Valby Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN - 26/4
support Siamese Fighting Fish
author TL date 19/01/12 venue Templet, Lyngby, DEN
Are Siamese Fighting Fish the band most written about on Rockfreaks.net? I don't know, but it seems likely, considering the gazillion times I've seen them and written about it by now. Which is why I was really just supposed to be along for tonight for my own personal enjoyment, while AP was supposed to do the coverage of their show with Viza. Alas, my colleague has been prevented from making it, so here I am again, thrown into a slightly more serious situation than I was hoping for, on this idle Thursday night at Templet in Lyngby. Instead of just drinking beer and rocking out, I now have to drink beer, rock out AND remember enough to produce writing within the next two days time. Friends, let me tell you, it's a tough damn life being a reviewer.
SIFIFI may very well be taking the support role for Viza here, but considering Viza's relative obscurity in these parts, their being on the bill is surely also a way to draw people out on a working night. It's a solid arrangement, because like me, several of the band's fans enjoy them enough to not mind seeing them twice within the span of a week, with several of the faces from the crowd at Mighty Fight Night being back for more tonight. SIFIFI on their part, get another opportunity to live-test their new material as they prepare for album number two, and as such the set tonight is about a 50/50 mix of known and unreleased material. The guys perform in their usual enthusiastic manner, with plenty of movement, posturing and between-song encouragement from frontman Mirza Radonjica.
To begin with, the crowd is visibly hesitant to get out of their work-day casualness, but as old favourites like "Perfect Human Being" and "Gods On TV" pave the way for new cuts such as "Party Like Charlie Sheen" and "Scarred By Omens", movement increases overall, with some bopping heads and clapping, some dancing and some headbanging vigorously. Radonjica's vocals are a bit low in the mix, and the violin dips beneath the guitars on several occasions, which weakens the listening experience, but most of the crowd - of I'm guessing around 50 - look like they know the material well enough for it to not matter much. The show lasts for about nine songs, and though we never get the feeling that this is as wild an occasion as we know the band is capable of, there's an air of satisfaction and even a few shouts pleading for an encore when SIFIFI round things off, revealing that they will now be focusing on getting the next album done so it can come out later this year.
Personally, I have managed to hear all of one Viza song before coming to the show tonight, and hearing them described as similar to System Of A Down - whom I only have rather casual appreciation for - I'm not quite sure whether to be excited or not. The same seems sure for the remaining crowd, which evidently 'belong' to SIFIFI, considering how not very busy they are with coming back from smoking/the bar when Viza kick things off. It does not take long however, for the band's music to start grabbing people's attention, drawing more and more back towards the stage. Indeed, the Los Angeles septet does have some similarity with SOAD's mad, slavic metal, but while they certainly are wild, they are not quite as heavy, which makes me think of them as sort of a mid-point between SOAD and gypsy punkers Gogol Bordello. And similarly to Gogol Bordello, they soon prove to be proficient in music that it is almost impossible to stay still for, when seeing it live. Tempo changes are a plenty, and especially guitarist Orbel Babayan gets people going, with fingers chasing exhilarating melodies up and down the fretboard and an excellent moustache making him look a pretty cool guy.
As the show progresses, it becomes clear that this band's main strength is in the interplay between himself, other guitarist Shant Bismejian and oud player Andrew Kzirian, with the catchiest hooks coming most often from their strings. It's a little strange, because singer K'noup clearly has a very pleasant, round, manly voice, which I think could amount to more, but him and Chris Daniel - who does backing vocals and alternative percussion - seem to rather have roles as entertainers and instigators both in and between songs, with especially the latter taking every opportunity to leave his instruments and instigate movement elsewhere on stage. It's also a little weird to see him go so crazy, while Kzirian plays the whole show seated on the stage's right side, with everybody else rocking out next to him. I wonder if playing the oud standing is impossible? Just ridiculously hard maybe? I don't know, I just wonder. Anyway, back on the venue floor, smiles are cracking wider and wider, and goofy dance moves are being pulled here and there, as the crowd is clearly being won over, marking the evening as much of a success a small band like this can hope for, being so far away from home and in a country where nobody knows them. Thinking about just how well Viza's music lends itself to dancing and partying however, it's hard to not yearn for a bigger type of show for them. I bet if you give these guys a room crammed with people who knows just a little of their material, an amazing time would be guaranteed, but this particular show is more of a "band and audience getting to know each other" show. It's a really good one at that, but I'm sure Viza have potential for starting much wilder parties given the right circumstances.
For more photos and video, head over to rasmusejlersen.dk