Port Noir

Amager Bio, Copenhagen - 2017

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Port Noir from Sweden, and you could see they were from Sweden by the huge snus dent in frontman Love Andersson’s front pocket, was the band chosen to support Pain Of Salvation on their 2017 European tour. Pain Of Salvation was touring in support of their recent release In The Passing Light Of Day, and Port Noir was touring with their 2016 release Any Way The Wind Carries.

“A lot of you came here to dance, right?”
- Love Andersson (vocals/bass)

Port Noir took the stage to a very small crowd at Amager Bio, but this didn’t seem to faze them. They started playing immediately, and already from the start, we could hear that there was catered a bit above average for the sound. In fact, the concert was better mixed than most, and my only complaint is that the vocals were a bit low when standing in the front line. Then again, that has never been an optimal position for a full sound image, so I’m not really complaining, just stating a fact.
The music the trio was delivering was more rock oriented than metal, but fittingly for the band they were supporting, there was enough of a progressive edge to it, that it should cater to the enjoyment of the crowd. Andersson had a good voice with a good ring to it, although he struck me as a bit limited in range. Maybe that was just the songs they had chosen, hard to say as I don’t know them better.
I can’t put an exact label of reference on them, but in song two, which I didn’t catch the name of, I felt strong TOOL influences in the verse, whereas the chorus reminded me more of Denmark’s own Boil. Although, this was just for this specific song, so if you want a clearer picture, you should check them out for yourself.

“Our drummer is apparently too strong!”
- Andersson (vocals/bass)

What impressed more than the sound though, was the fact that the members of Port Noir were actually performing. They were swinging and grooving, dancing along to their own music, when they had at first struck me as a shoegazer outfit in the beginning. Heck, drummer Andreas ‘AW’ Widberg got so carried away at one point, that he broke the skin of his snare drum! With some fast and effective help from the crew, it didn’t take more than a couple of minutes to fix it with a new one though, and the show could continue.
Now, I said that Port Noir was giving a good performance, and they did, but somehow it felt like a closed party up on the stage. Even though Andersson spoke well between many of the songs, even shortly reminiscing about the band’s first visit to Copenhagen a year almost to the day before this, they never really managed to transcend beyond the edge of the stage. It was good to watch, but it never really touched me.
I don’t think I was the only one feeling it either. Around me, people were polite to applaud between songs, and towards the end even a few, tentative shouts could be heard, but overall the audience was still and hung back. When the show started, there was only one line in the front, whereas the rest kept a respectable distance. As the show moved on, and a few more entered the hall, the gap became less obvious, but it was clear that this would never become an outburst of energy.

So, with something like five or six songs played, the last one dedicated to the band’s former bassist who had passed away, my last impression had not changed from the first one – nice music, impressive technical delivery, but no real contact to the crowd. Hopefully, they’ll get this in as the tour progresses. This was the first show after all.

Setlist (incomplete):


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