Quiet Spring

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author BV date 20/02/15 venue Stengade, Copenhagen, DEN

Few things genuinely surprise me these days when it comes to the topic of music; seeing a heavily attended country rock gig at Stengade counts as one of the few remaining surprises though. Having initially been heavily infatuated with the debut album by Quiet Spring, a charmingly rural take on the classic country rock performed by such bands as The Grateful Dead, Gene Clark, The Flying Burrito Brothers and many others, I figured it would not only be fitting, but also highly important to be present at Quiet Spring’s debut performance. Entering Stengade on this particular Friday night was a strange experience in itself; the venue was packed and people were having good times and laughs, soundtracked by music from various corners of the more rural aspects of music. There was no support band on this night and, as such, the only thing that had drawn out all these different people were the anticipation of seeing Quiet Spring perform for the very first time.

All photos courtesy of Stefan thor Straten

Quiet Spring

At first glance the band didn’t really seem affected by the jitters one would expect most bands to suffer from prior to their debut performance. The band casually strolled on stage, picked up their instruments and grinningly muttered; ”we’re probably gonna need a minute to get a ready” before they simply launched into the first track of the night in the form of “Red Rivers”. Met by a fair amount of applause the band ventured into more well-known territory by playing “Spirit of the Hill”, the album-opener on their recently released, critically acclaimed debut album. The low-key atmosphere of the track stood in stark contrast to the grinning faces, the rhythmic swaying and the generally positive attitude of the crowd – displaying the fact that even though the band is relatively new, their album has already made a strangely remarkable impact. There aren’t a whole lot of bells and whistles to the Quiet Spring soundscape and that, in particular, is highly refreshing. Consequently driven forward by front-man Morten Aron Larsen’s clean-ish guitar parts and characteristic vocals, constantly kept in line by drummer Asbjørn Nørgaard and bassist Theis Boisen and occasionally flavored by Christel Voldby Winther’s violin and Søren Pilegaard Hansen’s gentle piano parts, there isn’t a whole lot going on to be confused by; subsequently letting their profoundly tight playing shine that much brighter throughout their limited, but highly listenable repertoire.

With “King & Queen” the band introduced the crowd to their very own brand of upbeat country-pop, rather than the lurking melancholy of most of their material. The piano was one of the definite highlights of the track, adding that certain level of bliss to the track that is necessary for it to not sound downright corny. It might be a pop track, but those are not to be devalued simply for being “pop-sounding”. – especially not when front-man Morten Aron Larsen immediately disarms it afterwards by claiming; that’s all the pop you’re gonna get. As mentioned earlier, the band’s recorded output is fairly limited and, as such, it was a genuinely nice treat to hear some entirely new tracks like “So High”, which was still so new that drummer Asbjørn Nørgaard announced it with its working title “About to Die”, before being immediately corrected with a humorous response from the rest of the band. The new material sounded promising, making sure that it didn’t just come off as filler material included to be able to play for more than 40-odd minutes or so.

The essential highlight of the evening simply had to be “Buzz Buzz”, the closer of both their album and their initial set at Stengade. With approximately 10 minutes’ worth of boogieing country rock there was enough room for the five musicians to each play around with the formula for a bit; conveying an attitude of genuine excitement from the band throughout the track. Throughout the night there had been various times where I had wanted the soundscape to be a bit clearer – especially in the sense of making the violin audible, but on “Buzz Buzz” this would no longer be an issue – leaving the track to stand out as an all-round highlight – both aesthetically and sonically. Returning for no less than three encores, it was a genuinely nice surprise that the last one of the three, a cover of Ted Lucas’ “Baby Where You Are”, would be sung entirely by bassist Theis Boisen who ended the evening on a downplayed note which was as soothing as it was haunting. All things considered, this has got to be one of the most successful debut performances I have seen in many years and I honestly never thought I’d see myself standing in a near sold out Stengade, listening to country rock. All that aside, I can only imagine that Quiet Spring will refine their routine – making them a must see for me, when they come around the Copenhagen area for a gig once more.

8

Setlist:

  • 1. Red Rivers
  • 2. Spirit of the Hill
  • 3. Today
  • 4. King & Queen
  • 5. A Dying Fire
  • 6. So High
  • 7. The Devil Rides Again
  • 8. Wash Me Away
  • 9. Deep In Our Memory
  • 10. End of the Highway
  • 11. Buzz Buzz
  • --Encore--
  • 12. Death in Our Own Backyard
  • 13. Going Down the Road
  • 14. Baby Where You Are (Ted Lucas cover)

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