Folk Noir

Koornbeurs, Delft (Netherlands) / 27-2-2004
Sonne Hagal & Sieben

Sonne Hagal and Sieben both played for the first time in the Netherlands. So this night of Folk Noir was not one to be missed. The location was suitable atmospheric: the cellars of the old Koornbeurs, a monumental building in the heart of Delft.About 150 people could attend the night. When we arrived there was some confusion about the procedure of collecting your entrance tickets, and visitors had to wait outside in the cold for a while. Somewhat later than announced you could gain entrance, for the ridiculous entrance price of only 4 Euro. And the drinks were very cheap too, probably because the Koornbeurs is mainly a student association.

While we found a place in the catacombs the musicians were still soundchecking. The tension was rising. Finally Sonne Hagal began their performance. In the beginning the 5-piece band sounded somewhat timid, but as the concert evolved they gained more confidence. Some old songs were on the menu, like the powerful ‘Odin’ or the (short) Ernte cover ‘Sonnenwende’ at the end. Of course a lot of material from the “Helfahrt” album was played, with the most cheers for “Midwinternight’, which is probably the ‘hit’ of Sonne Hagal. Also some promising sounding new songs were on the menu, from a fortcoming album. During the more tranquil, intimate songs the audience had problems keeping their attention, and the volume of people chatting in the background was rising. During the more uptempo songs they were silenced again. I really loved the sound of the accordeon that Andreas Ritter was playing.

At the end of the concert Matt Howden joined the group, to play the violin on ‘The Runes are still alive’. His instantly recognizable sound and enthousiastic performance (compared to the more static behaviour of Sonne Hagal) directly added an extra dimension. But that wasn’t the only special treat for the audience. Andreas Ritter, who plays accordeon and some drums with Sonne Hagal, came to the front of the stage, to sing and play guitar on some impromptu Forseti songs. He was accompanied by Sonne Hagal’s singer on drums, and on guitar in the third and final song. Really nice to hear these rather spontaneous renditions of ‘Ewigkeit’ and ‘Verzweiflung’.

Last but not least was Sieben, nowadays a completely solo project of Matt Howden. And just as on previous occasions you don’t miss a band when Howden is on the stage. Armed with just his violin and a loop pedal device, Matt created layers of sound on top of each other, creating the illusion that the stage was filled with an orchestra. With his instrument he created sounds in the most unusual ways, using various body parts, sort of a Jimi Hendrix on violin. With his voice and texts the passionate and sympathetic Howden added melancholy and emotion to the display of virtuoso. I think he made some new fans this evening…

Afterwards DJ’s Guillaume and Migh entertained the audience with a mixture of folky/medieval sounds, bombastic tracks and military pop. The atmosphere was nice and the people seemed to be cheerful (partly due to the cheap drinks). Had some nice chats before the nighttrain schedule forced us to leave. To be repeated!