A Road To Damascus

support Silence Of September + Searing Solace
author PP date 17/04/10 venue Studenterhuset, Copenhagen, DEN

What better way to start a Saturday night than to pay cheap entrance to the Studenterhuset Cafe right at the heart of Copenhagen, and check out a few up and coming local bands, before continuing onwards to the bars and pubs of the city's nightlife a few good experiences richer? Maybe this is why such Saturdays have become more like the norm than the exception for this scribe... well, that and the fact that Copenhagen's music scene has been spitting out promising bands left and right in the last year or two, so these shows are actually worth checking out as opposed to, say, five years ago.

Searing Solace

The evening's first band is Searing Solace, a catchy, keyboard assisted pop rock / alternative rock band with an occasional pop punk nuance (of the polished kind), who show good confidence on stage straight from the get go. They have a youthful vibe going with a decent amount of energy on stage manifesting in little but passionate movement that signifies they're loving the stage. A slight MTV pop rock vibe is emitted from their music, but somehow Searing Solace appear a little more believable than your average radio rock band, which can be attributed to the small-time showcase feel to the show tonight. The songs are simple but effective, seemingly jam-packed with lighters-in-air ballad moments and sing-a-long passages, so I don't see any reason against them headlining a show one day in the future. Towards the end of their set, however, things start becoming a little repetitive so it is difficult to grade them any higher, but in the end, their set was always going to be one of those enjoyable pop rock shows which you don't mind watching, but will rarely remember much longer than the set lasts.

Silence Of September

Silence Of September were up next, who have received their fair share of criticism for their live performances in the past, so I was looking forward to checking out whether there was any hold to these claims or not. In the back of my head, however, was the vivid memory of the band telling me how they spent several years in the studio fine-tuning their excellent debut album "Sleep Of Reason", because it is often difficult to reproduce perfectly produced studio songs with the same amount of detail live. That's also the problem today, as the screams sound somewhat more forced live than on record, and the keyboard melodies are almost non-existent in the mix, removing many of the solid atmospheric melodies and thus a large chunk of the band's overall expression tonight. The clean vocals, however, showcase the hours that this band has put into them have paid off, as they sound great all around, making songs like "I Have A Dream" a joy to experience live. Most of the debut album gets a live treatment today, but the band also sneaks in a note-by-note rendition of Radiohead's "Creep", which gets a positive response from the crowd. Throughout the set, it's clear that Silence Of September are playing with their hearts in the music and the performance, but it's very difficult to shake off the feeling that they look and sound like a band who have just stepped out of the studio into the live circuit - which is precisely what they have done as well. Anyway, I've seen enough young bands in the past to know that all starting bands look like this before they start closing in on 70-90 live performances, when they start to "own" the stage instead of just "guesting" it. All in all, a good performance from a band that just needs to play a few more shows before they'll start convincing people en masse.

Setlist:

I Have a Dream

Down The Drain

Second Chance

January 8th

Forever

Sleep of Reason

Creep (Radiohead)

Make a Scene

Take Back The Words

Silence of September

You

A Road To Damascus

Though both bands earlier had displayed some energy and willingness to move on stage, pop punkers A Road To Damascus were without a doubt the most energetic and fun band to watch live. Their set was characterised by non-stop movement from every member of the band, though the spotlight was continuously on their vocalist, who often leaned into the crowd, displaying old school Taking Back Sunday references all over the place. What was most impressive about A Road To Damascus, however, was how comfortable they looked on stage for such a young band, looking like an act who has been playing for hundreds of shows spread over several years. They play their pop punk with conviction and without the overproduced feel of many newer bands in the genre, and as the whole band pours energy into their individual performances, the audience gets the feeling that these guys are playing as a unit. The set is filled with jumps despite the small amount of space on the stage, as well as simply great pop punk songs that really come to life in a live environment thanks to the band's eccentric performance. As for the grading, this show is as close to an 8 as it possibly can be, and the only reason why they aren't receiving it is because I happened to see a superb performance by City Of Ships the night before which was just a tad bit better. There's no doubt that A Road To Damascus will be scoring some pretty high grades with us in the future if they keep this up, thumbs up.

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