Annabel

support Dowsing
author TL date 03/06/13 venue Underwerket, Valby, DEN

It's Monday and a rare good one at that, because I've been looking forward to this one ever since I learned that Ohio emo-rockers Annabel and their Chicago friends from Dowsing had succeeded in landing a Copenhagen show on their European tour - mainly because the most recent Annabel record is God damn good but also because it's a Monday, and apart from watch Game Of Thrones and feel guilty about drunken things I did during the weekend, what else am I going to do? In any case, through valiant spamming efforts, a good 30 people or so have been drawn to the small basement venue of Underwerket, and most seem in a good mood as they await the first band with beer in hand.

Apologies for the lack of photos - In a brain meltdown, we forgot to invite a photographer to the gig

Dowsing

The first band up are Dowsing, who look the part of the emo revivalist band with at least half the members sporting glasses that look like the ones Tobey Macguire wore in Spiderman. Their music sticks very closely to emo's barest bones, with a tiny keyboard/Mac combination laying down sad tunes on top of lingering notes and chords from the band's two guitars. The Get Up Kids and old Jimmy Eat World material come to mind listening to the sentimental songs, and while Dowsing often cut their tracks short after just a few, very simple developments, they go some way towards making up for lack of originality and complexity, with charming and humourus between-song banter.

Most people in the audience seem to enjoy their set with a smile, despite the fact that the vocals don't really come off as a point of focus in either the performance or the mix. Moreover, everybody gets a bit of a laugh when the venue's smoke machine malfunctions and fills the room with smoke to the point of almost zero visibility. Everybody including the band, who takes it in stride and safely drives home this casual but fun set.

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Annabel

As revealed earlier, I personally have high hopes for the Annabel set, so I'm sort of disappointed when it starts and the vocals are pretty much nowhere to be heard in the mix - even less than during Dowsing - and this obviously hinders Annabel from drawing the attention of the people who have turned their attention elsewhere between sets. And sadly the problem persists for most of the set, sounding like the equipment meant to carry the vocals just isn't able to match the impressive sounds that are otherwise coming from the instruments.

It's pretty clear that Annabel's material is a lot more powerful and complex than Dowsing's, and during their performance of it, they also look more consumed and active rocking out. Between songs however, they come off as the prototypically awkward emo band, barely knowing what to say during the breaks they need for tuning, and they look and sound almost entirely lost when their frontman needs to replace a string on his guitar. These problems are a shame, because when the band plays songs like "Young American", "The Age Of Possibilities" and "Our Days Were Numbered", you get a slight taste of them having more potential than this. With the hindrances taken into considerations however, even the penetrating rays of goodness are only just enough to keep the set on roughly the same level as Dowsing's.

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