Oh how I have longed to smell the pheromone-loaded sweat of a mosh pit, the nearly invisible smile of the big bearded guy in the next to the bar with his arms folded on resting on his belly but more than anything the infernally growling queen and her moxie wielders of magical wands and strings. I missed this enchantment, I missed the blasting volume, the glaring lights and even being pushed by the pit enthusiasts missing their steps. Or simply: how I have missed the Jinjer experience on a club stage. So, I send a wish to the universe: Let me have that again!
Wallflower [wall·flow·er | \ ˈwȯl-ˌflau̇(-ə)r]
Wallflower – a flower in a wall, perhaps a bright shining spot adding the aura of hope to an otherwise grey surroundings. Just as likely the flower in or on that wall can be either so small and/or greyish itself so that may easily be overlooked. Jinjer is the shining wallflower, bright and loud, evil and heavy, none of the kind to be overlooked and even less be overheard. No. Jinjer are the shrieking bright dot on that wall sucking all attention. They don’t match with the colour of the wall, they dictate the appearance of any wall even if it was as huge as the universe and their Wallflower dot the size of an egg shell.
Granted! (Voice from the Off)
Finally, Jinjer is back, touring continental Europe again. They present their just recently release album Wallflowers and two support acts: Hypno5e from France and Space Of Variations from their home Ukraine. I am invited to their show at the Lindenpark in Potsdam/Germany. The club is situated in a mostly residential area near the legendary Babelsberg movie facilities. Although it is smaller to midsize club it is equipped with vast light installations. Several bars add to the cosy character. The fudge on the Lindenpark cake is a yard shaded by large old trees and a bar inviting to hang out, while waiting for the show to begin.
When Space Of Variations plays the first chords, the yard empties rapidly, pulls them all to the stage. Apparently I am not the only one starving for actual concerts, I think as I go inside. But this is more. Damn, what a highlight they are! Powerful, magnetic, hitting the deepest spots of our guts and hearts, progressive modern Hardcore/Nu Metal at its best. Searching a spot for some good shots, I get aware that this ‘successor of Nu Metal’ is about to become sort of Metal mainstream. So many established as well as young bands walk on that bridge over the streams of Hiphop and Disco beats flowing in Death Metal and Hardcore riffs. Some for the better or even best, such as Space Of Variations! Within a few songs they achieve a good chemistry with the crowd. The pandemic will have favoured our couch-patatoe gene, slowed us perhaps to some sloth-like state but Space Of Variations do not accept that. They demand a pit and the crowd obeys immediately. – Adorable chaps and great music.
Let me briefly mention the pandemic-related restrictions for tonight. The limited number of tickets were sold only online, access depends on a green-pass strategy and indoors wear masks is required. Consequently, the drinks are available only at the bar in the yard and drinks are not to be taken inside.
Hypno5e mark the contrast tonight. They play a mix of extensive slow and moody passages spiced with some doomy Death Metal. The audience is happy with the performance but I admit their music does not resonate with me. But this is just me. What moves me is seeing this mid-ages guy gliding into this trance-like dance, the cheering applause they earn and confident atmosphere. I take this pause to look around. Who is here tonight? There is remarkable share of female metal heads and the average age appears to be rather young. The audience makes an appropriate catwalk for some elaborated blackness and skater-sporty-spice outfits. Impressive make-ups mix with plain faces and simple braids. It is an all-over colourful bunch. I study the faces and not surprisingly I read ‘I am simply happy to be here’ all over. It feels really good to be among us again and be one of many in that group experience again and in the very same moment simply being you or me. Each of us enjoys tonight’s heavy soundtrack in his or her own fashion, banging, moshing, dancing, swinging or just listening. This individualism makes us one and this sets us free. We celebrate the music, we celebrate the bands and life as such.
At long last, Vlad appears on stage. He gets a warm, no a hot welcome. Roman follows on a wave of enthusiastic cheers before Eugene sows the rage that then pulls Tatiana on stage. “Look at meeeeeee” she shouts as if there was anyone not doing just this right now. As usually she is pulling all eyes to follow each of her moves. She wears a very elegant, long, black and white cloak-like dress. Never have I experienced such a perfect match of ‘infernal’ and ‘lady’. Her abominably evil and low growls thunder through the hall, while Eugene’s extremely groovy bass dictates the instrumentals. It leaves hardly space in our attention to acknowledge appropriately Vlad’s and Roman’s crackerjack performance. Not fair at all. Vlad’s kit has been added by numerous drums and plenty of cymbals. It seems to have grown to the double size. Honestly, I miss his minimalistic kit making his stick sorcery so much more impressive. Roman has never been the most active runner on stage. He is pure understatement in that regard. Unfortunately from my spot further in the back, he is hard to hear at all. I cannot say if that is because I stand more on Eugene’s side of the stage or if perhaps the mix is unbalanced. Anyway it adds to the one real challenge in this band: being Jinjer’s guitarist!
“Call Me a Symbol” * “On the Top” * “Pit of Consciousness” *
“I Speak Astronomy * “Disclosure” * “Judgement” *
“Sleep of The Righteous” * “Ape” * ”Retrospection” *
“Perennial” * “Wallflower” * “Teacher, Teacher” *
“As I Boil Ice” * “Mediator” * “Home Back” *
Compared to former shows, Tatiana is more moderating between the songs. I like that. Back in the days, in those tiny clubs where the stage is no more than knee-high, the connection between Jinjer and crowd was always as tight as can be. Their stages have grown and with them the space to the crowd. But not tonight. I can hardly imagine a Jinjer concert not being sort of one big pit and this makes no exclusion, pandemic or not. The chemistry from and with the stage is amazing. And so the end of the show comes way too early, although of course a set of 16 songs makes a more than appropriate set! But too long, we all have longed for Jinjer to give us a killer show and so this gig should have never ended!
Good. Very good. Excellent! – Thank You.
Sipping a night cap in the yard, I let the impressions of the show wander through my mind. Support bands opening a concert night with only a 30-minutes slot (or even shorter) stand hardly a chance to win or warm up a crowd. Before anyone actually can make up one’s mind whether or not to like what happens on stage it is over and out. Longer slots to me are simply a win:win for the musicians to present themselves and the audience to get a longer show. Space of Variations and Hypno5e had quite long slots. Good!
I am getting aware that Space Of Variations were the first gig at which I observed a ‘masked pit’. Obviously pandemic restrictions cannot stop us from our traditional self-expression. Very good!
Jinjer delivered an energetic and passionate show for which the newly released “Wallflower” album makes a formidable foundation. Excellent!
It was a perfect live experience. I mumble a half-silent “thank you” as I leave the Lindenpark, a thank you to the universe for granting my wish and of course to Space of Variations, Hypno5e, and Jinjer!