Sepultura @ Rockefeller, Oslo
“Of all the first-time-out-of-the-country concerts you could’ve gone to, you HAD to pick Brazilian Thrash in Norway”, a friend of mine exclaimed. And while it seems an odd match-up, Oslo did seem the most logical place for legendary Thrash Metallers Sepultura to close their European tour for their latest album Kairos. Norway is renowned as one of the Metal Meccas, and a band over 20 years old must pay homage every so often to the country.
Rockefeller is a legendary venue in itself, having seen the likes of Machine Head and Helloween through to A-Ha and Tom Waits. Holding about 800, it has much to boast about: a great sound system for one, and a decent-sized stage. Maybe not quite enough to justify the ticket prices, but certainly a venue that aids towards a great concert experience.
I arrived during opener act Shot at Dawn’s set with about 4 songs left to go. My research on them led me to believe they were not to my taste, but seeing them live proved me wrong. Their brand of Melodic Metalcore and mid-level growls, though far removed from Sepultura’s own style, was impressive to witness, as well as the Hardcore fans pushing to front row. Besides, the t-shirts for sale had “HI-FIVE” written on the back, which definitely boosted their coolness factor.
After a brief break to allow for the main act to set up, the lights dimmed and the tension grew. A tape-fed intro of foreboding music, and Sepultura exploded onto the stage. Old-school fans, who may have feared that vocalist Derrick Green would be no match for his predecessor Max Cavalera, soon had their fears dispelled. I was curious to see whether they would play any songs from the Caval-era, given Max himself had been performing them with Soulfly only a couple of months earlier. Sepultura chose as their opening volley Arise, followed by Refuse / Resist, which neatly answered my question. What followed was an incredibly mixed setlist. Of course, this being the Kairos Tour, they promoted their new material, including a cover of Ministry’s Just One Fix, but fortunately for the fans the band did not rely too heavily on the new, mixing it deftly with their older material, covering all albums except Morbid Visions, Nation and Roorback.
A more interesting part was the “Riff Knowledge” game where Andreas played the intro to Septic Schizo and the full Escape To The Void to the crowd’s delight, which surprised Derrick greatly. Further hilarity came with a Reggae piece, posted below, played just before pre-encore closer Inner Self. Not only were the band in fine form, but Derrick is a great frontman, with the right balance between humor and energy that works well with any audience, even the reputed ‘cold’ Norwegian ones. However, this audience was by no means cold, bouncing and headbanging to every song and joining in vocally on setlist closer Roots Bloody Roots, wrapping up one of the strongest concerts I have ever witnessed.
In conclusion, Sepultura put on one hell of a show, and Oslo did not disappoint as a crowd. There were no glaring setlist omissions, few sound issues no matter where you stood and a fantastic feeling of international metal camaraderie that will stay with me in future concert ventures whether in the UK or abroad.