Walls of Jericho

support The Red Chord
author AP date 10/08/09 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

Judging from the huge turnout tonight, the announcement that Walls of Jericho would grace us with their presence in Copenhagen did not go unheard. The same cannot be said about the supporting act, The Red Chord, who did not receive the same warm welcome as the headliners and played in front of far fewer people. My impression was that most people had simply anticipated yet another Danish up-and-coming group to start things off instead of these influential grindcore veterans. I found out about this myself only a few days in advance, which then became the only reason I wanted to go to this show, what with Walls of Jericho playing the kind of music that has never appealed to me. But let's not waste any more time on babbling, and get down to business.

The Red Chord

The Red Chord waste no time for introductions, launching directly into their explosive set following a quirky intro track like something you would expect to hear from a live pianist in a wine lounge. This first song flows seamlessly into the only song that I actually recognize by the band, "Black Santa", and although at this point the performance remains within conventional, predictable confines, the band's constant bouncing about on stage is entertaining enough to watch. Especially when vocalist Guy Kozowyk has the audience in his palm, throwing around one witty remark after the other and generally behaving like an escapee out of a mental institution. His face expression when not screaming bears resemblance to this and this (Peter Dolving and Jens Kidman respectively), which is the perfect complement to music as insane as this. At some point Guy hands the microphone to a particularly enthused dude whose frantic headbanging has caught the eye of most people in the venue, and he delivers a faithful rendition of the vocals to whatever song is being played, even injecting his own operaic touch in the end, to which Guy replies: "Is that really what I sound like?"

Throughout the show Guy points out that he is mystified by the dancing of a girl upfront, who is going through some kind of mosh/headbang/Persian belly dancing routine (which, by the way, looks fucking sexy) and makes several attempts to invite her on stage. She eventually capitulates and climbs on stage during the band's last songs and does this 'dance' while Guy pretends to bang her from behind with the same insane glean in his eyes. She is also allowed to contribute some rather impressive growls here and there. She is soon accompanied on stage by another girl desperate for her three minutes of fame, but her dancing and screaming are much more ordinary. During the final song Guy invites the dude who contributed vocals before on stage again, and commands a stage technician to hand him a bass guitar to play. He does so with the energy and conviction of the rest of the band and (at least to my ears) without fucking up. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is Copenhagen featuring The Red Chord", Guy announces before wrapping things up with this fantastic finale.

8

Walls of Jericho

Now, if I were to rate Walls of Jericho purely based on their music, the grade would not be flattering. I have a profound hatred for this tough guy hardcore, even if the vocals are delivered by a cute (if muscular) little girl whose sweet voice in between songs is in stark contrast with the shouting and yelling she lets out in the songs themselves. Not that anyone in their right mind could call Candace Kucsulain sweet, what with the constant stream of profanities that run out of her mouth, commanding us "motherfuckers" to start "fucking circle pits" and go "fucking insane". As such she is a true show-woman and exerts total control over the crowd for the entirety of the set. One cannot but admire the professionalism with which the show is delivered, but at the same time, it feels a little too predictable and rehearsed to make a lasting impact.

Some of that is undoubtedly the fault of the music itself, because hardly a minute goes by without a brutal beatdown breaking things down, and even in the verses and choruses the formula seems to be restricted almost entirely to chugging. Melody comes in small, short doses and to anyone not familiar with the band's music this is unfortunate because there really isn't enough in it to keep us interested. Of course, the sheer energy of the band on stage is fun to watch: coordinated jumping, swinging instruments, whiplash-headbanging and just generally the kind of demeanor you'd wish more bands had on stage instead of standing still with their instruments. Still, this is one of those many shows that is impressive at the time but fails to be memorable now, so while the band performs well in all the relevant categories, it isn't enough to push the show to a great rating.

7

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