Every Time I Die

support Cancer Bats + Set Your Goals + Make Do And Mend
author PP date 12/05/12 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

While I'm standing outside of Pumpehuset in an unusually cold early evening for this time of the year interviewing Jordan from Set Your Goals, I find myself unable to concentrate fully on what he is saying halfway through. Not because what he is saying isn't absolutely fascinating (it was!), but because behind him dozens of extremely drunken people begin wandering in S-shaped paths towards the venue from all directions. The 100-man strong Copenhell Metal Cruise boat has arrived moments ago, and its 90 minute length (10kr bar on board) and its preceding 40 minute session with free beer seems to have taken a heavy toll on the blood alcohol content level of anyone on board. It's hilarious how wasted some of these people seem to be, and also a little bit awesome because some of the best and most intense shows happen when huge proportions of the crowd are drunk enough to dare to scream along the lyrics and to circle pit, wall of death, etc on request.

Make Do And Mend

Make Do And Mend

In anticipation of the guests, Pumpehuset has set up an outdoor bar and a grill in front of the venue, and as a result, the venue is nearly empty by the time Make Do And Mend fire off the first riffs to their set. But slowly and surely as the band navigates through songs both old and new, the venue beings to fill up and by the time the band reaches final song "Night's The Only Time Of Day", there's a good-sized crowd concentrated on what's happening on stage. Unfortunately, they suffer from the exact same problems as they did on Groezrock: the lead guitar is almost non-existent in the mix, and the thumping bass guitar is way too loud, consequently drowning the most interesting part of their instrumentation almost completely underneath it. Although vocalist James Carroll is quickly drenched in sweat as a result of his passionate screams and constant movement away from the mic, such a large part of their soundscape is missing entirely that it's difficult to appreciate the brilliance of songs like "Unknowingly Strong" even as a fan of "End Measured Mile". That the problems are identical to their Groezrock set leads me to wonder whether their sound man really knows what he's doing. So even though the band do a few jumps on stage and get their sweat on quickly, the sound problems and early slot have a tremendously negative effect on their set.

Set Your Goals

Set Your Goals aren't completely devoid of sound problems either, as in the beginning the vocals sound a bit unclear and the band in general feels a little unsure of what to think about the crowd tonight or how to set them off. After all, a considerable part of the crowd tonight cannot for the love of God understand why a pop punk/pop hardcore band is on a lineup featuring ETID and Cancer Bats, and their unique and bouncy dual vocalist stance isn't exactly the ingredient to change their mind, quite the opposite actually Fortunately, the band quickly identifies a good 25-30 people near the front who are clearly Set Your Goals fans that have been waiting to see the band again since 2007, who take care of circle pits, rushing to the front and all that stuff especially during the older songs. The band focuses on their hit material for the most part, avoiding their weaker songs from especially the latest album to create a good, upbeat momentum that carries on throughout their show. It's a fun, feel-good set of exactly the kind we need after the more serious and contemplative post-hardcore of Make Do And Mend, a light-hearted party starter before we enter into the realm of hardcore fury for the remainder of the night. When the band finishes with the combo of "Dead Men Tell No Tales" and final song "Mutiny!" from their first album, a portion of the crowd ends up in a pile towards the stage with arms up in the air, shouting "THIS IS A FULL BLOWN ASSAULT" back at the band loud and clear. While the response is limited to the front of the crowd only, SYG tonight play a much, much better set than at Groezrock a couple of weeks ago, effectively restoring my faith in this band through and energetic and unassuming live set that ignites the right people in the crowd to succeed.

Cancer Bats vocalist screaming into the crowd

Cancer Bats

Of course in contrast to Cancer Bats, SYG end up looking just like a few young kids out to have fun before the adults come out and play. Such is the vengeance and fury that this Canadian unit launches with on stage when they kick off with their Beastie Boys cover "Sabotage", which they dedicate to the late Adam Yauch in the process. This is a band that clearly means business during all of their live sets, who compensate their arguably dull and monotonous studio material with a frenetic performance each time that rivals most headlining bands in its uncompromising hardcore intensity. Your eyes only need to be fixated in vocalist Liam Corvier, whose grating scream feels like your hair's being pulled back while he's screaming in your face, while he races across the stage in an attempt to beat the world record of who can crash from side to side most times during one set. He screams into the crowd, he jumps and flies around, and generally acts like an absolute pest on stage (I feel sorry for any photographers tonight), showcasing tremendous energy and furious delivery that few vocalists I've seen are able to do live. As a result, the crowd dynamic is undeniable in the beginning as the band turn the SYG party into a chaotic bruiserfest which is fully in control of Cancer Bats for the first few songs. But then, a more boring middle calms things down as the band is forced away from their best songs towards some of their generic hardcore material, although this doesn't seem to phase or slow down Liam on stage at all. It's only towards the last couple of songs such as "Hail Destroyer" that the crowd dynamic picks up again. It's a shame, because for large parts of the set Cancer Bats look like they should've been headlining tonight; grading them half a grade higher would be in order if it wasn't for the uneventful middle part. If anything, Cancer Bats prove tonight that their form of ripping hardcore is designed to be played live, not on record.

8

Every Time I Die & the crowd

Every Time I Die

After the tumultuous showing that was Cancer Bats, Every Time I Die had some convincing to do, despite putting up one of the craziest show's I've seen to date at Loppen three years ago, I was unsure if they could top the spectacle put on by Cancer Bats just before. And for a brief moment, it certainly looks like they are doing just that and then some. Opening with the explosive "Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space" and the fiery "Wanderlust", the venue descends into utter chaos as beers start flying in every direction in a dangerous-looking pit that seems some guy being carried away half-unconscious fairly quickly into the show. The intensity of the crowd reflects on the band as well: every member is bouncing up and down on stage, throwing their guitars around Dillinger Escape Plan style, climbing on amps, and all the stuff you normally associate with an 8½ show at this site. Despite the relative size of the venue compared to Loppen, there's an intense club feeling surrounding the atmosphere of the place, where everything goes as Keith Buckley commands the people to 'jump off everything' in sight. A huge circle pit manifests for "Bored Stiff", their breakthrough song from 2005... but that's about the climaxing point of the set. At this point people have start leaving in droves, and about three-quarters into the set, about half of the crowd have left, suggesting most people came here to see Cancer Bats and the other bands primarily, and a few songs of ETID just to check them out. It's a huge shame because it has a negative effect on the crowd dynamic as well - the basement feel of the show disappears as the perception of a tightly packed venue is exchanged with a sparse, free-to-roam vibe. The band never ceases to crash on the audience with laudable aggression levels, but the overall feeling of the show quickly dwindles from 'great' to merely solid. Not sure exactly why people would be leaving as ETID are putting on a great show, but perhaps it has something to do with the Metal Cruise after all?

8

Photos by: Rasmus Ejlersen

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