Rosetta

support Late Night Venture
author AP date 17/05/18 venue Hotel Cecil, Copenhagen, DEN

Someone must have vastly overestimated the popularity of Rosetta in Denmark, as the 300-capacity Hotel Cecil, which moved into Jazzhouse’s former space earlier this year, is gaping with emptiness only five minutes before the opening act is set to begin its concert. The COLOSSAL booking team is doing an excellent job raising awareness around more experimental forms of rock and metal, but obviously in the case of this package, that hype has fallen on deaf ears. As such, everyone is free to enjoy their cocktail, craft beer or glass of wine with plenty of personal space around them when the local quintet Late Night Venture takes the stage just after 8:00 p.m.

All photos courtesy of Michael Hyldgaard Løgtholt

Late Night Venture

Having been dormant for an extended period of time, the Copenhageners made a strong comeback last year, and as such, my expectations are high for this eclectic five-piece. But the ‘proverb’ that big stage plus scant audience seldom a great show makes rings true in these spacious confines, with the band’s introspective, yet intense performance never really crossing over the edge of the stage like it did at KB18. One notable difference is that lead axeman Søren Hartvig has acquired a seven-string guitar now, with the result that the new, as-of-yet unreleased material that is given another airing, sounds even heavier and more abrasive than last time.

But while the influence of Neurosis continues to pervade ‘Venture’s music, the mix does not have the same amount of noise and clang in this purpose-built concert venue as at KB18, which means that the subtler nuances that were, to some extent, lost there, are now clearly audible. It is easier to tell how quickly and drastically the mood and tone of each song can change, swapping dissonant chords and growls (by Michael Falk Schilling) for a bright keyboard melody (by Jonas Qvesel) and low, baritone singing; and then collapsing into frenzied tapping by Hartvig within the space of only a few minutes — no wonder Late Night Venture feels compelled to use a plethora of tags to describe their music, ranging from doom through post-metal and post-rock, to psych and space-metal. Sadly, it is only the music that captures my imagination tonight, as the band’s showmanship clearly suffers from the divide between them and the audience, most of which is safely positioned a couple of steps away from the stage. It is high time Late Night Venture booked their own, headlining gig.

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Rosetta

Professionalism is the first word that comes to mind when the first tide of Rosetta’s cinematic post-metal sweeps over us. The lighting, sound mix and showmanship are top-tier, and never once does the quintet allow itself to be disillusioned by the low turnout. On the contrary, vocalist Mike Armine has a warm and forthcoming attitude, curating the setlist for us and even making a plea for us to pocket our smartphones and instead be in the moment with him as the band airs “Qohelet” (I think), off its latest album, 2017’s excellent “Utopioid”. And be in the moment is exactly what Armine does himself, raging, swaying and dropping to his knees in a true personification of the music. Indeed, songs as enormous as those created by Rosetta demand passionate expression and this is where the band really excels; Armine invites most of the attention to himself but by gazing left or right, you will inevitably witness one of the guitarists (Matt Weed & Eric Jernigan) or bassist Dave Grossman embroiled in a maelstrom of wild movement as well.

Experiencing the weight and expanse of Rosetta’s music and the catharsis it brings firsthand, it does admittedly dawn on me that Hotel Cecil was probably a better choice of venue than either of the two mentioned in the preamble to this review. Songs like “Détente” and “A Determinism of Morality” are designed to fill and resonate in, not choke a room with its intensity. There are not many people here to appreciate it, but you nonetheless see that most eyes, and indeed most mouths remain shut for the entire duration of the concert as the crowd becomes immersed in these epic soundscapes. I am bummed not because Rosetta’s show suffers from it, but because so many people forego the chance to experience the sensations awakened by the likes of “Oku / The Secrets”. Here’s hoping that the Philadelphia, PA-based group does not find itself discouraged from returning to play for us another time.

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