A Road To Damascus

support Dead Smiling Pirates
author TL date 19/05/12 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

A Road To Damascus cannot catch a break when it comes to playing shows on the wrong dates. Last year the election for government landed on the same date as their Rock And Charity event with The Dreams, and tonight, their Jägermeister sponsored All Killer No Filler event is crashing with probably the busiest sports day of the year so far. So it's probably due to a lot of people choosing to stay home and watch the Champions League final and the Kessler/Green boxing match, that there aren't too many guests crowding BETA tonight, helping themselves to free Jägerbombs and enjoying the combined dj'ing efforts of PP and myself while awaiting the start of support band Dead Smiling Pirates. To say that there isn't a good mood going would be way off the mark however - I mean - did I mention here's free Jägerbombs?

Dead Smiling Pirates

From what I can research about Dead Smiling Pirates on the internet, they have already made two records, gained over twenty thousand fans on facebook and their songs have been played as far away as in the US, yet somehow, tonight is the first I ever see or hear of their existence. From what I see and hear tonight however, the trio comes of like a band that has scraped the surface of the rock and punk bands of the 90's, reminding me a little of Millencolin's more radio-baiting material. The good news is that they play tightly from what I can see, they have a good mix, and they have the experience to remember to chat up the audience between songs. The bad news is that they don't seem to have much faith in the night, appearing somewhat half-hearted in both their banter and their on-stage movement. What's worse though is that from their name, over their logo and their shirt+tie combination, to their songs and soundscape, DSP seem a band who've gotten going some 10 years too late considering their influences, even when you factor in that Danish fans are notoriously behind in following the music scene. There's a handful of young people dancing enthusiastically at the very front, and they'll likely disagree with me, but from where I'm standing - and from the fact that the initial portion of curious bystanders gradually migrate back to the bar - DSP manage to make even their brief, half hour set seem long, and hence don't strike me as a band I'll be running to catch again as soon as possible.


A Road To Damascus

A Road To Damascus on the other hand, is a band I've seen more times than I can count by now, and given the low turnout of tonight, I really am not expecting this to turn out as one of their more memorable performances. And yet even despite this attempted scepticism, they still quickly prove that it's just damn hard to not like them as a live band. Perhaps motivated by the fact that they're live-streaming the concert to potential curious internet dwellers, the quintet are as bouncy as ever, scaling amps and boxes and pacing the depth of the stage constantly. Singer Mikkel Raavig dazzles every new listener in attendance by handling the high vocal melodies with ease, while guitarist/screamer Mads Møller is still improving as a screamer each time he takes the stage. You can hear as much in for instance the band's cover of "Airplanes" by B.O.B and Hayley Williams, which they've cheekily turned into one of the most aggressive numbers in their set. We get a good mix of tracks from both the band's LP, their debut EP and their currently unreleased material, and while the band is performing admirably on stage, the audience is noticeably warming up to them. It never gets to the point where the slow night turns into a dance party, as only a few merry stragglers at the front move much, but there are smiles, nodding heads and clapping coming from most corners of the room. As such, ARTD have yet to have the kind of show where a throng of dedicated fans truly help them celebrate their material, but with that being said, it's still really hard to find much to dislike about their performance, both tonight and on nights I've seen them prior to this one.

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