Cleo Malone

support + Faktory45
author TL date 13/11/09 venue Rust, Copenhagen, DEN

One thing that has been consistently bothering me, ever since I reviewed a very promising EP by the young Danish band Cleo Malone, is that despite my best intentions, I have managed to miss their local live appearances time and time again, making a liar out of myself, as I promised in the review that I would see the band live as soon as possible. Tonight however, was to be the night when I corrected this error, as I had noted months in advance that Cleo Malone would be playing, making sure to schedule everything around this date, rather than on top of it. And indeed I finally succeeded, making it to Rust around half past nine, but before I get into any description of this night, you readers will have to bear with me, because I have to make a slight detour.

You see, as my friends and I arrive, we do so at the same time as a creature that must have fallen out of some kind of fairy tale - more specifically a Swedish blonde who briefly tries to convince me to take her and her friends in with me on my guest list access. I kid you not, this girl was so drop dead beautiful that all usual notions of snappy comebacks were stripped from my mind, and hence I failed to do the right thing, namely tell Jill (our photographer) that pictures would not be needed this night and that her spot on the guestlist had just been reassigned to someone else (:D). Anyway, the point is; SwedishGirl, this paragraph is for you. While I realize that a woman of your quality likely has a queue of suitors running round her palace a handful of times, should you ever find yourself in need of a freelance rock'n'roll writer to say, have your children, then my email is in the about section. If your personality is anywhere near as fine as you look, you're simply too cool to not know me.

Anyway, now that I've successfully degraded our fine publication from pseudo-respectable amateur-site to flat out smudgy dating site, do you think it's time I get to writing about some music? I thought as much.

Cleo Malone

Having picked my jaw back up from the floor, I make my way inside, and as I hit the bar, I can't help but to notice that this is the most empty I've ever seen Rust be. This comes as a complete surprise to me, as I thought a band as awesome yet accessible as Cleo Malone would have a small host of loyal fans. I guess not though, because as the first notes ring from the band's three guitars, there are barely thirty people in attendance, and from the looks of it, I would wager that I'm in the top five of Cleo fans here. Thankfully, for their kind of music, a crowd is pretty much irrelevant, as they are a band for the ears more than one for the eyes. Hence a solid performance of a new song quickly convinces me that, half empty venue be damned, coming here tonight was still a great decision, and my conviction is only fortified when the band proceeds to play "The Way Down", one of the best songs from their debut EP. Another new song follows, and suddenly I notice that the crowd has already thickened quite significantly, and furthermore, people are not only paying attention to what's happening on stage, they're also showing signs of enjoying it, and next thing you know, a handful of what I guess is loyal friends of the band, are starting clap-alongs and things really start to look like a good time. The band plays "Hurricane" and I pretty much leave the venue mentally again. If you choose to check out only one Cleo Malone song based on this article, make sure it's this one, because there is no way I can do justice with words, what kind of gold the band has struck with it. As its guitars enter the Muse-esque gallop at the end, there's a line of people jumping up and down, and even SwedishGirl, who doesn't look at all like your average rocker, is bouncing in her high heels, arm around the shoulder of some random guy whom a friend and I agree must be murdered after the show.

From here on out, Cleo proceed to showcase their upcoming material, switching between their two lead singers from song to song, and hinting that a more up-beat version of the band can probably be heard on the next release. This goes down well with the crowd, majority of which are obviously new to the band, and there's a feeling of discovery in the air of the now relatively packed venue. Loads of people are here, not for Cleo Malone it is obvious, but many look like they're happy they made it there for them anyway. My own friends comment afterwards that "back when I was into post-rock and such, I would've loved this" and "man Tim, I thought that was totally awesome, you've got to get me some of their music!", and if I can read faces, similar sentiments are probably shared by many an incidental crowd member. Personally, I'm quite stoked as well, relieved to see that a band I've hyped can really deliver live, and except for the fact that the sound could have been slightly better maybe, it's hard to really criticize anything about the show tonight. As I watch those new songs, I can't help but to think about the potential that still waits to be realized though. I'm a bit puzzled by the fact that, despite having two lead singers, there are surprisingly few places where both sing, and being a massive fan of call/response vocals and the likes, I would be very curious to see if something like that could benefit the band's already brilliant soundscape even more (always keen to cross the boundaries of social norm, I also tell this to one of the band members, some two minutes after meeting him for the first time. My apologies, it is of course not my place to tell you how to play your music, except when I'm reviewing of course). Anyway, to sum things up, tonights show supports what I already thought about Cleo Malone. They are a band of massive promise, and when they get some experience and larger fan base with the kind of dedication their shows deserve, they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Danish scene.


Now you might not have realized it from reading the above, but the reason the crowd thickened well into Cleo Malone's show was in fact that they weren't meant to be tonight's main attraction. That honor befell Factory45, an indie band the name of which I have only heard in passing and never connected any music to. However, having convinced two friends to pay to be here, I also convince them that we should at least check out what their money goes to, even if getting out of Rust's rather expensive bar is definitely a priority with our economies - After all, tonight was meant to be one of recreational drunkness, just as much as it was meant to be another job for yours truly. So anyway, we watch a couple of songs, and from those I can say that Factory45 by no means seem like a bad experience. They play with visibly more experience and movement than Cleo Malone, and their bouncy, danceable indie pop/rock goes down a treat with the assembled crowd. We don't stay till the end though, as Factory45 are crossing the boundaries for how soft music my two mates can be convinced to lend their ears to, so I won't be grading them or trying to pass any other kind of judgment. That will have to wait for another day, and while you could argue that this is rather unprofessional of me, I guess you can't really demand that I act any differently, until you start paying me for my writing. So don't complain, just click that Factory45 myspace link, listen, make up your own mind about them, and if you like them, maybe you and I will both be at one of their shows in the future.

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