Defeater

support Giants + Young Mountain
author PP date 05/08/16 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

Today is the opening day of what has become an annual tradition of sorts, the Dirty Days of Summer festival, which takes place in and outside of BETA in Copenhagen. The square in front of the venue opens early each day with outdoor DJs, a bar, and tasty food, plus plenty of seating, ensuring cozy surroundings that make for an ideal way to spend your afternoon and early evening provided the weather holds. Afterward, most people head inside for a set of solid bands booked after a theme each night. Tonight, we're in hardcore mode, with three very different sounding foreign bands on the menu: melodic hardcore stalwarts Defeater from the US, up-and-coming hardcore punkers Giants from the UK, and post-metal influenced atmospheric hardcore group Young Mountain from our neighboring Sweden have all lined up to open the festival in a piercing manner.

At this point, I have to also send an extra bit of kudos to the venue because having the opening band start at 19:15, and the headliners at just past 9pm is something we should be seeing more often in Denmark. It's simply awesome that you are left with all options open when the headliner is done at a little over 10pm. Wanna go for drinks somewhere else? Go ahead. Stay at the venue to talk about the shows for an hour or two? No problem. Wanna head straight to bed? Also possible.

Young Mountain

Young Mountain

Tonight's first artist is Young Mountain from Gothenburg. As the stage baths in dark blue light, they quickly make clear they are not your ordinary hardcore band. With considerable influence from post-metal and screamo, the band's brand of atmospheric hardcore is best characterized by its immersive soundscapes and lengthy buildups that lead into climactic moments of energy. The screams - which echo 90s screamo bands like Orchid and Saetia - are loud as fuck, and together with expansive guitar melodies ensure those without earplugs are in for a rough night. On stage, their vocalist is engaged in a waving back-and-forth movement with his body during the (relatively) calmer verses but goes mental when the buildups are released in intense explosions of post-metallic melody. Kneeling down in one moment, waving the mic stand during next, he ensures Young Mountain's performance is as intense as it comes in this genre. In an even smaller venue, late at night, this would've been epic. Tonight, as the opening band, there's too few people to appreciate their music or what they are trying to achieve. A commendable effort, that suggests we'll hear much more to these guys in the future.

7

Giants

GIANTS

GIANTS are arguably the most different band out of the three tonight. Having just released their debut album "Break The Cycle", these guys first appeared on the UK scene back in 2012 with "These Are The Days". They play relatively straight up hardcore punk Comeback Kid style, just with plenty of clean vocals in place of the screamed lead vocal style. "Come closer, I can't see your faces", their vocalists asks early on, and we happily oblige, given the high-energy opening they've just shown us. Their guitarist is throwing scissor kicks in every direction; rest of the band is following suit though not in quite as spectacular fashion. A few songs later, however, their set begins to take a more generic flavor. Not only does the vocalist look exceptionally tired (long tour?) and like he is on autopilot, but their songs are kind of samey and blend together too easily on first listen. The intensity factor is surprisingly low considering how fast their hardcore punk is, especially compared to the heartfelt and passionate performance by Young Mountain just before. As a result, the set rapid descends into one of those altogether decent, however, forgettable displays of another day in the office.

6

Defeater

Defeater

There was so much potential with this song. 75% packed venue, and from the opening moments Defeater vocalist Derek Archambault sings a capella without the microphone and finds himself within the audience, La Dispute style. In normal circumstances that should provide a spark to the crowd and result in an intense dynamic where pits erupt left and right, people throw themselves against the stage in desperate attempts to scream a few lyrics into the mic at Archambault's grace. Yet despite the band's passionate, high-energy performance on stage, that dynamic is noticeably missing throughout the show, with only "Empty Glass" seeing any action describable as such, with people otherwise mostly standing still. On a Friday night as well! What is going on here?

Defeater

In the meantime, the band is doing their very best to put on a display of melodic hardcore at its best. The slower songs like "Unanswered" shine with their quirky vocal rhythm patterns that echo La Dispute's poetic hardcore, whereas "Bastards" draws a small chant along from the crowd. Looking at Archambault on stage, it's very clear this guy lives and breathes hardcore from the way he performs and paces left and right while eager to share the mic with anyone who wants to come up front. One fan joins for "Dear Father" - which also sees a brief chant along from the crowd - but again it is "Empty Glass" that is the highlight of the set with fans rushing to the front of the stage, followed by "The Red, White and Blues" starting a small circle pit up front. At 40 minutes, however, the set feels awfully short, especially with zero interaction from the band members in between songs. And without interaction, the mood in the crowd is resigned, leaving behind a set that feels anonymous, and at the very least fails to highlight the reasons why Defeater are a great melodic hardcore band. Comparing the atmosphere here to some of their peers - say Touché Amoré, Comeback Kid, or even The Ghost Inside - on their respective shows in Copenhagen, those have been totally different in terms of intensity than tonight. Shame.

7

Photos by: Peter Troest

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