Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Negative: Rock n' Roll with true feeling (Concert review)

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Negative: Rock n' Roll with true feeling

The Finnish group left an irremovable imprint in Madrid during their concert on January 23rd

Young or old, accompanied or alone, boys or girls, no matter the age, gender or who they listen it with, the music of Finnish band, Negative, is suitable for all and the concert held on January 23rd at Ritmo and Compás was a great example of this.

five o'clock, when the group was barely arriving at the venue there was already a small queue waiting for the show. Initially, the doors were scheduled to be opened at eight o'clock in the afternoon, but due to problems outside the organization, the welcoming band was cancelled and the doors would finally open at nine.

At about 21:05 the crowd which had been steadily growing as the day wore on was allowed inside. Little by little the concert venue filled up and after another hour long wait, the opening chords of the group’s intro began at 22:00. Onto the small stage of the Sala Ritmo y Compas climbed Mr. Snack on keyboards, Larry Love on guitar, Jay Slammer on drums and Antti Anatomy on bass. The voice was that of Jonne Aaron, the group’s creator.

The catchy "No One Can Save Me Tonight" from the latest album, “Neon”, was the song chosen to begin the show. Next they played "The Moment of Our Love" single from their debut album “War of Love”.

While Jonne bounced back and forth around the stage, singing and dedicating smiles and winks, Jay hit the battery with emphasis, Antti stuck out his tongue and did not bother to fix the handkerchief that had slid over his eyes, and Larry and Snack sung the choirs while playing their instruments with intensity.

The audience was likewise displaying their affection for the band as they loudly sang to the lyrics and jumped or lifted their fists.

The room vibrated with songs like "Giving up", "Blood on Blood" or their particular version of "My, My / Hey Hey" by Neil Young. The sound quality was good and the group was clearly giving it all. Pouring sentiment into every song, it was clear why these guys define their music as “emotional rock n’ roll.

After singing their latest single "End of the Line", Jonne announced "a different version of Neverending Parade" and left the stage accompanied by all but Snack and Larry. Without saying anything they both began to play an amazing instrumental version of keyboards and guitar of "Never ending parade" that left everyone speechless.

They stepped off the stage to staggering applause and cheers that continued even as Jonne returned on set, this time with an acoustic guitar in hand. After thanking Larry and Snack whose names were still being chanted, he thanked all who participated in the European tour, his manager, sound technicians, marketing vendor, the bus drivers and of course, everyone present.

He then explained he was going to play something special, a song which lyrics he had written at age 16 and apparently touched he launched himself into singing "Still Alive".
The small venue allowed for an intimate and welcoming atmosphere, and the possibility of hearing the comments shouted from the audience. That led to more than one joke, for example, Jonne betting that he would give 5 Euros to the person that guessed the next song correctly, asking people if they were having a good time and humming the chorus of "I gotta feeling" from The Black Eyed Peas, or discovering that in the room there were people of all nationalities: Swiss, German, Finnish, English and Spanish of course.
Since it was the last performance of the European tour, Jonne invited the attendees to suggest a song to sing acoustically. An English man suggested "Lust n 'needs" and Jonne readily agreed, admitting that the last time he had sung that song he had done it wrong because he started from the second verse. This time there were no errors. Furthermore, Jonne bettered himself and adeptly bonded one song with another, almost moving the audience to tears as he sung with passion and sensibility the end of "Fucking Worthless."

After the heart-warming acoustic, the group reappeared and the room went wild once more. "Jealous Sky", "Frozen to Lose It All", "Since You've Been Gone" the never before played live "Days I'm living for" and finally, "Planet of the sun" confirmed the group's powerful live act.

23:15 the lights were dimmed and Negative said goodbye. Not easily fooled by this quick retreat the crowd began to chant the typical Spanish “oe oe”. The group soon returned to end a superb concert with 3 more songs, including "Love that I lost" and "I won’t let go."

23:45 the real end arrived. Negative took several bows, threw sweaty towels, drum sticks and left to an applause that did not die down for at least a good 5 minutes.

The magic of the night had ended, but the vibrating public left behind after the roller coaster of feelings that the group had evoked was proof of what Negative is really good at: powerful and emotional rock n’ roll.


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  1. fantastic gig...I was there :o)
    English love to Negative.

  2. It was amazing :) I just posted the English transcript of the interview I made Jonne. In case you want to check it out. Cheers! :)