36 Crazyfists

support Poison The Well + Gwen Stacy
author PP date 26/03/09 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

Potentially carrying the title of being the most 'scene' tour of the spring when it comes to hardcore, metalcore and screamo, the Ferret Music assemble consisting of 36 Crazyfists, Poison The Well and Gwen Stacy had also gathered most of the scene here in Denmark to attending the show. Quick glimpse around the venue showed that at least entire Trusted Few, members of The Psyke Project and other bands were in attendance tonight aside from the usual suspects, but even so the 600-capacity Pumpehuset seemed awfully empty tonight, with no more than about 300 people in attendance tonight....and we all know what that means to the sound, which Gwen Stacy got to experience while opening up tonight's festivities with a 30 minute set.

Gwen Stacy

If tonight was your first experience of Gwen Stacy, then let me tell you from the start: there's much more to the band's music than the breakdown breakdown breakdown stuff we heard tonight. With the venue being just a third full at this point in time, their crunchy down-tuned guitars sounded little more than precisely that, despite the band's coordinated headbangs in the classic v-shape position, and new frontman Geoff's best efforts to kneel and roll on the floor engulfed in a passionate delivery. But like I've said so many times before, it's extremely difficult to display a convincing set when there's hardly any people watching or moving around, and despite a tiny three-person mosh pit emerging near the front, people were largely standing still at a distance to the stage. When that happens, it's impossible to attain the intense feeling required for this type of show to ultimately succeed, and as such, Gwen Stacy was left with just a handful of people nodding their head and tapping their feet during the best songs such as "If We Live Right, We Can't Die Wrong". But more importantly to someone who knows all the songs the band has written, the technical performance of Geoff wasn't quite on par with Cole's tonight, I guess partly because of the echoing sound at the venue. There isn't a single moment on "The Life I Know" where the verses are sung cleanly by the screamer, but tonight it seemed like there were awfully many places were Geoff either couldn't or didn't want to scream where he should've. It'll be interesting to see what repercussions the change of vocalist will have on the next Gwen Stacy record. Shame they didn't play their best song by far, "Sleeping In The Train Yard", a perfect set opener or closer if you ask me, but I suppose playing a 7 minute mammoth in a 30 minute set is counter productive.

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Poison The Well

Things were entirely different from the first moment of Poison The Well's set. More people emerged from downstairs as soon as the band begun tearing through their brilliant 2003 classic "For A Bandaged Iris", witnessing vocalist Moreira's exceptional performance on vocals. It's rare to see a dude able to release such ear-piercing, pitch-perfect screamed yells live and match them with crystal clear clean passages equally well. This holds especially true to the older songs which all have monumental choruses. Nevertheless, it's easy to see the difference in pure instrumental quality between the band's older songs and the ones from their 2007 masterpiece "Versions". The sheer in-your-face aggression of "Letter Thing" was an instant success in creating a destructive mosh pit at the front of the venue, and it's a great shame that Moreira's mic stopped working half way through the song, causing problems all the way until the end of the next track despite him utilizing the back up vocalist's microphone instead. Then the band treated us to a new song from their upcoming full length "The Tropic Rot", and based on the sounds of that, all signs are pointing towards yet another genre-classic like "Versions" this summer. Anticipation strengthens. Worth mentioning in this review are also the antics of lead guitarist Ryan Primack, as his varying facial expressions during the experimental parts in songs like "Prematurito El Baby" give the band's performance just that much of an edge over others. A live show is immediately more interesting when you can see that the people on stage perform with true passion. "Nagaina" demonstrated the slowest side for the band tonight, and given how experimental the song is and how well it works in a live environment, I was left hoping for a song like "Slow Good Morning" to follow instead of the crowd-cracker "Zombies Are Good For Your Health". As expected, the band closed their energetic set with the melodic guitar lines and catchy choruses of fan-favorite track "Nerdy" from "The Opposite Of December", but I still maintain that all "Versions" songs surpass the old songs by a long shot (aside from maybe a couple), evident in the contrast between the new and the old tonight. All in all a good set with a slight lull towards the end of the middle part of their set.

36 Crazyfists

As for 36 Crazyfists, I had no idea what to expect tonight considering the band hasn't been in Denmark for about... 7 or 8 years now, posing several questions that demanded answers: Does the crowd know any songs or do they just know the band by name? Did people come here mainly to see Poison The Well because they don't know 36 Crazyfists very well? Do people know any other songs than the old classics "Slit Wrist Theory" and "Bloodwork"? etc etc. We didn't have to wait long for the answers though, as from the first moments of "I'll Go Until My Heart Stops", the entire front of the venue transformed into a crushing mosh pit with people flying all over the place. And singalongs? You fucking bet. Brock hardly had to sing any of the chorus lyrics to that song or "At The End Of August" as the crowd sung them back loud and clear, which didn't take just me by surprise, but also the entire band who seemed genuinely impressed that people know the words to their songs over here. As such, Brock spent most of the pauses in between songs thanking the crowd, letting us know how much the band appreciates to feel so welcome after being gone for such a long time. While this can often come across as pretentious, Brock & co have always been the genuine type and as such whatever they say doesn't have the negative 'I'm a rock star' connotation to it.

About half way through the set, Brock decided that the crowd wasn't breaking enough bones in the pit, so he held a pause in the middle of "Installing The Catheter" to initiate a wall of death, something which I've never before seen at Pumpehuset. Strecthing from wall to wall of the venue, the pit opened and the end result was as catastrophic as you would've expected, with people losing shoes and falling all over the place instantly after the collision. But god damn, did the atmosphere pick up for the last three songs. Case in point: the breakneck speed metalcore riffing of "The All Night Lights" worked great live and had people moving despite the very high probability of most moshers hurting by this point. Poison The Well's Moreira emerged from backstage to scream along at one of the tracks (I can't remember which one though) to add nice touch to the headlining set as well. The band's breakthrough track "Slit Wrist Theory" was the obvious closing number after the encore, and although the sing along was huge, making the song easily the favorite of the crowd tonight, I have to admit that the rapped verses and nu-metal instrumentation have grown a little old and dated on me. The band has to play it because it's their biggest song, but it certainly isn't anywhere near their best song, that's for sure.

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Setlist:

Intro

I’ll Go Until My Heart Stops

At The End Of August

We Gave It Hell

Felt Through A Phone Line

The Heart And The Shape

Bloodwork

Elysium

Skin and Atmosphere

Destroy The Map

Installing The Catheter

The All Night Lights

Kenai

Slit Wrist Theory

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