Spidergawd

support Nothing Much
author HES date 29/01/16 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

Spidergawd is a Norwegian blues rock constellation comprised of members from the Norwegian rock elite, including Bent Sæther and Kenneth Kapstad of Motorpsycho. The band has produced an impressing three full-length releases within three years - all of a distinct quality. Their characteristic, yet no-frills type of fuzzed out rock and roll has gathered a following in many countries and across groups of people with disparate genre-preferences. Tonight's gig is, unfortunately, colliding with a Behemoth show in Amager Bio and it is not impossible to think that part of their fanbase has been torn between the two tickets. However, when I arrive at Beta tonight it seems that Spidergawd has still managed to attract a loyal following of “dad rockers”, leaving both average-age and gender variation a bit askew.

Photos courtesy of Stefan Frank thor Straten

Nothing Much

Nothing Much is completely unknown to me, but the description on Beta’s website, including buzzers like The Pixies and Mudhoney, is intriguing. The band awkwardly enter the almost empty room and casually plug in their instruments, seemingly oblivious to the fact that we are only three people in front of Beta’s small stage. But as soon as guitarist and vocalist Lasse Patrick Foley strikes the first chord of his shortly leashed guitar the buzzing cafe area wakes up for battle.

Nothing Much is a delightfully energetic experience with a general soundscape not unlike Bikini Kill - with less feminist lyrics, but more healthy scoops of teenage angst and ironic distance. Foley switches between lethargic verses and screaming choruses in a high pitched and nasal voice, delivering establishment stingers. Drummer Emil Timmermann Findalen delivers a well-served injection of momentum whenever the crowd of tipsy dads begins to give the bottom of their glass more attention than the band.

Nothing Much København Beta

In the relatively short set, the band manages to play plenty of songs and impress most of the audience as more people join the party instead of hanging in the bar. A few have come early and made heavy use of said bar, adding a bit of a disturbing element in-between songs as the introvert band fails to engage their audience - but it’s probably for the best as a line like “she listens to post-punk because it makes her feel young” could have dug out the age gap further if anyone really listened.

Spidergawd

Spidergawd is a band that likes to get up close and personal with their audience. Even drummer Kenneth Kapstad is brought up front as his drum kit is moved from its usual position in the back. That turns out to be a fantastic scenographic choice, as Kapstad appears to be an absolute maniac behind his set. Same actually goes for most of the band members, that show a mesmerizing enthusiasm already from the first moment.

What generally characterizes the set is the energy of the garage-inspired rock and roll. The overall fuzz of the sound from the guitar and the echoed vocals, both provided by Per Borten, is supported by something as unusual as an alto-saxophone hooked up to fuzz-pedals as well. The saxophone is not sparsely used as an accent, as horns in rock usually are, but serves as the tonal backdrop instead of a rhythm-guitar, yet on most of the songs it also breaks free of the soundscape momentarily to create a melodic hook.

Spidergawd København Beta

Borten’s voice starts out wonderfully clean and emotive - especially on the older tracks, where the vocals are less echoed, like “..Is All She Says”, “Tourniquet” and “Get Physical”. The latest record was released less than a week before the show, so the reception of these tracks is more one of a listening audience rather than an engaged one. They are also characterized by being less catchy, but again Rolf Martin Snustad’s saxophone usually provides a recurring element for the audience to latch on to.

Midway through the concert, things, unfortunately, turn a bit sour for Spidergawd as Snustad experiences technical differences and disappears from the mix. The difficulties become magnified in the small venue, as the sound technician has to fight his way through the crowd mid-song several times. Borten’s vocals also start to slowly drown in echoes that seem way too pronounced. It also seems that he is struggling to both play the guitar-parts of the newer songs as well as providing vocals. In the end of the show an influx of very drunk Behemoth-guests enter the crowd due to Beta’s new “late night” initiative, ensuring an afterparty, but generally disturbing the on-going concert.

Spidergawd København Beta

Apart from those difficulties, Spidergawd still provide a show beyond your average concert experience. The dedication by all members shows a band that is not done delivering engaging experiences in spite of what their birth certificate might say. It is clear that the band was very challenged tonight by varying, but mostly external difficulties. The way the band manages these with a bit of bantering and slurred Norwegian is commendable, but not enough to match the first half of the evening.

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