an hour and 15 minutes but as soon as the band left the stage the fans shouted for more music.
Crusner was the first guy back on stage and had the fans clapping their hands to the beat of his drums. “I Don’t Wanna Say I’m Sorry” was the first encore out and it was no doubt the fans loved the song. “Never Look Back” followed and Mårtensson thanked everyone in the club for an amazing night. “Time moves fast and I think it was 2 years ago someone from television phoned us asking if we wanted to compete in the Swedish outtakes to Eurovision Song Contest. We were thinking hard if we were going to take the chance or not”, Mårtensson continued “and we took it. We thought that during the 3 minutes the song lasted we’d be able to play hard rock for many millions of viewers and we wanted to show people that there’s other music than pop and dance music. As you all know we didn’t win but we made a great song out of it in “Runaways” and now it’s time to play that song!”
That song is probably one of the band’s biggest hits so far and the crowd went crazy when they heard it. After the song was over Mårtensson said the band was going to come out and talk and sign autographs to people after the show and after they had been resting for a while. The band took a picture on stage with the fans in the back and then thanked saying see you all soon.
The 95 minutes of music was really fun to hear and see and it was nice to see how happy the band was to meet the fans and perform for them. The members are all skilled musicians and I was really impressed by the way they took on the music and what they did of it. Mårtensson is an amazing singer and he didn’t let anyone down with his magical vocals. Again, I’m not a dedicated fan of their music but I appreciate their craftsmanship and their dedication on stage. This was a great way of starting of the concert year of 2018! And just as Mårtensson said the band soon returned back on to the floor to talk to the fans, the band should have credit for not engaging in any of the meet and greet nonsense where fans have to buy overpriced tickets to meet their idols and just because of that the band won my respect, that is how a real band treat fans.