Without a doubt one of the best live acts that may have flown under your radar are the mysterious duo known as Nordic Giants. Now, finally, with a full-length to their name, ‘A Séance Of Dark Delusions’ et al is on tour across the UK for the first time.
Only one support act at Bristol’s small Colston Hall side-room venue. There’s not a lot of readily available information about Athousandfurs (***), but this may be for a reason (more on that later). The three piece play music very similar to their peers in Nordic Giants, inspired by environments and long discussions dressed in tweed. There’s certainly a diverse selection of tracks played, from the quiet piano-driven ‘Fly By’ to others that meander through the air like a stroll through a park in autumn. It’s a shame that the vocals are too loud to understand exactly what the lyrics are about.
Seemingly ever growing in popularity and strength, Nordic Giants (*****) truly befit their name when it comes to a grandiose stature. For those who are unaware, Nordic Giants rely on live visuals as much as their music skills. At each show, a video screen at the rear of the stage plays short films that the band accompany with a variety of instruments played with alarming precision. Though we’ve been promised new videos, the set begins with some well-known material. A cry from the crowd of “all the feels” pretty much sums up ‘Evolve Or Perish’, now finally on record on the new album. ‘Through A Lens Darkly’ has recently featured on a BBC wildlife documentary, but the film on show depicts a holidaying family suddenly starving of oxygen. Suitably bleak. It’s sometimes difficult to discern whether the crowd is overcome by emotion, or is just the politest bunch of people ever gathered (no-one dares clap at the end of ‘…Darkly’, lest they shatter the silence).
The first taste of new material is ‘Futures Dark’, but it’s on ‘Illuminate’ that Nordic Giants begin to show a new side to themselves. We all know that they could bring us the verge of despair, but make us laugh? Apparently we can add that to the list of emotions experienced at one of their shows. Most on screen material is created by outside sources, but new single ‘Rapture’ allows the band to provide a full output in directing as well. It’s sometimes difficult to tell when a song has finished and another is about to begin, and this leads to many dense silences throughout the show as the lights go off and an encapsulated audience awaits the duo’s next move. Let’s hope that these aren’t misinterpreted as signs of indifference.
Despite the lack of usual favourite ‘Mechanical Minds’, credits roll at the end of ‘Dark Clouds Mean War’ before a well anticipated encore roars the show back into life. The tale on screen is of a small being named JoJo, who attempts to free a performing artist from a huge tower amongst a film-noir/cartoon backdrop. It’s narrated by a song called ‘Spirit’ that builds sorrowfully to an unfinished conclusion. The lights go down once more, and silhouettes can be seen skulking across the stage. When ‘Dissolve’ kicks in, it’s revealed that the support band Athousandfurs are playing alongside Nordic Giants. Of course! They recently changed their name from Saturday Sun, who recorded this song alongside the pair. Maybe this wasn’t an intended twist in the show, but it provides a warming finale to the concert.
There aren’t enough superlatives in the English language to describe Nordic Giants. They’re quite simply a must-see live band. Watching Nordic Giants isn’t just another gig, it’s a whole new audio/visual experience. About the only way that they could stimulate your senses more is by providing complimentary cupcakes.
Written by MG Savage (@MGSavagewriter)