The Casualties

support Misconduct
author PP date 05/02/10 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

I missed The Casualties last time they played at Loppen a little over a year ago because their show clashed with the date for my housewarming party, so I made sure to clear my calendar for February 5th when the band was scheduled to play in Denmark again. What's this, like the fourth or fifth time in the last five years? It's always nice to have a band come back to Denmark on a regular basis. But is it possible to come by too often? I wouldn't expect to think so, but yet the moderate to low attendance at Loppen tonight suggests otherwise. But before we get to their set; lets deal with the support band Misconduct first.

Misconduct

The background music was abruptly cut, and the crowd gathered around Misconduct who had just entered the stage, but it proved to be a false alarm as the band spent the next ten or so minutes warming up and tuning their instruments to a whole bunch of infamous tracks. I'm sure I recognized a NOFX bass line and a Rise Against guitar line in there. Moments later they were properly set up though, and in what must be the most unusual way to start a concert I've seen in a while, the band gathered together into a circle and put their hands together for a battle cry, as if to boost team spirit similar to what you see in football matches. Strange, but okay, I thought, however this was to be a prelude of fakeness to come, which I should've recognized straight away from the attention-seeking "guitar tuning". The first couple of tracks actually showcased a decent melodic punk band with roots in hardcore, and an energetic stage show with jumps aplenty. The tracks weren't immediately catchy, but I'm sure they have the potential to be so on record, that's always difficult to judge live. Anyway, here's where the band started acting out in a way which really, REALLY irritated me. You see, after the band were done playing, I felt like I had just been subjected to a 40 minute long sales pitch where music was of secondary importance to the ego of the band's vocalist. See that photo in this review? That's taken directly after the dude said "okay another chance" and pretending to sing and point towards the camera after Lykke wasn't able to get a shot when he was actually doing it. At least three separate times during their short set, the vocalist stopped and said they have a new record coming out in April and everyone should buy it because ABC, proceeding to say "this is a single from that album, it's in the radios soon", followed by another "it'll be in stores here very soon".

Now it's one thing to announce "we have a record coming out, here's some new songs, check it out", but this guy was SELLING the record to us. There's nothing worse than feeling like the band is treating you as a consumer rather than a music fan, especially at a punk rock show. The 'singles' that the band played were just that - poppy tracks completely disconnected from the band's otherwise punk rooted sound, designed to sell as many copies of the record as possible while the rest of the material is as good as filler. Wouldn't it feel really wrong if a few hundred people lifted their lighters and/or mobile phones to wave them slowly around at a punk show? Yet that's probably a reality when these guys play any bigger shows. Then there was the requests for hand clapping, the "come on, sing along" shouts, and other crowd control techniques which may well work for venues with over 800 people in attendance when you're supporting Fall Out Boy, but tonight, they just seemed awfully fake. Don't get me wrong, I've got absolutely nothing against a band trying their best to ignite a crowd, but this wasn't a band trying their best. This was a band desperate for attention in the worst scenester emokid way, and they are playing punk rock for fucks sake! It was just so fucking transparent that this band isn't in it with their hearts instead of just wanting to make a quick buck while seducing young girls into their beds. To end the review on a positive note, however, as soon as the vocalist ditched his guitar for the last two tracks, one of which was a Minor Threat cover, and stormed around the scene aggressively, the band redeemed some of their lost respect in my eyes. But too little, too late - this is a band you should download everything from and never pay them a cent of your hard earned money.

4

Oops, that became awfully long, but Misconduct managed to piss me off enough to inspire a proper rant about their image-based idea of music. Sorry, but they totally deserved it.

The Casualties

In comparison though, The Casualties were punk as fuck, launching straight into the gang shout friendly "Carry On The Flag" intro to their new album "We Are All We Have", from which the title track followed straight after, an ideal gang shout-along track to get the crowd going. And so the fans were singing along to the woo-hoo anthems from the get go, and the band never stopped for more than just a couple of seconds in between tracks. For well over an hour, the band didn't waste any time in talking bullshit to the crowd aside from the occasional "circle pit!!!" remark here and there, they just played their songs, including hits like "System Failed Us Again", "War Is Business" and even a street punk version of Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Pop". Small mosh pits were happening on both sides of the center pillar, which occasionally merged together to form a circle pit around the center pillar, which was roughly the point when this scribe decided that it was no longer safe to be standing anywhere in the vicinity of the stage. The crowd favorite "Tomorrow Belongs To Us" that featured a massive melodic sing along filled with punk rebellion as the kids of today were screaming for a better future.

Now, The Casualties have a whole bunch of awesome songs, as their set at Fredericia Hardcore Festival proved two years ago, where the band tore the stage and crowd apart with lots of synchronous scissor jumps and chaos everywhere. Tonight, however, the performance of the band's vocalist Herrera left much to long for, as he was content just standing still and headbanging while wearing his FC Barcelona shirt in the middle. This despite the bassist and guitarist doing their best to energize the stage being all over the place in their respective corners, rocking out, headbanging, jumping and all the usual punk rock moves, but at least this scribe couldn't escape the feeling that maybe...just maybe, The Casualties are getting old. Herrera's hair isn't a mohawk anymore, and he's grown a significant beer belly (as have I, but that's another story altogether), and he isn't moving about the stage like he used to. When you combined the above with the non-stop high-octane nature of their sound, in the end it started feeling like we were witnessing the same song over and over. That said, it was still a decent basement-styled punk rock show, one that I'd go see again.

7

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