Young Guns

support Lower Than Atlantis
author TL date 02/03/12 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

If you some times doubt whether Denmark is a country whose music listening population is almost entirely clueless, all you had to do was show up at Lille Vega on this Friday night. In the English music scene - you know, the one that, save for the American scene, is probably the single most inspirational scene in the world - there are few bands that are rising to fame as blazingly as Young Guns and Lower Than Atlantis have been doing lately. The thought of the latter being a support band is probably already ridiculous over there, seeing how both they and Young Guns fill venues, appear high on various festival posters and appear prominently in music magasines on a regular basis. Here in Denmark, this awesome combination of bands have elicited the attention of barely enough young teenagers to fill a third of Lille Vega's medium sized floor and frankly, if I wasn't already fueled by monster, beer and tequila, I would probably be complaining about this to anybody near enough to listen. Ah well, better make the best of the situation and oh, look, there comes Lower Than Atlantis:

Lower Than Atlantis

The good thing about the assembled crowd, nevermind its small size, is that it at least seems to be in an appreciative mood, as everybody cheers and turns their attention dutifully towards the stage when Mike Duce and friends emerge. They launch right into new single "If The World Was To End", which sets the tone for a set that is very typically a 'support set', what with less than ten people acting like they know the song and the sound being quite muddy and brutal to Duce's vocals, which are drowned almost completely. Fortunately, the band shows that they didn't get to where they are by letting things like that ruin their shows, smiling wide and rocking out energetically, while remembering to engage and encourage the crowd at any opportune moment. Okay, so I must admit it strikes me as a bit out of place the way Duce demands to see a circle pit about halfway through the set, but the crowd again shows that the ones that are here are here to have fun, obliging willingly. Most are looking on with approving grimaces and applauding generously, while this writer's voice joins the handful or so of others, that are actually singing along to hits from the band's breakthrough album "World Record", such as "Marilyn's Masion", "(Motor) Way Of Life", "Deadliest Catch" and "Beech Like The Tree", which all make appearances. For most of the first-time listeners present however, the highlight of the set is likely when the band seamlessly morphs one of their own songs into a medley of Foo Fighters' "Everlong" and "The Pretender", which gets most everybody jumping excitedly for a moment. When the show eventually ends after a good half hour, it's uncertain how many new fans LTA have managed to win over, considering persisting mix issues, but you can't really fault the band for lack of trying, especially not when it wouldn't have been stupid to expect a lacklustre performance, considering how small the audience is compared to the ones LTA have played to before, for instance at last year's Hevy Festival.


Gus Wood - Master of singing and intense staring

Young Guns

After the changeover, it's time for Young Guns and when they come on, all notions of sound problems are gone like a bad dream you can't remember, and from the first second, the band goes about cementing any positive notions one might have about their ambitions and their commitment from listening to their records. The sound is crisp, yet it still accomodates the weight of the band's heavier parts nicely, and all players handle their instruments with intensity and tightness. Frankly, things sound and look wonderful, as each of the guitarists Fraser and John Taylor and bassist Simon Mitchell step up to do their backing vocals looking like they can't wait, and while the audience doesn't exactly sing along to every word of every song, they are only too eager to jump and clap and make noise at the command of frontman Gustav Wood. Speaking of Wood by the way, he is the unquestionably centre of attention, and at least for me personally, he runs away with the show by being the very definition of a frontman. The charismatic singer is constantly swaying about on stage, throwing himself into the lyrics, shaking hands and giving highfives to the people at the front, and spending almost every moment that doesn't require him singing, bouncing so high into the air it looks like he could easily leap over both drummer Ben Jolliffe and his kit if he wanted. What's really jaw-dropping though, is that despite his seemingly boundless energy, Wood doesn't appear out of breath for a second, sending notes flying here and there with remarkable precision, and I'm stunned to say the least, when he kneels by his monitor towards the end of "Stitches" do perfectly deliver the spine-chillingly tender, Dallas Green-esque lines that close that song. His performance alone I think is exemplary to other frontmen.

While I'm busy polishing the floor with my jaw, the band is racing through choice cuts from both their albums with "Crystal Clear", "Bones" and "Brothers In Arms" marking highlights. I'm bummed they leave out "Endless Grey", which I think is arguably their best song to date, but on the flipside, they do play "Meter And Verse", which is another of their underrated tracks I think. While playing, the band keeps the show's intensity at a constantly boiling level, showing no signs of wear and tear as they make sure to not give the crowd more than a few seconds at a time to catch their breath. It must be admired, the effort they put into giving us the impression that the show is important to them, despite the low turnout. I do catch myself wondering, if an even better band would not have played a show with a slightly more varied feeling of intensity to it, but Young Guns must at the very least be credited for never for a moment letting it seem like the show was just another day at the office to them. So when the night concludes with "Winter Kiss" as the sole component of a one-song encore, we leave with the feeling I sensed already at the show's beginning; Namely that Young Guns are an admirably dedicated bunch that look like they're working very seriously to deserve everything that's coming to them, as much when they're playing live in front of you, as when they're playing from your music player of choice.


All photos courtesy of Julie Decome. Check out more of her work at the show here.

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