Rock'N'Charity 2011

support The Dreams + Silence Of September + A Road To Damascus
author TL date 15/09/11 venue Huset, Copenhagen, DEN

Considering how the entrepeneurs in A Road To Damascus and Silence Of September managed to sort out shows with several promising Danish bands, while collecting almost 14.000 DKK for a Danish foundation for children with cancer last year, I guess there never really was any question of whether their Rock'N'Charity event would see a repeat installment again here in 2011. Things initially got off to a solid start, with the band enlisting the services of Faroese quartet The Dreams, whose success on the televised Danish Boogie Chart looked to draw even more people out to witness the shows, giving the two younger Danish band a new audience to play for, and ensuring that even more money would end up going to a good cause. For some reason however, the tour was scaled down from six to three stops this year, and things didn't get off to a promising start in Copenhagen, as it ended up landing on the same day as the Danish election for government, meaning that while most of the population was at home, following the counting of votes, less than thirty people joined me for the show at 'Huset I Magstræde', which also ended up being delayed, due to a scheduling conflict at the venue (which also houses a cinema and a theatre).

A Road To Damascus

Fortunately, things get off to a good start when A Road To Damascus go on stage. About half the small crowd gets close and curious to see the ambitious quintet deliver the kind of show that Rockfreaks has learnt is habitual to them. It simply doesn't seem to matter if there are two or two hundred people in the audience, ARTD bring commitment every time, playing their instruments vividly, scaling amps and trading places to give their energetic tunes the appropriate visual counterpart. Effectively, feet are tapping, hips are swaying, heads are bopping and smiles are emerging in the small crowd, as people seem to welcome the many songs from the bands new self-titled debut album. The sound levels are quite well adjusted, so with no distractions I get to make some observations as one that has already seen the band several times, and I'm happy to see that guitarist/harsh vocalsist Mads Møller is getting better as a screamer, having a little more depth and volume than usually. What's better however, is that new singer Mikkel Raavig seems to have gotten a lot more comfortable fronting the band now, and looks to soon be able to rival the extreme charisma of former mic-wielder Mathias Møller. On the flipside, bassist Jakob Munk's deeper growls still need some work to be on par with the others, but apart from that, the only thing to complain about is really that there's too small a crowd for the show to ever really take off. A solid showing by the band as usual however.

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Silence Of Septemer.

As for Silence Of September, watching them and writing about them seems like it's always going to be a delicate matter for me. I know enough of the band to recognise them as hard-working, well-meaning guys of big ambitions, but aesthetically we have considerable differences. Frontman Nikola Majkic told me in a recent, light-hearted conversation that they wanted to pick up the torch left behind by nu-metal/hard-rock bands like Breaking Benjamin, and me, I think that torch is better left extinguished. Be that as it may, these guys showed at last years Rock'N'Charity, that they can still put on a solid show when things click. Unfortunately however, I don't think they do tonight. The people who curiously checked out A Road To Damascus earlier sit down and seemingly take no interest in Silence Of September, leaving their audience made up almost exclusively of friends of the band. Meanwhile, the band's bombastic sound, full of samples and effect-pedals as it is, does not get as fair a treatment as it should soundwise, and hence dynamics that are effective when they sound perfect, here sound more like an after-thought in the songs. Moreover, the band's line-up, 50% of which is new, does not seem entirely comfortable on stage yet. Majkic, who recently put down the guitar to sing full time, seems a bit awkward without his instrument, just as it sounds kind of mis-matched when him and guitarist Mirza Bajramovic trade screams of a somewhat higher pitch than you'd expect from guys of such manly frames. Add to this that the clean harmonies sung by Majkic and new guitarist Christian Andersen also don't ring as well as is probably intented and you have a whole lot of things weighing down on the band's otherwise super-accessible songs. All things put together, the show becomes one that both and band and audience soldier on through admirably, although one I doubt the guys will look back on as being particularly successful at all.

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The Dreams

Finally it's time for the tour's big name, The Dreams, to take the stage. I must admit that I approach their set with the healthy dose of scepticism most of you music dorks likely have towards chart acts, but as the quartet gets things started I must admit to immediately being quite impressed by them. Despite the fact that there are still no more than around twenty people watching their show, the band is, for lack of a better word, automatic. Their attitude both in and between songs is as engaging and deliberately entertaining as you would imagine from a show in front of a sold out big venue, and despite not shying away from downing beers between songs, the band's radio-punk is delivered super tightly and efficiently. The style is a mix of bands like Denmark's Magtens Korridorer and Sum 41, with a healthy influx of elements from all kinds of eyeliner-bands like Aiden, HIM, My Chemical Romance and so on. All of it is pressed into predictable, yet super accessible and energetic punk-rock songs, which pretty much force you to at least tap your feet in reluctant recognition. Singer Hans Edward Andreasen's between song banter may be way over the top, and bassist Eirikur Andersen's jokes may be a bit rowdy, but it is at least nice to see that the band hasn't gotten too big to put their 'game faces' on for even an event as small as this one. When that's been said however, the more critical music fan would probably still have issues with the performance, mostly because of the almost total lack of depth to the musical expression. It's not entirely true that The Dreams play in one gear (that being: "GO!") all evening, but it feels like it, with the majority of the very many songs played being four-to-the-floor type barn-stormers. So despite lyrical shifts between Danish and English, and a quick cover of Blink 182's classic "Fuck A Dog", things get mighty predictable, and hence also a bit boring about halfway through, and as the band finally sounds off with, supposedly their bigger singles, it's clear that you have to be pretty green as a music fan to really buy into the idea of this band being a very big deal.

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Thanks to Nikola Majkic for the photos

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