Upon the release of their debut album INGUZ, it seemed that things started to click for Swedish band Normandie. Not only did the band hit the Billboard Charts with force, they were also announced as UK tour support for pop-punk veterans Yellowcard on their farewell tour. Ahead of their huge support slot, the band set out to the UK on their first headliner in July.
The band rocked up to Manchester’s Retro Bar in sweltering heat, which itself played a huge part in the show. Somewhat shocked by the rare Manchester weather, a number of attendees decided to spend the early hours of the show outside soaking up the sun. It’s a shame as well, as Sulphur Rose, Sertraline and TIRADE all proved to be solid openers.
It wasn’t until main support Breathe In The Silence took to the stage that the room really began to fill. Despite sounding like an edgy Young Guns, the quintet proved to be the most eye-catching of the support. Not only did they manage to fill the room, but they also managed to get the reluctant crowd clapping along and interacting towards the end, we even caught a glimpse an ambitious spin-kick being thrown.
Whilst the supports provided a solid – yet not entirely needed – warm-up, they failed to really capture the crowd. Thankfully this looked to change when Normandie took to the tiny Retro Bar stage. Opening with INGUZ opener Fight it looked as if everyone’s energy levels were about to break through the wall of fatigue the sweltering heat had left, that was until a light-sync issue was deemed enough to stop the set and have it restart from scratch. Whilst production is a key part of live shows, we found it a little bit ego-led to be restarting a show because one light wasn’t synced correctly at a basement show. A basement show with capacity of 100 and turnout of around 40.
A rousing speech seemed to rid the awkwardness left by the bizarre opening, as frontman Philip Strand said: “Thank you for bringing us to the UK, we wouldn’t be here without you.” The band then launched themselves into a flurry of tracks off INGUZ.
Unfortunately ego seemed to creep into Normandie‘s set fairly often. The show was once again stopped towards the end, this time because water (aka condensation) had appeared to drop onto the symbols. This resulted in the set being delayed another five to ten minutes whilst the drum-kit was moved, and a t-shirt was used to mop up what little mess had been made, before it was thrown to one ‘lucky’ fan. Whilst the kit being moved was somewhat understandable, the five to ten minutes of torturous ego-ridden small talk seemed to swallow the basement venue whole.
When Normandie were actually playing, things became much different. Whilst the backing track was a little off putting, the energy and crowd participation went a long way to make things seem fun. Arms waving, sing-alongs and crowd chants followed the penultimate song, as the issues throughout the show were pushed to the back of everyone’s mind for one last sing-along.
Whilst there is undoubtedly potential for Normandie to become a powerful live band, the several glimpses of fun were overshadowed by poor attitude and ego.
Written by: Daniel Rourke