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Covenant: 21 May 2010

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Live Act(s): Covenant
Event Date: 21 May 2010
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: Oceana Hall
Promoter/Organizer: Ritual Filth
Rated: *****
If I incorporated the venue into my rating, it wouldn't be nearly as high, but I just can't hold that against a performing artist. Covenant had just recently played the Kinetik Festival and was following up that appearance with a stop in Brooklyn. Knowing the band doesn't frequent the US that often, I made the trip to Oceana to check it out, and it was well worth it.

The crowd was an enthusiastic group, most of them dressed up in their best goth gear, though the venue was not nearly as packed as I anticipated a Covenant show to be. A few of my companions were big fans of the band, but rarely listened to any other electronic artists. Bearing that in mind, I expected that Covenant would have a broader appeal and a more varied audience. I was wrong in this assumption.

A lengthy intro track played as fogged fill the stage. The keyboardists made their entrance and Eskil Simonsson soon followed, sauntering onto the stage in his business casual attire. Later on, my companions would remark he had that distinguished, older 'David Bowie' look. I'm surprised they could tell as the dimly-lit stage washes provided by the venue made the band look like little more than silhouettes for the majority of the set.

Exaggerated complaints about the venue aside, one of the first things I took note of was during 'Invisible and Silent', which Eskil had announced was his favorite ballad (followed by a fan shouting 'We love anything you do, Eskil!'). Anyone familiar with the song knows that the track modulates upwards at the last chorus. This wasn't enough for Eskil as he proceeded to improvise an even higher harmony clearly different from the recording, and doing quite an admirable job of it. It was impressive hearing the range he could reach in a live setting.

'Ritual Noise' was another stand out track. During a breakdown of the song Eskil announced to everyone, 'Thank you for making this noise with us.' And as the heavy beat came through once more the crowd launched into a round of impromptu, unprompted clapping to the rhythm (surprisingly accurate by American club standards, by the way'¦good job, Brooklyn fans!). This was accented by one of the keyboardists playing a pair of floor toms that had been situated to the front of stage left, which added a nice live element to the performance.

After the track was seemingly finished, Eskil stepped off stage, but the keyboardists remained. A seemingly improvised noise track began with a rather unpleasant high pass filter at the hands of the tom-playing keyboardist, but it was pleasantly relieved by 'Call the Ships to Port' which had to be the most raucous track of the night.

Just imagine the volume of the track momentarily getting softer, then the line: ''¦like whispers in the dark.' BOOM! The track explodes and everyone cheers while throwing their hands up in the air!

Covenant has found a way to get their audience moving, and does so almost effortlessly. Questionable lighting choices aside, it was a concert worth seeing and I look forward to a few years from now whenever Covenant manages to find their way back to the states again.

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