XI20 is seldom packed on a Monday, so at almost full capacity, it was an indicator that this event would be something more than your average metal gig.
The first band to take the stage was Au-Dessus. Despite not wearing their usual black capes, the musicians still looked majestic thanks to the vibe they were giving off.
While watching them play, they are clearly confident their own abilities and radiate nothing but self-assurance. And what about their sound? Well, there are strong vocals coming from somewhere deep down, and a very lively drum line which cuts through their rhythms. Meanwhile, the guitar lines while at times heavy, also borderline classic rock.
During Au-Dessus‘ performance, the audience was silent. The songs were connected by guitar squeaks, and each time they reached a dark sound, they pulled it back. It was harmonically chaotic, it was heavy, and, as one of the listeners said, “f-ck, that was good”.
Next up were Trna, and the Russians were heavier in sound, but easier in atmosphere than Au Dessus. As common with the post-rock genre, the compositions were long, and their one hour set was made up of only three songs. There were no vocals and despite the “post” sounds of an increasingly intense guitar, Trna created some uplifting tunes.
The most intense part was the drums, and the drummer was visibly feeling every single beat. All in all, it was music that makes the listener simultaneously happy and sad.
The last band to play were fellow Russians, Show Me a Dinosaur. The band had previously played to a Lithuanian audience, after having made their debut at the Devilstone metal festival in 2014. For the post-rock genre, they were different to Trna.
Show Me a Dinosaur played standard-length tracks, and interacted with the audience. Their music is filled with dynamics – it quickly switches from soft and silent to loud and violent. With colourful intros, their songs were also interspersed with dreamy quiet elements, and sharp drum parts which made them a properly interesting listen.
All in all, this unusual Monday evening was pure ear-candy for those who like their music heavy with a hint of the “post” genre.
*Editor’s note – links to buy the artists’ music and Spotify are embedded in the text.