L’Aquarium is a small-ish room close to Grenoble. Managed for –and partly by– the students, embedded in the heart of the university dorms, it hosts a great variety of concerts all year long. Approximately, let’s assume it can hold… 200, 250 people when it’s packed, and oh how it was packed for Nanowar (of Steel) and Hellorglam on Valentine’s eve!
Hellorglam is a local cover band, a real escapee from the 80s. Expect leopard tights. Expect long blond wigs. Expect fishnet gloves. Expect inflatable sex dolls. Expect stripper logos. Expect songs such as “It Won’t Suck Itself” or “Asian Hooker”. But expect also a quite impressive vocal range, a total disregard for good taste or morals, and a commendable absence of fear, even when covering giants such as the Scorpions, the Guns’n’Roses or Queen. Did I also mention that the stage was covered in heart-shaped balloons?
After this ~tasty~ mise-en-bouche, it was up to Nanowar of Steel to take the lead. Nanowar of Steel has been around for quite some time, for a parody band. It started as an Italian fun band, mocking Rhapsody of Fire and writing songs about “feudalism and freedom” or Italian tv commercial personalities.
Then it blew up with songs such as “Norwegian Reggaeton” (because what could go wrong when mixing reggaeton and black metal and packing your lyrics with about 5 references to heavy metal standards per minute?) and “Valhalleluja”, (featuring Angus McFife the 15th from Gloryhammer itself!).
This lead them to embark on the Ladder to Valhalla tour, with a date in Grenoble. Let’s quickly review some of the themes they covered in an hour and a half: Barbie dolls (and MILFs); Cthulhu (and call centers); ornithology; metallurgy; Ikea; gargoyles (and Notre Dame); reggaeton (and Norway); Valhalla (and gospel); Liechtenstein (and fiscal regimes); tricycles (and steel); Odin (and Valhalla again). Who said metal music is repetitive and focuses only on the dark things in life?
It’s very clear that Nanowar is a great stage band and that they all are great frontmen (yes, all of them, even the walrus inflatable buoy). The costumes only add to the show. Though the production might not have been on par with that of the big stadiums, there wasn’t a single major problem that prevented people from enjoying the show. And it’s probably the only metal show you’ll ever see where the singer can quietly assemble Ikea furniture on stage (this report is –sadly– not sponsored by Ikea).
Oh, one last thing. I assume you’ve all seen (or even been involved in) a wall of death. No? Well, to make it simple, it’s when the crowd parts in front of the singer and then the 2 sides come running at each other and crash into each other. Very broadly. But Nanowar does not like that. Nanowar does not like death. What Nanowar likes is “love… and ass!”. So Nanowar does not have walls of death. Nanowar has walls of love. Just run on the other side and hug them as hard as you can!