Chorus Grant

support The Brazierlights In The Window
author HES date 01/10/14 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

I first got acquainted with Chorus Grant at Wonderfestiwall, or to be precise: A couple of weeks before during my research phase. All of this resulted in awarding Chorus Grant’s newly released album “Space” a 9½ out of 10 – the best grade I have ever given an album on this site. Needless to say, expectations ran high prior to this show: Great albums don’t always make great live shows. So far Chorus Grant has shown me that this band is able to play up the first slot at a festival in pouring rain at a lonely island in the middle of The Baltic Sea, so even though it’s Wednesday and show start is late, the warm-up band is fairly unknown and myself fairly sober, I am not dismissing this show’s potential.

The Brazierlights in the Window

To me, The Brazierlights In The Window is a completely new name. But the downstairs venue of Pumpehuset is already slowly filling up as the clock approaches nine. The band enters the stage in a chaos of light and sound, in the questionable way. Although the band is distinctly early-britpop inspired or even a bit noise-popish the feedback is a bit overwhelming considering the size of the venue and relatively bad mixing tonight – it’s clear that more energy has been put into the main act during sound check: Not cool. However, the band seems to not feel at all hindered by this fact – which really is the only way to proceed. Lead singer Perry MacLeod Jensen is probably one of the most iconic lead singers I have seen in a while; he is not only very lanky, but also very gauche. The rest of the band follows suit with high waisted cowboy pants and polo shirts. Overall, the sound and look of the whole shebang takes you back to an underground rock show in a basement somewhere in the 90’s with spacy synths and guitars hoisted up as high as the pants. Perry MacLeod Jensen’s voice is nasal, sometimes a bit too provokingly infantile with the lines of the song “Love to see you try” ending up more like “I love to see you twyyy”. But it is a point of critique easily lost because of his immersive way of performing.

The last song of the show is a slowly build up emotional opus, but the crowd has had a beer too many and blabber in the corners. Luckily as the song picks up to a craze of feedback and yelling, the crowd simmers down, shuts up and listens to the end of intense noise-jamming – so intense that Perry MacLeod Jensen drops his guitar in all-in chaotic guitar-haze. The points the band loses on the bad sound, they quickly win back with their winning characters. It’s a refreshing interpretation of the Suede-era of pre-pubescent Britpop and a sound I haven’t heard for a long while, but I just realised I missed. The Brazierlights In The Window is a new endearing acquaintance I will make sure to catch on a better day soon.

Chorus Grant

So, I did mention I was a fan right? I might just as well put all cards on the table and tell you, that this will not change through-out the night. And it would seem, I am not the only one who got the memo. The smaller venue downstairs of Pumpehuset is filled to the brim, so much so that I have to elbow my way through the crowd to even get a view of the stage. It is Wednesday and it is ten in the night, but the entire cigarette-rolling, hat-wearing art-crowd of Copenhagen seems to be present. Whereas this could’ve turned into a pretentious, quiet concert the band manages to raise the roof by adding additional volume to the otherwise low-intensity songs. A great example is the “Space”-closer “Reaching” that is one of the more up-beat songs of the record, but especially because of the drums of Tobias Lange the song transforms into a pompous, danceable indie-hit. Another example is the already saxophone-sporting “Godplans” that gets a blue-note update by saxophonist Karen Duelund Guastavino in a long, improvised solo worthy of any Montmatre street corner. The man behind this project, singer Kristian Finne Kristensen’s voice is phenomenal through-out the night, filling out every nook with warm, characteristic whimsy – sometimes leaping to a brave falsetto, but mostly working in correlation with keyboardist/vocalist Camilla Munck whose voice is high, clear and well-proportioned.

Guitarist Laurids Smedegaard is working full-time, applying subtle finesse to the sunshine-clear riffs of “Godplans” and sometimes adding just a pop of electric guitar-sounds in the otherwise acoustically dominated soundscape. Overall the tightness of the whole thing is kept in line by the combination of bassist Moogie Johnson and drummer Tobias Lange, providing a secure backdrop for the sometimes askew and contrapuntal melody lines. The informality of the gig is saved by momentary bantering between songs led on by a joking Kristian Finne Kristensen. The atmosphere is always on the breaking point of either laughs or smiles in spite of the songs off the “Space”-album being intensely melancholic. This combo secures the very best of intimacy a concert can deliver. Never at one point do I look at my watch – even though it’s late and the last bus might leave soon. Where the crowd before was talking and distracted, everyone now is fully submerged in the rhythms as they sway to the beat. The first part of the gig is dominated by newer, quieter songs like “O Everyone”, “Long Ride” and “Taxi Off The Password”, but picks up pace and edge by the end, culminating in an updated version of the older song “From Nothing to One” from the record “And the Vila Nova” with cascades of simmering hi-hats and boiling bass lines.

I have seen many singer/songwriters fail as soon as they have to work with a band. I have also seen singer/songwriters with full-band LP’s try to do shows one-man. It’s always a choice that can either harm you horribly or create extensions to an already solid product. In this case it is the latter. There is no doubt that Chorus Grant is Kristian Finne Kristensen’s project, but he seems to be handling this in a very democratic way, where the input and craftsmanship of the individuals also gets to dominate the soundscape. The interaction between band members and the interaction with the audience is very honest and intimate. This feeling of intimacy has come to dominate the Chorus Grant live shows, it being on a bigger stage or the small one of tonight. The smiles are contagious and the music is delivered by standards most stadium-playing bands should envy. It’s such a disgustingly brilliant experience to enjoy, almost like ordering a big-ass cheeseburger with extra bacon on your day off: It’s food for your soul.

9

Setlist:

  • Present Day Sky
  • Long Ride
  • O Everyone
  • Golden Head by Golden Head
  • Godplans
  • 8 Lanes
  • Taxi Off the Password
  • The Sudden Rupture
  • The Idea
  • Separate Rooms
  • Reaching
  • Everything Red
  • All Elbows
  • From Nothing to One

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