Terror

support Comeback Kid + Stick To Your Guns + Obey The Brave + More Than A Thousand + No Bragging Rights + Capsize
author PP date 07/11/14 venue Voxhall, Århus, DEN

When it comes to a package lineup within hardcore, you can't go much higher profile than this year's Impericon Never Say Die! tour without having to book arena-sized venues due to popular interest. Terror have in recent years established themselves among the absolute elite within hardcore despite the outspoken attitude of vocalist Scott Vogel, and main support Comeback Kid have released one critically acclaimed album after another to arguably place themselves at the very top of the melodic hardcore pyramid. When you add into the mix bands like Stick To Your Guns, Obey The Brave, More Than A Thousand, No Bragging Rights, and Capsize, you have one of the most rock solid hardcore/melodic hardcore lineups we've seen in years.

Unfortunately the timing of the Voxhall, Århus should couldn't be worse with the date coinciding with the nearby Aalborg Metal Festival, a three-day event with high-profile names like Hatebreed and The Black Dahlia Murder eating up a large chunk of the potential target audience for tonight's show. As a result, the 500 capacity venue feels awfully empty tonight with only 100-120 people in attendance, leaving a large hole in the middle of the venue and many shows lacking in intensity from the crowd's side. Fortunately, most bands make the best out of a bad situation and play solid performances that showcase why they are enjoying a high level of respect within the hardcore scene. Sadly for us, there is no review of Capsize as it was simply impossible to drive after work from Copenhagen on time for a 6pm sharp start, so apologies for that.

No Bragging Rights

No Bragging Rights

With sub-optimal crowd size, No Bragging Rights enter stage in front of a largely empty room, but nonetheless employ all techniques necessary to get things going from two-stepping on stage to big jumps and all that. Their last two albums "Cycles" and "The Concrete Flower" have been brilliant examples of melodic hardcore, so it's reassuring to hear the high pitch cleans sound sublime in a live environment as well. "Brave Hearts" arrives early on with its "LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT" screams, tempo switches between hardcore punk and slower beatdown rhythms, and sounds great to those who've heard "The Concrete Flower" before. "Cycles" follows shortly after with a length introduction about the vocalist's dad not having been raised by a father and him being thankful on behalf of his brother and him for their dad being there all along and supporting them, which is also the theme of the song. "We preach community and acceptance in rooms like this", the band continues, recalling a story about a friend of theirs who committed suicide, which changed them as people and as a band forever. There are lots such moments where the band come across as a little bit tacky preaching to a half empty venue, but they compensate with very melodic and uplifting music that resonates well in this scribe's ears. Could've been a much better performance in a smaller venue with more of a crowd dynamic going on.

7

More Than A Thousand

More Than A Thousand

It turns out suicide is a theme tonight with Have Hope organization handing out flyers near the merch stand and having a big banner hanging from the balcony near the stage (which is closed tonight for the public). Before More Than A Thousand get started we get a motivational message from a speaker who encourages us to get help if we or a friend we know is having suicidal thoughts, letting us know not to be ashamed and all. The audience cheers for this earnest message, and then it's time for the hyper-bouncy More Than A Thousand to get on stage with "Fight Your Demons". A faint electronic backing supplements soul-crushing breakdowns with bass tuned up so high that we're risking our chest bones shattering from the vibrations, whilst the band hop up and down as if they are on the trampoline on stage. Their vocalist displays an impressive range handling both screams and cleans by himself, often whilst in heavy-duty up-and-down motion at the same time. In general, their stage presence is very active, but sadly once again there are too few people in the venue to make the interaction feel authentic with crowd responding in the same way. Few kids at the front row are having fun - and the band basically play the rest of the show to those 10 or so people who are singing along to every lyric culminating in a pre-puberty voice helping out with the mic for a line or two in one song. On more general terms More Than A Thousand lose out to No Bragging Rights in terms of songwriting quality, however, with their constant breakdowns feeling rather unnecessary in comparison to the dynamic flow of what we just witnessed before them. That the cleans are a little bit too emo here also play their part - while they weren't terrible, they weren't up my alley at all.

6

Obey The Brave

Obey The Brave

Epitaph bruisers Obey The Brave suffer from unfortunate sound problems for the first few songs of their set, which is a big deal when you only have a 25 minute slot to play around with. It's difficult to hear the growls of their vocalist who is largely drowned underneath the instrumentals, but the crowd doesn't seem to mind. The audience has grown slightly, and a circle pit gets going for the fast part in the second song. It's a refreshing change from the constant breakdown that we've experienced even in the intro track that the band used for entering the stage. "Live And Learn" and "Up In Smoke" follow with a circle pit, before a couple of karate guys quickly eradicate the pit and create a massive hole in the middle. It takes just two people to ruin the experience for both the band and the fans, who now face no chance of connection thanks to only the front row being able to stand near the venue with everyone else pushed back by a couple of people swinging their firsts like windmills. People should really stop doing that. Aside from the rant, the band ask everyone to "STOMP YOUR FEET" for the crushing breakdowns of "Short Fuse", before playing "Full Circle" straight afterwards. The band shows some movement on stage, but instead of jumping around like the madmen before them, Obey The Brave's vocalist rather moves around the stage a little bit like a hip hopper. If you've ever seen Deez Nuts live, then that's the impression that burned itself to the back of my head throughout the Obey The Brave set. And while they had solid melodies in their best songs and did their best to give the crowd a seizure through rapidly flashing strobe lighting for a lengthy period towards the end of the set, the failing dynamics caused by constant and never-ending breakdowns meant their set felt more generic than anything else we've heard tonight. From a performance perspective it was decent, though, although it was pretty embarrassing when the band mentioned they're happy to be playing in Denmark for the first time when they've played here once before (KB18).

