Imperial State Electric – Headline
Reptile Brain Music Scandinavian Tour 2014
Dead Lord – support act
Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
25/1 – 2014
Reviewed and live pictures by: Anders Sandvall
What a better way to start the new year with an Imperial State Electric concert at Kulturbolaget in Malmo Sweden? The founder and band leader is none other than the well-known Nicke Andersson (ex- Entombed, The Hellacopters, Death Breath etc.). The band released their excellent third album REPTILE BRAIN MUSIC at the end of 2013. The band kicked off the tour late last year and then they co-headlined the tour together out in Europe with Andersson’s old The Hellacopters friend Dregen which also released his debut album last year. After the show in Malmo the band went over to Helsinki Finland. The only Scandinavian countries the band didn’t visit this time were Denmark and Iceland. Because of the night club which was held straight after the show opened the doors opened early at 7 o clock.
I arrived to the club shortly after the club opened and luckily I didn’t have to wait in line to get in. A few people had turned up when I came in and not much gear was on stage. The time went pretty fast and suddenly was it time for Dead Lord to enter the stage. The band released its debut album GOODBYE REPENTANTE in 2013 and even though I never heard the band before I was really surprised and impressed when the show was over.
“Hank” and “No Prayers Can Help You Now” marked the beginning of the show and the small crowd have the band a warm welcome. “Hammer Of The Heart” followed and Dead Lord are:
Hakim Krim – lead guitar, vocals
Olle Hedenstrom – lead guitar
Martin Nordin – lead bass
Adam Lindmark – drums
Even though the crowd stood quite far from the stage by the bar, it didn’t matter as the band let the music do the talking and gave their all on stage. Dead Lord’s music is influenced by Thin Lizzy and the band had a really catchy twin guitar play going on in most of the songs. Krim thanked the band and said it was time to play a song called “Because Of Spite” and it was just another great song Dead Lord treated us with. The three front men moved around on stage trading places with each other and had some guitar patterns a la Judas Priest and Accept going on. Krim announced that the next song “No More Excuses” was going to be sung by guitarist Hedenstrom. Some of the songs felt extended and maybe the two guitarists wanted to show off a bit when they were given the chance, I didn’t mind though.
The band felt really solid and it was obvious that they’re use to be on stage performing live. Krim asked the crowd if they were ready to see Imperial State Electric and of course the band shouted yes to that. Before that was it time for another song – the brilliant “Onkalo” which included a guitar battle between Krim and Hedenstrom. The battle was won by Hedenstrom and Krim wanted the audience to give a warm hand to the winner. “Ghost Town” was the last song for the evening and Krim thanked the crowd for being so supportive to Dead Lord. The show lasted for 40 minutes and the band used the time wisely. I loved their version of 70s retro rock/hardrock and was really impressed by the execution of music. The only negative thing was the lame crowd that stood too far away from the stage to really enjoy the great music.
No Prayers Can Help You Now
Hammer Of the Heart
Because Of Spite
No More Excuses
More people had arrived to the club during the Dead Lord show and it was a really mixed crowd this night. The crew worked really fast to get the stage ready for Imperial State Electric and when the gear was in place the band members came out to prep their instruments. Dead Lord had used some of ISE gear so the transition was pretty fast. The pause music silenced at nine at suddenly stood the headline act on stage and was ready to kick off their show.
Imperial State Electric
Last man out on stage was Andersson and once he was in place the band kicked off the show with the explosive “Emptiness Into The Void”. The show followed continued straight away with “Uh Huh” and the band had the crowd going from the very start. Imperial State Electric is:
Nicke Andersson – lead vocals, guitar
Dolph De Borst – bass, vocals
Tobias Egge – guitar, vocals
Tomas Eriksson – drums
Andersson stood as usual in the middle of the stage, with his hat on, accompanied by De Borst on the right and Egge on the left. “Deja Vue” followed and Andersson thanked the fans for being at the club taking part of the show. The bands music gain a lot when executed live, it gets heavier, edgier and more solid compared to on album. At least I feel that the songs from the latest album felt that way live. “Apologize” and “Deride And Conquer” followed after which Andersson asked if the crowd was ready to hear a song from the first album and “Redemption’s Gone” continued the night.
