Adept

support Her Bright Skies + Lights In Reverse
author TL date 06/02/09 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

"Anoother niiiiiiight, at the roooooock" - I feel like the Polar Bear Club song is becoming the soundtrack to my life, as my compadre Jimmie and I make our way to that rock club most popular amongst Danish people with strange hair styles and a thirst for cheap beer. Tonight is the night when I finally get to see Adept headline a show in Denmark, something I've been wishing for the Swedes to do ever since I got into them on their early material, however, their growing has only made this show look all the better, since it has enabled them to bring Her Bright Skies with them, and furthermore to enlist the support of local boys Lights In Reverse. A night of Scandinavian screamfests it is then, and the turnout crowding The Rock's floor looks accordingly, with scenester-looking types making out the majority - something I say with no contempt whatsoever, as many of them are friendly and familiar faces by now - All in all something that makes for a pretty good atmosphere before things take off, wouldn't you think?

Lights In Reverse

There's no point in hiding it, Lights In Reverse is a band I'm more familiar with than most, largely due to their singer Jesper being a friend of mine, and as he reads this, it will be his 21st birthday, so first and foremost, a big congratulations to him. Fortunately he will likely look back on this gig as a good improvement over the last one his band played here, as the crowd is almost twice the size, and as he has the honor of supporting what I know is one of his favourite bands. This shows as him and his friends come on stage, and if I wrote last time that they looked like they enjoyed themselves, this time they look like they're positively bursting. The response to the forthcoming post hardcore of their songs, both old and new is still more cautious and curious than it is in any way rapturous, but the boys take it in stride, being all smileys and movement for the duration of their set, and even bringing on a guest vocalist for one of their 'old' tracks - one who rips up the stage for a verse or two, in a considerably more oldschool, manic Glassjaw-ish manner, than the otherwise modern-scenecore appearance of the band itself. However, let the criticism begin; Because while four out of five band members are flying about with all the joy of the world, the one guitarist, Peter, is taking a somewhat more cautious approach, settling for the odd calculated headbang in between his parts. It's not a big deal, only really made noticable in the contrast from the more wild movement of the other guys, but it's one of a few minor issues that combine in bringing the show down a bit. One for instance being that Jesper's vocals are quite a mixed pleasure to experience. His croaky screams are excellent, having a sound far from generic and leaving every word clearly pronounced so that one can actually make out the lyrics. His cleans however, still need a pile of work, as their delivery is equally far from smooth sailing, especially in the more highly pitched departments. Then of course, LIR are clearly an outfit who seem to live by the belief that putting on a good show can be a priority in itself, and one to which sounding spot on can take a close second place, yet still a second place, and as the support slot they have, comes with sound in which both the cleaner guitar parts and vocals could've been more clear, the overall experience becomes more that of a good time with all the small chinks of a small local band still working on perfecting their sound, than that of a prime time contender. But then for a bottom slot, isn't that really optimally what you'd want?

Click here to se an extra gallery of Lights In Reverse, courtesy of Munzer Hodayfa

Her Bright Skies

Last time I saw Her Bright Skies, I admit that I was somewhat disappointed to discover that the new material they were testing, was somewhat more predictable and less credible than what they put out on their last release, so I had rather mixed expectations for their appearance tonight. Expectations that were pretty much met dead on by the band, who did indeed come on to a slightly denser and more interested crowd than LIR, and who exercized a much more seasoned and consistent demeanor during their performance. You can check all the boxes for post-harcore/screamo postures and elements here, and that would be all well and good, if the new songs they play wouldn't feel like the band had been domesticated into a trained pet, aping the tricks of other screamo bands. New song "Sold Our Souls (To Rock & Roll)" is the perfect example, with it's predictable breaks, cheesy whoah-oh backing choirs, tapped melodies and pseudo-emotive piano bridge. I have a laughing fit throughout the entire song, simply because it so slavishly follows the recipe for "how to make a screamo hit", without imbuing it with much personality, and hence not with much chance of suceeding either. If you then consider that their leading man isn't having much more success with his cleans that Jesper was, it only takes a few songs worth of new HBS material to realize, that all the good showmanship in the world can only get you so far, and in the end, people will still feel their interest falter if the songs don't have something special to offer. So yeah, if you want a good time with a by-the-numbers screamo band who can perform solidly, do go see HBS, but if you're looking for anything deeper to connect with, or any real intensity, then you better look elsewhere.. In the next band perhaps?

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Adept

Just before Adept take the stage, I get to chat with Jesper who's emerged from backstage, and he reveals to me, that the Swedes are in fact tired as shit before tonight's show. As they come on, having been told beforehand, I can spot that in them.. For all of a few seconds, then they launch into their stuff and it's an Adept show like it's been both other times I've seen one. The guys all rock out with conviction, doing as I suggested with LIR, in valuing energy and intensity over pitch-perfect rendition, as Robert screams more than on record (as he usually does) and the clean guitar melodies are still ever so slightly on the quiet side. This doesn't matter much, as Adept's songs are seemingly very easy to recognize by a crowd that is very willing to either hug the front stage, worshipping Robert and begging him for a rare opportunity to be allowed to scream a line in his mic, or launch themselves at friends and strangers alike in the decently sized (for this venue anyway) mosh pit that erupts in the middle of the floor. Suffice to say that good times are had, when yours truly opts to leave a pretty lady alone for a song or two, instead reporting from the center of said moshpit - dammit, "Let's Celebrate Gorgeous, You Know Whose Party It Is" is just still too good a song to not rock out to. Like LIR, Adept are not content with owning the stage on their own, so for one song, they take Jesper on as a guest screamer, and for another, they invite half the crowd up there to dance with them. They take us through a circa standard length set, complimenting the Danes for being the best drinkers ahead of the Germans and Swedes on the way, and wrapping things up with "At Least Give Me My Dreams Back You Negligent Whore". All in all, Adept didn't do more than I've seen them give before, but they didn't give less either, and with songs that all whip up an intense mood and feeling of needing to mosh and scream wildly, seeing them is, as always, a certified good time. Still though, there's no denying that if they could assign some of the vocal layers that singer Robert does on record to another band member, and make everything sound slightly more crystal clear in the live setting, it they could have potential to produce an epic time?

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