Puto Diablo

support Trusted Few + Siamese Fighting Fish + Sjäel
author PP date 12/06/09 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

Prior to the show tonight I had no idea how many people would turn up, after all Puto Diablo isn't THAT well known outside of the core of the Danish emo/screamo scene. Turns out I should've expected the whole floor's worth of people, as it felt like more or less the whole scene had gathered together to celebrate the release of their new EP "The Aftermath Of Comprehension" tonight. That's enough to put a smile on the face of even the biggest cynic and to guarantee that the shows are going to be good because people are actually there. After all, both Puto Diablo and Trusted Few are well known for their good live performances that automatically become great as soon as there's lots of support from the crowd, and on top of that Sjael have long been talked about as the next big thing to emerge from the scene at least by other bands in it. Anyway, three bands and a release party followed by 10kr bar almost straight after Puto Diablo's set finishes. If you weren't there, I hope you're jealous by now, because it was pretty awesome. For the lack of photos, please slag Jill for being lazy at the show instead of taking photos of all bands.

Sjäel

Prior to Sjael's set I had heard a number of bad things about the band, that they should be boring not just live but instrumentally as well. At this point I have to say that whatever you've heard about Sjael from people who are dressed in scene clothing or listen to primarily emo/post-hardcore, don't listen to them because they don't have a clue what they're talking about. Perhaps Sjael aren't as energetic or entertaining visually as the other bands on the bill today, but that wouldn't suit their music either. Instrumentally, they're like a mix between a softer Deftones, heavier Dredg and a dreamier, more atmospheric Oceansize or Amplifier. Hints of Cave In's softer album "Antenna" were audible as well, so you can't fault the band for their sound. In fact, their floaty, extensive soundscapes were perfect for the type of mood I was in after cycling a few kilometers in breezing rain earlier, and some of the instrumental passages these guys had absolutely blew me away. Still, the clean vocals sounded quite weak live, some throaty screams or prolonged growls a la Isis could do this band wonders.

Siamese Fighting Fish

As for the band that I for some reason completely forgot that played tonight and therefore didn't write about until after posting this article (thanks to all focus already being on their frontman Mirza's project Underground Music Awards the next day), it's not because they were bad. Quite the contrary actually. I hadn't heard that much Siamese Fighting Fish prior to the show considering they're mostly TL's territory, but I knew that they had recently morphed towards a heavier, post-hardcore type of sound after their first EP. I have to say that the new direction is infinitely more interesting than their previous approach - seeing their already charismatic vocalist Mirza intensely sing and passionately scream his way through a half an hour set was probably the biggest surprise for me tonight and a reason to start looking forward to their next release. For such a young band, it's really surprising to hear such a professional and all-around solid sound already at this stage in their career, and coupled with the crowd's response to their show tonight, I sense some great things coming towards this band if they keep things up like this.

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Trusted Few

It's starting to be more of an exception than the rule if Danish household screamers Trusted Few aren't at least mentioned in connection with anything emo/screamo/post-hardcore going on in Denmark. Much of this can be accredited to the fact that whenever they're on the bill, no matter how big or small the show, you know you're in for a solid, energetic set, tonight being no exception with the band jumping frantically around the stage. Maybe it was just the surprisingly good sound quality at The Rock tonight, but it sounded like both Johan and Andreas have vastly improved their range since the last time I heard them; Johan's scream was more voluminous and ear-piercing than what I remember, and Andreas' high pitch vocals sounded like they were both spot on and louder than before. Tonight was also the first time (at least for this writer) where Trusted Few played a couple of new songs (three to be precise) from their upcoming 2010 record, and I have to say I was pretty darn impressed though TL will probably hate them. Out with much of the semi-soft post-hardcore sound they had in the past, in with a boatload of down-tuned breakdowns a la Gwen Stacy perfect for karate-moshers if there were any of those assholes in Denmark. Somehow the more metal(core?)lic sound made Trusted Few sound much better tonight, but still, it's always hard to thoroughly enjoy songs when the live experience is when you're hearing them for the first time. Lets see what comes out of that though.

Puto Diablo

And then it was Puto Diablo's turn, this being the release-party for their new EP and all. These guys also seemed to have vastly improved their vocal work, as the clean vocals were a little bit more on-tune and stronger than usual, and the screams were more bombastic at the same time. One thing I've always admired about these guys is their ability to display a thoroughly energetic and bouncy set for the entire duration of their set, there isn't a moment where one of the two vocalists wouldn't be jumping up and down or storming across the stage. That was also the case tonight, and especially during the band's best songs you could see the crowd moving around frenetically in a mosh/circle pit in front of the stage. The band played a number of new songs from the upcoming EP including "The Business End Of The Shotgun" and "Here's To Better Days", but as I mentioned in the Trusted Few review above, it's almost impossible to get into new songs on first listen in a live environment. So just like before, judgment is reserved till I've actually heard the whole EP on record a good couple of times.

During the last song of their set, more or less the whole band-scene of Denmark (present tonight) teamed up on stage to share vocal duties. I had a few too pints many to remember exactly WHAT the song was (It wasn't "Can't Stop Smiling" because that was played just before, someone help me in the comments), but it was one of their better ones and hearing Trusted Few's Johan screaming the lyrics together with the Puto guys was pretty awesome in my books. Based on all the aforementioned that was a great show and I should be rating it rather highly, right? Not quite. My only grudge with Puto Diablo has always been that despite having written a number of great, awesome tracks capable of gaining international recognition for the band, they also have a number of average tunes especially from their older records. When you're headlining your own release show you're more or less expected to play for an hour at the very least, which obviously means that those songs need to be played as well because this is still a young band by all standards. Think of them as a candy store that doesn't quite have enough varieties for you to pick and mix only the best ones and still have a full bag.

That being said though, on a holistic level the release party can be deemed a success. There were so many familiar faces present from other Danish bands (and the audience) that it felt like the whole Copenhagen/Sjaelland-area emo/screamo scene was gathered in one place for once. That's why the overall atmosphere was sky-high tonight, and that's precisely what you want from your release party.

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