Norwegians Invade Country Music Capital: Kvelertak, Cancer Bats, and Black Tusk in Nashville, TN 5/15/13

Posted by on May 20, 2013

Nashville, TN’s Exit/In played host to Norwegian Black ‘n Rollers Kvelertak with support from the mighty Cancer Bats and Black Tusk.   I was really surprised at the demographic that they drew out that night, ranging from folks in their early 20’s to a 60-year-old couple!

The venue started to get pretty full just as sludge trio, Black Tusk took the stage!  These guys really know how to work the crowd and have a really big sound for a three-piece.  They blasted through a set of hard-hitting “swamp metal” that got people moshing and headbanging early-on, with tracks from their latest release Set The Dial and earlier releases as well.

Hardcore act, Cancer Bats were up next after a quick set-change, and wasted no time, launching into a blistering set featuring material both new and old, including my personal favorite tracks, “Bricks and Mortar” off of their newest release Dead Set On Living, and “Hail Destroyer”, the title track off of their 2008 release.  Fun fact: Cancer Bats are one of Devildriver vocalist Dez Fafara’s favorite bands (per a conversation I had with him back in 2011), and it’s easy to see why!  Yeah it’s not polyrhythmic metal in some weird low tuning and odd time signatures, but it’s fun music.  And that’s really all that mattered, the crowd seemed to love them and I had to dodge mosh pits in my efforts to get some good photographs of the guys (see photos below!).

Cancer Bats proved the perfect band to warm the crowd up for the antics of the six silly Norsemen in Kvelertak.  It’s hard for me to list out songs they played because while I know some of their discography, it’s all in Norwegian….however I did recognize the anthemic “Bruane Brenn”, which they had released a hilarious video for back in February.  The band played for over an hour, and things got so rowdy in the audience that at one point someone had to be carried out (not sure about the extent of their injuries).  Vocalist Erlend Hjelvik was in top-form, prancing about the stage, swinging his beard around, and emphatically raising his fist as he belted out his vocals.  Both Hjelvik and guitarist Maciek Ofstad seemed to have a game that they had established to see who could spit higher in the air and catch it while playing….Odd?  Yes.  But it just added to the hilarity of their live show, which after the incident(s) in the audience, really felt like some crazy Norwegian bar-room brawl. Definitely some of the most fun I’ve had at a show in a while, catch Kvelertak on tour while you can, they’re only in North America through May 22! Check out photos from all three bands’ sets in the gallery below.

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