Death Before Dishonor

support The Mongoloids + Shatterproof
author PP date 03/03/11 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

An evening's worth of hardcore was on the programme for another cold Thursday night in the seemingly never-ending winter of Copenhagen anno 2011. US heavy weights Death Before Dishonor, whose recorded output is among the most hyped in the hardcore scene, were due to headline in the small and intimate quarters of Beta in Copenhagen. I swear that each time I pay a visit to the venue, either the bar has relocated itself, rooms have been switched out, entrance is somewhere else, cloakroom has been moved, or another similar change has taken place. At its current manifestation, the bar is inside the small room where the bands are playing, leaving plenty of space for people to hang out in the foyer near the cloakroom or outside. Thumbs up from this scribe. Anyway, before we get ahead of ourselves, lets deal with the support bands first.


Copenhagen hardcore newcomers Shatterproof haven't been regulars in the Copenhagen gig circuit, but here they are tonight to deliver their brand of chug-chug tough guy hardcore to the crowd, resulting in the usual suspects annihilating the mosh pit area with karate-moshing designed for the sole purpose of causing maximum damage and all kind of hurt to innocent bystanders. Usually the windmill retards stick to the front and middle of the stage, but for some unknown reason a couple of them decided to purposefully hit a few younger girls standing nearby in the face, this while circling the crowd edges instead of the plentiful empty space around them. Shame on you, you know who you are. But back to Shatterproof. You'd have to dine tough guy hardcore for breakfast lunch and dinner to find much musical merit in their inherently simplistic and dumbed down brand of stomp-stomp hardcore, but some credit should be given where credit is due: the latter part of their show contained a couple of reasonably catchy songs.

However, the reason why Shatterproof are...err...shatterproof from my usual criticism of bands of similar trade is their lively and light-hearted live performance. Don't get me wrong, during the songs vocalist David and co are from the extreme end of serious when it comes to performing their hardcore songs, but what really makes you smile is their down-to-earth, humorous banter in between the songs. It creates a contrast between the brutal and the funny, steering the crowd members away from a tiring barrage of monotone hardcore into a balance between the heavy stuff and having a good time. It works for Shatterproof very well, making them a much more welcome sight than a number of their local and Germanic peers.


The Mongoloids

Though Shatterproof weren't exactly static on stage, a couple of songs into The Mongoloids set they certainly seemed so in comparison. Hardcore bands tend to fall nicely into two categories, those who stomp their feet across the stage with exuberant force while occasionally placing one foot over the monitors to scream literally in-your-face, and those who are hyper-active on stage full of energy and desire to tear apart the venue. The Mongoloids certainly were of the latter kind, with their vocalist immediately vaulting himself into the crowd and spending the rest of the set there, much akin to the We Are The Ocean set from last year. Here, he toured around the crowd, who had established a semi-circular auditorium shape to give him some room, screaming and running and moshing from side to side, generally pestering anyone standing near by to come and join him for the mosh.

But the rest of the band put his activity into shame. Well, not really, but figuratively so, as especially the band's bassist made excellent use of normally punk rock associated trickery like scissor jumps, swinging the guitar around and that sort of thing. Together, the three guys took great advantage of the extra space around the stage with the vocalist missing, engaging in all sorts of energetic movement, jumping, trading positions and the like. Given how The Mongoloids' sound is deeply rooted in hardcore punk, the speed and relatively simplicity of their riffs gave the band lots of momentum which they weren't afraid to use - ensuring that the music was simply way too fast for the windmill retards to swing their arms at anywhere near the pace, thus discouraging them from doing it altogether. The songs, too, were on another level when compared to Shatterproof earlier, with much more thought and variety present in their formula. But I guess the main appeal of The Mongoloids is their vocalist, whose coarse voice is understandable, but still pissed off and passionate enough to fit into the hardcore landscape. Overall, a very good show from a band whose live show hype travels ahead of them on every tour they attend.


Death Before Dishonor

Not long after The Mongoloids finished their set, it was time for tonight's main attraction, the much revered and tightly wound hardcore unit Death Before Dishonor from Boston. If anyone in the crowd thought The Mongoloids were a fast band, it took but a few songs of Death Before Dishonor to realize who were the speed kings of the show tonight. With a number of great songs like "Peace & Quiet" and "Remember" delivered at lightning speeds and with tightness of the kind a band can only obtain through relentless touring over the years, the hardcore punker inside me was all smiles from start to finish. Though on record DBD can sometimes sound a bit same-y across a whole album, they have enough of a back catalogue to only focus on the very best material, which is basically what they do tonight in little less than an hour.

Vocalist Bryan continues the trend set by both bands earlier tonight, splitting mic time between himself and the crowd rather evenly, allowing for some passionate crowd chants (and the occasional awful growls) to make their way through the soundscape. He's adamant on staying on the stage throughout the set unlike his colleague in The Mongoloids, which reflects the less chaotic but in no way less intense appearance of DBD in comparison - they are definitely hardcore for life, if you catch my drift. By the time we reach halfway to their set, it's crystal clear to everyone in the room that their material in terms of songwriting is superior tonight. Their showmanship, too, is excellent, as when they return for a one-song encore they opt to play a remodeled cover of the Cock Sparrer classic "England Belongs To Me", with England replaced by Boston in the chorus section. It draws a big chant along from the crowd - the biggest tonight - and is simultaneously also the most melodic moment of the night. Street punk / Oi! is always enjoyable, and when delivered against a hardcore backdrop like DBD's interpretation, it's a guaranteed hit and a reason to leave the show with a big smile on your face.

comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXX