Ceremony

support Kill The Rooster
author AP date 12/08/12 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN

Ever since Lades Kælder succumbed to skyrocketing rents in the inner city, KB18 has slowly but surely assumed much of the responsibility for pushing the underground punk scene in Denmark. But while the venue's efforts in this context deserve applause, there is one thing that continues to bug me about the place that needs to be dealt with: the delayed start of just about every concert that happens there. When you advertise a show start at 21:00 on a Sunday, that's already late as it is given the prospect of work or studying the next morning. So to delay that until 22:00, with the headliners not starting before 23:00 at the very earliest is to effectively ensure that a good portion of the people who would otherwise have loved to see the concert will never show up, and a good portion of those that do are likely to leave halfway through the headline set to get a good night's sleep before eight hours of work. I hope that the venue would read this and take my advice to heart, not least because it's heartbreaking to see fantastic homegrown bands like Kill the Rooster playing to an empty venue, and critically acclaimed international acts playing to 20 or 30 people at the most.

Kill The Rooster

It has been three years since I last saw this trio, and it seems that in those three years my idea of what they sound like has well and truly become distorted. What I remember distinctly as pop punk sounds completely different tonight; a wonderful combination of punk, rock, pop and even Balkan folk influences, especially in the two first tracks. But even though Kill the Rooster are working with a palette as ambitious as it is unique, it is not the quality of their songs that proves most impressive tonight. What blows my mind, and likely the mind of the other fifteen or so people scattered around the warehouse-like confines of KB18 as well, is the conviction with which they perform despite the poor circumstances, treating this like a proper concert even when realistically it isn't one. With an almost psychotic gleam in his eyes that exudes equal measures of passion and madness, guitar toting vocalist Carsten Hansen makes for a formidable character on stage, nigh bursting with energy. Behind him, Leo Mega is pounding the skins with relentless urgency and contributing a slightly higher pitch of vocals to harmonize with Hansen; while Troels Bak to his left is wearing a more introverted persona that provides a nice contrast to the lunacy of the other two. They continue to churn out songs that check all the right boxes in terms of technicality, structure and memorability in this fashion for a solid 35 minutes, and in doing so establish themselves as an underground force with major potential. Be sure to check these guys out when they host a double release party with Stream City at Loppen on the 31st of August.

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Ceremony

With Ceremony, I have a solid idea about where the band's music lies stylistically, so the total reversion to the origins of punk that occurs after 15 minutes of break comes as no surprise to me. The band plays the sort of anarchic, lo-fi hardcore punk that homegrown acts like Iceage and Lower are trying to play - only with more success, which makes it all the more surprising that KB18 is not brimming with hipsters and revivalists as was the case with Fucked Up at Loppen last year.

Ceremony have a great asset in their vocalist Ross Farrar, whose strange antics on stage are the focal point of the show. The rest of the band, with the exception of Justin Davis on bass guitar, is certainly an energetic bunch too, but Farrar's performance is in a league of its own. Whether he's shouting through a t-shirt pulled over his head, casually strolling through the audience throwing discomforting stares at people, scraping his microphone against a monitor, or simply staring at some random point in space with bulging, shocked eyes, there isn't a moment during the show that most eyes aren't fixed on him - and I find it hard to believe this guy is not experiencing a twisted mushroom trip right here.

Another aspect that brings out the best in Ceremony is the fact that there are actually a couple of very devoted fans present, giving the band a reason to perform to the fullest with abundant skanking, moshing, and singing along. So impressed is Farrar with their enthusiasm that instead of performing a new song off the recently released "Zoo" album which is longer than the vast majority of the band's songs, he lets them pick three old ones to play instead. And although personally and aesthetically speaking these songs are the worst ones played tonight (fast, incoherent and incomprehensible would be the most appropriate description in my opinion), it is an awesome thing to see a band that looks genuinely grateful for even a tiny amount of participation and appreciation.

As such, even though the nature of Ceremony's music makes it quite divisive in terms of opinion, there is no denying that what they muster up tonight is a solid and sound performance with very few, if any issues. Sadly I take my leave about a quarter of an hour before the end of the show due to work the next morning, but judging from the first 30 minutes or so, the remainder of the concert was likely to be just as oddly refreshing as the rest. I've been told, however, that the show took a somewhat unexpected turn when Farrar decided to conclude the evening with a lengthy political speech and then exit without any fanfare despite his band mates seemingly preparing themselves for one more song.

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Photos copyright of Henrik Moberg Jessen.

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