Agent Fresco

support Trust
author TL date 19/06/09 venue Rust, Copenhagen, DEN

Friday the 19th of June was never really meant to be a concert night for me and PP. Rather it was meant to be a night were we would drink ourselves into a stupor in an attempt to forget that we were NOT seeing AC/DC's gig in the Danish national stadium this night. Only AP had managed to secure tickets for that (and hopefully the lazy bastard will bring you a review of it soon!), so we had to settle for a night of quiet drinks with JM who was actually in the country this weekend. Enter good old Mirza of Siamese Fighting Fish with an idea. Him and his friends were going to see this obscure Icelandic band called Agent Fresco at Rust on this evening, and if we were willing to do some quality coverage, he could provide us with free access. Seeing as we had no better plans we made our timely arrival to find the venue surprisingly full for a gig of this small repute. This would explain itself later, but before we got around to Agent Fresco, we had to literally suffer a warm up band first, namely the Danish guys from:


And when I say suffer, I mean we suffered to the point where somebody were talking about leaving prematurely. Before I tell you why, let me tell you of an opinion of mine: I think the concept of a three piece has run its course. I think there's little chance for only three people, one focusing on both his instrument and on vocals, to create something worth the while of the modern enlightened listener. Bearing that in mind, imagine my feelings when I see Trust come on stage and realize that they are in fact a.. Two-piece? A Duo? Henrik Hald on guitar and vocals and Lars Laursen on drums and vocals. Aided only by minimalistic samples and struggling against a poor sound, these two dudes came on stage and delivered a show that can best be described as WAY more weird than actually good. Early on, the impression is one of strange guitar riffs climbing drums playing no recognizable rhythm in totally nonsensical song structures.. and the vocals - don't get me started on the vocals, the vocals are fuckin' terrible. Seemingly, none of the guys could sing in tune as much as they could moan illegibly into their microphones. It's at about this time that someone suggest that we just go outside and drink until this band is done. Ever professional however, I insist that we persist, and as our ears get used to the chaos that is Trust's music, I actually start to become a little impressed. Certainly, these dudes know their instruments, as Lars changes time signature faster and more abruptly than even experienced ears can follow, and Henrik's guitar licks follow with seeming ease, while we witness his fingers move with impressive proficiency through the fretboard gymnastics. There's still one problem though. Other than being technically impressive, this feels so unspeakably pointless I can't even put it in words. There isn't a soul in the venue who understands what the hell is going on, and with the inane vocals, there's no help to be had. I find myself asking, what's the point in these guys making music this complex if they're not using their skill to convey something to their audience? And I don't know the answer, so I wonder, are these guys wasting their talent?


Agent Fresco

After that travesty I fear for the worst as Agent Fresco set up, but fortunately, it takes them less than a song to banish all darkness laid on my mood by Trust's performance. This is still a pretty odd band alright - a description as a "Mars Volta meets experimental Thursday in a Scandinavian jazz house" comes to mind - but they're still infinitely more enjoyable than Trust. Their music shifts seamlessly between airy passages of melody and atmosphere, into ripping post-hardcore postures, flirting with ambiance, experimental, jazz and even grindcore on the way. Mostly though, it's championed by the rather unique vocals of singer Arnór Dan Arnarson, who sounds like he's on his way out of tune half the time, but always remains spot on with his floating high pitched delivery. His singing hypnotized the audience - now endlessly more engaged in the show than before - as they build on the simplistic skeletons of sound that are regularly interrupted by, again, changes in time signature, jazzy interludes or mental noisecore breakdowns. It's quite fascinating, not only to listen to, but also to witness, as the band are not only a spectacle because of Borgþór Jónsson's upright electric bass and drummer Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson's crazy red afro, but also because they rock around stage, again spearheaded by Arnór, whose ragged, psychedelic scarf flies wildly around him as he dances, crouches, sways and jumps like a man who has studied Mars Volta's Cedrix Bixler Zavala's every move. It's safe to say the crowd is loving it, in fact they love it way more than one would expect for as atypical a band as this. However, it is betrayed by Arnór when he addresses them in perfect Danish, and explains how he grew up in Denmark and is so proud to be able to play for so many of his old friends. As such, it seems that the stage is set for a party with a good connection between an enthusiastic band and their loving crowd, and that's exactly what we get. I would personally like to add the outside perspective that there's still a slight sound of pretense in the purposed oddity of Agent Fresco's soundscape, and this is going to keep them in the underground for as long as it remains - not that I'm sure the band would prefer for things to be different. Other than that I also liked that they have the courage to break things down with dissonance and screaming here, however, they still need to find a way to do it so that they're not only doing so for the sake of it. One thing is to add variety, but it works better if it actually also contributes to the song, instead of just being "a random pig squeal here - because we can". Those bittersweet remarks aside though, tonights show was a very positive surprise, and I left with a feeling that I wouldn't at all mind seeing Agent Fresco again.. Unfortunately we also left before the band came back for an unexpected encore, but seeing as we had an appointment elsewhere there wasn't anything to do about it. So I'm going to go ahead and guess that it didn't at all subtract from the show.


(Oh and sorry for the lack of pictures. Things were arranged in such a rush that we didn't have time to sort out a camera. If you were at the show and have some decent shots, we'd be happy to add them to this article and credit you as the photographer though!?)

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