Thursday, December 2, 2021

Bokassa set Manchester ablaze with Molotov Rocktail

Returning to Manchester for the first time since their epic set opening for Metallica in 2019, Norwegian stoner rock outfit Bokassa take residence at Satan’s Hollow in support of their new LP, Molotov Rocktail.

40,000 Leagues took to the stage first to an unfortunately small audience and provided a solid introduction to the night. While the band are fairly new they gave a high energy performance of some of the heaviest songs of the night including a cover of ‘Ain’t Nobody’ by Chaka Khan which turned out to be one of the highlights of the entire night.

Up next was Welsh hard rockers, Florence Black, who have since made waves with their fantastic debut album, Weight of the World. They managed to establish that cool rockstar mystique without coming off as standoffish or distant, a feat so many of their contemporaries have tried and failed to accomplish.

Florence Black have all the makings of a new rock band destined for great things: a charismatic frontman, talented musicians and the ability to take a classic rock track and make it their own without completely losing what made the original work, exemplified here with a phenomenal cover of Budgie’s ‘Breadfan’.

Finally, Bokassa took to the stage and instantly felt at home in the bizarre venue that is Satan’s Hollow, making use of every inch of the circular stage. The majority of their set was composed of songs from their latest album, Molotov Rocktail, which works well due to it being their strongest album to date.

Bokassa’s music does feature big choruses but at times the music is easy to get lost in the almost primal noise of it all, as you’d expect from a stoner rock band but there are exams of brilliant accessible radio rock that just hasn’t broken through – such songs as ‘So Long Idiots’ and ‘Hereticules’ are prime examples of this as well as being the highlights of their latest album.

Their songs are incredibly strong but it’s the band’s stage presence that makes them stand tall, even while the band had had a few, they still played their songs perfectly and established an almost instant connection to the crowd which included various members photobombing pictures taken in the crowd.

Bokassa regularly made reference to the fact that most of their recent events had been viewed by a limited audience but luckily a healthy crowd had amassed by the time they hit the stage but the audience was incredibly passionate and somehow managed to create a moshpit in the incredibly awkward and bizarre venue that the lead singer described as “a creepy sex dungeon”. They ended their set with the grandiose odyssey of ‘Captain Cold One’, a sprawling epic that feels on-brand with the blunt simplicity and power of Bokassa’s sound providing huge choruses and delivering a big rock ending you’d expect from such a powerful set.

Bokassa still have some ways to go before they become the big name in metal they deserve to be, but this tour and their now-iconic set with Metallica in 2019 has proved that they are on the right track toward greatness.

Dale Unsworth
Self-proclaimed journalist, Progressive rock enthusiast and the most American sounding person you're ever likely to meet in the North of England

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