4th December 2004 @ Whelans/Dublin, EIRE
As I was planning my annual Dublin vacation, I thought about why not placing it around some cool and interesting gig. When I noticed, that SUNN O))) would be playing the green city during their 'Rather Grimm' tour in early December, I decided, that this was the place to be then. Admittedly I have/had a quite ambivalent view concerning SUNN O))), though. Despite owning most of their releases and actually digging most of them a lot, I find this whole hype surrounding anything to do with Drones, Southern Lord in general etc., especially in those proportions, quite suspicious, to say the least. So I wasn't going to show up there, whole-heartedly embracing the "Drone-Monks" just because it's supposed to be cool and prestigious, trying to maintain a certain degree of objectivity. To keep a long story short: Were they really that good? You bet your ass they were!! After arriving at Whelans, which was more like your typical Irish pub, as you'd imagine one, I had the opportunity listening to glimpses of the soundcheck while having my first round of pints.
That's when I first build up a slight sense of anticipation, as the soundcheck alone was already massive and heavy. By the way, the event was being held in the early afternoon hours, so that was quite weird anyway, and if I hadn't checked the club's webpage beforehand, I'd probably missed out on the whole show. Alright, after entering the main venue, where the actual gig would take place, the first thing I noticed, was the massive queue at the merchandising. This again proved my point concerning the whole Drone-Hype, like people immediately having the need to consume, or even devour nearly everything being offered. No wonder I didn't get one of those precious Live CD sets, only sold on that tour, as there were no copies left anymore, when I bothered to spend some bucks at the merch. After spending some time in front of the stage, filled with their notorious set of amp-towers, listening to a tasty pre-show mix featuring a. o. THORR'S HAMMER and JEFF BUCKLEY, the time had finally come for SUNN O))). When Stephen O'Malley, Greg Anderson and - presumably - Rex Ritter entered the stage, dressed in their hooded robes, they slowly joined the atmospheric intro, which was running for several minutes already. What followed next is really hard - if not even impossible- to describe with mere words. Your really have to experience a SUNN O))) gig yourself.
O'Malley and Anderson simultaneously getting the most monolithic, massive riffs and sounds out of their guitars and amps, while Ritter keeping it all together with his sequencer and adding an effect or two here and there. The whole room felt like being turned upside down and was literally shaking. There was a feeling of no single corner in the building not being filled to the max with ambient, droning waves, deriving from the stage. The whole monotony added to the overall effect, and made it all sound even more hypnotic. If all of this I'm writing may sound silly to you, you're probably right, as I hardly can put to words, what's happening, while experiencing a SUNN O))) show. Actually this was the first time, the band made perfectly sense to me, and made their albums appear like feeble attempts of recreating, what makes them special and unique in a live situation. Splendid! After calming down towards the end of their gig, which lasted aproximately 75 minutes - not 100 % sure anymore - the drone-monk-triumvirate left their instruments on stage, still drowning in feedback noise and other sounds, vanishing into Dublin's early evening, leaving the audience with a feeling of having witnessed surely something out of the ordinary.
(Opolus XL AS)