69 Chambers ‘Special Report': A day with 69 Chambers at the Montreux Jazz Festival
A Daily Rock Exclusive
By Hervé Rakowski
Photos by Angel Goetschi
Translated in English by Ms. A (with semi-assistance from Google Translate)
When an up and coming Swiss band has the privilege of opening for Nightwish at Auditorium Stravinski, you think they’d be naturally stressed just hours before the show as this is a very important moment of their careers… 69 Chambers may finally take off, thanks to the release of their compelling second album, “Torque”. The band’s new label, Massacre Records, has done remarkable promotional work, as there has been a slew of articles and interviews in the press. The recent debut of their stunning video for “Cause and Effect” will take care of the rest for the public, and 69 Chambers can face the future with optimism.
Of course, Nina Vetterli-Treml (vocals, bass), Tommy Vetterli (guitar), and their fantastic drummer Diego Rapacchietti are respected musicians. But it is clear that today is a big challenge for them to perform on such a mythical stage, and even more so as the opener for major symphonic metal act, Nightwish.
3:00pm Sharp: Arrived at the corridors of the Stravinski, we find the band and their techs who have just arrived on site. While soundcheck is scheduled for 5:30pm, Nina and Tommy are occupied for nearly 2 hours doing several interviews. They willingly participate. Even if Tommy Vetterli is not a fan of this type of exercise (a mild understatement), he is aware that his musical past as a member of Coroner is a formidable weapon for the band’s image which will only benefit 69 Chambers.
Two of the band members take a break before “The Boss”, a nickname given to Nina Vetterli-Treml by the divine drummer Diego… we are even more surprised to find Tommy in the VIP lounge, where he was able to escape for a smoke (or two, or more…), leaving only Nina the honor (or burden) of being filmed before the cameras of “20 Minutes“.
During this time, anxious to get things going on stage, Diego Rapacchietti relaxes by reading the excellent interview published recently in the French edition of RockHard Magazine. The “comparison” made between Nina with her devastating good looks and “singers resembling meringues sold by the kilo of pseudo-goth metal bands of second class”, pull a smile from him.
Tommy, meanwhile, who has seen it all during his long career, cannot be more casual, just a few hours before this crucial concert for 69 Chambers. He does not hesitate to joke with us, and bends readily to the game of photos and videos. He took the opportunity, at our request, to greet the Californian who works hard on the group’s official social media pages.
5:30pm: The atmosphere is very calm just minutes from the soundcheck that approaches. We leave the VIP lounge to get to the inside of the Stravinski. Upon our entrance, the hall is nearly empty. Entering this cult forum for the very first time where so many great artists have performed for 46 years made our hair stand on end, we have to admit…
The three members of 69 Chambers and their techs, focused yet relaxed, though the smiles are gone, are now working to prepare everything meticulously. Tommy is not reluctant to crouch or lie down to connect cables, edit settings… a keyboard is also set up on the side of the stage, hinting that 69 Chambers will play the beautiful ballad “Elegy”. Once the tests are carried out on the mic by Nina (“one, two, three, blah blah blah…”), the band played two songs, then returned to their dressing room. It is 6:45pm.
In order to assist in the best conditions for the group from Zürich, I have my photographer leave the hall and decide to stay. We are the only 3 to wait until the doors open… but unfortunately for us, the manager of Nightwish requires an empty house. We need to go outside and mingle with the horde of eager fans.
07:10pm: With a slight delay, the doors finally open, and I managed to position myself in front of Nina’s microphone. For an hour, I wonder how the Nightwish fans will react to 69 Chambers. On one hand, I am convinced that the melodic music from Zürich, the voice of Nina, should win them over. On the other, I remain skeptical about the openness of the young crowd which consists mostly of the Finnish band’s fans…
08:00pm: 69 Chambers takes possession of the floor at the prestigious Stravinski. Nina’s smoldering look (stilettos and sexy outfit – a gothic version of the “5th Element”) already has the crowd murmuring – it always happens this way – while the first few notes of the intro is lost.
To my surprise, 69 Chambers starts the gig as they had done at their “CD Release Party” on May 1st in Zürich. Playing the outro of “And Then There Was Silence”, and then merging into “The Peep Hole”, one of the potential hits from their new album. I notice that the audience’s reaction, although polite, is not so enthusiastic. However, the trio provides a remarkable performance of accuracy and precision. The musical excellence of Nina, Tommy and Diego is obviously highlighted by the perfection of the acoustics of the legendary Stravinski.
New tracks off “Torque” keep coming: the quick-paced “Anhedonia” is followed by the doom-like “Naughty Naughty Naughty”. The only two tracks from the first album played tonight, “The Day Of The Locust” and “Bloodaxe” finally trigger a nice reaction from the crowd throughout the auditorium.
Paradoxically, it is from the masterful drum solo by Diego that the show seems to finally take off! The audience reacts at last! As if they seemed to warm up before the delivery of their heroes’ night (or rather yet?).
69 Chambers offers us two of the most beautiful songs in their new repertoire at the conclusion of the show. First, the hit “Cause And Effect”, in which Nina reveals to us powerful death growls in place of Eluveitie frontman Chrigel Glanzmann, who guests on the album version. And, from one extreme to another, the group finishes its compelling performance of the evening with the poignant power ballad “Elegy,” which ends with a majestic guitar solo by Tommy Vetterli…
09:00pm: I leave the hall, causing a mini riot between fans behind me trying to get my great spot in front of the stage, and head for the VIP lounge to congratulate the group. Diego wonders if his drum solo was successful. Having reassured the drummer, I warmly congratulate Nina and tell her that once again, “Elegy” stole a few tears.
A few minutes before their performance on stage, certain members of Nightwish are among us in the artists’ lounge bar. Jukka Nevalainen, Nightwish’s drummer, is in full admiration of the sun setting on Lake Geneva.
It’s time for the Finnish to start their show to please their anxious fans… for the rest of the evening we will remain with 69 Chambers and their close friends, in the corridors of the Stravinski, relatively quiet and deserted, to our surprise. Wine, champagne, and beer flow freely, the screen showing the live performance of Nightwish is observed with a wandering eye, if curious.
10:45pm: “An hour + fifteen then go”, Nightwish have already returned from showers and the dressing room while their fans are clamoring for an encore that never comes. In the VIP lounge, friendly and joyful characterizes the small band of 69 Chambers which contrasts from the rigor of the Scandinavians. The Finnish leave Montreux quickly to be in the Czech Republic the next day. Zürich departs and end their crazy day in a bar at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
01:00am: We leave our Swiss-German friends and Stravinski. 69 Chambers have given the best concert of their lives just a few hours earlier, while the Nightwish performance was a normal gig in the middle of their tour… but the Finnish sell millions of records and are stars. The Swiss-Germans on their part must return to their day job commitments. The music business is truly unfair…
“Torque” track listing:
01. Cause and Effect (feat. Chrigel Glanzmann of Eluveitie) (4:31)
02. Bring on the Flood (3:30)
03. Naughty Naughty Naughty (6:22)
04. Anhedonia (4:27)
05. Burn some Gasoline (4:01)
06. The Peep Hole (4:20)
07. Ring a Bell (4:19)
08. Closure (4:54)
09. Anf then there was Silence (5:38)
10. Temple down (3:37)
11. Your Fool (4:25)
12. The Doom of her Power (4:00)
13. Grace (5:31)
14. Elegy (5:31)
69 Chambers “Torque” out now on Massacre Records.