UnderOATH

support Architects + As We Fight
author TL date 21/03/10 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

By now, the event of UnderOATH coming to play your town is really one that needs no description, or more accurately, the mood before it actually happens does not need one. Whichever the town or the venue, you can bet your ass that there's going to be a congregation of its local emo/screamo/post-hardcore fans, young as well as old, and much friendly chatter, as well as anxiety will fill the air both in and around the venue. Such is it of course also tonight, a Sunday evening which has been warmed up for with handful of beers already, and during which I find familiar faces almost regardless of where I turn in Pumpehuset, Copenhagen. But honestly, who cares? Let's talk bands!

As We Fight

The most common reaction I came across when people, at one moment or another before tonight's show, realised that As We Fight were also on the bill, was more or less an equivocal, "What? They're still around?". Indeed, a few years ago, AWF may have been one of very few Danish bands to take note of for fans of the genres I mentioned before, but since then, the crowd has thickened slightly, and while AWF have undergone member changes and tried to push their name abroad, they have faded somewhat from the minds of the local scene. However, tonight they seem rather glad to make a effort towards repairing that situation, seizing the opportunity it will always be to support UnderOATH, by displaying that they haven't forgotten anything over the years. They play a fairly tight set of melodic and easily accessible metalcore, made enjoyable by headbanging-friendly rhythms and a varied harsh vocal performance from their front figure, seemingly not too bothered by the scarcity of the early crowd. In one song, one of the few AWF fans present gets to sing a couple of lines, and in another, the band welcomes their old singer Lauritz Medorn back on the stage to help out. It's all good and well, and like I said already, easily enjoyable with a beer in hand, but there is something about the band that bothers me. Despite the fact that this outfit has seen more changes in cast than James Bond, the players still seem a bit like they've been at it for a loooooong time, and that they've settled for being merely average Joe's, who spend their off time playing a solid batch of metal. Whether or not this is actually the case, I do not know, but I can't shake the feeling that AWF are a band who, while obviously enjoying themselves, don't quite live and breathe their show like a band united with a purpose. That aside though, there's nothing wrong with the show tonight, even if it hardly makes many new fans for the band

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Architects

Unsurprisingly, the arrival of UK metal comets Architects signals an ascension to a whole different league of music. The sound naturally takes a step up in quality, as Sam Carter and his crew put the massive weight of their expression on the gathering crowd, engaging them with a fury and dedication that perfectly reflects what As We Fight are lacking. Their set is short and sweet, as they are still in support after all, but intensity on both stage and floor is upped, and the night's first moshers get some exercise. Architects come off as avatars of consistency, giving you a feeling that if only you have any appreciation for their kind of music, there is no way in hell that you won't enjoy their performance, however long or short. I know I do at least, even though "Early Grave" and "Follow The Water" are the only titles I actually recollect from their critically acclaimed "Hollow Crown" album, but with both Carter and friends performing with impressive stamina, I'm sure I'm joined in my approval of this show by lesser fans than myself anyway. There's quite simply no call for speculation or detailed analysis when it comes to these boys. They're rock solid, and should they come back to play a headline show with a longer set and an even better sound, I'm sure the Danish scene would welcome them with open arms, even if the crowd response of tonight isn't quite frantic enough to suggest a very massively dedicated following here. If there's justice in the world though, that should have changed for the better by the time Architects come back.

UnderOATH

As with introductions, I also feel like I'm running out of observations to make at UnderOATH shows that aren't obvious to everyone at the venue, but then, I guess that could just be a good thing for the band? Certainly, I don't think many are really surprised when the Florida sextet come on and start fulfilling expectations from second one and throughout. The only new thing about them is that main man Spencer Chamberlain has had his hair dreaded and now looks like a younger Brian Fair, because his locks still get to see considerable air time as he steps around the stage, delivering his scaringly diverse and monstrous harsh vocals (newbies, behold the master) with the quality that has come to be expected of him. He strides from side to side at the front of the stage, commanding the crowd, which has now thickened except for the violent moshpit in its dead centre, and behind him, Aaron Gillespie drums and croons as phenomenally as usual. How he does it is beyond my comprehension, as is the fact that his great cleans are still a bit low in UO's live sound - Why mustn't we hear a little more Aaron Mr. Soundman?

Regardless, there are four more members of UnderOATH to witness, and while all are moving about - with the exception of second guitarist James Smith, who seems oddly cautious tonight - with the ferocity befitting of the nature of this music, it is Tim McTague that steals the spotlight hands down. The bearded axeman throws himself and his instrument around with a recklessness that recalls that of The Dillinger Escape Plan's Ben Weinman, and the fact that he can actually play the not-quite-simple stuff that makes up the music, while his guitar is flying all around, is another thing that defies my meagre comprehension. Needless to say however, it looks fuckin' awesome, and all in all UnderOATH's performance cements why they have their reputation. Not that the audience seem like they need any other convincing than the playing of the band's songs, as each cut has its own section of sweaty dudes crashing into each other violently, while screaming along like it means something to them. All in all, tonight is a post-hardcore success story, told with conviction, class and credibility, from the first moment of "The Only Survivor Was Miraculously Unharmed", over the obligatory, yet somewhat shortened confession of "we are a band that believe in Jesus Christ, but it's fine if you guys don't" to the dying notes of "Writing On The Walls". UnderOATH have developed into an unquestionable force to be reckoned with, and missing a nearby show of theirs will likely be cause for regret for a long time to come.

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Setlist:

1. The Only Survivor Was Miraculously Unharmed

2. In Regards To Myself

3. Emergency Broadcast: The End Is Near

4. Young And Aspiring

5. We Are the Involuntary

6. Anyone Can Dig a Hole but It Takes a Real Man to Call It Home

7. Casting Such A Thin Shadow

8. You're Ever So Inviting

9. Breathing In A New Mentality

10. A Moment Suspended In Time

11. Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

12. Too Bright To See, Too Loud To Hear

13. It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door

14. Writing On The Walls

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