Kid Down

support Kid Down + Adept + Chemical Vocation + herbrightskies + Oldschool
author TL date 07/05/09 venue Babel, Malmö, SWE

Having nothing better to do on an idle Thursday in the beginning of April, I had found myself forced to admit that I really didn't have any excuse from going to see the Panic & Action tour - even if it did mean crossing Öresund into enemy territory, also known as Malmö, Sweden. Unwilling to risk solo encounters with the Swedes, I convinced a couple of mates to accompany me and off we went on a train to Malmö. Barely had we arrived though, before it became clear that knowledge of the name of the venue and the street it was on didn't magically get us there from the station, so we did the only sensible thing possible - We followed the most emo looking crowd we could find.

This brilliant plan paid off of course, and soon we found ourself outside the venue. Doors were more than an hour late compared to what was promised on the website though, so we took some time to drink some beers (3.5% >_<), exchange to Swedish money and have an interesting conversation about dog shit.

Eventually, the venue did open however, and I want to spend at least a paragraph describing it to you, because my ensemble and I agreed in unison that this was one of the coolest places we have had the pleasure of attending a show. An old church turned venue, Babel features a large room with a large ceiling, where only a fourth of the floorspace is available for standing however, given how the rest raises into two plateaus on which people can sit and enjoy drinks, while still having perfect vision above the rest of the crowd. Top that off with a top floor only open to people of age, thus being able to sell 5.2% pints of beer and providing refuge from teeny chatter and we couldn't be anything but pleased. The only slight drawback were the large church windows that, despite giving the place a cool look, let a bit too much light in during the early hours of the gig to allow the proper dim mood that serves rock concerts the best.


The first slot on the bill had been left open for a local band to perform at the beginning of each stop on the tour, and tonight Malmö had provided Oldschool. A young pop-punk five piece who I must admit to having never heard about before this show. They come on at a time where it is still light in the venue and the floor is barely half full and as such they don't have much to work with, but they put on their tunes with dedication none the less. However, given that the sound is still being adjusted, the less than perfect output makes it hard on the ears to find any difference between the music of this band and that of Chemical Vocation and Kid Down who are both to play later. It seems like yet another Swedish attempt at the popular American scene/pop-punk formula, and while there's nothing decisively wrong with the show or the songs, at this point it just seems like decent background music and nothing more.



Next band up is the somewhat heavier screamo ensemble herbrightskies. Having witnessed their brothers in genre, Intohimo, play a rather mundane set at Lades Kælder, Copenhagen last year though, I hadn't dared to get my hopes up for this second display of the power of the Swedish screamo scene. However, as it turns out, this show was much much better than both the one of back then and that of the band that went before. As can be seen in the picture, the floor was suddenly so much more crowded for this band, and HBS greeted the growing crowd with a very confidence and well sounding performance. The guitar handlers had lots of surplus energy to get around on the stage, headbanging to the appropriate parts, but the most impressive member was without a doubt singer Johan, who managed to make his screams sound almost exactly like on record, and his interplay with the backup singer (Albin on bass if I'm not mistaken) truly made the songs from the band's most recent album shine. However, it was clear that we were still seeing one of the lower bands in the bill's hierarchy, and despite this being their home country, only a partition of the crowd seemed genuinely interested in what was going on, so all in all HBS have yet to gain a bit more fame and experience before they can truly put on a stunning performance. Should they stay their current course though, and NOT be tempted by the promise of instant success held by poppier music, then I'm sure they'll be starting riots around Europe soon enough.


Chemical Vocation

Hey, speaking of bands who used to play awesome screamo/post hardcore but since turned into boring pop punk bands, guess who was next on stage. Yep, that would be Chemical Vocation alright, and truthfully, I'm having a real hard time reviewing their show objectively, given that I spend most of it in a state between raging and crying over the transformation that the band has gone through. These days, Chemical Vocation are, just as Oldschool, one of Sweden's attempts at the pop punk formula, and a just as typically average one at that. They've been around the block more than one time though, and this can of course be seen in their performance, solid as it actually is, and the crowd is also seemingly more and more interested the closer we come to the top of the bill. This results in a show that's easily better than Oldschool's but also easily bested by herbrightskies', simply because the music is so much simpler and less interesting. I guess objectively that means I should be grading it slightly above average, but the truth is that for anyone who ever heard "Unspection" or any of the other songs from the band's debut EP, seeing them turned into pop punk mediocrity like this is an utter fuckin' tragedy. Rest in peace CV. Rest in peace. [1 / 6]


After Chemical Vocation it was finally time for Adept, the band that were the main attraction for me and my friends at least. Despite only being second from the top of the bill, the vast majority of the crowd seemed to feel similarly though, and from the first note the floor exploded into a flurry of activity that had not otherwise been seen at this show. Despite having had to make a last minute replacement of a guitarist with a broken hand, Adept seemed determined to give the crowd hell regardless and the response was appropriately dedicated, as frontman Robert's raging screams where met by several dudes in the crowd - yours truly included.

Dropping song after song from their excellent debut album there was a constant moshpit going, and while the sound may have been a bit off, people were having great fun. So much in fact that when it was time for the last song "At Least Give Me My Dreams Back You Negligent Whore", the crowd invaded the stage, and with no security personnel to ruin the party, there were suddenly an equal amount of people on and off stage, jumping and dancing and singing along. Proof of the fact that Adept were the band on the bill with by far the most engaging music and by far the most love from the fans. It's a wonder to me that they don't have more attention than they do, but I hold that down to their location. If these guys had been from England, they would've been massive.


Kid Down

After a short break used to hit the bathroom and the bar in turn, this now sweaty reporter returned to the balcony to check out the headliners Kid Down. But where had all the people gone? After this band's last album, which I consider a fall from grace, and a pretty unflattering show at Groezrock, Kid Down had the odds stacked against them in terms of proving themselves to me, but seemingly, only a fifth of the crowd were interested in watching them try. Apparently for the vast majority, Adept had been the main event. I guess it must've been a bummer for Kid Down to come on to a half empty venue on a tour they're headlining, but given the nature of their show, you can't really fault the kids' instincts. Yep, Kid Down are still pretty boring live apparently, and a headlining spot with a longer setlist did nothing to change this. I remember trying my best to pay them my full attention, but only barely avoiding to doze off over a table. Everything about it was just so average. Average songs, average performance, next to no crowd response. Overall it seemed like the Panic & Action tour had topped with Adept and come full circle, with Kid Down ending it all on exactly the same note that Oldschool started off on.


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