BRISTLING BEATS: COVENANT LIVE REVIEW AND INTERVIEW
Prior to attending their blistering gig at Toronto’s Mod Club last night, the DLB has the pleasure of interviewing Covenant’s Joakim Montelius just after soundcheck. We discussed the EBM/synth icons’ performance at Montreal’s Kinetik Festival the evening before, the concept behind their forthcoming album Modern Ruin, and the importance of seeing Covenant live:
The Mod Club
May 17, 2010
The intriguing thing about Covenant is the contrast between the iciness of their sound and the passion of their performances. The EBM/synth trio – consisting of Swedes Eskil Simonsson (vocals) and Joakim Montelius (keyboards, backing vocals), as well as German Daniel Myer (keyboards, backing vocals) – have kept Goths, rivetheads, ravers and every hybrid fan thereof dancing to their synth-driven tracks since 1994’s Dreams of a Cryotank album hit the scene. Nary a weekend goes by that I don’t hear ‘Bullet’, ‘Call the Ships to Port’ or ‘Dead Stars’ blaring from one sound system or another.
Live, Covenant manages to entertain not only because of the strength of their songs but because of the energy with which they deliver them. Simonsson in particular is a charismatic frontman with a hypnotic baritone, sharp cheek bones and a perfect pageboy only mildly affected by the sweat he generates in concert. Even his keyboard-bound bandmates manage to exude personality, with the sunglassed Montelius happily shouting into his mic and Myer smiling most of the time.
And he had a lot to smile about this night as the audience, usually so reserved in this city, gave it up right away, the band obviously feeding off their enthusiasm. In town as part of a mini-tour to support their forthcoming album Modern Ruin, Covenant put on an energetic performance which showcased classic tracks as well new material. Taking the stage in crisp black suits, white shirts and black ties (which loosened or were doffed as the heat in the venue built), the band hit the ground running with early track ‘Stalker’. ‘Bullet’ followed soon after, with a pulsing new song (possibly called ‘Explosions of the Heart’) receiving a warm reception.
All the classics were represented: ‘Ritual Noise, ‘We Are The Men’, ‘We Stand Alone’, ‘Invisible & Silent’, ‘Brave New World’, with ‘Dead Stars’ reserved for the encore. It seemed a bit strange, dancing on a Monday night, but I couldn’t think of a better way of starting off the week.