Madball

support Deez Nuts + Stick To Your Guns + Trash Talk + Being As An Ocean
author PP date 26/04/15 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

Sunday nights are always tough for concert arrangers in Copenhagen. Tonight is the perfect example why. Even a stunning hardcore package with five excellent bands with extremely varied interpretations of the genre like this one is having difficulty selling tickets - only a few hundred were sold in advance despite a perfectly reasonable price of 225 DKK a piece in presale. Can you believe that from a lineup that features New York Hardcore pioneers Madball, party upstarts Deez Nuts, melodic hardcore titans Stick To Your Guns, metallic hardcore maniacs Trash Talk and one of the more hyped bands from the new generation, Being As An Ocean? What's so bad about going to a show on a Sunday, Copenhagen?

Being As An Ocean

The show starts early, at 6:30pm to be precise. Only a handful of people have made it into the venue at this point, which leaves the spacious interior of Amager Bio feeling rather empty when Being As An Ocean enter the stage. Much credit to the sound engineers for being able to pull an acceptable sound from that echoing chamber tonight. Recognizing the challenge ahead of them, vocalist Joel Quartuccio immediately makes his way to the barrier to scream the first song or two in the faces of the eager front row, who've clearly shown up early just to see this band perform their passionate form of melodic hardcore with the occasional emo-ish clean vocal backing vocals.

Being As An Ocean - moments before he went into the crowd

Realizing this isn't enough, he quickly makes his way to the other side of the barrier and spends the remainder of the show here surrounded by a small circle of fans. An absolutely necessary move if this show was going anywhere at all tonight given how few people are here right now. Here, he crashes towards the edge of the circle, shaking fans and screaming in their faces, making the multiple spoken-word sections of their songs feel that much more intimate (and arguably preachy at times). When set finisher "This Loneliness Won't Be The Death Of Me", a small but passionate outburst of scream-along erupts from a group of fans knowing the song. They surround the lead singer and drive the song home as the most memorable one tonight. Realistically, there needs to be way more people before this will reach the higher ratings, but it's clear that this show would be intense and fantastic in a small venue with a passionate crowd. Tonight, it's good, but we need more crowd-band dynamics in play.

7

Trash Talk

I've always said Trash Talk is a band best experienced live, not on record. That statement has never held more truth to it than tonight, where the band practically rip Amager Bio to shreds unlike any band I've seen here despite the low turnout. Much like his colleague before him, vocalist Lee Spielman vaults himself into the crowd side of the barrier straight away and delivers one of the most manic and captivating live performances I've seen a band deliver outside a Chariot or a Dillinger Escape Plan show. First, we start off with him screaming his throat dry while sitting in the middle of the crowd, the rest of us circle pitting around him in rapid speeds. Then, he eggs the crowd on for more: "You paid money to get to this show. Move up, what the fuck is this?", and a karate pit clears pretty much any chance of the crowd moving anywhere closer to the front. No problem for Spielman. His mic chord appearing impossibly long, he then delivers a power demonstration on how to win over the entire room by single-handedly making sure every single member receives one-on-one face time with him for at least a few moments. No matter if you're standing all the way in the back, far to the right side, to the left, or up front, he traverses through the crowd while engaging in absolutely vicious headbanging that would result in a head injury for most of us.

Trash Talk - the maniac

"For this next song, I want you to BANG YOUR HEADS", he screams in devilish fashion, while making his way to the mobile bar positioned at the back of the venue, and climbs on top of it. He spends the next couple of songs on top of the bar with his hair flowing in as absurd fashion as it has throughout the night, while the band delivers their crusty, cheesegrater style metallic hardcore with the intensity of an out-of-control TNT-loaded freight train heading towards certain destruction. Next, he rushes to the exit doors, locks them up, only to burst through them like an angry bull, resulting in shocked expressions on those people sitting out by the bar area. The energy he delivers is absolutely insane, and the band on stage is doing just as good. This is how you literally set fire onto a venue. Great work with so few people.

