Balance And Composure

support Seahaven + Moose Blood
author PP date 21/10/14 venue UnderWerket, Copenhagen, DEN

When the bigger promoters don't do it, do it yourself. That's been our mantra here at RF.net for a while now when it comes to awesome bands that are being offered in Denmark but not being picked up by the usual suspects. This one we're particularly proud of, considering Balance And Composure have long been among our favorite bands to throw regular praise towards. And although it is usually difficult to bring out crowds to UnderWerket on a weekday, tonight is different because of a strong supporting cast (Moose Blood and Seahaven both being critically acclaimed bands) and a sense of anticipation for the headliners' first ever Danish show lingering in the air. The venue is packed to its brim, a fine starting point for a what should be a magical evening to come. PP

Moose Blood

In preparation for tonight's show, local sites in the know have been checking out and consequently praising British emo rock debutants Moose Blood and their first album "I'll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time", and prior to their set there are already anxious fans sitting in wait on the edge of the stage - something you don't tend to see here at casual UnderWerket. It underlines the strength of tonight's bill however, and the room is full of curious listeners when the group comes on. Knowing that the band's frontman is currently working through a flu that has hit the entire tour, it might explain why he's wearing a thick jacket on stage or it might just be a fashion-statement. Regardless, the band quickly gets going with "Bukowski", the first in a line of songs that generally tend to tame the emo/pop-punk vibes of early Brand New into straight-forward, up-tempo structures with tempo drops and extra noise in the bridges.

Moose Blood

Even if "Deja Entendu" wasn't on the band's merch, it'd be hard to not suspect the singer of having looked to Jesse Lacey for inspirattion, as he seems a similar kind of reserved, and barely mumbles a few sentences between songs before laughing awkwardly of himself in an overly self-conscious manner. Despite his flu, he leads the band through a tight set with a welcoming tone and tempo, and his vocals aren't hindered in any noteworthy way by his sniffles. Fans in the know get to sing along about giving away a sweater to someone who wears it better, and the set eventually end with "Boston" after a batch of similar yet enjoyable songs, and while it's a pretty casual performance, there's a nice seriousness about it which makes it feel like maybe we could soon begin to listen to emo music without ironic distance or the need to make a joke or cliché of it. Here's to hoping for that and for the continued success of a promising young band called Moose Blood. TL

7

Seahaven

Being an outspoken fan of the first Seahaven album "Winter Forever" and more of a reserved skeptic when it comes to their recent "Reverie Lagoon", I'm hit with considerable measures of joy when the band opens their set with "End Of The World" from the former. Except why is bassist Mike DeBartolo handling the vocals instead of singer/guitarist Kyle Soto? It turns out Soto is feeling the tour flu the hardest, as DeBartolo explains briefly after two songs. There's not much talk from Seahaven tonight, and instead their tuning breaks are filled with sampled ruffling that lends the set a certain enigmatic quality. "Goodnight" - also from "Winter Forever" - is aired as well, still with DeBartolo on vocals, but besides this change the band is otherwise playing well, providing the audience with perhaps the most thoughtfully constructed music of the evening.

Seahaven

Still, despite filling in capably, DeBartolo doesn't match the highly peculiar vocal style with which Soto has characterised the band, and generally you feel the crowd being torn between interest in the actual songs and in what's going on with the odd set. Making matters worse, the band opts to cut things short at only a handful of songs, proclaiming that the next song will be the last before playing "Wild West Selfishness", during which DeBartolo's microphone inexplicably starts to cut out constantly, completely ruining that component of the song. Admittedly then, the set is sort of a train wreck, and neither prior fans nor curious newcomers can feel like they really got to see the band properly, marking it a bit of a disaster for those interested. Conversely, the band could've backed out entirely if Soto truly couldn't sing at all, and could arguably deserve some measures of credit for at least making an appearance and for having DeBartolo fill in as well as he did. Attendees will likely be divided on the subject, and given the handicapped circumstances, the only grade that makes sense seems like one that's neither here nor there. TL

5

Balance And Composure

While people have been curious onlookers and treated both support bands with intrigue and respect, whether due to their critical acclaim or well-fitting musical landscape to the headliners, it is Balance And Composure that most people came here to see. Talk winds down and people re-enter the venue from their smoking breaks, and the band casually take the stage and start off with "Parachutes" straight away. Their dreamy, laid back interpretation of post-hardcore and indie influences feels even more grungy tonight than it normally does thanks to the UnderWerket basement venue being rough around the edges, so to say, but by god does it spellbind people into a sense of hypnosis and captivation as the band progress through their set. Without much visible movement - aside from the heavier parts where the band does some headbanging and moving around - the songs really speak for themselves with tracks like "Reflection", "Quake", "Back Of Your Head" leading the charge.

Balance & Composure

The sound is absolutely perfect - probably the best I've experienced at this venue to date - meaning the atmospherics of their songs really shroud the venue into a cloud of dreamy, expansive post-hardcore where the songwriting quality truly shines. The songs flow smoothly into one another, albeit arguably too much so as it leaves a number of awkward moments where people are not sure if the song is over and thus not clapping or cheering. That doesn't bother those of us in the know, as we are virtually frozen by the brilliance of their songwriting manifesting itself live in front of us. Hence as I glance around the venue, I find people with concentrated, but happy looks as they breathe in every detail of the band's music. It is an intimate experience that lasts about an hour before they call it a day, but rest assured they delivered exactly the kind of bewildering musical showcase live as their records suggest. They'll be playing a much bigger venue next time. PP

Photos by: Philip B. Hansen

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