Leo And The Lineup

support Marvel House
author PP date 15/04/16 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

Copenhagen Ska Convention may have closed its doors some years ago, but the ska scene is alive and well in the capital city. Babylove & The Van Dangos might be the most recognizable name on the scene, frequently drawing hundreds of people to their shows in Copenhagen, but just behind them are a number of ensembles that deserve much more recognition than they are currently getting. One of these is the charismatic ska/reggae hybrid Leo & The Lineup, who were playing a rare headline show this weekend in Copenhagen. More on that later. The support duties were given at a relatively short notice to a new ska upstart in Copenhagen, Marvel House. Let's discuss them first.

Marvel House

Marvel House

Marvel House entered the scene this January with a six-track debut EP "Move Out". It's comprised of relatively straightforward ska/reggae songs that also draw from two-tone and rocksteady genres to an extent. The songs are decent - with "More From Less" being the highlight with its soulful vibe - but nothing that sticks to your memory as such. The band's electric keyboard is tuned to sound like a Hammond organ, giving their expression its reggae flavor, but the real highlight is the performance of their backing vocalist Ane Johansen. Although reduced to a choir-style harmonics-only role, her vocal talent shines far above the expression, even if guitarist/vocalist Kenneth Broch sounds good in his own right. It takes but one song to recognize her ability to sing flawlessly one octave higher than her counterpart, so it would definitely be interesting to hear her being allowed a lead role or at least a more prominent one rather than just acting as a backing choir. To top of it off, her dance moves are the most interesting part about their performance, so Marvel House should really consider giving her more spotlight. Otherwise, their set is decent, but too textbook / standard ska to be rated any higher, despite its sky-high chill factor.

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Leo And The Lineup

Leo And The Lineup

The difference between Marvel House and Leo And The Lineup becomes clear from the very beginning: it's just so much more complete all-around. Everything from their performance style to their attire is well-thought out and just works. The band is dressed in white collared shirts and black ties in unison, except for their choreography dancers/backing choir vocalists, who are

dressed in identical bright red cocktail dresses. It's a spectacle to watch live: for every song, the two (very attractive) girls have their own dance routine, which ranges from the classic moon-drawing to sexy hip shaking and much more, all performed in perfect harmony with whatever song is currently playing. As for the rest of the band, they live up to their own end by engaging the audience through various small details that, when put together, create a memorable experience for the crowd. Whether it's the keyboard player's totally exaggerated antics, or the little wink by the drummer to a crowd member, or the "fuck yeah" type fist movement by their guitarist when he is mentioned, the band appear completely in touch with their identity and with their audience.

Leo And The Lineup

Although there are only a few handfuls of us present tonight, the front rows begin dancing straight away, which is understandable considering the upbeat reggae/ska energy exhibited by the band on stage. Funky little dance moves and catchy vocal passages in "Life Goes By" charm straight away, "Gotta Go" and "Copenhagen City Reggae" work perfectly to get the crowd dancing and moving around. "Let's Have A Party" from the first record is exactly what the title suggests: here the choreographers exit the stage, and slowly join from the right side and dance their way through the band, finishing it all off in style by shaking their booties once they reach their position. Looking at their expressions afterward, it certainly appears they're having great fun, just like the rest of the band. Singer Kevin Leo is extremely entertaining throughout with his banter in between songs, even going for a bit of Spanish gibberish at one point. The small crowd is loving every bit of it: the dynamic is electric throughout the set, and leaves a clear indication with us that should they be embraced by a full venue, the result would be one crazy party. Tonight, despite low attendance, is fun, danceable, and memorable. For more than 1h 15 minutes, the band entertains us with their charming presence, with the last song even inducing a big sing-along from the crowd. Highly recommended if you're into ska music.

Setlist:

  • 1. Intro
  • 2. Boss Beat
  • 3. Hit The Streets
  • 4. Life Goes By
  • 5. Too Experienced
  • 6. Gotta Go
  • 7. Baby Please
  • 8. Memories
  • 9. This City
  • 10. Getting Better
  • 11. Copenhagen City Reggae
  • 12. Interlude
  • 13. Let's Have A Party
  • 14. Dirty Pockets
  • 15. Born
  • 16. Wooly Bully
  • 17. Love
  • 18. Runaround

Photos by: Jakob Muxoll

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