support Tigers Jaw
author AP date 20/02/16 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

So, here I am again at the venue I reported from just two days earlier, surrounded by another buzzing, populous crowd. Although I am feeling somewhat spent after nearly provoking whiplash at a raucous hardcore show, and then celebrating our scribe Tim ‘TL’ Larsen’s clocking in three decades the day after, there was little that could sway my resolve from hearing the choicest cuts from Basement’s excellent third album "Promise Everything" live (on their debut visit to Denmark, no less) — especially given they had tugged such an esteemed support act in Tigers Jaw along with them to likewise make their live debut around these pastures.

Photos courtesy of Peter Troest

Tigers Jaw

In its present form, Tigers Jaw comprises just two musicians: guitarist Ben Walsh and keyboardist Brianna Collins, whose harmonies voices mingle together to produce some of the most absurdly pleasant singing that has graced the undersigned’s auditory cortex, and whose music throws us back to emo’s heyday in the 90s. Complemented by a trident of session artists in bassist Luke Schwartz, drummer Teddy Roberts and guitarist Pat Benson, the band’s music balances between quieter, introspective sections, and passages of ringing chords and crashing cymbals during which Walsh, Schwartz and Benson abandon their stations to thrash around as much as their non-violent music can justify. But common to either facet is the mesmerising atmosphere to which Collins and Walsh give when they sing together — nearly always in minor key — in the likes of “Arms Across America” or the scintillating “I Saw Water”; it clearly speaks to the people here, and with the exception of a handful of disrespectful patrons loudly conversing during the quintet’s most fragile acoustic picks, the audience sways and bobs appreciatively for the entire duration of the fourteen-song set.

Considering that Tigers Jaw is ostensibly booked as support band, the headlining length of their concert might seem a little staggering on paper, but in reality the pendulum swings much too quickly. I do not want this nostalgia to cease, not when the likes of “Slow Come On”, “Charmer” and “The Sun” sound so silky in my ears; not when the group’s performance is imbued with such passion, and such sensitivity to contrasts. Tigers Jaw know when to let loose, and when to rein themselves in, and this awareness results in a thoroughly captivating, dynamic performance by virtue of which the bar is pushed higher than it already was for the evening’s headliners.



As soon as they power the amps, it is obvious that Basement mean to be less subtle, and sound much noisier than Tigers Jaw. The mix is noticeably heavier, louder and more resonant, and the musicians look charged up in a way rather resembling a hardcore outfit than the emo/punk-rock hybrid witnessed on the aforementioned “Promise Everything”. The Ipswich based Britons did of course endorse a more hardcore influenced sound on their first two albums, 2010’s “I Wish I Could Stay Here” and 2012’s “colourmeinkindness”, and with those records occupying five slots each on the sixteen-strong setlist, it is only natural that some kind of midway between that style and the grungy, anthemic tone deployed most recently needed to be established. As a result, despite the dichotomy, older picks like “Bad Apple” and “Canada Square” blend seamlessly with “Brother’s Keeper” and “Blinded Bye”. Common to all of them also, is that each is delivered with unrelenting energy, whether by way of erratic jolting, bouncing up and down, or hovering over the front of the audience in commanding style.

There is a downside to Basement’s decision to wash all of their songs in the same tone however, especially as many of the pre-“Promise Everything” era choices tend to be less immediate in disclosing their merits — namely that some segments of the concert unfortunately blend together to the point where “Fading” and “Earl Grey”, for instance, are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Such moments leave a nagging sensation even if there is plenty of sing-songs and dance/mosh-alongs like “Aquasun”, “Covet” and “Pine” elsewhere for compensation. So while Basement sacrifice their Denmark-virginity in generally awesome style, not all is flawless beneath the sun. But with minor tweaks, most notably to the set dynamics, such flaws could easily be ironed out; the rest of the formula Basement already possesses in their knack for playing with huge gusto right in people’s faces, hardly ever stopping for a breath for fear of dialling the festivities down. And via the loud demands for an encore (something the band appears not to have acquiesced to on earlier dates of this tour, and which manifests itself as “Yoke”), it is hard to deny that most people in attendance have been handed the party they paid to see.


  • 01. Brother’s Keeper
  • 02. Crickets Throw Their Voice
  • 03. Bad Apple
  • 04. Spoiled
  • 05. Aquasun
  • 06. Whole
  • 07. For You the Moon
  • 08. Canada Square
  • 09. Fading
  • 10. Earl Grey
  • 11. Oversized
  • 12. Blinded Bye
  • 13. Pine
  • 14. Promise Everything
  • 15. Covet
  • 16. Yoke

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