You know those assholes that skip literally every opener of a show and only show up, semi-drunk, five minutes before the headliner? As appreciators of the more obscure musical varieties, we have always scoffed at this particular breed of concert goer. Support everyone, yo. Yet, a couple weekends back, I found myself among the enemies for the Morne show here in Portsmouth. As they say, you either die a hero, or live long enough to become the villain. Perhaps that time as come since I’m clearly not dead yet (externally at least). And yes, I’m gonna just go ahead and slide a Batman quote in here for good measure. Thanks for asking. Anyway, there were a number of reasons why I missed the opening acts that included Northern Curse, Grue, and Nycterent but when it came down to crunch time, there was simply no way I was going to miss one of my favorite doom metal bands play not five minutes from my apartment. Doom metal on a rainy Saturday night? I’ll take it.
Morne is based in Boston so it’s a small miracle that I’ve failed to see them to this point. I immensely enjoyed both Shadows and Asylum, so one would think I’d exert a bit more effort in getting to one of their many gigs in Boston. The stars almost aligned a couple of time… But it never quite happened. I suck. And then they came to Portsmouth and I flat out did not have an excuse to skip this one. It’s also a small miracle a metal band actually ventured into this town, because this place can be pretty damn pretentious. Or snooty. Pick your favorite adjective, you know what I mean. Just wanted to quickly mention that.
I do feel bad that I missed the openers. While only familiar in name with two of them, Northern Curse was a band I was immensely impressed by when I saw them open for Wolves In The Throne Room in Portland a few months back. But fortunately/unfortunately there were a lot of old friends in town and I just didn’t manage to escape until later. Good news is that that time did eventually come. For those that have interacted with me, you also know my patience in large groups is fleeting. I was more than happy to eventually kick people to curb and start pounding pavement over to 3S. Drunken idiots will only keep my attention for so long.
3S has become one of my favorite spots in Portsmouth. Great restaurant, great concert venue, and friendly staff. It’s always easy going in there, so the fact that they finally had a band perform that I was genuinely excited about was a very good thing. Despite it being a Saturday night, there was still a decent audience for this show (better than the show the following night that I also attended). Morne took the stage about 15 minutes after I showed up, so I had plenty of time to pound multiple beers and prep the camera I somehow managed to remember to bring.
Morne was as immense and monolithic as I could have hoped for. One of my favorite aspects of Shadows as an album was how cohesively burdening it is from start to finish. Everything ties together, the emotion never lets up, and there’s enough variability to keep you focused as a listener. While I wish this set included at least a couple tracks from this album (there was only one), the set played out in the same consistent manner. Which, despite the length and deliberate nature of their songs, still allowed their set to flow effortlessly. They only managed to include seven or eight songs in their set, but they managed to keep the list diverse and inclusive of all their albums, including Asylum. It was all performed in very dim, blue lighting, offering a dark emotional experience in both sight and sound. Like I said, doom metal on a Saturday night. And it was delivered exactly as I would have hoped.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got from metal show number two in 2017. Enjoy the pictures above (and below). If you’re ever motivated to question your life’s purpose and drown yourself in sorrow by way of metal, I suggest a Morne show on a rainy night. It doesn’t have to be in Portsmouth, but the fact that it was made the ensuing depression very convenient. Huh, that’s a complicated thought…
“Ein Bier… bitte.”