For my last gig in Colchester, the line-up certainly represented what I’ve come to love about Colchester in my 3 years there. Khost represented what I loved about my time at University: discovering new bands. Jøtnarr: a local band I’ve come to love in my time here. Finally, the headliner was one of my favourite bands: Conan. They were the first band I ever interviewed for the site back in 2013 when they played at the sadly closed The Hole in the Wall.
Shortly after interviewing Conan in their van and Jøtnarr in the graveyeard, I walked to the venue where Khost’s sonic assault had begun. The windows were shaking from how heavy they were. Sporting on a guitarist and bassist, God only knows how heavy they’d be with a drummer. Using samples to enhance their hypnotic drone sound, Khost were exciting, fresh and new and will no doubt make an impact on the doom scene.
Up next were one of the jewels in the crown of Essex, Jøtnarr. Walking onstage to King Diamond‘s, ‘The Family Ghost,’ the band soon launched into ‘Relics’ from Divide The Growth And Stone as the audience’s ears pricked up to something more accessible. The fists of the band’s assault pummeled the crowd – Jøtnarr were on stage and had the audience’s attention. Moving onto material from Burn and Bury, the band blasted through ‘Rise by Sin,’ ‘Sunless’ and the excellent ‘Waldeinsamkeit’ which was dedicated to me. The latter is a song of two halves; a harrowing bleak first half and a beautiful empowering second half with a solo for the ages. Soon, tragedy struck as straight after ‘Waldensamkeit,’ Simon Rollo’s guitar strings snapped. To entertain the crowd, frontman Chris Moore told Lemmy‘s infamous frog joke, but yet it still wasn’t enough time for the issue to be fixed. When the problem was sorted the band played one last track to finish off the audience. Jøtnarr put on an exhilarating show, one of the best of their career which I have witnessed. My friend Lee said to me at the show, “the thing I love about Jøtnarr is that they’re a fan of their fans,” which is true. They spent time chatting to their people who bought their merch, dedicated songs to them and put the effort in for them, they really are the kings of the Colchester scene.
As expected though, Conan were from another planet. Opener ‘Crown of Talons,’ pricked up ears before deafening them with a thunderous blast. Listening to Conan is like having an anvil dropped on your head by a Cave Troll; they were harsh, heavy and on deadly form. When Jon Davis yelled ‘Foehammer!’ and the audience cheered, violent headbanging began. From the still untitled new song through to classic material such as ‘Hawk as a Weapon’ and ‘Battle in the Swamp,’ it was a magnificent display of power. The current line-up of Conan is incredibly tight and powerful, everything is going right for this band.
So ended my last gig in Colchester as an undergraduate and it was a fantastic end to my three years in Essex. Wherever the wind takes me I do not know, but one thing is for the certain, I’ll be back.