Black Heart, London, UK - 25/2
Siamese Fighting FishPrevious Next
support Disarray Son + Kind Stalkers
author TL date 18/08/12 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN
Monday, closing in on midnight: My neck has been aching and I have been tired for two days. To find the reason for this we have to time travel backwards those two days. It is Saturday, August 18th and for friends and fans of Copenhagen alternative hard rockers Siamese Fighting Fish it is a day we have looked forward to. I know because I belong in both those categories, so along with a slowly growing crowd present at Lille Vega, I have been waiting for tonight's release party for the new album "Breathe See Move", making the last few hours of expectations more bearable by building a slight buzz. Before I will be united with the full number of my fellow crowd and with the arrival of the main attraction on stage, there is however the usual matter of a few support bands:
Kind Stalkers concentrating on doing their best
The first band on stage is a local sextet by the name Kind Stalkers who, from what I know of, have little to no traction to their name so far. They have brought a handful of friends along however, who seem in a good mood by the front of the stage while the remaining early birds seem content to check out the band from behind the safety of a few metres and a drink. Kind Stalkers deviate from the normal band setup with added piano, flute and a female singer, and they put those elements to use in a pop/funk sound that is noticeably laid back compared to the wild things that are to come. While the separate members show flashes of proficiency in various elements however, the songs seem put together in that awkward, simplistic manner you often hear from young bands, which is an impression that is reinforced by the fact that the band look young in their stage performance as well. Their singer looks nervous, trying to overcome what I'm guessing is a lack of monitor presence for herself, and that's despite the fact that she shows a good voice when she dares to sing with a bit of force. She cautiously introduces the songs by title - something I've always liked with bands - yet hardly says a thing beyond that to the audience, not even the band's name. The most we get out of her is that it is the drummer's birthday and that he just turned.. Was it 20? 21? Regardless, both drummer, pianist, bassist and flutist seem concentrated on playing tightly - which admittedly they do a decent job at - rather than making any sort of impression on the audience, and while playing soundly is always a good first step for an ambitious young group, I think most onlookers can readily think of a few things Kind Stalkers need to work on moving forward. And leave it to a Rockfreaks.net writer to think that the only remotely exhilarating part of the set was a guitar solo.
Disarray Son rocking out in good old fashion
The next band on the bill is Disarray Son, a band I saw on the night SIFIFI singer Mirza Radonjica booked them for tonight's appearance and whom I remember thinking of as a band I would not mind seeing again based on that performance. And the way they come on and reinforce that very impression with their classically inspired hard rock'n'roll is in stark contrast to what we just saw from Kind Stalkers. Disarray Son play balls out rock with nods to the likes of Led Zeppelin and Wolfmother (Rival Sons, The Parlor Mob etc. etc.) and built around catchy, electrifying guitar riffs that quickly establish connection with the growing crowd on Vega's floor. They are noticeably a band of growing confidence, as can be heard both when comparing frontman Anders Friis' vocals to his work on the band's online material, and seen in the way each member on stage is making use of his personal space to look like he likes nothing better in this world than playing the devil's music to us all. Drummer Lauge Heebøll keeps pace while guitarist Mads Kieler and bassist Mathias Bust stumble around, stomping feet and brandishing instruments, and between songs Friis addresses the audience with a calm and ease that says that him and his band are already used to playing shows and lots of them. Moreover, they know what works, as is most evident in the song they introduce as "Brave New World", explaining that it is one of their crazier, more psychedelig songs, as the song breaks off into a lengthy instrumental bridge, only to build a rising return to a signature riff that is welcomed with extra appreciative movement from he crowd even while accompanied by no vocal chorus. Bottom line: Do not judge these guys on the early recordings they have up so far. Go see them and it should be clear that they are building towards way better things than that.
SIFIFI singer Mirza Radonjica and the stage dancers from Danceout.dk
One hint to knowing that a band is getting somewhere in the world is making some steps of progress is they can appear on stage without sacrificing the first song or two to an inadequately adjusted mix. Hopefully this is true tonight, as Siamese Fighting Fish immediately get people on their toes, with the previously released "A Liar Cried Wolf", which is arguably one of their most powerful compositions to date, and which catches the ear of familiar listeners instantly with its signature violin melody, only to soon have the first three or four rows of the crowd headbanging enthusiastically. The band shows no signs of rust either, moving about actively, using the width and depth of the scene and a full range of motions while dishing out the good stuff, and to bring added flavour to the show, SIFIFI have decided to reuse a previous theatricality, re-enlisting the talent of two female dancers in dramatic make-up, who constantly give the audience something extra to look at. If one had feared that an evening dedicated to previously unreleased material would go down poorly with the crowd, one need not have worried either, because with a supporting appearance by a song like "Gods On TV" and with newer numbers like "Don't Try This Alone", "Discodad" and "Scarred By Omens" having already had test airings at previous shows, there's enough recognition with the dedicated front crowd to keep the activity getting gradually more intensive, with swaying and pushing soon turning to full on moshing and jumping.
Guest vocalist Siri Hollmén Olesen
The rear audience lets itself be noticed as well, applauding generously between songs and understandably so, because when combining the movement on the floor with the activity of the band and the potency of the sound, this has all the bearings of a show that is headed in the right direction. It is probably not without growing confidence then, that SIFIFI also test some of the simpler and more balladic newer songs, with Radonjica welcoming album guest vocalist Siri Hollmén Olesen on stage to do her parts in the new "Yes Say No". Songs like that and "How Long Will It Take" ironically come across even better here than on album, because the few heavy elements they do include come through with much more power here, imbuing the compositions with a much greater feeling of contrast. One could have wished that violinist Christian Hjort Lauritzen had played some of his parts in the delicate outro to the later. However, the added weight also boosts the already mentioned heaviest songs in "Don't Try This Alone" and "Scarred By Omens", which join new album highlights like "H.A.U.T", "Crap Is The New Black" and "The World Might Have Seen Better Days" in making the audience go wilder and wilder, to the point where stage diving is suddenly a common activity.
The band's view of a quite full Lille Vega
This then is a modern alternative rock show properly wild and explosive and worthy of both a band that wants to get taken seriously, and of the audience of an almost sold out Lille Vega. The mood is one of growing exhilaration coming both from returning fans and from those who see SIFIFI for the first time, and the majority of the front three or four rows are naturally drenched in each other's sweat (my own shirt has some red streaks as well). So it is hardly a surprise to anyone when the band is instantly summoned for an encore upon conclusion of the regular set. Among the final three songs is a double blast of "Party Like Charlie Sheen" and perennial set closer "Perfect Human Being", both of which are as absolutely stomping as always. Things up front reach an appropriate state of pandemonium in a happy pile of moshers, headbangers and crowdsurfers, Olesen tries her first ever stage dive and some drunken fool uses a fallen microphone to extra screams to the end of the very last song. Reporting from an admittedly highly unobjective position near the front then, I reach the conclusion that this had all the positive excitement of a release show, yet fairly little of the drawback that comes from the material not having been heard by many of those in attendance. Now consider the fact that you have several chances to witness it again, when the band tours the country thin in the fall.