In recent years the popularity of self-proclaimed ‘amplified history’ group Heilung has grown immensely. Due to the covid-19 pandemic they had to postpone their tour, resulting in the Dutch show being sold out a long time ago already. The high demand for tickets, and the band’s popularity resulted in a second show being confirmed, taking place on the 6th of January 2023.
I was planning on making this only a photo report, but then again, why not write a few supporting words to go along.
Walking into a sold out, fully-packed 013 isn’t my favourite hobby, but we found a good spot when support act Lili Refrain had just started playing. I’ll confess I’ve never heard of this artist until the support act announcement, but the multi-instrumentalist captured the attention of the entire venue with her contagious enthusiasm and a spot on performance. Although it’s not my personal cup of tea, it was a genuinely good show that she clearly enjoyed herself as well.
When she had said her thank yous and goodbyes, the curtain half way the stage dropped and the pre-arranged stage consisting of tree branches, drums, symbols and much more appeared, ready for Heilung‘s ritual; yes, ritual, the band doesn’t ‘perform a “show,” nor “deliver a concert.” They perform a ritual on stage, accompanied by the shamanistic chants of Kai Uwe Faust, in matching outfit, and lead by Maria Franz. Third core member of the band Christopher Juul is in charge of multiple (electronic) instruments and supporting vocals.
The ritual started with an opening ceremony in the sacred circle, followed by ‘In Madjan.’ From the start, the energy from the band, and the crowd was great, almost magical. Equally magical is Franz‘s singing. Her vocal range goes in every direction and puts everyone under her spell. Combined with the enchanting never-ending beating of the drums, it’s hard to not find yourself in some sort of trance at a certain point. During the first half of the evening, mainly songs from the first album “Ofnir” were performed; the second half consisted mainly of songs from “Futha.” Only two songs from their latest release “Drif”: “Asja” and “Anoana” are part of the ritual during this tour. I would have loved to hear some more newer material, but on the other hand, I can’t think of anything negative about this evening and the further the evening lingered, the higher the energy rose and it would be a shame if songs as ‘Elddansurin’ and ‘Hamrer Hippyer’ would disappear from the setlist, cause those are the ones, thanks to the build up, mainly in the drums, where the crowd as well as the band went totally wild and crazy.
And just like that, the evening had come to an end already, after ending the ritual with the closing ceremony, back in the sacred circle, the band left the stage while the audience applauded them for minutes and minutes to follow.
Small word of advice: your ‘viking’/ historical outfit sure is fitting for an evening like this, but I’ve seen multiple people being dragged out of the audience after passing out as they were dressed way too warmly for a sold out show in 013, so if you’re visiting any of the upcoming shows, you might want to reconsider your choice of clothing.