Born To Lose

support Radio Dead Ones + Losing Must
author PP date 21/07/10 venue Lades Kælder, Copenhagen, DEN

It's a punk rock week in Copenhagen. A number of small local and international bands are warming up throughout the week for the main event on Saturday, the highly anticipated Bad Religion show. First up is a show set up by the up-and-coming booking agency Panther Booking (operated by the 20Belows guitarist Kasper), who had talked Austin, Texas based punk rockers Born To Lose into playing a show at Lades Kælder, Copenhagen. Given it was on a Wednesday night, I didn't expect too many people to show up, but at the high-point around 40 or so people were standing behind me when Radio Dead Ones were on stage. Good stuff. Also, to the guy who danced and moshed for like three hours straight during every song of every set: much kudos! It's great to see someone supporting punk rock so wholeheartedly, more people should be like you!

Losing Must

One of the only skate punk bands in Copenhagen, Losing Must, were the first band to conquer the stage tonight. Lots has happened since the last time I checked these guys out live: they've released a new EP a couple of months ago with much better production than on their debut (thanks to the guy from Voodoo Glow Skulls turning the knobs), and they've added a second guitarist. The result is a much beefier and thicker guitar sound, which really helped make many of their songs work well tonight, given the additional oomph in the skate punk riffs. There's an underground basement punk/showcase vibe to their set, as they cycle through a couple of new tracks and more or less every song from their two EPs, with a bunch of interested people all gathering around to see what these guys have to offer. "Jerkoff" and "For What It's Worth" are predictably the best received songs in the set, with feet tapping and heads nodding in every direction I look. The good news is, Losing Must is appearing tighter after the addition of the new guitarist. Looking forward to hearing the difference in songwriting on future EPs/albums.

Radio Dead Ones

Next up were Berlin, Germany's Rancid Radio Dead Ones. They play chilled out punk rock in the vein of Rancid's later albums, characterized by vocalist Beverly Crime's hoarse, gravelly voice that's incredibly similar to the tired (in a good way) voice of later Tim Armstrong. Their expression is fueled by some good, old fashioned rock'n'roll riffing and soloing for good measure, resulting in solid, danceable songs that emit a relaxed vibe, but yet are played with an energetic and action-filled manner. There's a nice collective energy to the band, spearheaded by Crime's occasional antics like jumping on nearby chairs to sing above the audience or just traversing into the crowd every now and then. The mic is even handed over a couple of times to the most dedicated fans. "I heard that Denmark is really good at singing this song", he says, and the band proceeds into their interpretation of "I Fought The Law", which is cut short though, probably because the crowd is loving their own songs, manifesting in a small mosh pit right in front of the stage. The sound quality during their set is near-perfect for these guys with the vocals loud-and-clear in the mix, highlighting Crime's Tim Armstrong-like expression just the way it should be. What a positive surprise.

Born To Lose

Tonight's headliners Born To Lose have been a band for a long time, and if I heard right, they played in Loppen something like ten years ago last time. Usually when a band is this long into their live career you'd expect them to either play a larger venue, or for Lades to be packed with people who own all their albums. Unfortunately, most of the people who were dancing along to Radio Dead Ones have now left the building (probably because it's closing in at 1am and some people have work the next day), so they open their set of coarse sing-along street punk in front of just a handful of people. As soon as the first woo-hoo chorus is over, however, the energy picks up in the crowd and a small mosh pit re-emerges as the smokers make a return to the stage area. The songs are decent, but compared to the easily-enjoyable Rancid punk of Radio Dead Ones, they just aren't in the same class. I'm not saying Born To Lose don't have good songs, because every now and then an anthemic hardcore-fueled punk rock song emerges that recaptures my interest. It's just that these are few and far in between, and most songs either don't immediately stick or just aren't very good to start out with. My sentiments are reflected in the crowd as well, because aside from seven or so people dancing at the front, they don't seem to care much for the band, especially because they play way, way, way, waaaaay too long. The longer they play, the more forgettable and average they feel, because despite the energy and heart displayed on stage, it just doesn't feel very convincing. "Sweet Misery" is one of the last songs (or was it the last, I don't know), and it receives one final woo-hoo sing along before it's time for everyone to go home and prepare for the next day's pop punk offensive here, at the same venue.

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