Eclipse

Amager Bio, Copenhagen - 2017

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

As per usual, when it comes to the start of December, we head on over to Amager Bio, for a dose of Pretty Maids and their Christmas show.
And as per usual, they brought a support band with them, a new one almost every time. That can be both good and bad, and since neither of us had heard about this years’ band before, Eclipse, there really was no telling what it would be like. Fingers crossed, in we went…

“We are Eclipse from Stockholm, Sweden! What an honour it is to be here and play with Pretty Maids!”
- Erik Mårtensson (vocals/guitar)


This was something just a little bit out of the ordinary, that much we could gather from simply seeing the drumkit - it was transparent, and lined with small, red lights. Drummer Philip Crusner was the first one on stage, and after a few quick trial beats on his instrument, he quickly proceeded into engaging the audience, demanding more feedback in the form of shouts and raised fists. An equally unexpected as appreciated way to kick things into gear.
He began counting in, and the rest of the band members rushed to the stage, as they opened with I Don’t Wanna Say I’m Sorry. The style was hard rock / metal, taken directly from the golden age of the ‘Eighties.
Musically, Eclipse was spot on in what they were going for - this was rockin’, yet easily accessible and catchy, the type of music you can sing along to after hearing a single chorus. The delivery, likewise, was full of vitality and strength. Crusner kept messing around and have fun behind the drums, delivering as many stick-tricks (drumsticks!) as he could possibly fit in between the actual playing, guitarist Magnus Henriksson threw pose after pose at us. Bassist Magnus Ulfstedt was a bit more laid back than the rest, but grooved well, and wasn’t above direct interaction with the crowd as well. However, it was vocalist, frontman, and occasional guitarist Erik Mårtensson that really took the room by storm - he was all over the stage, swinging his bright red microphone stand overhead or out towards the crowd.

Mårtensson was also good at addressing and integrating the crowd into the show. At one time demanding rhythmic applause to support a song, at another leading us into sing-along sessions surprisingly well received. I had zero expectations to how well this band would be received by the Danish crowd, given that I at least had never heard of them before, and given the history of this type of crowd. Luckily, and happily, these expectations were soon put to shame. Sure, Eclipse didn’t garner as much of a response as Pretty Maids would later on, no shame in that, but they received at lot more love than support bands, especially unknown or lesser known ones, do in similar circumstances.
The one time when the response didn’t exactly fit Mårtensson’s expectations, was when he announced that the band had released a new album this year. Through the gig, Mårtensson would change between speaking Swedish and English, and this comment had been said in Swedish - naturally, he tried it once again in English, to see if more caught on. A few did.

When it came to sing-along’s, the show was filled with them of course, but there were two major ones, that stood out above the rest. The one was a birthday song to the band’s tour manager, and this night acting guitar tech (mocked slightly for mixing up the cables at one point). He was given an inflated crown by Mårtensson, who then lead us into the song, only forgetting to say the guy’s name beforehand, so that when we reached the “happy birthday dear …”, some confusion arose, regarding what to say (you might want to remember that for next year.)
The other sing-along, came at the end of the stripped rendition of the song Battlegrounds, here played only on acoustic guitar by Mårtensson, supported by a soft electric guitar for the melody by Henriksson. With it’s pleasant, slightly Irish folk feeling, this was one of the highlights of the set for me, and after having heard both this, and the more regularly rockin’ recorded version, I must say I prefer the live rendition.

For the final song, Runaways, the band was confident enough in their ability to warm up the crowd, that Mårtensson even held out his mic to the crowd, letting a girl in the frontrow sing the chorus once by herself, and it worked out quite to everyone’s liking!
Despite my initial trepidation, I’m glad to report that Eclipse quite blew me away. Not necessarily the type of music that would interest me at home, but perfect for this setting, and that performance was above and beyond all that anyone could have hoped for. Eclipse was clearly giving Pretty Maids a run for their money, and despite Mårtensson announcing AC/DC as an inspiration and the greatest band on Earth, I’d have to agree with Lunah Lauridsen (photo), that after having seen them both, I’d much rather have another go with Eclipse than their idols. The loud and warming accolades the band received after finishing their set were well deserved.

Setlist:

I Don’t Wanna Say I’m Sorry
Never Look Back
The Storm
Wake Me Up
Jaded
Battlegrounds
The Downfall Of Eden
Black Rain
Blood Enemies
Runaways

Eclipse

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