The Chariot

support Iwresledabearonce + The Eyes Of A Traitor
author TL date 27/04/10 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

Flashback eight days. It's tuesday evening and the time is somewhere between nine and ten in the evening. Me and my mates are sitting outside of Loppen, Christinia putting our combined efforts into downing the last litres of the beer I brought along. Normally we would enjoy the shit out of them, but we want to be done before the first band of the night commences. Chug chug chug. We head inside and greetings are exchanged with familiar faces, both regular and irregular at shows in this fair city of ours. Ah the cosyness of a small scene. Bla bla bla, is the introduction long enough yet? I think it is, so let's have a look at tonight's first band.

The Eyes Of A Traitor

Fact: I can't stand hardcore. So there's hardly anyone who could be a more sceptical audience than me, for The Eyes Of A Traitor, who start ticking every box of that genre as soon as they come on stage. Somehow though, that ordinary feeling of "please take that band the fuck away from me" that I feel when a gang of shorts-clad stereotypes have tried to act macho for more than five minutes never really arrive here, and instead I find myself gradually realizing that TEOAT might actually be is entirely tolerable to me, and hence probably much better than that to someone with an ear for the genre. Maybe it's because I am to later come home and discover that the band is "most similar" on Last.Fm to a band I actually really like (mmm Eternal Lord, mmm), or maybe it's because Jack Delany and his orchestra manage to load up on the genre's upsides - energy, intensity, crushing weight - and avoid its more trite downsides - pretense, tough guy attitude, simplified morality. The people are cautiously digging it too, many nodding heads in recognition and a faithful few even starting on moving about up front. A few people leave the floor for the bar with an expression that resembles my normal reaction to hardcore, but most stand like me, impressed with the potency of Eyes Of A Traitors' manifestation of their genre of preference, even if originality is still a concept that hasn't really shown up at the venue yet.

Iwrestledabearonce

If I was hostile towards The Eyes Of A Traitor, I have to say that my expectations for IWABO were not much better. From what I've heard, their hype is entirely unjustified, and has likely been earned more off the back of their wacky name and super-neon-scene tshirts and general imagery, than off the actual merits of their weird-for-the-sake-of-being-so music. They open up in a pretty funny manner though, as the centre of attention, vocalist Krysta Cameron exclaims that she is about to turn 26, and that her vagina is about to get wrinkly. While I snicker at that, IWABO launch into their actual set of nonsensical synth/grind and a small host of crowdmembers engage in the nerdiest of frenzied moshpits in recent memory. None can take away from IWABO that they match the freakish nature of their music with equally retarded and energetic on stage performances, so in terms of movement, their gig goes pretty well from start to finish. In such terms as memorability, musicality and meaning however, I must ask: "what the fuck is the point of this?". Just as on record, IWABO's music seems purposefully built to combine elements as randomly and insanely as humanly possible, and the result is that it does not transmit any other feelings or attitudes than a cheeky, childish madness. It's sounds like the sonic equivalent to sprinkling a bag of M&M's on a board full of glue and calling it art, and while this is of course very appealing to neon kids who think being cool comes from listening to the weirdest shit, I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone in the world would ever waste time or energy on such meaninglessness. So elitist as I am, I quickly sit down and become increasingly bored with IWABO's antiques, and my grade reflects it, though I am clearly in the minority, as a whole bunch of people think that this band is the shit tonight.

4

The Chariot

... In fact, a lot of people must have thought that IWABO was the only thing being 'the shit' tonight, because by some inexplicable occurence of injustice, the crowd is significantly thinner when it becomes time for the band which is without a doubt the best of tonight's bands on record, and also the one with the best live reputation. I would rage and rant more over this fact, had my attention to it not been diverted in the instant The Chariot launch into their first burst of the bleak, raw and disturbed deconstruction of sound that is their trademark. Contrary to expectations, they don't throw their instruments into the air, possibly because Loppen's ceiling is no higher than you can reach it with your hands if you step on a chair. Still, the way this five-piece plays on stage rivals The Dillinger Escape Plan's in terms of excess and madness. Hence my jaw is glued firmly to the floor from song one, as the bassist flings his bass first behind his back to one side, then to the other, stopping at timed moments to hammer out his ringing notes. My eyes widen as the guitarists punish their axes while swinging them up and down in front of them with seamless ease. Soon, both I and the remaining dumbstruck crowd members are engulfed in and stupified by the ferocity of The Chariot. Contrary to IWABO, there's a feeling to the music here, and it's so claustrophobic and intense that we all get the feeling that we are in The Chariot's world, and that we are here for a visit we will not soon forget. All the lights go out, and ex-Norma Jean micman Josh Scogin swings a lantern in the air while wailing the unforgetable refrain of "Daggers". "WAAAAAAAAAAAAR! IT'S ONLY SKIN-DEEP!". Later he catches the bass and plays it, as bassist 'KC Wolf' relinquishes it to take the mic over, handling it as fiercely as Scogin has been, only to soon collapse on the floor while hammering the beat of the music with drumsticks. The show is in your face, it's real and it's unrelenting, and the only bad thing about it is that it's over all too soon. And despite the fact that The Chariot didn't destroy any guitars or set any amps on fire, nor injured any crowd members, their show still stands clear in my conciousness as one of the few purely irreplicable experiences one can get in todays music scene. A must see.

All photos courtesy of Christian Lee

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