La Dispute

support Le Pré Où Je Suis Mort + Eating Animals
author TL date 15/06/10 venue Lades Kælder, Copenhagen, DEN

What is TL doing since he's too busy to write as many reviews as he usually does? Well, going to gigs for one thing, since the show that's subjected in this review was the third one I went to within a span of five days. How can I resist, having taken DR's advice and listened to "Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair" and liked it, when the band that fathered that record suddenly appears in town for a show at one of the smallest and most intimate of venues, Lades Kælder. Again, I am unfortunately late to catch the first band, the locally based Eating Animals, but fortunately for me, they still have a few songs left in them when I finally manage to grace the venue with my presence.

Eating Animals

The view that greets me as I enter is one that does not often encourage me, as Eating Animals is a mere duo on guitar and drums, and as I approach the stage I quickly notice that guitarist Søren doesn't really seem to want to use the microphone for anything else than brief comments between the complex and lengthy compositions him and drummer Kim are trying their best to treat us to, in spite of seemingly having slight problems with their monitors. Labels like "experimental", "progressive" and "math rock" come quickly to mind, and I initially try to combat my prejudiced feeling of dismay by shouting "patience! patience!" in my mind, but soon enough, it becomes apparent that I don't need to, because Kim and Søren quickly prove to be quite God damn good. Via an array of loop pedals and other gadgets, Søren stacks up layers of melodies progressively, easily keeping curious ears interested between the many changes in rhythm. The music flows over with sweepingly ear-catching dynamics, and it soon occurs to me that these guys are going a long way towards the maximal potential a band with only two members can have. Of course, it's not much of a visual spectacle, and the between song activity is more casual than charismatic, likely because of the small-scale nature shared by both stage, venue and crowd size. Such circumstances bar access to epic levels of memorability, but a surprisingly good time it sure as hell is.


Le pré où je suis mort

Next band up is the actual touring support for La Dispute, the french five-piece Le pré où je suis mort, who provide me with a nice first ever old-school screamo/skramz - call it what you will - performance, by checking a number of scene stereotypes. Indeed, they look a lot like this guy, and indeed their songs are lengthy, uncompromising affairs, relying on quiet/loud dynamics and spoken/wailed french lyrics. Compared to the recorded material (which you can download an EP of for free on their myspace) their show is hindered slightly tonight, by guitarist/singer Jules' vocals appearing somewhat low in the mix, and even when audible his harsh performance is somewhat more primal than it is nuanced. When you add the instrumentals to the equation, the show is a rather mixed bag of experiences. Obviously the French lyrics aren't making many audience members any wiser about what's going on, so most of us are stuck, trying to decide whether we like the music or not, and that's a tough call, because it seems that for every good moment of either tranquil melody or sudden eruption of noise, there is another which seems either trivial, drawn out, or just a bit predictable. Overall I think my opinion of Le pré où je suis mort is that they interpret their chosen genre with both faith and proficiency, but unlike the band they support, they haven't found the ingredient that's going to have them stand out on their own. But then who even knows if they're interested in doing so, maybe, like Daitro, all they want is to be a good part of that scene? Regardless, as for the show itself, some good moments and some bad land my grade only slightly above the average.


La Dispute

After two such challenging performances, the arrival of La Dispute marks the time for something that is somewhat more forthcoming, even if its only a little bit. Obviously we're still far from dealing with a superficial mainstream band, as is evident when the American ensemble comes on stage, some bare-footed and some still sporting shirts that looks like they're carrying either the spilled coffee or the streaks of vomit from whatever activity they were engaged in, in nights prior to this one. The music barely starts playing before singer Jordan steps down from the stage, planting his mic stand on the floor, orders the crowd to come very very close, is obeyed and then starts treating us to his highly recognizable cries. And then we're off, showered by the band, with torrents of jagged compositions, high speed riffage and surging breaks. After two songs, Jordan breaks in to demand that people close the gap between him and them, though it is hardly half a metre wide as it is, and still they do it, witnessing up close and personal how active the frontman is. Jordan jumps, spins and runs on the spot, embracing crowdmembers, whiping his sweaty face in them and generally appearing like a true little underground bomb of passion and energy. His band are not exactly statues, but their rocking out is clearly out of focus of anyone who's close enough to spot the tiny frontman's antics. As you can tell from the pictures, this gig is dark, gritty and very intimate, but it is also super-charged with energy, making it impossible to do anything but let yourself be sweeped up into the burst that it feels like. On some level, you feel like it's a shame that there aren't more people here, to share in the appreciation of a great band and a humble, dedicated and highly passionate performance, but on the other hand, the fact that there aren't is also partly why these kinds of shows are as few and far in between, as are bands of La Dispute's kind and quality.


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