Title Fight

support Drug Church + Milk Teeth
author PP date 16/05/15 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN

Saturday night. Spring is supposed to be around the corner but it certainly doesn't look like so with the gloomy and gray rain-weather we've been seeing most of the day. Fortunately, we have a hell of a package coming to town to contest the other good shows happening across town: Title Fight, whose shoegaze-influenced post-hardcore has won them much critical acclaim alongside its punk urgency, are headlining tonight. But equally much hype is being raised by Drug Church, whose piercing hardcore-fueled punk rock has won many a heart thanks to their eclectic vocalist and their quirky approach to the genre overall. And last but no least, fast rising UK grunge punkers Milk Teeth show how a performance is done energy wise. Let's get started, shall we?

Milk Teeth

Wasting no time in getting started, the first notes of Milk Teeth's loud guitars start drawing people from the bar towards the scene. KB18 is reasonably well attended tonight with 80 tickets sold with another bunch on the guestlist, so a thick semi-circle of people quickly gather around the stage. If there's one thing Milk Teeth do well from the get go, it's displaying energy. Their grungy screamer vocalist/guitarist takes every opportunity to sway away from the mic into wild swirls and spinning jumps across the stage. Their female bassist, whom we'll return to shortly for other reasons, spends time playing on the floor kneeling down, and otherwise matches his energy. Their second guitarist is found towards the right near the pillar, rocking out with equal amount of passion over there. It's very much in-your-face and passionate, characterized by urgency for the first half of the set.

That is, until the show changes completely halfway through from Nirvana-inspired punk rage into soft, almost fragile emo/indie rock that most of all recalls Lemuria. This is thanks to their bassist's silky-soft vocals that are a bit of a weird contrast against the piercing screams of their primary vocalist. The transitions between these two types of songs is interesting to say the least, and at times it feels like you're watching two completely different bands playing the same set. Pretty neat. But if there's one thing they need to work on, it's their in-between song banter and after-song rituals. For what seemed like forever there wasn't an opportunity to clap your hands, or when there was, one of the guitarists shredded a few too many notes to drown out any audience applause. This got a bit weird when the vocalist asked us a few questions and nobody was able to answer due to echoing reverb. Otherwise, fantastic passion and small details like playing the guitar against a pillar help cover the fact that their songs might need a little more work.

Drug Church

Now, Drug Church are pretty good on record. Their older songs mostly bring to mind Good Clean Fun style hardcore thanks to the razorsharp yell of their vocalist, but they do mix in elements of post-hardcore and punk rock as well. They continue in the same vein as Milk Teeth: tremendous amounts of energy are coming our way from the stage. However, what makes the difference is the amount of charisma portrayed by the vocalist. He spends lengthy periods of time looking like a drug-infused lunatic as he converses with the crowd, tells us stories, his favorite parts about Europe (starting feuds between fans from different countries), about his band not being into crack cocaine or other drugs, et cetera. It's funny and feels natural, even though his longer rants have the rest of his band looking at him as if to say "c'mon dude, let's play some tunes already!".

Either way, most of the crowd's focus is on the enigmatic and animated performance by the vocalist, who seems to be all over the place throughout the show. The songs are given a whole new dimension because of his style to deliver them on stage, and that's what makes Drug Church a fantastic band. He's a weird guy for sure, but sometimes you need that in order to play a good set.


Title Fight

I was wondering how exactly the new album would translate to in a live environment, because let's be frank here, the record isn't exactly comparable to "Floral Green" on any level. The added amount of shoegaze, the weird production that leaves guitars in deafening reverb that drowns most of the vocals beneath it? It just doesn't work very well. That is, until you see it live played next to the older songs. New York Times had it right when they claimed Title Fight trade urgency for depth in performances since the release of the new album. Well, they had it half-right at least. To claim that the band doesn't play with a sense of urgency isn't quite appropriate considering they play all songs pretty much straight during a one hour set, and how intensely the band moves in their personal spaces during the performances of their old songs.

Tonight, we get a best-of setlist of Title Fight which consists of almost everything from "Floral Green", the best songs off the new album ("Chlorine", "Murder Your Memory", "Hypernight", "Rose Of Sharon", "Mhrac"), and the best of old school material ("27", "Shed", "Symmetry" etc). And what strikes you the most is how well material that is so different from each other blends together into one, mesmerizing and hypnotizing experience. There are a few stage dives for the faster songs, but small sing alongs to the big ones, but overall the band achieve a brilliant trance like atmosphere by playing the songs without any pauses in between. Of course, "Secret Society" draws a huge response from the crowd and you can argue that "Numb, But I Still Feel" it and "Like A Ritual" receive a stronger reaction than the new tracks, but it's the variety and mixture of both styles that makes it work so well together. If anything, we leave the venue tonight with a new-found appreciation of the new material, and a reminder of just how good a song like "Shed" really is at the same time.


Photos by: Lykke Nielsen

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