Agent Fresco

support Trusted Few
author TL date 05/06/12 venue Rust, Copenhagen, DEN

As I make my way towards Rust for the Agent Fresco concert that I've been looking forward to for quite some time now, I must admit that I'm personally struggling slightly to maintain a positive attitude. First off, Rust I think is a good place for a club, but it doesn't have much to offer as a concert venue, especially not for edgier music. It's just a place that's slightly too hip, with a sound system that often favours the lighter nuances of artists' music. Now consider that this is a Tuesday and I'm fearing for the turnout, especially because my own friends have lined up to bail on the show one after one (among these both my plan A and plan B photographers, so consider this article the test of the new Samsung Galaxy S3's prowess as a concert-picture-shooter). All of these are small problems of course, but they've been piling up the past few hours, so when I get to Rust, have a few beers and see that there is actually quite a solid turnout even before Trusted Few start warming up, I must admit that I'm a little relieved.

Trusted Few

Still Trusted Few face the usual uphill battle of being a support band that's considerably heavier than the night's main band, and while they play with energy and experience and get a good mix established after the first two or three songs, it soon becomes clear that they're going to have a hard time getting much going here.

The songs played tonight - both new ones and tracks from the band's 2010 album "And Then We Forgot" - show similar problems with winning over the many people here who haven't heard Trusted Few before, because these guys simply want to do too much in too little time. Parts heavy and funky are flying from the stage in a manner that is as technically impressive as it is difficult to connect with, and the few melodic moments that recur enough to spark recognition are too often accompanied by "whoa-oh" vocal parts that you soon start to wish the band had made up some lyrics for.

So while the guys put on an impressive technical performance, the crowd is not getting it, and they only really come up with a decent applause when asked to give it up for tonight's headliners. The band themselves seemingly recognise that this is not their audience, and while singer Johan Pedersen moves like a man possessed, the guitar/guitar/bass trio of Andreas Juliussen, Phillip Brage and Christian Minch seem like they're playing mostly to themselves, and with the four of them filling up the tiny stage, it's hard to get long looks at how drummer Adam Hansen is doing.

The set then is basically hanging in the balance for almost its entire length, yet the new song that eventually caps off the performance also turns it in a direction that's slightly more sensible, and the guys also seem like they step it up slightly for this closer, so with this as a last impression, I'd say TF barely manage to climb to a cautious:


Agent Fresco

When it becomes time for Iceland's finest experimental rockers to take the stage however, it is evident from the very start that this is very much their crowd, as Rust is packed wall to wall with people anxious to give singer Arnór Arnársson - who grew up in Denmark - a hero's welcome. As excited as everybody - including the band - is however, it takes a few songs before things really get going, partly due to the mix needing some gradual tweaking for Arnársson's vocals to start coming out from between the instruments, and partly due to Agent Fresco opting to save their very best songs for later in the show.

Still, tracks like "Anemoi", "He Is Listening", "Silhouette Palette" and "Above These City Lights" gradually build the mood up, and several enthusiastic fans test their falsettos trying to match Arnárssons dazzling singing, in between tranquil atmospheres and violent instrumental outbursts, handled with seamless expertise by remaining bandmembers Vignir Hilmarsson on bass (both upright and normal), Hrafnkell Guðjónsson on drums and Þórarinn Guðnason on guitar and piano.

When we reach midset however, Agent Fresco start firing on all valves, giving us a broadside, with "Translations" and "A Long Time Listening" making close appearances, and especially during the latter the crowd reaches an ecstatic climax, with Rust echoing with singalongs louder than I've ever heard here, as the band's friends and fans atrium lungs to blow up the song's incredibly catchy vocal melodies. After that, people need to catch a breath, so the band wisely plays "Implosions", which doesn't so much encourage people to sing along as it makes them break out their coolest dance moves.

I take a moment to note that I've heard Agent Fresco sound better, but even when hindered by a less than perfect sound, the band's delicate compositions have enough quality even in their most basic components, to still start a party in a friendly audience. Arnársson apologises for babbling a bit between songs, switching back and forward between Danish and English and making sure everybody knows how overwhelmed the band is each time they return to Denmark and see their following growing and growing.

He says they're going to end with "Tempo", but even after playing that and "Eyes Of A Cloud Catcher", it's evident that nobody will be satisfied with letting them leave before they've also played "Tiger Veil", which finally puts the icing on a another triumphant Agent Fresco performance - one that shows that even when the sound and surroundings do not lend themselves well to the enjoyment of the band's full, rich soundscape, Agent Fresco still has so much more to offer than most bands, that missing them should be considered borderline criminal.

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