Jakob Stegelmann & Aarhus Symphony Orchestra

Copenhell - 2018

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

So far, Copenhell had brought us opening acts every day that we hadn’t seen before.
Warm-up day: L7
Day 1: Møl
Day 2: Auðn
Another thing they had in common, was that they had all been positive encounters. On the final day, Jakob Stegelmann & Aarhus Symfoniorkester was also a new encounter, and we were about to find out if they could also live up to being a positive encounter. Three out of four is good, but could we go for the whole shebang?

“Why am I here? Because you are here. And you’re not at home, watching Troldspejlet anymore.”
- Jakob Stegelmann (host)

To be fair, Jakob Stegelmann isn’t new to us, as he’s been a long time fan-favourite amongst nerds, geeks, and other good folk, as the mastermind and host of the TV-show Troldspejlet, where he’s reviewed games, films, and books outside of the mainstream vein for years and years. Fantasy, horror, and all of the other good stuff that so many fans of metal also enjoy. Nowadays, he’s also got his own podcast series going, Stegelcast, where anything and everything of interest is brought up. Provided your interest lay in the genres of Super 8 films, b-movies, cartoons, and the like. Which of course it does, don’t try and run from it.
Stegelmann was opening the Helvíti stage on the final day of Copenhell 2018, together with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Peter Ettrup Larsen.
Together, they had stitched together a very special show for the festival crowd - led by anecdotes from Stegelmann, the orchestra took us through a slew of theme melodies from the film and game world, spiced up with a little extra stuff.

Stegelmann had a comfy sitting chair at the side of the stage, from which he rose and spoke between songs - and the orchestra filled pretty much the rest of the large stage. Needless to say, it was an impressive sight to behold.
With his many years of experience, albeit in a somewhat different setting, Stegelmann guided us through the timeline of songs in a confident and entertaining manner, but it was also easy to see that this was something that affected him as well - he looked entertained, and at times overwhelmed by the response he was given by the crowd.
Ettrup Larsen and the orchestra also seemed taken at times with the type of response they were getting - I bet it’s not everyday they see a circlepit, in the type of places they play!

“I’ve spent 35 years defending you against your parents, and look where it’s gotten you!”
- Stegelmann (host)

And yes, believe it or not, but at this festival, solely focused on metal in all of it’s nuances, it was a TV-host and a classical orchestra that really managed to pull people out of their tents, away from the bars, and onto the (in lack of a better word) dance floor.
Also Sprach Zarathustra set the immediate tone, but this tone quickly lifted as the next step on the list was a trilogy of Batman themes. When the version used in the 60ies TV show came on, the sing along reached unequalled heights, and Ettrup Larsen could hardly conceal his smile, as he conducted the crowd as much as the orchestra.
Superman came next, because why not stay with the superheroes for a while, and fittingly, I saw a man in a Superman outfit come crowdsurfing by.
Spiderman rounded up the superhero section, after which we got a song that’s not a film theme per se, but has been used enough to be easily recognisable as such. I am talking about Grieg’s In The Hall Of The Mountain King. It was to this melody that the circlepit commenced, slowly at first, and then steadily increasing in ferocity as the music grew wilder and wilder, ending in controlled chaos both on stage and off. What a moment this was to be alive!

“Cartoons aren’t funny! (Yes they are!) Ah, we’re in the right place.”
- Stegelmann (host)

The show continued on, touching on more movie franchises, cartoon shows, and even video game themes - Super Mario was especially well received, with dancing and prancing all over the place.
Second to last, the orchestra played The Gremlin Rag, and the audience erupted! This was after all a piece of music that has also had a side job as the intro music for Troldspejlet, and the crowd chanted “Jakob” loudly over and over and over again.

So yes, Copenhell had provided us with three out of four good intro bands thus far, but the fourth one wasn’t good - it was freaking amazing! Yes, I would go as far as saying that in a festival of a plentitude of great concerts, this was above and beyond everything else - and judging from the response that Stegelmann, Ettrup Larsen, and all the collected talent of the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, got, I was not the only one feeling this way.
This may have been a one-off special gig, but I’d sure love to see another one down the line. Here’s hoping!

(post-note: the setlist is marked as incomplete, due to there being a Star Wars theme between the 20th Century Fox Fanfare and the Imperial March, which I can’t remember the name of)

Setlist (incomplete):

Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 (Richard Strauss cover)
The Batman Theme (Batman, 1989) (Danny Elfman cover)
Batman Theme (Batman, 1966) (Neal Hefti cover)
Vespertilio (Batman Begins, 2005) (Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard cover)
Prelude And Main Title March (Superman The Movie, 1978) (John Williams cover)
Main Title (Spider-Man, 2002) (Danny Elfman cover)
Spider-Man (Spider-Man, 1967) (Paul Francis Webster & Robert Harris cover)
The Avengers (The Avengers, 2012) (Alan Silvestri cover)
In The hall Of The Mountain King (Edvard Grieg cover)
The Raiders March (Raiders of The Lost Ark, 1981) (John Williams cover)
Ground Theme (Super Mario Bros., 1985) (Koji Kondo cover)
Angry Birds Theme (Angry Birds, 2009) (Ari Pulkkinen cover)
The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down (Looney Tunes, 1937) (Cliff Friend & Dave Franklin cover)
Tom And Jerry Theme (Tom And Jerry, 1940) (Scott Bradley cover)
The 20th Century Fox Fanfare (20th Century Fox, 1933) (Alfred Newman cover)
(unknown Star Wars theme)
The Imperial March (The Empire Strikes Back, 1980) (John Williams cover)
The Gremlin Rag (Gremlins, 1984) (Jerry Goldsmith cover)
Star Wars Theme (Star Wars, 1977) (John Williams cover)

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