The lights left more to wish for and the band used mostly red or blue light. “More Than Enough Of Your Love” taken from the latest album REPTILE BRAIN MUSIC followed and in the middle of the song treated Andersson and Egge the fans with a guitar battle. Two smoke machines placed on each side of the drums blew smoke straight up to the roof during the battle which looked really cool. Andersson asked if the crowd wanted to dance for a while and fired off one of the bands biggest hits “Sheltered In The Sand”. “Faustian Bargains” followed immediately and the fans seemed to be really happy with the night so far. They cheered and clapped and jumped around and the band sure was given a warm welcome by the Malmoe fans. Andersson announced that it now was time for a boogie. The band had only played the song one time live before in Sweden and that it now was time to hit it a second round. It was “Get Off The Boo-Hoo Train”. Guitar solos in the middle extended the song and when it was over said De Borst it was time for Egge to sing a song for us and he aired his lungs in “Stay The Night”. One of the things that make Imperial State Electric fun to listen to and watch is the fact that all of the band members are singing. I sense some 70’s Kiss influences by Andersson in that way of thinking. Another song taken from the bands self titled debut album followed in “A Holiday From My Vacation” and it felt like the fans really enjoyed both the older as well as the more current songs. They sure sang a long in most of them. After “Lee Ann” announced De Borst that it was time for the band to treat the fans with a new song called “Eves” which sounded as good as every other song this night.
The band sure is a well oiled music machine that knows exactly what to do on stage. The musicians are really skilled and used to be in a live situation and not many other bands are as good as Imperial State Electric on stage. After “Down In The Bunker” traded Egge his guitar to a bass guitar and De Borst took over the mic from Andersson and sang the title track from the new album “Reptile Brain”. De Borst did a really great job on lead vocals and why not let him sing more live? That song ended the ordinary set and the band went off stage that now was covered in smoke. When I took a look at the clock I saw that the guys only had been playing for about 60 minutes but the crazy fans wanted to hear more so the band once again made their way on to the stage to do encores.
First encore out was “I’ll Let You Down” in which all of the band members including the drummer Eriksson contributed on lead vocals. That only added to the Kiss feeling. Andersson wanted us to give a hand to De Borst who was going to announce the next song and De Borst decided that it was going to be “Turn It Up”. Andersson thanked once again for the warm welcome they got and it seemed like the band had a really great time on stage this night. A cover by the Dead Boys song “Sonic Reducer” continued the encores and “Why Don’t You Leave It Alone” followed. Imperial State Electric are masters of 3 minutes rock ‘n’ roll songs no doubt about that. It didn’t seem like the list of encores was decided when the band entered the stage but everyone was free to choose which song they wanted to play. Eriksson thought it was time to play “Heebie Jeebies” which is a cover of the old Little Richard song and once again the band shared the lead vocals. “Throwing Stoned” ended the encore section and that was all for Imperial State Electric for this time. The band was on stage for about 90 minutes and since I love the band I could easily have heard 90 more minutes. The show was an excellent performance of some brilliant 3 minute rock n roll music but what can go wrong when Nicke Andersson is involved?
It was a great set list with the perfect mix of old and new song and songs that didn’t even are released yet as well as covers. The music of this band should be experienced live and not only on album, the song felt as I wrote earlier much more edgy and electric (pun intended) live than in the CD player. This was just another great evening at Kulturbolaget!
Emptiness Into The Void
Deride And Conquer
More Than Enough Of Your Love
Sheltered In the Sand
Get Off the Boo Hoo Train
Stay The Night
A Holiday From My Vacation
Down In the Bunker
I’ll Let You Down
Turn It Up
Why Don’t You Leave It Alone
Thanks to Emma Svensson, head of press at Kulturbolaget, for help with press/photo pass
Thanks to security and staff at Kulturbolaget for a nice evening
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