support The Psyke Project
author TL date 21/04/09 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

It may very well be that PP and myself have just seen UnderOATH four days before their appearance at The Rock in Copenhagen, but even though we chose to catch them at Groezrock to also see a host of other awesome bands, this did in no way mean that we were prepared to miss the band's first ever appearance on Danish soil. Hence we find each other standing in one of the longest lines I can remember seeing outside of this particular venue, amidst a congregation of eager fans from all corners of the country as well as from Malmö, Sweden. The air is thick with anticipation and the joy that comes from meeting old friends, as UnderOATH is a band that has continued to remain relevant to generations of scenesters come and gone, and they all seem to be congregated here to pay tribute to one of the most solid bands their preferred wave of music has ever spawned.

Effectively it is no surprise to make it inside and find the venue absolutely packed. All seats are taken and all areas of the floor have people standing in them, and while drinks are ingested and past acquaintances refreshed, everyone is looking forward to the emergence of tonights headliners. However there is first the matter of the support band, the role of which it has been quite uncertain who would fulfill. UnderOATH are touring Europe with Taking Back Sunday, Emery and Innerpartysystem, but honestly, none in their right mind had the optimism to think that these would also appear (all for the first time as well) in Denmark too. Instead, talks have gone about Danish representatives of the scene taking the support slot, with both She Is Malignant and Puto Diablo being mentioned as likely names for the bill. In the end though, the forces band that takes the stage as the first tonight is a somewhat more seasoned one, being pretty much the best hardcore band the country has to offer. Of course we're speaking of none other than the (by this site at least) much hyped The Psyke Project.

The Psyke Project

The Psyke Project are probably one of the heaviest bands this country has to offer while also being rumoured to be one of its most vicious live acts, and if this show is anything to judge by, the rumours are spot on. From the second the band comes on, the sound is the first thing to impress, as it is not merely crystal clear, rather it is so sharp it could cut through diamonds, not to speak of your flesh and bone and marrow. Besides sounding awesome, the band also does its very best to visualize the all out weight, brutality and depravation of their sound, stumbling around stage, screaming and brandishing their instruments like madmen.

While UnderOATH are a pretty bleak and heavy outfit of their own, The Psyke Project has them easily brutalized, and as such the fans present on the floor aren't taking all too kindly to the treatment. They seem content to just observe from the good old 'position' rather than indulging frontman Martin's request for them to "Warm up unless they want UnderOATH to stay off stage". It's hard to blame them though, because to the unwary ear TPP do admittedly sound very much like they have little else to offer than chugga-chugga riffage, bleakly echoing feedback and utterly insane vocals. In fact, they convey the depraved feeling so thickly and so dominating, that the ear almost automatically assumes a simplicity in it. In reality, closer scrutiny reveals that especially the rhythm to the music seems absolutely out of this world at times. In the end though, only few out of the many seem to be appreciating this, and while TPP can in no way be faulted for their performance, the crowd response that can fully release it's potential remains absent. That's not to say that witnessing them play was not a privilege though.



After a the usual break for set change, it is finally time for the headliners to come on. Time for the appearance of a band that is consistently worshiped by scenesters of all ages for their earlier work, and who, in the ears of this scribe at least, earned themselves the title of "the Radiohead of post-hardcore" with their latest opus "Lost In The Sound Of Separation". It is also to the tones of this albums opener that all the potential energy of tonight is unleashed, as all the excitement of the crowd is instantly released into a flurry of arms and legs that takes up as much space as The Rock's modest floor space can accommodate. On stage the bandmembers are flying everywhere, on the floor the crowd is flying everywhere and so is yours truly, and generally things are definitely off to a good start.

Behind the pit, more cautious fans are climbing up on benches and tables to get a better look, effectively making the sea of eager faces take the shape of an amphitheater that slopes towards the eye of the storm. This being the stage on which Spencer Chamberlain screams his words with unparalleled proficiency and to massive response. In general, the sound has not diminished since TPP and hence it is delightful to hear the overtones in the screams that were so sorely missed at the band's recent show in Belgium. The guitar riffs also stand out nicely, as does Aaron Gillespie's phenomenal drumming, and in fact the only thing that could have benefited from a slight adjustment is the drummer's microphone, as the deeper parts of his clean vocals drop beneath the mix on occasion. This at least is how it sounds to me on the floor, while PP maintains that his experience from further back was somewhat worse. I'm going to let this video speak for itself, as it was taken by my girlfriend who was standing right next to him. My apologies for the poor quality, I assure you that it is caused by youtube's formatting rather than the original recording.

Throughout the show, the band dishes out a set list well varied with songs from all of their last three albums (which the band has released with its current lineup). Surprisingly there is a quite substantial weight of older material, with "In Regards To Myself" and "Writing Off The Walls" representing "Define The Great Line" and both "Young And Aspiring", "A Boy Brushed Red Living In Black And White" and "It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door" being played from "They're Only Chasing Safety", while a song like "The Only Survivor Was Miraculously Unharmed" from LOTSOS shines in it's regrettable absence tonight. This only seems to fit the crowd like a glove though, as the generally high level of activity among us certainly is at its highest during the songs from TOCS, and seeing how LOTSOS was still represented with "Breathing In A New Mentality" and "Coming Down Is Calming Down" to name a few, there is still precious little left to be desired from a band who's putting a lot of themselves into their show. Spencer being the perfect example as he pushes himself by constantly moving from one side of the stage, over the monitor, to the other, to engage as much as the crowd as possible, all while bellowing forth his ever impressive but also demanding throat work.

One lonely drop of malice in this otherwise awesome display comes from a member of its audience, who seemingly can't find it within his capabilities to remain respectful while Spencer takes a break before the last song, to utter the message of tolerance and positivity that all fans know is obligatory at an UnderOATH show. However, rather than becoming as annoyed with this behaviour as I must admit to being, Spencer delays the next song long enough for him to have shaken the hand of the culprit and made up with him, enforcing for God knows which time that this is not a band who lets their faith come between them and their fans, however idiotic some of them may be. Something I suppose is only yet another admirable trait to this band. Overall with great sound, great band engagement and great crowd participation, one would probably have to look pretty hard to find someone who leaves The Rock this night with a disappointed frown rather than a sweaty grin. All I can say is that this is no coincidence, just as it is no coincidence that this writer holds UnderOATH in such high regard.


comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI Rockfreaks.net.