Voodoo Kungfu

Loppen, Copenhagen - 2016

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

We first got acquainted with Voodoo Kungfu at Wacken back in 2008, but after that we haven’t really heard much about them.
I remember liking the experience though, so when I noticed that they were to support Orphaned Land on this European tour, I was thrilled to see if the show would please me yet again.

A lot has happened with Voodoo Kungfu in the years between then and now. Not in the least, the band has been split up, and then been reconfigured around vocalist Li Nan (or Nan Lee? I haven’t got the hang of how to write Chinese names correctly.).
This time around, we had a new Asian and a new Western face on guitars, another Asian man on bass, and someone/something on drums; the latter was hard to figure out, as he(it?) wore a full-face devil mask throughout the show.
This was only part of the overall stage attire however, which was something that had definitely been worked on since our last meeting. Now, still without looking completely alike, they all wore a matching set of colourful clothes, and in addition to the drummer’s devil mask, Li Nan entered wearing a large demon/scarecrow headdress.
This visual style was solidified by a jerky and unpredictable performance style by Li Nan, that made the man look perfectly possessed! And, fittingly, the first song of the show, was a threateningly dark, droning piece full of atmosphere. That it followed directly upon an intro of Eastern chants helped build the mood up, and we were off to a good start.

After this, it all went batshit crazy! For the rest of the short set, the tempo went up, a lot, and the menacing atmosphere we had felt in the beginning was completely and utterly swept aside, making room for something I can’t readily describe. Something like System Of A Down, if they were an Asian black metal band. But not really, and most likely something altogether different. Yeah, I told you, given what we heard this night, Voodoo Kungfu defiantly denies being labelled. I was a bit sad that they didn’t use a live Morin Khuur player anymore though, that had been a nice touch.
The mystery of the band was supported by the fact that not a single word was uttered, that wasn’t part of the lyrics. Between songs, there was a backtrack of crows and slow keyboard music, nothing else. There wasn’t room for an actual backdrop, but there were a pair of stagedrops with a demonic face on them – the same demonic face that Li Nan had tattooed on the right side of his chest.

Even though they were something of their own, the members of Voodoo Kungfu gave a very good performance. Li Nan was of course the centre of attention, and for anyone who has visited Loppen, you will know that there really isn’t much space on the stage to work with, but the bassist still managed to give a very lively performance, as did the Western guitarist. He even climbed on top of one of the large amps standing to the side of the stage, to get a better view of the audience.
That may have been going a bit overboard with enthusiasm however, as I am sad to say that the audience was a sorry state of affairs this night. Honestly, I don’t think there were more than 20 or 30 people here, at the most! This could be explained with the fact that there was another big metal show in town on the same day, but those who had shown up didn’t do much to weigh it up either. There was some polite applause on offer once in a while, but all in all, Voodoo Kungfu didn’t really get through to the Danish crowd.
Not until the final song, at least. To my surprise, the band pulled a cover of nothing less than Raining Blood (Slayer). Admittedly, it was very much their own version, but I wouldn’t have expected anything less at this point.

With that, a mere 25 minutes of total madness came to an end. A madness I hope, but sadly doubt, we’ll get to experience around these parts again.
If you’re lucky, you may be able to dig up an album somewhere, but don’t hold your breath – the band hadn’t even brought any for the merchandise booth. No shirts either, sadly.
On the other hand, Voodoo Kungfu is a band best experienced liv, I’m sure. I don’t think an album has space enough to, or the capabilities to, handle the complete and utter insanity of this band. And it is something you want to experience, believe me!

Voodoo Kungfu

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