One of the biggest trends in Metal in the last few years is Synthwave…and it’s not even Metal! With its dark aesthetics, heavy songs and fast tempos, this electronic music quickly conquered the hearts of many metalheads and some bands ended up playing many Metal festivals.
One of the pioneers and most well-known bands playing this genre is Carpenter Brut, a French one-man-band led by the man who goes by the stage name of Frank B. Carpenter; it took just one album for him to be noticed by Ghost who had him as their support act for their USA tour in 2016, and today with a second album out he keeps collecting successes having played in huge festivals such as Coachella and Summer Breeze this year alone.
At his concert in Stockholm, he was accompanied by Gost as the support band, another Synthwave one-man-band which goes even further trying to close the gap between electronic music and Metal. Alone on the stage, Gost spends most of his time at the console, but he also occasionally plays a heavily distorted bass guitar and sings switching back and forth between clean vocals and scream. His stage clothes come straight from a Metal background too: his long black dress and the (black again) bride-like veil seem like a crossover between Sunn O)))’s and Batushka’s stage clothes.
The venue is not full yet during Gost’s performance, but it’s already decently crowded and all the presents are very much into the show; headbanging and horns to the sky are a bit of a weird sight at a concert like this, but it’s not even that strange considering the dark sounds coming out of the amps.
After his allocated 45 minutes, Gost leaves the stage while the crowd applauses him; after a change of stage, during which the venue fills up (the concert is sold-out), it’s finally the time for Carpenter Brut.
When he plays live, Frank Carpenter is joined on stage by guitarist Adrien Grousset and drummer Florent Marcadet, and this only makes his performances much more solid; while with other musicians of this genre sometimes it may feel like too much is pre-recorded, with Carpenter Brut there is no doubt we have a band playing live.
Carpenter always used a stage name and doesn’t have official photos of him as he says he wants the fans to focus on the music, and his performance in Stockholm is no exception to this idea: the lights are either very dim, or extremely bright and quickly flashing, while in the back a big screen shows videos and animations for the whole gig.
With only two albums out the setlist covers them both extensively, with the band playing great songs such as “Turbo Killer”, “Beware the Beast”, “Leather Teeth” and “Le Perv” among the others; the fans are very participative and jump, scream and headbang for the whole show.
As I wrote before, everything “feels Metal”, from the music (even though technically it is not Metal) to the crowd’s reaction, and the musicians on stage are completely comfortable with their public: Frank often raises the horns while playing his keyboards, and in-between songs asks the crowd to scream, something they happily comply with.
The show ends with a cover of Michael Sambello’s Maniac, the famous song from Flashdance, a cover that has become a staple in Carpenter Brut’s setlists and that reminds us how Synthwave is heavily inspired by Synth music from the ‘80s.
Time flew, but to be honest, the performance was actually pretty short – around 1.15 hours; considering the ticket was 355 SEK, the equivalent of a little less than 40$, we could have expected some more songs. The show was nonetheless memorable and I can only hope the next time because there will certainly be a next time for me, Frank Carpenter and his associates will play a little more.