December 12, 2016 | Nürnberg, DE | Z-Bau
Written & photographed by Ben Manzella (More Than Flashing Lights & Sound)
Even though I’ve studied in Nürnberg for the past 3 months, last night was the first time I had actually gone to an event in the area; and I got to see one hell of a show to end my time here. A great, diverse lineup was hosted at Z-Bau, which is venue in a variety of ways – during the warmer season, they have a Biergarten along with at least two rooms for concerts and host art exhibitions as well; while this would be my only time seeing this space, I’d love to come back on my next visit to this part of Germany.
While I was running a bit behind schedule, I managed to catch the last few songs from The Devil’s Trade. The Devil’s Trade is a project from Hungarian singer Dávid Makó (known from bands such as Stereochrist & HAW) that I think would fit well alongside artists like David Eugene Edwards of 16 Horsepower/Wovenhand as well as Rome; with clear influence spanning the genres of country, blues, and folk, it was a welcoming start to a show on a Monday night. Although I am dismayed that I arrived late, I’m doing my best to familiarize myself with his music now, because I definitely want to hear these songs live again. Make sure to check out his music through the official Bandcamp page here.
Next up was Publicist UK, a band that features members from quite a range of projects – including Revocation, Municipal Waste, & Goes Cube, just to name a few. I was particularly excited to see them as I’ve been a longtime fan of drummer Dave Witte and I haven’t had the opportunity to see him perform live for about 6 years now. They’re considered a post-punk band, which is fair; don’t get me wrong, there are “signature elements” in their sound that are known to have rather dull or lazy listeners start crying Joy Division, but with the variety of influences found in the four men which make this band, it’d be pathetic to say that their sound doesn’t have far more to be found in it. The thickness of the bass grooves for instance, while also very much a key piece in the post-punk genre, have a different heft to them as played by Brett Bamberger (known for his work with Revocation & East of the Wall), which is just the beginning as far as sound goes with Publicist UK. I was particularly intrigued by guitarist David Obuchowski, and this is something I noticed really early on with all the performers, for the fact that while this is his “job” it was also his pleasure and joy to play last night. There are some musicians you see are there for “the gig” and hate it until their pockets are lined if the promoter actually follows through, but this lineup of musicians were glad to be there from the very beginning and that is always great to see. He also seemed to have a “classic rock” style in a sense, getting immersed in his playing so much that he’d drop down to his knees in the way you might expect to see from a rock band in the 70s.
Crippled Black Phoenix were set to start, and they are quite a band to witness live, if not solely because they’re at least a 7-piece lineup when performing. Considering most metal/rock bands are between 3 to 5 people; when you have 7 individuals on stage and at least 5 of them may be contributing vocals at some point, you know there is going to be a lot going on. The set covered a fair mix of both old and new, starting with “Dead Imperial Bastard” from their newest record Bronze; the band wasted no time in warming up the crowd for a good and long time of headbanging and dancing (if you like), or at least the few people in the front were quite interested in dancing with their beers.
Humor aside, I think Crippled Black Phoenix were one of the happiest group of musicians I’ve ever seen perform; I don’t know if I’ve consistently seen that many band members smiling throughout a set, and it really made the show all the more inviting. Playing a set consisting of 16 songs total, there couldn’t have been a better way to start the week in Nürnberg than having come to see Crippled Black Phoenix. Dávid of The Devil’s Trade would join them on vocals during another song off of Bronze called “Turn To Stone”, and I know that I love to see bands that are touring together also collaborate while on tour, so I felt this was a real treat for all of us in attendance. I’m very grateful to have gone to such a show as 2016 comes to a close; there have been times at concerts where the atmosphere feel very flat or it just seems like most people are there to just be “busy” rather than being there for the music. Last night, however, the bands (and crowd somewhat) especially showed the joyous power of music and it was a greatly needed reminder for me. The setlist for Crippled Black Phoenix was as follows: Dead Imperial Bastard, Rise Up and Fight, Long Live Independence, Deviant Burials, No Fun, Rotten Memories, Champions of Disturbance, Born in A Hurricane, NO!, Song For the Love, Scared and Alone, Turn to Stone, 444, We are the Darkeners, We Forgotten Who We are, and Burnt Reynolds.