Wheel, Cellar Darling, Katatonia

Looking at the title you might think I appreciate listing random funny words in headings for no reason. Maybe you are right.

On the other hand in this case it lists the order in which the listed bands appeared at the Gruenspan in Hamburg a week ago.

Anne and me wanted to go to Hamburg to take a look at a band, which will probably become something between pretty and extremely popular in the forseeable future: Yonaka. Their first album Don't Wait 'Til Tomorrow hit the streets end of May and might be just what a lot of people have been waiting for: new pop rock with sweetness, catchyness and power. The number of catchy tracks on the album is almost insulting (I'm looking at you, Own Worst Enemy, Fired Enemy and Creature).

As the concert was canceled we had to find a viable alternative, which luckily worked out and did not disappoint.

We had been to Gruenspan a few times already and usually the atmosphere is great with everyone enjoying the event. I have to admit that none of the listed bands were known to me beforehand. I got a good Katatonia album to get an idea of their style. For obvious reasons Night Is the New Day happened to be my choice and I already looked forward to a veteran dark metal band experience, but boy did I underestimate the bands they brought along: Wheel and Cellar Darling.

Wheel played a lot of tracks from their first album Moving Backwards (released earlier this year), which mixes a lot of (mostly darker 90s) influences. Song lyrics are critical of current political and social developments. Despite this (being critical is not necessarily interesting by default) the music is pushing and powerful. The singer, James Lascelles, fortunate for me, sold merch himself and I couldn't withstand respectfully shaking hands while muttering some compliments, thinking I'll probably not get that chance so soon again - if ever.

The humble man was full of praise for the upcoming band, Cellar Darling, so we headed back into the hall.

Also unusual, but for other reasons, the band surprised us as well. To call the face of the band, Anna Murphy, experienced, is an understatement. While she mainly sung deeply melancholic (nonetheless catchy) melodies she sometimes went to play a concert flute or even a hurdy-gurdy (including a dramatic part in the track Insomnia). While I'm usually sceptical about metal bands with female singers I couldn't help but like the moving quality of the voice in combination with the heavy sound and the hurdy-gurdy parts.

Needless to say Katatonia also didn't disappoint with extra heavy sound and clear vocals, switching back and forth effortlessly between melancholic heavy metal and progressive rock elements. In contrast to the other band they didn't need to prove anything to the world anymore and just effortlessly rocked the audience.

So sometimes unexpected problems can lead to equally incredibly positive outcomes.