Stick To Your Guns - constant airtime

Stick To Your Guns

So far we've experienced decent hardcore bands doing their best with an audience way too small for this venue, but none of them have truly impressed me yet. Stick To Your Guns are a completely different story with experience and attitude that far surpasses the other bands on the roster tonight. Sure enough the three karate guys make sure there's an enormous hole between the band and the audience once again, removing any intensity from the crowd's side, but the sheer amount of energy the band display on stage is brilliant. Consistent simultaneous jumps mean the band is having some serious air time throughout their set, while also playing their uplifting, detailed melodies at the same time, which are in turn contrasted by hardcore punk sections and barrages of breakdowns that actually fit into the music being played. The front rows are passionately jumping against the barrier to sing along with their active vocalist, and it's easy to see why. Many tracks start with quieter or melodic sections and progressively build up to explosion points which showcase quality songwriting from an instrumental perspective, and these are often perfectly commandeered by their vocalist to get the crowd participating at all moments. When the band are simultaneously super energetic on stage, constantly doing scissor jumps and circling around the stage, it means there's a sense of drive and energy to their set that is simply unmatched by the previous bands. They dedicate "What Goes Around" to Comeback Kid, which is no surprise considering how similar it sounds to that band, before playing the exceptionally melodic "We Still Believe" from the new album. What's best about their set is that they give their absolute best despite a scarce crowd, and that kind of work ethic can only be commended by the undersigned.

Comeback Kid

Comeback Kid

Comeback Kid waste no time in getting started kicking off with their best and most sing-alongable anthem "G.M. Vincent & I", an instant crowd favorite that sees a number of fists pumping in air during its catchy gang shouted chorus. "Losing Sleep" follows with "Do Yourself A Favor" coming up right after, with the band following Stick To Your Guns' example and going absolutely mental on stage in terms of jumps and moving around. Vocalist Andrew Neufeld is desperately trying to get the crowd going - "It's friday night let's get this party started" - without much luck, finally asking if he needs to come down to show us how it's done, before climbing over the barrier and starting his own push-mosh pit near the front for the first song they ever wrote, "All In A Year". He leads the frenetic pit activity from here for the next couple of songs, with him venturing deeper into the crowd for "Talk Is Cheap" and forming a circle pit around him before ramming against people's faces to scream shortly after. "Wasted Arrows" and "Partners In Crime" follow with him back on stage, still showcasing frantic energy with jumps and all the good stuff, before "Should Know Better" is aired to demonstrate the more hardcore side of the band. "False Idols Fall" is up next with people on stage after request by Neufeld, with comical one person stage dives into a crowd of a handful of eager participants ready to receive anyone daring to take the leap. This continues throughout the rest of the set with "Wake The Dead" featuring one such crowd surfer being given the microphone whilst doing so, so you can say Comeback Kid make the absolute best of a bad situation just like Stick To Your Guns did right before them, despite the band being visibly disappointed by the lack of attendance tonight.

8

Terror

Terror's self-awareness has reached new heights as the band enter stage with a pre-recorded spoken word backing track about how fucking real they are as a band followed by the very real shouts of "IT'S GOOD TO BE ALIVE!" by vocalist Scott Vogel mid song as the band get started. "This isn't a concert, this is a hardcore show... MOVE UP... COME ON", he shouts, before leading into "Stick Tight" from "Keepers Of The Faith". He immediately smashes the mic into the crowd and begins two stepping on stage to demonstrate to the crowd how it's done - a dozen or so participants follow suit in the middle of the venue instead of the karate bullshit we saw earlier. "Listen up... this room is small. More stage dives! Jump on somebody, MOVE UP!", he screams for "Spit My Rage". "EVERYBODY CIRCLE PIT! DANCE! FEEL IT!", these are just some of the power statements he embeds within his songs - and it is absolutely masterful to watch him resurrect a dead crowd through his stubbornly insistent chants for us to get moving. If there's one man who can overcome an empty room with such force, let it be known that it is Scott Vogel, love him or hate him. He even refuses to start "Live By The Code" before everyone moves closer. "Now that we've moved close, don't elbow anyone... MOVE UP. FEEL IT. DANCE. IT'S GOOD TO BE ALIVE", advice that is of course ignored by re-emerging karate moshers so the empty hole in the middle of the venue is reinforced once again. "One With The Underdogs" and "Always The Hard Way" follow suit - "FEEL THAT SHIT!" before "You're Caught" and "Hard Lessons" demonstrate how to write proper crunchy, downtuned hardcore. Vogel is tireless in his demands of us to MOVE UP and to DANCE and all that, which is perfect because it surrounds the empty venue in exactly the kind of energy needed to have a convincing show after all. Clearly unhappy with the circumstances, he does manage to sneak in a little comment about remembering to book the right venues when thanking the people involved in the hardcore scene, but overall his relentless approach creates a positive vibe in the room.

Terror

The last couple of songs "Keep Your Mouth Shut" and "Keepers Of The Faith" see help from both crew members and vocalists of other bands on various verse sections, which adds a nice touch to the ending of the set. Recognizing tonight's not exactly the night to go wild given the crowd circumstances, the band finish almost fifteen minutes early with no encore in sight, which is fair enough, because honestly it's difficult to keep it going with only a few handfuls of people in a comparatively enormous space. That said, Terror once again prove why they are among the elite in hardcore tonight, and they deserve a much bigger crowd to show what they are really worth.

8

All photos by Sebastian Dammark.

Comments
comments powered by Disqus

Legal

© Copyright MMXIX Rockfreaks.net.