support Disco Ensemble + The River Phoenix
author TL date 07/10/06 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

Oh how being a reviewer is a sweet and easy job, when you have the distinct pleasure of reporting about a remarkably enjoyable event that took place on October 7th at the venue in Copenhagen known as Pumpehuset. For the third night in a row, Danish electronic rock outfit Veto had taken the rising Finnish emo-punk stars Disco Ensemble with them, as an addition to the support bill already featuring the fairly unknown Danish The River Phoenix. And gladly so, as the evening turned out be awesome.

For those of you, who have never had the pleasure of attending a show in Pumpehuset, allow me to say that it is an excellent place for a rock show. The ground floor is decorated as a café environment, and just up the stairs is a fairly large concert-hall with a separate bar and plenty of space to move around. Yours truly + friends had found their way to an area about 1½ metres from, and slightly to the left of, the stage, that’s elevated about 1½ metres from the floor, and were anxiously waiting for the action planned to commence at 21.00.

Somehow most of the crowd had come to the understanding that Disco Ensemble was to replace The River Phoenix rather than follow them, so it was to the surprise of the people in the crowd who knew the Finns, that a different band took the stage at first. I am however guessing that most people in their ignorance assumed that the band indeed was Disco Ensemble, especially since the band failed to introduce themselves in a way that could be comprehended. The poor communication with the crowd was, however, the only negative thing to be said about the set the underground veterans treated us this evening. While throwing all thoughts of originality aside in order to remind us of prominent local names like Mew, Kashmir and Carpark North, The River Phoenix had clearly found the volume button and made good use of it, delivering their atmospheric Coldplay-ish mainstream rock in an explosive way, ensuring to fill up the room with their presence. While the frontman seemed a tiny bit arrogant at times, he didn’t fail to rock the stage in all the classic ways together with the other two (!!!?) guitarists in the band. In many ways, The River Phoenix delivered a warm-up performance that was spot on, and made a lasting impression on the crowd, as being a highly energetic and well-playing live band.

I'd like to tell you about how, while The River Phoenix was on stage doing their thing, my friends and I were on the floor doing ours, which meant moshing and jumping and other usual rockshow crazyness. However, in Denmark, rock'n roll isn't as huge a phenomenon as other places in the world today, and people in concert audiences seem to suffer from the delusion that, during all else than their absolute favourite song, the correct way to enjoy a show is by entering 'the emo position' (also known as standing still with your arms crushed, looking very concentrated on the stage). This resulted in several grumpy comments about being hit by flying emokids (notice the irony in the fact that the emo people were the ones that were too wild here.. Gotta love Denmark..). Comments we of course shrugged of our shoulders with the good old "this is a DANCE-floor, that means you're meant to MOVE"-argument.

Why is this relevant you ask? Because the moment Disco Ensemble set foot on the stage things changed drastically. For me and my companions, this was the main event, and at that point, we couldn't care less about Veto. Apparently others had heard of Disco Ensemble as well, because from the first few seconds of the opening riffs of the first song, the entire area in front of the stage was on fire! We were obviously not the only ones that had looked forward to this evening, and within moments a genuine friendly moshpit had established itself. Two and a half songs later, the enthusiasm of the Disco Ensemble fans began to rub off on the rest of the crowd, and even people who had been complaining earlier joined in on the fun. I must admit to have happily forgotten which songs opened the show but it doesn't really matter much, because when it comes to this band, there is one thing you have to know. When you check them out on the internet or on record or whatever, you're not gonna think they're that special. They've got some good hooks and a characteristic sound, and that's about it. Well if there's one thing the band told me in their interview that is one hundred percent true, it is that the most important aspect of their music is the live shows. You become aware of how well the songs fit in a concert, and how the band delivers their music with an explosive passion and honesty that few bands I've seen can match. It's amazing how well Miikka and friends do at making the audience feel like they're a part of what's going on, even if most of the people at the show have never heard the band before. Was it noticeable that the band was tired after two days of playing and partying in a row? Yes. Could the quality of the sound have been better? Yes. