Town Portal

support Watered
author LF date 27/09/15 venue Underwerket, Copenhagen, DEN

Finding myself with nothing to do on this quiet Sunday evening, I decide that the best way to spend it would be at Underwerket in Valby with some solid instrumental music. The line-up tonight consists of two talented bands in the post-rock genre - the one leaning towards post-metal and the other towards math-rock. Originally, three bands were supposed to play tonight but unfortunately the first band of the line-up, the relatively new Danish post-rock trio theshipwhosang, has been forced to cancel their appearance due to illness. Still, the two remaining bands have wonderful things in store for the small crowd that has gathered in Valby tonight.

All pictures by Philip B. Hansen


The first band on stage is the German post-rock/post-metal band Watered whose music I've only just familiarized myself with on this very day in the process of deciding whether to go to the show or not. Obviously, their heavy music attracted me enough that I decided to show up. The foursome sound very good and balanced tonight with the bass edging out its place in the sound on equal footing with the two otherwise dominating guitars. This means that the music gives us just that nice punch that comes from the lower end of the spectrum as the sound of the bass and drums vibrate fittingly in the room without being too much. The band has an atmospheric backing track helping them out as well, but it is mostly audible in intros and in between songs and supplements the sound just fine, again without disturbing the balance of the other elements. The band's music borders on ambient and even black metal from time to time and they are very good at building their atmospheres up slowly but steadily so the music sort of slides forward in intensity, leaving the listener to wonder afterwards when exactly it was that this or that song changed character to become darker and heavier than it was to begin with. Because of the music's ability to pull the listener in like that, it works just fine how the band mostly stick to focusing on their instruments through the set, grooving about just slightly on the small stage. For the last song, their bassist provides some semi-screamed vocals that, unfortunately, do not shine through very well in the mix and don't add anything in particular to the band's otherwise purely instrumental music. This is a bit of a shame as the track has more of an impact on record but overall the set is mostly well-balanced and their show tonight is a pleasant and rewarding one.


Town Portal

Next up we have the local instrumental math-rock band Town Portal. I've been meaning to check them out live for a while before tonight, in fact ever since I spun their newest record "The Occident" a couple of months ago. Finally tonight my plans work out and this is thus the first time I experience them live. When they get on stage, at first I'm simply surprised to discover that a band that plays such complex-sounding instrumental music consists of only three members. As opposed to the previous band, Town Portal don't include vocals on any of their tracks and their songs are generally shorter and busier with swirling riffs and odd time signatures building them up. Here it is more the strength of the riffs and the sound of the guitar especially that stands out and not so much the general building of crushing atmospheres that dominated the stage earlier. Their music seems to engage the greater part of the audience tonight with several people trying to move in time to the riffs in each their own way. The band themselves are just as active as Watered, and they focus their energy mainly on making the musical magic happen rather than moving around or looking wild on stage. Here as well as before the balance in the sound mix is good and the bass shines through more readily than I'm used to, which is always a good thing with music like this. Even though I am more familiar with Town Portal's music than with Watered's, I find myself spontaneously smiling during their set simply because the music takes surprising turns that always combine their creative sense of composition with an incredible groove that is just infectious. In the end, I wish the band would have played an even longer set than they did and I am certainly not about to miss them the next time they play live around here.

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