LIVE: Me And That Man / Dool @ Jazz Cafe, London

By Christopher Lee

On the day of the Sabbath, what better way is there to spend it than with the wonderful Me and That Man as they make their live debut in London. The new project from Nergal of death metal heroes, Behemoth, and folk legend John Porter is certain to have taken fans of the former by surprise. The fact that this evening’s show is sold out is credit to the duo’s musical talent and the calibre of the record that they’ve created between them; its beauty is only outmatched by its sense of ruin.

Before Nergal and Porter let us experience their masterpiece in person, Dutch dark rock band Dool are tasked with preparing those in attendance. To a backdrop of colourful atmospheric lighting, Ryanne van Dorst and her mysterious band take to the stage and immediately set about providing the perfect tone of impending doom for the evening. They seem less intent on ‘warming the crowd up’ so to speak but more like enticing them slowly to their own demise. They succeed in this perfectly as the crowd are transfixed throughout their 30 minutes set. Almost to the point where they’d willingly follow the band into the depths of hell.

As Dool take their leave without uttering a single word of goodbye, the anticipation levels inside Camden’s Jazz Café start to rise. It’s dimly lit, intimate interior is seemingly the perfect fit for tonight’s headline act.  As a strangely eerie harmonica recording plays,  the house slights slowly rise and Nergal & Porter appear. Dressed entirely in black and sporting a couple of the finest cowboy hats around they look like something from a gothic western movie.

Opening with ‘My Church is Black’ the band play through a spine tingling 90 minute set which includes every track from their debut album ‘Songs of Love and Death’ and then some. There’s not an awful lot of talking in between the songs but it’s not that sort of show. Everyone is here for the incredible music created on this masterful record and quite simply that’s all that matters. Of course there’s some direction from both Nergal and Porter throughout in the form of clapping but otherwise it’s entirely about absorbing the beautiful folk sounds.

After playing the majority of the set with a full band everyone leaves the stage prompting the normal encore chants but shortly after Nergal and Porter return alone to two simple stools set up on stage. The two proceed to play through a few acoustic numbers that again, are quite simply beautiful.  It only lasts for three tracks but it’s mesmerising, and by the time the rest of the band reappear to close proceedings the crowd are almost in a state of euphoria. The shows finale is a couple of fun covers that get the crowd moving again in the shape of Talking Heads ‘Psycho Killer’, with Porter rolling back the years with a rendition of the Porter Bands, ‘Refill’.

If you’ve listened to the album you’ll know it’s no understatement to say it’s a masterpiece, and after witnessing tonight there’s no doubt that Me and That Man have the ability to do it justice live. However long it lasts, those men are a band that should not be missed.