I was just back from my trip in Ukraine and it was already time for me to leave again. Three hours driving and here we are in the strange country that is German-speaking Switzerland. Under its ambitious, pompous and ironically very French airs hides a rather minuscule, minimalist and almost dodgy venue.
Arkona, who we need not introduce anymore but about who I still read some pretty debasing yet harmless comments, are generally used to an audience in more imposing venues. However, just like all their predecessors who enjoyed their art to go see the world, they offered a heartfelt performance and the wonder and passion emanating from their music was all I needed.
As expected, the first chapter of the show was focused on their latest album, Khram. Although I had quite some difficulties to get into it when it was released, I was glad I got to reconnect with it the proper way. Opening with the intense and thrilling “Mantra” and following with “Shtorm” couldn’t do any wrong.
This infallibility actually kept up for a good while. Completing this circle with the closing incantation, they smoothly slid into the Goi, Rode, Goi era, which brought some touching nostalgia since I discovered them with this album (they played my all time favorite “Arkona”!), and then to Slovo with the dreamy and adventurous instrumental “Az'”.
It was purely fantastic, and satisfying. One could nitpick about switching “Zakliatie” and “Kupalets” to respect the initial tracklists of the albums but making the test myself, this was the better choice when it comes to accordingly combining the atmospheres of the songs.
They ended on their classics, “Stenka na Stenku” and “Yarilo”, and it was a wrap. My friend and I, as French-speaking Swiss outsiders and therefore not so welcome as the barman kindly told us (but don’t worry, we absolutely didn’t take it wrong), we had a ball and left the venue with the setlist and a guitar pick. Veni, vidi, vici.
All pictures by Danigraphy’s World