5th May 2015
Review by Toria Morgan
A windy evening on the 5th of May in Manchester and the iconic and quirky ‘Deaf Institute’ played host to the Nordic Giants and their guests Athousandfurs.
Firstly I need to commend the Deaf Institute for their fascinating venue. The concert took place in a room upstairs, this room was so unique and interesting. It had a small stage, a dance floor and quaint cinema style benches which were inclined in a way that all who sat upon them could see the stage perfectly. The venue was excellent and the atmosphere perfect for these bands and the benches were cushioned and cosy.
First act of the night was a band called Athousandfurs. I had no idea what to expect when this unlikely looking bunch of lads took to the stage. In all honesty they blew me away. The band was comprised of just the three of them and they sounded something akin to the likes of Coldplay or Jeff Buckley but in my opinion they were better than both.
The stage looked almost empty but the sound that they produced sounded like they had a band of hidden musicians accompanying them. It filled the entire room right to the back walls, though it was just the three of them producing this amazing sound. These guys, though they had no flashy merch and barely any internet information, really made a statement to me and I can see them going far in the industry. Though I hadn’t heard of these guys before the night, I would have happily bought a T-shirt if they’d had any. They can count me in as a fan.
I loved the lead singer’s voice, it had such a quality to it that I could have listened to it all day. He seemed to have a very different stage presence than what I am used to. There was no showmanship, no jumping around, no lengthy speeches about themselves, they just got up there and played their hearts out. They had such layers to their music, they had guitars, piano, drums. It was fantastic to behold and should I ever put on an even I’ll be looking these guys up, I recommend you do the same!
In my reviews I usually launch in to a big explanation about whether the band had good interaction with the crowd, but in this case there was almost no interaction with the crowd and what was said to us was softly spoken and almost apologetic for his lack of showmanship, but for these guys it really worked! His awkward demeanour was endearing and it was obvious that they were there simply for the music. It was an admirable quality that I recommend they keep up since it sets them apart from the rest. They seemed humble and genuine and while I was in there, the quote from J.R.Tolkein’s Lord Of The Rings sprang to mind: ‘Not all that is gold glitters.’ In other words, they didn’t need to show off and shout about it, they were quietly confident in their own talents.
My thoughts about their quiet confidence and lack of bravado was echoed by the crowd. I heard people saying the same things as me outside, that they weren’t like other bands and they way they came across was working for them. They were funny, quirky and likable characters. I could go on and on about these guys at how impressed I was but I shall leave it there. In short, they thoroughly entertained me and I wish them the best of luck. If they play at a venue near me I will definitely be buying tickets.
After a short interval the main event of the night was up. Nordic Giants. Now this was a show if I ever saw it, to some it might have seemed like a pretentious gathering of hipsters, and on the outside it probably looked that way but I was totally into it. I’m a big lover of film and music and to see the two together was right up my street. Maybe that means I’m secretly on the hipster wagon because now I can say, ‘Yeah it was post rock cinema…you’ve probably never heard of it.’ But you really, really should! I can’t even articulate how much you should witness these guys in concert before some epic film company snaps them up and they get too big for such a small venue, even though its my job to.
Nordic giants is made up of two people whom I never saw the faces of. Their apparent names are Loki and Roka Skulld, They wore big head pieces and what looked like Skyrim armour, so already I’m intrigued. I saw one of the guys was playing his guitar with the bow from a violin, to excellent effect I might add. I saw the other guy playing the piano while playing the trumpet, which looked like no easy feat but he made it seem effortless. Considering there was just two of them on the stage, they too made a huge and amazing noise.
Along side their music they had big screens playing short films. These short films were about a multitude of things, some were silent, some had a vocalist. One thing I can say is that all of their music fit in well with the films and really set the tone. Their films were deep, some of them gave the impression of the ‘end of the world’ others were uplifting. There was one that stood out to me that was a film, their music but over the top of it played an old school sounding broadcast. Like the type of thing you would hear on a black and white TV, typical old fashioned broadcast tone. To me it was like listening to ‘Bumblebee’ from Transformers play a concert. I loved it.
The actors in these short films seemed really professional too. As a person who takes acting classes I can spot a second rate actor in five seconds flat, and this was not the case here. It was dramatic and gripping from start to finish and I was taken on a rollercoaster of emotions. I remember having to raise my eyebrows to stop myself from frowning with all the tension and emotion and concentration. It was a visual and auditory feast for the creative mind.
These guys again had zero crowd interaction and again it worked for them. I now understand that crowd interaction is not the ‘be all and end all’ of a performance. It can indeed be used to a band’s advantage, it gave them a mysterious edge that left me wondering if I had actually witnessed a band play or if I had just been on some strange drug induced trip. Either way I was entertained.
The rest of the night I wad hooked, i couldnt look away. I was completely submerged in their soung, their look and their unique take on performance. I wondered to myself why more bands didnt go down this road, but secretly I’m glad that they don’t. These were so unique and breathtaking that I would reject all imitations on a matter of principle.
On their website they were described as ‘mind blowing.’ I wondered to myself how ‘mind blowing’ they could be, I even doubted them before I saw them live but they really do live up to the hype. In conclusion I was completely blown away by this gig, both bands pleasantly surprised me with their music and I would love to see them both again. I will most definitely keeping my eyes peeled for Athousandfurs and Nordic Giants coming back to Manchester.
I fully recommend both of them to anyone looking for something a little different. I can guarantee that fans of most genres of music would love this tour. Well done to all involved! Thanks for putting on an amazing show.