WE and GAS GIANT - John Dee, Oslo, Norway May 12, 2001
From Aural Innovations #16 (June 2001)
What a trip!!!!!!! How some things in life just don't go as you expect. This was going to be the record release party for the split LP that we are releasing called Gas Giant vs. WE - Riding the Red Horse to the Last Stronghold of the Freaks. The records never arrived in time, the drummer in Gas Giant quit two weeks before the gig, it appeared that promises made about the gig would not be honored, etc. But in the end, even without the records and incredible Oslo sunshine (24C), 100 or so people showed up to witness the event and it was AWESEOME!!! We arrived at about 16:30 after a 7½ hr drive from København, Denmark. WE were standing inside the club door when we arrived and it was a really friendly atmosphere and vibe. Some chatting, a long soundcheck, some food, beers, etc.
Gas Giant hit the stage about 11:15. This was the first time the band had ever played live as a 3 piece. Jesper, the singer, he used to play drums, so now he had to do both. This was not an easy job and the first few songs were a bit rough on the vocals but then it improved and the band played their ass off with Stefan playing the most intense acid-psych-space-Paul Kossoff guitar you have ever heard. This guy can fucking play the guitar!!!!! Thomas played a monster bass, laying down the groove that let Stefan take off into space. Jesper, he kept the time and let it flow. The band opened with a brand new song called Phantom Tanker that was sung by Stefan. This song has a very cool guitar hook and groove and due to the way the vocal choruses are delivered really reminds me of Fu Manchu! Next up was Sit Down, and Jespers first vocals and he was paralyzed. (He told me after the gig he felt like something was wrong, he was suppose to be at the front of the stage singing and he was behind the drums, a weird feeling for him.) The song was a bit rough but Stefan and Thomas pulled it out. Next up was Down the Highway and this is where the band went into space. This song was around 8 minutes long and every song after this would be between 9 and 12 minutes of jamming. The band next played Never Leave, off the new split LP. The band had rearranged it so it was now quite different from the recorded version. It gave a lot of space for Stefan to play guitar and flowed from heavy to slow and space and back again. March of my Enemies was next and a highlight of their set, as Stefan played some really great guitar and Jesper could do a lot of the vocals without playing drums, so it was easier to put the feeling necessary into it. Awesome guitar solos. Too Stoned was next and sounded great, with a really cool jam at the end. The band closed the set with Creeping, a number they have been trying out live a few times that is really growing and here Stefan melted the audience with his mixture of heart-felt Paul Kossoff-meets Jimi Hendrix guitar playing. Not the standard tight, heavy intense Gas Giant, but an equally cool, loose, Mountain-Jimi Hendrix experience jam session based on Gas Giant songs.
WE were up quite quickly afterwards and opened with the new songs 1971, off their soon to be released Dinosauric Futurobic CD. They sounded great and the crowd, who mostly hung at the back during Gas Giant moved up. They had a pretty cool light show with an excellent round projection circled the banner behind Kris. Peddler was next followed by the Boom Boom Apes. The band hit back hard with Livin' the Lore. Finally, the band played something off the new split LP with Gas Giant. Last Stronghold of the Freaks. This sounded awesome and Thomas, the singer got all dressed up for the occasion with a cape and top hat! Don stayed with the acoustic guitar and ripped into Flying! This is one of my favorite WE songs. Full moon was next. Now the band, possibly inspired by Gas Giants jamming, did a killer long version of Wooferwheels and really took it out into space. This was the end of the bands main set. The band came back out and ripped through Jinxed, another new song and Red Morning and Carefree. Then they asked where are the Gas Giant guys and invited the band up for a jam on the Groundhogs song Cherry Red. Jesper came up and played conga, Thomas brought up his digeridoo and Stefan just hung out. About 9 minutes into the jam, Stefan tried to come up and set up his pedals and play but the momentum was on the way out and the band ended the song just as he was getting ready to play. He simply took too long to decide to join the jam. What a killer show. Wish you all could have been there. Look for a joint tour with both bands in the fall in Denmark and hopefully Norway.
Check both bands out on the web at: http://www.gasgiant.dk and http://www.we.org.
Reviewed by Scott Heller