Melody Maker Contest 2007/2008

author TL date 08/02/08

It's starting to be frequent for me to be asked to come out and see the Danish screamo upstarts Trusted Few as they seem to be playing all over the local area all the time, and of course them making it to the finals of the Melody Makers' Contest wasn't exactly making me feel like missing them. Keeping this in mind, if you after this review feel that I seemed too biased then so be it. I was at the show first and foremost to back Trusted Few and simply felt that you guys could be interested in a report from it now that I was there in the first place.

The Contest

Melody Makers' Contest is an arrangement that has been running since 2003 and the general structure is that two preliminary rounds are held in various venues throughout the country and every night a participating band will be deemed as the winner based on votes given by the audience. When 8 bands have been nominated they will meet in a final showdown where each band gets to play 20 minutes, and awards are given for both most votes given by the audience as well as for the best frontman, composition, band, and this year also drummer of the evening.

The finals took place on Saturday the 1st of February in Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, and the prizes at stake were first and foremost a production deal with Sweet Silence Studios + a marketing campaign of the value of 50,000 DKK awarded by BOX.dk to the band the judges would deem the best. Winning the people's award would net a band 10,000 DKK, while best frontman and best composition were worth a 5,000 DKK gift certificate to the musicstore Aage.dk and finally the best drummer would claim a state of the art drummers seat.

The Judges

Flemming Rasmussen (Producer and Chief engineer at Sweet Silence Studio)

Mark Linn (Singer & Songwriter)

Rune Melchior Sjørvad (Editorial Chief at Ekstra Bladet Net)

Per Lange (Producer & Drummer)

The Bands

LieNerow

First band on the scene of battle was the metallers from Roskilde "LieNerow". Fielding a brand new drummer and vocalist, the band sounded seriously invigorated compared to what you can hear on their myspace. They treat us to metalcore by the numbers, comprised of simple scale melodies over groovy riffage with the classic throaty verse, clean chorus, throaty verse, clean chorus, bridge, clean chorus structure present in all four songs. The new vocalist Anders does a fine job, both at raising the mood in the room and at singing, screaming and growling the lyrics and the overall show is generally highly melodic, well performed and even catchy. Despite the fact that Anders' vocals seem tired during the fourth song and the compositions maybe being a tad generic, LieNerow definetely set the bar for tonights performances. [7]

For the fans of: Bullet For My Valentine, Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying

Odelay

From metalcore we moved to folk and country with Aalborg's "Odelay", who while claiming to be inspired by Beatles and Ryan Adams, sound much more like Bright Eyes, Dear And The Headlights and maybe The Snake, The Cross, The Crown - it's quite hard not to draw the parallels here. In spite of seeming to be something we've heard a million times before, Odelays set wins my affection and also my verdict for band of the night. Their stage show is devilishly charming and their tunes are of the kind that bring smiles to your face on a rainy day. They seem overjoyed at playing to us and they vent their happiness in a downright contagious fashion bringing couples to the dance floor and keeping it all interesting by adding a sharper edge to their music than you can otherwise hear from their online material. [7]

For the fans of: Dear And The Headlights, Bright Eyes & The Snake, The Cross, The Crown

Siamese Fighting Fish

"Siamese Fighting Fish" was the second band on tonights bill having just acquired a new frontman and in the process they changed their name from "Last Page". Now a lot of people seemed to think that these guys were the icing on top of the cake tonight, but for me it was a bit hard to be turned on by them. Their show was definitely tight but I felt that the new frontman Mirza was coming on a bit too strong for a man who seems to wish he was Brandon Boyd of Incubus. In fact that was kind of a beef I got for most of the show - It all just smelled very much like Incubus back in the day when they had a few rap elements in their sound, and if I thought they would have heard of Boyhitscar, I'd probably accuse them of being a bit too strongly influenced by them as well. It's not that the show wasn't fine, it just relied more on attitude than on originality and good songs, and I feel that's not the right priority for a "Melody Makers" contest. [6]

For the fans of: Incubus, Boyhitscar

Kardia

Now if there was any band on tonight's bill that made me wish I'd brought rotten eggs and tomatoes it was most definitely "Kardia". Imagine a band trying to imitate the style of vocals and quirkiness of The Blood Brothers without any of their edge and charisma and you have an idea of my impression of Kardia. Now they might have gotten away without a bashing from me if it had only been for their seemingly uninteresting songs, but I just can't erase the image in my head of their frontman who throughout the show strutted around the stage with an expression of a man being more busy having his c*ck polished by the entire crowd than singing his songs. Me and my friends quickly agreed that we wanted this band OFF the stage, and we wanted them off FAST [2]

