Evans The Death

support Spines
author LF date 27/08/15 venue Stengade, Copenhagen, DEN

In probably the most busy week I've had for a year, I happened to stumble upon a British noise pop/indie/punk band called Evans The Death that so captivated me that I had to make space for their show this evening at Stengade in my schedule. Their lo-fi sound and relatively noisy and layered soundscape might not be something absolutely out of the ordinary but their sense of dynamic songwriting and good melodies and not least the versatile vocals provided by Katherine Whitaker certainly makes them worth your time. As it turns out, they're extremely down-to-earth people and their familiar humor certainly comes across when they play live and adds a welcome sense of groundedness to their somewhat artsy music. But before I get more into that, a few words about the support band, Spines.

Spines

The Danish post-punk trio Spines is a relatively new construct, but they have already recorded an EP of four songs and seem well on the way with new songs. Tonight they have several dedicated fans in the audience that sway and bump their heads in time to the music. Their songs are mostly short and to the point and while they play at varying speeds, most songs can be characterized as up-tempo and all push forward very insistingly thanks to the constant presence of ever-evolving drum patterns. The most noticeable elements in the music though are the nimble guitar and bass patterns as they interlock and play fast riffs in varying time signatures while the bellowing and deep vocals typically found in post-punk compete with them for attention. This coupling of apathetic, mostly non-melodic vocals on a backdrop busy with various melodic riffs and forward-striving, fast drums provides us with quite a danceable but not always particularly engaging set. The group offers very sparse comments in between songs, at most adding a quick "Thank you", and thus the short songs come in quick succession and don't always get the space they need around them to make an impact on their own. The band ends with a crescendo of guitar strums and smoke that suddenly wells up from behind them as the riffs of their last songs move faster and faster and while I am not captivated by every song they play tonight, many of their riffs are certainly cool and I'm sure to keep an eye out for any new releases by them.

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Evans The Death

Seeing a likable band live that I've only just discovered is always an interesting experience for me. Either I find out that the music isn't really that interesting or deep after all or the live aspect somehow widens out the songs and shows me new sides to the music that opens the band's albums further for me. Of course I'm happy to declare that tonight's show turns out to be of the latter kind. Evans The Death makes noisy music but with a focus on great melodies in the midst of it as well, and fortunately both these elements translate really well live even as some of the more delicate guitar melodies get drowned out by the more insisting strumming. Whitaker's vocal contributions are not quite as versatile as I had hoped but she still does a great job in the loud mix, her voice shifting between airy and rounded singing in calmer parts and coarser belting during some of the faster and louder songs. The swirling waltz rhythm of "What's In Your Pocket?" from their debut album provides an early highlight as Whitaker's introductory line "What's in your pocket? / You don't think I care, but I do" wraps around the listener with its cutesy melody and sets the mood of the band's bleak and introspective but also witty songs well. The plain announcement of song titles like "Just 60,000 More Days 'Til I Die", "Bad Year" or "Idiot Button" and the band's informal and humorous demeanor on stage as well as at the merch stand only further complements this vibe. While some of their songs can be very artsy in their appreciation of guitar noise, the fact that the band connects this with their very grounded lyrics and appearance makes the music very inviting and easy to engage with as a listener. "Expect Delays" that makes an appearance towards the end of the set as well as "Intrinsic Grey" that ends our evening together have been instant favorites with me and are just as catchy in the live setting as on album even though Whitaker's wonderful voice lacks some of the soaring, seamless qualities in the highest parts of her melodies tonight. Still, I definitely do not regret having pushed this show into my calendar at the last minute and I sit here now completely unable to not hum along to several of the band's songs. All in all, for a tired Thursday-evening-show this is quite a success.

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