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SUNN O))) + PUCE MARY live at Kampnagel, Hamburg (03.03.2019)

Sunn O)))

Now this was a fabulous Sunn O)))day night!

The drone metal monumentalists were back in Hamburg at the huge Kampnagel K6 hall, which is probably the most suitable location for them here.

I knew that there would be a solo performer as a support act, but hadn't looked him/her (didn't even know the gender) up. So the evening started with a pleasant surprise. 

Puce Mary

Puce Mary is an electronic noise / drone artist. Her set started with a piece based on majestic organ sounds, which made me think of an Anna von Hausswolff instrumental.
With the following tracks however the sound got noisier and nastier, with a much bleaker atmosphere over uncomfortable bass beats, which was closer to Pharmakon.

All in all it was a rich droning tapestry of sounds, great stuff which successfully set the pace for what was to come.

Sunn O)))


After 2015 here and 2016 in Munich this was my third Sunn O))) live experience.

Naturally it was missing the novelty of the first time, when you realize with the very first neverending note just how fucking intense this is going to be. Luckily it also missed the brutal humidity of the Munich show.

The main difference on this tour however is that there is no singer in the line-up. So without the enormous stage presence of Attila Csihar this would surely be a different flavour of Sunn O))).

The compensation was more instruments. Besides Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson on their ultra-low guitars there were three more players on bass Moog, synthesizer / trombone and - first time for me - actual four-string bass. Except for the brass every single instrument of course amplified via multiple stacks, which built a wall over the complete width of the stage.

Let me just skip the part where I abuse several more or less fitting metaphors to describe how a Sunn O))) show feels. It's one of those you had to be there things anyway.

Just in short: This infernal, but actually very delicately and carefully performed two hour dronescape was a behemoth too large to comprehend. My favorite part was the turning point, when the volume was lowered just enough to make room the hopeful trombone. After this glimps of a Coltrane and Davis vibe the "Life Metal" - as Sunn O)))'s forthcoming album is called - returned with all the more meditative relentlessness.

A performance like this maximum volume slow motion spectacle doesn't necessarily demand an encore, so I was positively surprised that they gave one. And I was also happy that I had brought a second pair of earplugs.

There was a sixth robe on stage now, just sitting there, which was a bit ominous without actually leading to something. So let's be real: That was just Puce Mary enjoying one of the sweetest sound spots in the hall. Good for her.

Sunn O))) still is a singular manifestation of drone masterclass. Go see them if you can! There's nothing quite like them out there.

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