Alesana

support We Came As Romans + Iwrestedabearonce + Glamour Of The Kill
author TL date 01/02/12 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

It is motherfuckin' cold and motherfuckin' late tonight. Don't get me wrong, I'm really looking forward to having a good time, but the new Pumpehuset organisation needs to receive a little criticism before we get around to that. It is a wednesday night and the temperature is freezing, and the venue's new cloak room - which is housed in a container of sorts, separate from the rest of the venue - is not a place you come into thinking "yeeess, mmm, I want to take off my warm clothes and leave them here before walking up to the actual venue". Furthermore, the time is presently closing in on 9:30 PM, and the doors are only just opening due to the venue also booking a play today, which needs to be all cleared out before concert goers are let in. It's Wednesday, it's stiff nipples cold, we have four bands ahead of us, and people who - unlike me - have things to do in the morning, are not impressed with the situation. Fortunately, coming into the lower level of the venue, people barely have time to complain about it, as Glamour Of The Kill are wasting no time kicking off their set, so after a quick trip to the bar for one of the reasonably priced heinekens, we're swiftly off to the races:

Glamour Of The Kill

Glamour Of The Kill are a band I've actually had the opportunity to review on record somewhat recently. As you may remember, I left that review to BL, seeing as the band's mixing Mötley Crüe with modern whatevercore seemed a tad shallow for my taste, yet if I had expected these lads to be amateurs, I am certainly pleasantly surprised as I approach the stage to take a closer look. Granted, the music is shamelessly predictable, and the band looks every bit the young Crüe wannabes, but in terms of their playing and performing, it's hard to put a single finger on anything wrong with what they do. There's not a huge crowd inside yet, but GotK still engage the people who are with encouragements and good stage movements, constantly shifting positions to allow whoever is in front of the soundscape to also be in focus on stage. The sound is a bit low, but on the flip side, it is really clear, with the band's blazing riffage and surprisingly well-sung harmonies coming through impressively. No wheels are reinvented here, and no riots break out on the dance floor, but GotK can still take off after five songs, having shown that they look like veterans at both performing and playing.

Iwrestledabearonce

One of the reasons I don't listen to much pop music, is that I find it lame when gimmick musical elements are combined with no regard for any sort of deeper meaning. Now ask yourself, do I feel differently if the same thing goes on at 1000 mph? I do not, and I will admit, I think IWABO are probably the least deserving of all hyped bands I know of. Still, people tell me they're good live (I was too wasted to notice last time they played here), so here I am, trying to give them a chance. There is indeed a good deal of violent instrument flailing happening on stage, and frontwoman Krysta Cameron is stalking the narrow stage like a maniac, holding the mic between her teeth as she switches from mad HORSE The Band style growls to Björk-ish clean singing. Still it pisses me off that she takes time to rage against somebody in the crowd who apparently touches her inappropriately during a song, but doesn't spend a moment or a breath on connecting with the remaining audience - which is growing now, and openly showing appreciation for the band - in any positive manner at all. I notice some riffs and samples here and there which sound better than I would've expected from the band, but nobody ever has a chance to feel if they only seem good on the backdrop of insane noise that is the mainstay of IWABO's 'music'. I look at the drummer, and think to myself: "how insanely much he must have practiced" followed directly by "and for what? this nonsense? tragic!". I look back to the guitarists, and notice how even their wild axe-brandishing looks somehow contrived and another-day-at-the-office-ish. And still I think: "this is not quite AS bad as I had expected". Call me biased though, but I've seen some good chaotic bands in my time (The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge etc.) and next to them IWABO still strike me as utter meaninglessness, just as their show strikes me as a good way to completely waste some 30 minutes of your life.

4

We Came As Romans

While on the topic of things I don't normally waste time on, bands whose singers have to resort to thick layers of autotune to sound alright would be among them, which also makes me poorly disposed when it comes to liking We Came As Romans. I miss the first song of the set, being backstage interviewing Alesana's Shawn Milke, but when I get back, I quickly have to realise that, just like Glamour Of The Kill, WCAR are at the very least a seasoned unit at doing what they do. The sound is suffering from someone at the sound desk thinking "louder definitely equals better", but at least it fits WCAR's energetic approach well, as the band is constantly active, jumping, headbanging, changing places and encouraging the now sizable and reasonably active audience. The band's simplistic heavy/pretty dynamic goes down well with the crowd, and while singer Kyle Pavone's voice is poorly veiled in layers of delay, screamer David Stephens at least comes through in a manner that is every bit as convincing as his colleague is shaky. WCAR do nothing musically that pretty much every well-known band in their stylistic vicinity does not do in a more interesting manner, but at least tonight, they put on an admirable show for a crowd that is hardly among the largest they've seen all tour, and for that they deserve at least some respect, even from a certified nay sayer like myself

Alesana

Given the scepticism I've shared so far, you might wonder what the hell I'm even doing at this show, so I'll tell you: I'm here to see Alesana, who completely blew me out of the water when I approached their show with equal measures of scepticism some three years ago. They performed then much as they perform tonight, namely in a manner that makes you question how you thought you'd seen active live bands before. Every member of Alesana except drummer Jeremy Bryan is moving constantly and not just jumping synchroneously or headbanging to heavy parts, but also travelling the width of the stage, leaning into the audience, sharing microphones with crowd members as well as each other, and all the while sporting wide smiles and manic grimaces that should encourage pretty much anyone to losen up and have a good time. Unfortunately, the people at the sound desk have fallen even more in love with the "louder is better" idea, and the sound is hence flat out awful - all painfully loud and completely drowning out the subtleties of the many intricate guitar leads and Milke's charismatic singing. This and the fact that it's well past midnight on a school night, are probably the reasons that the crowd is actually diminished, as compared to the one that was present for WCAR. Despite the band's most vigorous efforts, towards the end of the set, everybody is starting to show a little wear and tear, which is likely why the band eventually choose to close proceedings omitting the encore they've otherwise played on the tour. It's not like they don't manage to whip up a pretty good feeling in the audience that's stuck around for them, but against the sound and the late hours, the show is an uphill battle that is noticeably below the level of experience I've previously seen Alesana deliver.

7

Photos courtesy of Jill Decome.

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