BLOODY WELL WRITE

Prog - - Contents - Michaela Rodger

Mis­sives, mus­ings and tweets from Planet Prog.

an un­fair judge­ment?

I was dis­mayed at some of Martin Kielty’s re­view of the Opeth show at Glas­gow Bar­row­lands on Novem­ber 16, 2017.

As a Glaswe­gian who was at the show, I was in­sulted to read the word ‘haters’ in his re­view, and he does the Glas­gow au­di­ence a great dis­ser­vice with this kind of care­less lan­guage.

Firstly, I would like to say that I agree whole­heart­edly with his re­view of the music it­self. I have no is­sues here. My is­sue is with his neg­a­tive de­scrip­tion of the au­di­ence and our in­ter­ac­tion with the bands. This made me won­der if we were in fact at the same show.

There was in­deed some heck­ling from the au­di­ence, but as an Opeth fan who has seen them on numer­ous oc­ca­sions in many dif­fer­ent coun­tries, Mikael Åk­er­feldt gives as good as he gets and he did so on this oc­ca­sion, just like ev­ery other. Part of Mikael’s ap­peal at a live show is his per­fect English and his abil­ity to tune in to the sense of hu­mour of his au­di­ence, wher­ever he hap­pens to be. His com­ment that we could “take the piss as much as we liked be­cause he couldn’t un­der­stand our ac­cents any­way” had the au­di­ence in stitches laugh­ing.

Glas­gow au­di­ences are very dis­cern­ing and, as far as I could see and hear, no one hated the show. Who would pay up­wards of £30 to see a band they don’t like? Glas­gow au­di­ences heckle. It’s a thing we do, and bands from all over the world talk about the wel­come they get in Glas­gow and the at­mos­phere the au­di­ence cre­ate.

As a life­long fan of Pete Town­shend and The Who, I have been to dozens of shows where Pete Town­shend in­sulted the au­di­ence. It’s an ice­breaker and a whole lot of fun. Mikael Åk­er­feldt was more than ready for us in Novem­ber and I felt that there was ab­so­lutely no of­fence taken in ei­ther di­rec­tion.

I was at the Manch­ester show the pre­vi­ous night too, and a lot of the peo­ple around me were younger and there was a bit of crowd surf­ing. Does this make them a bet­ter or more en­gag­ing au­di­ence? I think not. That was a great show too, apart from some sounds hic­cups that thank­fully were sorted out by the fol­low­ing night in Glas­gow.

I know a lot of peo­ple who were at the Glas­gow show and they all love Opeth and en­joyed the show im­mensely. As Martin said, they played some sur­prise songs and it was an ab­so­lute joy from start to fin­ish.

Opeth have be­come a force to be reck­oned with in the pro­gres­sive music world. Their change to prog has been tak­ing place for years, go­ing way back be­fore Her­itage, Pale Com­mu­nion and Sorcer­ess. I per­son­ally like to en­joy their music stand­ing, rather than mosh­ing or div­ing around. I stood at the side of the stage and watched and lis­tened in amaze­ment and en­joyed ev­ery minute of the show, as did my friends and ev­ery­one else I could see. You don’t need to be jump­ing around and crowd surf­ing to en­joy a show.

As for the luke­warm re­cep­tion Enslaved re­ceived, I don’t agree with that ei­ther. Firstly, support bands rarely re­ceive a fan­fare of a wel­come, but on this oc­ca­sion I felt that they were very well re­ceived – a lot bet­ter than some support bands in my ex­pe­ri­ence. And when you con­sider how long Glas­gow waited to see Opeth again, I think our re­sponse to Enslaved was both pa­tient and re­spect­ful, which of course they de­served.

As a mu­si­cian who un­der­stands what it feels like to be the support band, I’m al­ways acutely aware of this at gigs and show my ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the hard work they do. I per­son­ally am not a huge fan of Enslaved, but they de­served re­spect – and got it, as far as I could see and hear.

Hi Michaela. As a sea­soned Bar­ras at­tendee and a Glaswe­gian all my life, please be­lieve me when I tell you I meant no in­sult to the ‘Glas­gow choir’ in my re­view. But a re­view is an opin­ion, and mine was that a no­table num­ber of the crowd didn’t ap­pear to be fully en­gaged with the show… and they were en­tirely free to feel that way if they wanted to. As you say, the heck­ling (which is in­deed a bonus fea­ture of many gigs) was well man­aged by Mikael, who at no point lost his usual good hu­mour and com­mand of the show. He won ev­ery round!

Opeth au­di­ences are as unique as the band them­selves, and ev­ery night is dif­fer­ent (as it should be), but I was dis­ap­pointed in some of the Glas­gow choir that night, and it

GIV­ING AS GOOD AS HE GETS: MIKAEL ÅK­ER­FELDT ON­STAGE WITH OPETH.

PROG 83: GEN­TLE GI­ANT FEA­TURE, HARSH OPETH RE­VIEW?

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