Report: Sunn O))) & Puce Mary

Doornroosje Nijmegen 22-10-2019

Review and photos made by Erik

Sunn O))) has a steady and vast career. Spanning over twenty years making Drone/Doom this band, formed by Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, have kept competition at bay with their intense music. Aided by fellow musicians Sunn O))) creates a dark, compelling atmosphere with its loud, harsh and especially low tunes. Since this kind of music is exactly my cup of tea it is time to go to Doornroosje enjoying a night of drone sounds. The venue is quite crowded and people are in high spirits today so a lot of people are like minded I guess.

But before this happens we are treated upon opener act Puce Mary (a.k.a. as the L.A. based Frederikke Hoffmeier) where its music is rooted from a collage of Industrial, Noise and Power Electronics. Alone on the stage she manages turning the knobs of her electronical devices perfectly creating an ambient atmosphere with no pause in it, like it should be. Accompanied by the subtle yet perfectly fitting lightshow a dark, heavy and pulsing mood is created while she sometimes speaks and murmurs some lyrics. Later this piece of art is build up to Noise before coming full circle ending with Ambient. An intriguing and justified opener for Sunn O))). Maybe because it just differs so much from the headliner today. Really looking forward seeing Mrs. Hoffmeier again on the stage. And given the response I think a large part of the audience think the same. A job well done I can conclude.

After waiting half an hour suddenly a lot of smoke is being blown on and off the stage. The atmosphere is tense as Sunn O))) enters the stage, with hoods and all. With their ultra-low and lengthy drone sounds and fitting lights they enthral the audience with their ritual. No pause, no words on the stage, just harsh, loud, lengthy drone sounds are being presented. Without any remorse I might add. On paper you might think this kind of music is very hard to keep attention to but live the static and vast sound of Sunn O))) has an immediate effect and manages to get a grip on the audience from beginning till the end. The music pulses, oozes, vibrates and feels like a catharsis of the soul. Bonus collateral damage is the fact that my kidney stones are effectively being pulverized as well. During the beginning of the set the entire band slowly comes on the stage using guitar, bass and other instruments. Especially the usage of keys and trombone makes this journey a deep, dark, almost primal sensation. Music where you can lose yourself but also can find yourself again. The audience watched it in trance, in awe, mesmerized by this perfectly executed dark yet beautiful trip. When the one and a half during catharsis was over I gasped for air and thought this show is one for the books. Personally I think this music is best served live. Not at home where you cannot play it as loud as it deserves. Music which pen and paper does not do justice to everything presented and reflected on the stage but simply has to be experienced, watched and felt during a live session. So be there next time!

Many thanks Doornroosje to indulge me with such musical pleasure. But most of all thank you Sunn O))) and Mary Puce for this great musical adventure this night. Until next time…..