Stick To Your Guns

Stick To Your Guns

After such a ridiculously explosive showing, how could Stick To Your Guns ever live up to what just happened at the venue. Well, it turns out their plan of execution is just fine. Their strategy? Nonstop jumping and a display of energy that few other bands do on stage. I'm talking twister jumps, karate kicks, and swirls across the stage throughout their set by pretty much the whole band, lead by vocalist Jesse Barnett. Their style of textbook melodic hardcore is probably the most straight forward out of any of the bands, but that doesn't deter it from being effective. More importantly, when you combine that with their impressive stage presence the result is a passionate performance that's characterized by immediacy. Sure, Barnett doesn't make it into the crowd but he doesn't need to: the band's bigger hits like "What Choice Did You Give Us?" from the new album and "We Still Believe" from the previous record are good enough to work without the in-your-face factor elevating their intensity. It's nowhere near as flashy as the first two bands, but the sheer dominance of their stage energy is enough to win me over. It's as little samey towards the end but it's still a rock solid show, even if the occasional clean vocals do sound a little off in their otherwise raw and grating approach to melodic hardcore.

Deez Nuts

Deez Nuts

Compared to the more serious attempts at hardcore delivered by all three bands before them, Deez Nuts must seem like a ridiculous joke to those who aren't acquainted with the band from before. They kick their set off with a double-header from their new album "Word" with the title track and "What's Good", before airing some older material with "Stay True" and crowd favorite "DTD" results into a big response during it's gang-shouted "oh ohhh oh ohhh ohhh oh" parts. Hardcore as a genre is being satirized here and that's what Deez Nuts are all about. Their appearance is all gangsta - some might even accuse them of Limp Bizkitizing hardcore - and you can't possibly take it seriously when the band sings "TAKE MONEY MONEY TAKE MONEY MONEY MONEEYYYY" cheerfully whilst practically rapping on stage. "Shot After Shot" is hilarious, lighthearted and fun, and it's refreshing to see the genre showcased in such an unserious manner for once. There's the odd Holylwood Undead reference and a bunch of other jokes that make absolute mockery of hardcore as a genre, and this is precisely why it works. Tonight, they could've done with a lot more songs from "Bout It" other than just the two they played tonight, because people don't seem too familiar with the brand new album just yet. Good, but not as catchy as last time around.

Setlist:

  • 1. Word
  • 2. What's Good
  • 3. Stay True
  • 4. DTD
  • 5. Shot After Shot
  • 6. What I Gotta Do
  • 7. Your Mother Should Have Swallowed You
  • 8. Don't Wanna Talk About It
  • 9. Face This On My Own
  • 10. Tonight We're Gonna Party
  • 11. I Hustle Everyday
  • 12. The Message
  • 13. Band of Brothers

Madball

Madball

So now we've pretty much gone through all the hot new names in today's hardcore scene. I always wondered what Madball vocalist Freddy Cricien would think of a band like Deez Nuts, a question that's answered by him wearing a big Deez Nuts wifebeater, so that's always something. In previous showings, Madball have always reigned as the kings of hardcore especially at the live frontier, and tonight they start their set in as convincing fashion as usual. They are explosive, and show no sign of aging despite having been a band for almost thirty years. The crowd - now sizable at a few hundred people - reacts accordingly: a crazy mosh pit erupts that draws Cricien's attention straight away. "I like what's going on here", he says, before proceeding to jump around like he's 21 again on stage. "Make No Mistake" and "DNA" are played early on, but their set is primarily built around the "Set It Off" anniversary tour last year, which was their debut album back in 1994. Old school fans are happy about this one, as you can tell by the pit that doesn't cease from two-step and circle pit action throughout their set. In the meantime, Cricien is pacing around the stage drenched in sweat, jumping around and showcasing maximum energy on stage as every frontman should.

Madball

Still, you can tell this is a Sunday, and the band's usual dominance doesn't quite translate across and capture the audience in the same way as it usually does. The songs begin to blend together too much, and the few bright spots like "Doc Marten Stomp" from the new album and "Turn It Around" are the lone sparkles that rescue the set for the undersigned. There's a great dynamic towards the end where Cricien shares the mic with the audience near the front, and overall it's still a solid Madball show. But then again, Trash Talk showed what's what earlier, and compared to that insanity, even the frankly amazing amount of bouncing on stage isn't going to cut it. Here's to another weekend show in the future, because Madball can do so much better than this, as we've seen in past shows.

Photos by: Lykke Nielsen

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