Live Report: LEPROUS Live at Zorlu PSM, Istanbul, Turkey – February 13, 2020

Leprous Live in Istanbul 2020

Something over two years have passed between the releases of LeprousMalina (2017) and Pitfalls (2019), and for the die-hard fans of the band that’s long enough to start fiending. But a new tour that includes at least a few songs is arguably just as good as the new album, considering the band’s flawless on-stage execution.

Leprous have been around for almost 20 years now. They passed the point of having something to prove years ago, and they have been open about how they like to write music for themselves. A cursory amount of reflection before the show would’ve reminded me of this. But it all hit me as soon as the band came out to the Turkcell Stage, which is a part of the Zorlu Performance Center complex in Istanbul.

Before I go on talking about Leprous’ performance on the 13th of February, 2020, I felt that it’s needed to be said that the group played the packed 100% Studio, which is a part of the same complex as the Turkcell Stage, just seven months ago. That speaks a lot about the popularity and recognition the Norwegians have built in Turkey over the last few years and their first performance in the country back in 2015.

Beside Leprous, the event in Istanbul also included a performance from French five-piece Klone, who put out more than a solid performance, highlighted by the amazing voice of Yann Ligner.

Following them, Leprous hit the stage opening with two numbers off of their latest album—“Below” and “I Lose Hope,” which are already fan-favorites. The crowd was fired up for this performance; it fed off of the band’s energy and vice versa. The Turkcell Stage is a great venue for Leprous, and that was accentuated right from the beginning of their set with perfect sound and lighting, courtesy of Chris Edrich and Tobias Grønhaug, respectively.

The show continued with “Stuck” and “From the Flame” from the previous album Malina, before “Observe the Train,” “Alleviate” and “At the Bottom” from Pitfalls hit back. Songs from the new album were welcomed exceptionally well—what is not always the case when bands play in support of latest album—only to prove how Pitfalls is a success for Leprous.

Needless to say, the band members gave exceptional performances, with Einar Solberg’s voice playing the leading role. That is not to say that guitarists Tor Oddmund Suhrke and Robin Ognedal, bassist Simen Børven, drummer Baard Kolstad, and session cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne, were overshadowed. Quite the opposite, their contributions to the sound of Leprous are enormous, and the band showed it this evening.

A Leprous show doesn’t seem to be possible without playing “The Cloak” and “The Price,” which are regarded as the top songs of the band’s catalog. They were intercepted by the Massive Attack cover “Angel,” a tune that leads the show to a bit of a psychedelic direction.

One of the top moments of the evening was the performance of “Distant Bells” featured on the last album which, if you know the song, builds masterfully into an energetic finale. Watching and hearing it live, with the band members jumping and punishing their instruments, was certainly one of the highlights.

After a short break, the band returned for an encore playing “Slave” and “The Sky is Red,” topping an already awesome and overwhelming evening with powerful highlights. Now shirtless, Kolstad especially shined behind the drum kit on these two numbers, amplified by the also very nice and overwhelming lightshow. The energy in the room on “The Sky is Red,” and the communal connection with one of the most unorthodox bands, is indescribable.

This all leads me to saying that if you didn’t hear or know of Leprous before, and you were thrown to their show, then you were likely to be turned on them. For the committed fan, such as myself, this is as close to perfection as you are going to get.

Setlist:

01. Below
02. I Lose Hope
03. Stuck
04. From the Flame
05. Observe the Train
06. Alleviate
07. At the Bottom
08. The Cloak
09. Angel (Massive Attack cover)
10. The Price
11. Distant Bells

Encore:

12. Slave
13. The Sky Is Red

Photos by Niko Savic Photography

Robin Ognedal

Robin Ognedal

Tor Oddmund Suhrke

Tor Oddmund Suhrke

Baard Kolstad

Baard Kolstad

Einar Solberg

Einar Solberg

Simen Børven

Simen Børven

Raphael Weinroth-Browne

Raphael Weinroth-Browne

Leprous Live at Zorlu PSM, Istanbul, Turkey - February 13, 2020

Leprous Live at Zorlu PSM, Istanbul, Turkey – February 13, 2020

Leprous Live at Zorlu PSM, Istanbul, Turkey - February 13, 2020

Leprous Live at Zorlu PSM, Istanbul, Turkey – February 13, 2020

Leprous at Zorlu PSM, Istanbul, Turkey - February 13, 2020

Leprous at Zorlu PSM, Istanbul, Turkey – February 13, 2020

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