For the fans of: Hannibal Hildorf

Trusted Few

After Kardia's atrocity of a performance, a short break followed, and then it was time for 'my band' to come on stage. I rejoiced the fact that "Trusted Few", as the only band of the evening, had not handed the presenter some card with shameless praise of themselves for him to read out loud, and instead he merely presented the band and they came on. Starting off with the two new songs "Queeny" and "Dance! Dance!" that haven't been recorded yet, the band was as potent on stage as ever with Johan flying all over the place in between his passionate screams. Displaying clearly that music close to the hardcore genre is appreciated very little here in Denmark, most of the crowd stood back and seemed to struggle to comprehend the wildness of Trusted Few's stage show. Nevertheless their two last songs "Storytelling" and of course "Rotating Stars And Human Breath" saw a dedicated response from yours truly and the band's other disciples, and for anyone who could be bothered to really listen, there was no avoiding the fact that the band paralleled tonights other two "winners" in both stage presence and songwriting ability. [7]

For the fans of: Alexisonfire, Anias, Matchbox Romance

ToLose

Listening to "ToLose" on myspace, they're arguably one of the bands tonight whose recorded material seemed most promising. Claiming Queens Of The Stone Age and Radiohead as influences, the band plays long, progressive and melancholic compositions with thundering guitar riffs and slamming bass solos. Their presence, energy and sound is vastly impressing but somewhere in the connection between band and crowd there seems to be a breaking point, as the live sound never seemed to come together in the way that would've made ToLose's songs truly memorable and given us a lasting impression. Slightly disappointing. [6½]

For the fans of: Radiohead, Chris Cornell, Muse

Motjiva

Taking the place as the distinctly 'average' act of tonight we have "Motjiva", a band with its airy guitars and Bono-ish vocals, who makes me think that the political Irishman has suddenly taken to play music in the vein of John Mayers. Their recorded material rivals ToLose's in quality and I am tempted towards crowning frontman Henrik Ziegler as the most well-singing frontman of tonight, but yet again it seems that the songs lack the sufficient strength of character to truly ignite any excitement in me or the rest of the audience. A bit more edge and catchiness and this band will be quite interesting though. [5½]

For the fans of: Sparkadia, John Mayer

The League

"The League" has the name of a band who could be big in the Danish indie-tronica rock scene and true enough they play a dark and melancholic rock in the veins of Veto driven both by guitars and keyboard. It's the sound of a band that could be retardedly trendy right now, however, they suffer from one little problem. They are soooooo boring. It seems to be the standard in their songs that they must sound forced and apathetic and be lacking severely in the department of edge and nerve. Sure they're the band that has dragged along the most friends tonight and sure those are having a ball, but most of us others are just waiting for them to be done so we can get to hear the verdict. [4]

For the fans of: Veto, Dúné

Recap

Since my specific ranking of tonight's bands isn't totally clear from the set reviews, here's how I find the bands' performances to be ranked tonight:

  • 1. Odelay
  • 2/3. Trusted Few
  • 2/3. LieNerow
  • 4. ToLose
  • 5. Siamese Fighting Fish
  • 6. Motjiva
  • 7. The League
  • 8. Kardia

The Verdict

After a good half hour wait the judges finish discussing their verdict and the votes are counted. The winners were as follows:

Best drummer: Villads E. Berg of Siamese Fighting Fish

Best composition: Odelay

Best frontman: Mirza Radonjica of Siamese Fighting Fish

People's choice: The League

Best band: Siamese Fighting Fish

TL's conclusion

Overall this years Melody Makers Final was quite an enjoyable evening with plenty of interesting music to go around for anyone. Sure I didn't agree with the judges and sure it seemed that the People's Choice was determined more by the ability to invite the most friends than by the ability to actually entertain a crowd, but nevertheless the presence of a good handful of promising young bands, and the fact that Pumpehuset had for once made sure that there was clean sound for every band, made the tickets worth their price, and it will definitely be interesting to see what comes of Siamese Fighting Fish's record deal with Sweet Silence Studio.

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