Windhand, Stonenrow // Six D.O.G.S, Club, Athens, Greece // 09.04.2014
In the report concerning Ufomammut’s performance here in Athens I had mentioned that anyone who wishes to top their performance in the race for the best concert of 2014 needs to work extra hard and that “besides Ufomammut, we have names like Windhand (which I hope will top the Ufomammut experience)”. Well guess what. They triumphantly did. Of course, in no case am I comparing the value of the two bands, it’s just that on a personal level, the Windhand concert will be something I will treasure for years and years to come.
It is Wednesday night in Athens, with people going to work the morning after and as usual we don’t give a fuck about that when it comes to watching exceptional bands like Windhand, consequently I walk into a half full Six D.O.G.S the moment Stonenrow begin their set. I have mixed feelings about their performance. The first song was rather nice with a groovy riff and a faster High-on-fire like riff that made some heads roll, but after that, things got a bit out of hand. In the spirit of Sunn-O and the filthiest moments of Bongripper, the trio devoted themselves in a noise/drone marathon, with the very lengthy repetition of heavy yet dull and blank riffs that grew more and more tiresome as the hour went by, accompanied by matching filthy screams for vocals. The whole thing was worsened by the extremely loud sound settings that pierced our brains, but I guess this must be a key element of the noise scene. Watching around me I could see that definitely some attendants were into that, but for me Stonenrow just would not do the trick.
Anyhow, the moment I had been longing for since the announcement of the concert had come. It might have been the fact that this live came at a moment of a personal all time high infatuation with Windhand, but from the moment the amplifiers where on and the lovely Dorthia greeted us, I lost my head completely. Opening with Orchard they clearly showed they had no intention to spare us this night. And what a night that was, my friends… In the words of the poet it was a “Night full of miracles, a night full of witchcraft”, as proven by their monumental performance of Woodbine and Winter Sun. Those songs, that sound…Only the word “Unbelievable” comes to mind as I am trying to put my thoughts in order. The venue was transformed magically in a beautiful black mass, an enchanting coven, because from the first moments they broke free off the bonds of a typical concert. For 90 minutes we were in another world, a world where the only thing that existed was the 4 bearded and long haired guys banging and twisting without a pause in the scene, while performing their songs in perfection, the siren that strolled around them chanting her invocations, the thick darkness and the majestic sound of the abyss of dreams only they could produce. Their sound, that immense and solid as concrete beast – since just “fuzzy” would be the understatement of the year- just devoured our minds in a way that, at least for me, no other band has accomplished. The word fixated would describe me if I wasn’t so busy banging neurotically my head for the first 50 minutes at least, so I guess I was only fixated on a mental level, not a physical. How could someone not move under that electric litany’s sound (in songs like Cassock for example)?
And speaking of that siren on stage, Dorthia Cottrell, it is highly likely her name derives off Dorothy which, traced back in its Greek roots, can be translated into “God’s gift”. I am sure that her witching voice, that magical blend of grunge tone and slow dragging, classic doom inspired chants is a solid proof of God’s existence ( more solid than the Bible for that matter), since it can only be explained as a gift from the Heavens. Before the show started, I was joking around with some friends saying “Imagine if 30 of their 90 minutes performance was the song “Boleskine”, they’d be totally crazy if they did that”. And they did it. After the epic 30 minutes of Boleskine they appeared to be done with the beautiful corruption of our souls, but Dorthia got up on stage again asking if we wanted more, to which the answer was a deafening “yes”, so for encore they chose their devastating Amaranth song from the split with Bongripper and I guess I don’t even need to tell you the effect it had on us. And in that way concluded the most awe inspiring, spine chilling, head crushing and beautifully melancholic night of 2014. During their set (if we can call that dark sound trip just a set) there was almost zero intention for wristwatch checking, small talk or beer grabbing, just a packed Six D.O.G.S staring fixated at the wonders Windhand had to offer unfolding in front of us. I really feel like a part of me stayed forever in that performance, those 90 minutes I wish I could relive right now. The best new band of this sound, in a perfect, just perfect performance and we were lucky enough to experience that.
Once again congratulations to CTS Productions ( in addition to the small paragraph I ‘d written after the Ufomammut live) for their bold move to book an uprising underground band with only two full albums, but with unparalleled musical quality. This shows much about their taste and their insight a) on the quality of the bands they choose to bring b) the desires of the Greek fans. Way to go, the next meeting is scheduled on 17/5 with Samsara Blues Experiment!
Report: Axilleas Pantogios
Photos: Dimitris Balabakis
Check S&D Photography for more photos.