These Arms Are Snakes

support Sinai
author PP date 29/07/07 venue Lades Kælder, Copenhagen, DEN

Mind blowing shows are awfully rare in Denmark, mainly due to promoters like DKBmotor who only book the biggest of bands to play at the larger venues with dollar signs glowing in their eyes. These are the kind of shows that mostly fail in our critical eyes, simply because one just can't get intimate enough with the band and the band is unable to make a proper connection with the crowd. It's therefore fortunate that agencies like Fourword exist, who book bands out of sheer passion for their music, and consequently we were able to witness These Arms Are Snakes at what must be one of their smallest gigs since they started writing music, as Lades Kaelder fits at maximum 40-50 fans in front of the stage.

Like during Fourword's last booking mewithoutYou, Danish post-hardcore/indie outfit Sinai had been selected to open the night. Having read TL's review of their performance before mewithoutYou I didn't expect much, and I didn't receive much either. Their set was plagued by the same flaws that seem to trouble most post-hardcore bands with too much indie influence - it was only their heavier and more unpredictable songs that caught me on my toes. For instance, when their vocalist wandered into the crowd, or during his seemingly uncontrollable bursts of energy that surfaced during the heavier and more experimental moments of their set. But unfortunately, the rest of the set was sub-standard and frankly said boring, and made me hope for them to leave the stage in order to save some more time for the main act tonight. It's not that Sinai are that bad of a band, but they just need to develop more as songwriters and focus on their strengths, which clearly are the heavier and more experimental moments instead of the generic indie ones that plagued their performance tonight.

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These Arms Are Snakes, on the other hand, were a completely different story. I don't think anyone even noticed them start, as the band took on stage while frontman Snere proceeded to swallow much of the mic, leaving spit hanging from the mic after some of the weirdest vocal effects I've heard tonight. But straight from the start, the entire band hit the show spot on. Snere danced unpredictably and uncontrollably to the music, often resembling The Mars Volta mastermind Omar Rodriguez Lopez in his leg movements, almost as if he was affected by class A drugs of some sort during the performance. You'd see him bounce around the miniature stage, crashing onto bandmates and the drumset, and the next second he would be casually sitting down at a nearby table where people were drinking, singing into the microphone all while seeming like he was a part of the group drinking casually. The next moment he'd be spitting up into air and trying to catch it with his mouth, before attempting for another swallow of the entire microphone - or so it seemed at least from in front of the stage.

The rest of the band didn't fall short either. Both guitarist Fredriksen and bassist Cook impressed with their headbangs, jumps and overall convincing stage appearance, that seemed to demand the crowd to move along to their strange rhythms and effects. It was at times difficult to distinguish whether the riff blasting through the amps was played by Fredriksen or if it was yet another effect of Snere's digital effects touchpad, further adding to the uncontrollable unpredictability surrounding their set. You'd have to be constantly aware of Frederiksen's guitars in the front or Cook's bass on the left side, as they constantly pushed into the crowd as if it didn't exist, in an attempt to follow on Snere's occasional bursts into the back of the crowd.

The band kept their set tightly together, keeping it a mystery whether it was all planned or merely random expressions of a tripping drug addict, as it seemed at times when Snere was waving a chair around or when he constantly kept dropping one of his two microphones onto the ground. A few songs into the set, and it had turned crazy enough for me to film one of their songs to prove to people that I wouldn't be kidding about the lunacies that took place tonight. It was filled with weird dancing and experimental tunes by one of the most daring, most experimental bands of our time. To miss These Arms Are Snakes when they visit your hometown would be a mistake.

Picture gallery and the rest of the photos will be uploaded on Sunday evening after Fredericia Hardcore Festival is finished.

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