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Riverside - Tapper, Tallinn, Estonia, 12.09.2013

Event: Riverside: New Generation European Tour 2013
Written by: Ivor
Published: 30.09.2013


Maqama, Riverside - Tapper, Tallinn, Estonia, 12.09.2013 by Ivor (30)

So, Estonia may be a tiny, lost speck on the grand scale of things, but apparently it is not totally forgotten. Had we known back in the cold winter days that Riverside would be showing up here only half a year later, we might have reconsidered going on our little Progventure trip to Belgium in March. Or, then again, we would probably still have done it even if it was for the sake of having a trip and seeing other bands play.

Riverside have been on an extensive tour this year, and to be honest, I even started contemplating a short trip to Helsinki to see them yet again, when suddenly it turned out they were stopping by. The event was announced some three weeks before the date, and while the word spread around, there wasn't much announcing beyond social media. Not entirely too hard to miss a gig if you don't keep your eyes and ears open. But I presume the valuable piece of information found those who were interested in it.

For this leg of the tour, Riverside brought their compatriots Maqama along for the ride. It would have been beyond awesome had it been Jolly, like in spring, but you can't have everything. While I didn't spend much time on figuring out what Maqama are before the gig, I wasn't much worried about it. I mean, they wouldn't be on the tour if they weren't good enough, and letting yourself be surprised without any bias is a good habit.

Maqama have an overall heavier feeling than Riverside, but even so they are hardly a metal band. Thinking back on it, I figure they have more in common with Tool, given their slower rhythms, darker atmosphere, and similarities in vocal work. All in all, they have a pretty formidable sound. However, while the music was interesting and the band technically proficient, it kind of failed to come together. Something was missing or hard to come by, or maybe it was the odd order of the songs, I can't really pinpoint it. Only towards the end of their set, and most notably during their final song "The Dream Catcher," the performance started to really draw me in.

As for Riverside, I had little to no doubt that the band would deliver. The actual question was, how it would stack up against the concert in Belgium in spring. Seeing one band twice during what is essentially the same tour is a rare experience for me. Sometimes, one gig can be good, the other not so much. Often you might end up with two not-too-dissimilar gigs that are both good, but if you are waiting for great variance in the set list, you'll likely be disappointed. I mean, the bands can only go so far shuffling their set list, especially when promoting their most recent album. While not a case this time, it is very exceptional that you'll get gigs that are totally different, and still top notch. You can imagine that it depends on a lot of various factors.

I'm not sure what I was expecting set-wise. I love the Shrine Of New Generation Slaves. Yes, it's different from their early material, that I also love ("Out Of Myself" anyone?), but to be frank, I'm not terribly missing it from the show. I think it speaks for itself what Riverside have achieved. The band is 5 albums into their career and their last album is so interesting, musically and emotionally, that it doesn't need support from their earlier output. Yes, there's Anno Domini High Definitions, but you have to admit you'd get a short set otherwise. Now here I am, writing about this, and I think that this is quite possibly a singular experience of this kind for me so far. I can't seem to recall any show where I've been satisfied that the band has not played one of my earlier favourites. This experience is starting to feel like a revelation.

I had a feeling I'd be comparing the gig in Tapper with the one in Biebob a lot in my mind. Turns out I didn't. While the set lists are virtually identical, and the venues not that different in size or attendance, I have a hard time of thinking of the gigs as similar enough for a good comparison. Biebob was special, if only for the silent scream. But the difference is that it was out there, somewhere in Europe, I mean the other Europe so to say. Tapper is here. This is home. And for this reason it feels different, and special. The sound is not as good, and the performance is the band being only their usual, ordinary self. But because it's happening here, and because here also seems to have like-minded people, it makes a somewhat ordinary gig into a good one.

Set list:
1. New Generation Slave (Shrine Of New Generation Slaves)
2. The Depth Of Self-Delusion (Shrine Of New Generation Slaves)
3. Feel Like Falling (Shrine Of New Generation Slaves)
4. Driven To Destruction (Anno Domini High Definitions)
5. Living In The Past (Memories In My Head)
6. We Got Used To Us (Shrine Of New Generation Slaves)
7. Egoist Hedonist (Anno Domini High Definitions)
8. 02 Panic Room (Rapid Eye Movement)
9. Escalator Shrine (Shrine Of New Generation)
10. Celebrity Touch (Shrine Of New Generation Slaves)
11. Left Out (Anno Domini High Definitions)

I think it's rather hard to be disappointed with Riverside on their current tour. They seem to have matured musically, both as a band and as performers. You can't pinpoint any exact element of the whole as being (that much) different or (that much) better, but the overall feeling is qualitatively different on another, higher level. I've seen the band play in 2009, 2011, and twice in 2013, and they've become a better band, if it was indeed possible. They excel at what they do at present, and it not only sounds good and right, it also feels good and right. I'd go to another Riverside gig any time.

Written on 30.09.2013 by I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.

And one day I'm going to start a band. We're going to be playing pun-rock.

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