Oceansize

support Sion
author PP date 23/10/07 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

At soon to be 23 years old, it is starting to become a rare experience for me to feel like one of the youngest people at a show. But yet that's exactly how I felt when I stepped into Lille Vega and had a brief glance around. The average age of the concert goers was, based on a quick estimate, around the 25 to 26 year marker, with plenty of people over 30 in attendance tonight. Perhaps the rather formal and fancy outlook of the venue is a contributor, or that Oceansize writes the kind of music that usually bores the hell out of anyone still in their teenage years, but in either way the deduction is that their music appeals more to the 'young adult' generation. A little fazed by the sudden realization that I was among the youngest here tonight, it took me a while to notice the next interesting feat tonight: the hall was almost empty. Fitting about 500 people on a sold out night, there were barely over a hundred people in attendance tonight, leaving vast amounts of empty space for rocking out, but at the same time taking a little bit away from the intensity level of the show.

Sion

It was even worse for the unknown Hampshrire, UK based Sion, who took on the stage first to play an energetic set of indie flavoured post-hardcore with similarly progressive elements to tonight's headliners Oceansize. Replacing Hopesfall, who dropped out of the tour only a few days before it began, wasn't going to be easy, especially when a lot of people including myself had specifically come here tonight to sing along to songs from their magnificent album "Magnetic North". Needless to say, not a single soul in the venue had any knowledge to the band, or at least nobody moved along to their songs. Already then, the band seemed a bit out of place, but that vibe was fortified by their stage show, which saw the guitarists constantly slamming their guitars around, jumping all over the place much in the same way you tend to see all post-hardcore acts do these days. While that would've worked if the headliner was Hawthorne Heights, tonight it just seemed awfully wrong, tempting me to use words like 'faux' to describe their stage appearance. What's even worse, the vocalist blurted out "If any of you kids have Myspace, you can check us out at..." - considering the age of the crowd he could've just as well said 'if any of your kids have Myspace". Their set just didn't fit in tonight.

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Oceansize

After a short wait, the lights dimmed and the venue started buzzing with expectation despite the lack of people present tonight. Oceansize, after all, is one of those bands who have a small but extremely loyal and passionate fanbase. Kind of like Tool, on a much, much smaller scale. Without any introduction, the band kicked straight into "Commemorative T-Shirt", an over 8 minute epic with massive instrumental build ups. I had looked forward on how these would translate through live, and I wasn't disappointed. Straight from the start, the band was slowly rocking out in state that you could almost refer to as jamming casually, but as the song got louder and louder, the band got more and more energetic, until the massive sonic explosion towards the end of the song where everyone in the audience was surely having chills of witnessing such unexpected domination of the stage. The band was everywhere, the sound had engulfed everyone in the audience, triggering everyone to rock out to the song in an ecstatic state of mind. The transition to the next song "Unfamiliar" was brilliant, and unless you knew the album inside out you wouldn't even have noticed a song change. The song progressed similarly as "Commemorative.." just before, with the band gaining more and more confidence and strength as the song got louder and louder.

Among the many things you rarely notice when you go to a good live show is the lighting. But here, there's no way I could avoid mentioning the white light blasts that accompanied the biggest buildups and most aggressive parts about Oceansize's sound. They couldn't have been placed better, as they put even more strength to the heaviest parts of the songs, lifting the band to a sky high level. By the time they reached "Trail Of Fire" everyone in the crowd was surely feeling the same way as me: though the actual space between the barrier and the stage was about one and a half metres only, that distance seemed infinite as the band's sound lifted them higher and higher as the concert went on.

About one hour into the show, the band had already played five out of the eight songs on their new album, and more was coming. "Sleeping Dogs And Dead Lions" was the high point of the show for me, as the song sees the band at their most aggressive and unpredictable. Frontman Vennart's relentless screams were spot on, stirring the venue into a menacing mixture of frantic lighting and manic stage behaviour. Soon after, however, I started wondering "how long are they going to play?". The older songs started blending in with one another, leaving the undersigned to occasionally yawn and think "wait, didn't I just hear this just before?". Given that the only really chaotic song was the aforementioned "Sleeping Dogs..", there wasn't enough variation to keep me interested for the entirety of the well over an hour and a half that the band spent on stage. Props for them for playing so many songs and all, but in all honesty, they could've easily cut about half an hour from the set and thus kept me interested throughout. As the clock was approaching midnight, I was just itching to leave the venue to go get some sleep.

On retrospect, their show seemed to suffer largely from the same problems as their new album "Frames": When it worked, it was really good, but when it didn't, it was kind of... well... boring.

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