On Friday, January 21st, 2022, ME AND THAT MAN with supporting band TARABAN hit Krakow, Poland, at Hype Park as part of their Polish Route Tour. The show was organized by the local booking agency Knockout Productions and was set to start at 19:30.
There was such a happy atmosphere, everyone seemed really excited about the prospect of live music in such a well-prepared venue. The opening act was TARABAN, Krakow’s power psych-mongers. It was the first time I have heard them and I was impressed by their energy. Their music was as if LED ZEPPELIN and PINK FLOYD had a pretty good time jamming and experimenting with synths and the trio’s stage attire teleported me to 1979. They performed songs from their latest EP “How the East Was Lost” and closed the 30-minutes set with “Last Laugh,” a track that starts with a peal of creepy laughter and then goes into BLACK SABBATH territory mixed with mellow riffs and wild solos by the end.
The venue hosted such a diverse crowd of absolutely different ages, united in their desire to experience good-old dark blues music. The lights went dim and a man graced to the stage, only his silhouette with a wide-brimmed hat and a guitar was visible. As he approached the microphone stand, he started preaching in a calm, deep voice the first verse of the song “Black Hearse Cadillac.” Known best for his role as BEHEMOTH’s front-man, Adam “Nergal” Darski began a blues-rooted side project under the name ME AND THAT MAN. He shook together classic blues, Gothic-folk, and outlaw country for a cocktail only devil worshippers and western gunslingers could order. The rest of the band made an appearance: the line-up was multi-national consisting of Matteo Bassoli, Sasha Boole, Łukasz Kumański, and re-uniting with rock-musician and poet John Porter. The band continued with the energic “Under the Spell” and tracks from 2017’s EP, “Songs Of Love And Death.” Not only were the songs themselves absolute killers, but the genuine emotion of the playing cut to the bone, as the singers were putting everything on the line. After this energy boost, the change of tempo and mood was brought on by the more mellow “Surrender,” which was performed by their bass player Matteo Bassoli, and the more uplifting “How Come?” – sang originally by Corey Taylor on the album release, was performed by their guitarist with a harmonica. Next was the magnetic “On the Road” with John Porter’s raspy, spitting voice leading. The climax of this track was an instrumental full stop with the musicians riling up the crowd to sing with them. The venue was rhythmically clapping to the drum beats and shouting “on the road!” with the band. The effect was truly electrifying, the connection to the audience was absolute with many in the auditorium. In the small pauses between songs, Nergal was making small talk and John Porter occasionally was telling loud folks to shut up in a dry-yet-playful manner before the band settled into the melancholic acoustic section. The lights became more intimate with red spotlights and the beautiful ballads “Cross My Heart & Hope to Die” followed by “Submission” began filling the room with dark, atmospheric vibes. And if you thought that wasn’t dark enough, the mesmerizing acoustic melody of “Of Sirens, Vampires & Lovers” performed solely by John Porter was certain to steer the listener into a pit of melancholy, in the best possible way. The last section was returning to electric instrumentation to finish the 1-hour 20 minute long set with songs from the “New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol. 1 & 2” albums and of course, the latest released stand-alone single “Fight” with groovy melodies, deep basslines, dirty guitars. They closed the set with “Shaman Blues” and the crowd exploded in cheers. A lot of smiles from the band and the fans were seen, a very human connection that was so needed in these challenging times for both musicians and audience.
Overall the show was very well prepared by Knockout Productions, the stage crew organized the venue well equipping it with heaters, the light technicians were at their finest, the sound was clean. The show started without delays and all the COVID measures were followed. The bands gave us a hell of a performance, from ’70s frenzy to melancholic whiskey-soaked vibes. Amazing experience!
Me And That Man
Photos by Alexandra Aim