Aarhus, Denmark - A city of the smiley people, famous for its Pissing Pigs monument and the surprisingly high percentage of violent deaths. Loaded with expensive camera equipment and VIP written all over the place, Claus and I went to Huset, one of the most venue-like places I've ever been to. Of course I wasn't on the guestlist as expected, but I managed to get in, claiming to be the official photographer for FACE magazine.
I saw the Cranes at Huset two years ago, so I expected a full house, crowds of drunk black-clad goths in a stagediving madness. This time there were around 50 people present. I can not say it was a riot. During the show one lonely soul moved around waving her arms; I wouldn't go as far as calling it dancing. Silkscreen was supporting the Cranes on the evening. They didn't really manage to cook up the place.
During the gig I was too busy being Mr. Important with a camera to really hear the music. Claus videotaped the show with one hand in his pocket. Things were nice and quiet. Just like the gig in Kolding, Denmark a week before the US tour, Cranes started out a bit slow but worked their way up, finishing off with some enthusiastic stuff, 'Tangled Up', 'Adoration' and finally, "This one's called 'Lilies'". There was no response from the crowd, however. But the Cranes seemed to enjoy themselves, especially when their sound engineer went into a headbanging frenzy behind his controls at the end of the set.
After the gig we went backstage trying to get in. The tour manager was not very communicative until we mentioned Mike Dare, which seemed to be the magic password. Suddenly everybody was overwhelmingly friendly and let us in, offering us beer and fruit and stuff.
They seemed a bit bemused by the disappointing turnout, but still quite relaxed about it; in fact so relaxed that Jim was doing his laundry, and Manu went off to get drunk. Mark told us that he brought his computer on the tour to e-mail his girlfriend, but he always ended up with the wrong phone-plug for the wrong socket. He was quite talkative. A bit of a surprise, really, as we saw him before the gig, hanging out, looking a bit grumpy. Well, he wasn't ("Where is that spliff anyway?").
During our little improvised interview I talked to Ali about their lyrics, how they tend to be a bit of a mystery to people with all that mumbling and whispering. She said they might do a little book, an encyclopedia of lyrics, to help people out. Still I think what makes Cranes great is the air of mystery around them; you don't really know what they are playing or singing, so I didn't think it was such a great idea. Of course I didn't say that.
We went back to the bar to get a beer, and tried to get a bit of footage of Ali drinking her post-gig coffee. But it didn't seem to be a very popular idea, so we packed our very important looking stuff and managed to catch a bus without getting caught in a drive-by shooting.
So, despite the low turnout, the Cranes still put on an impressive performance. In my opinion the right crowd could have turned the night into a mad raving party. I still miss the old days of loud noisy sequencers, but I think that their new "acoustic" style does quite well live.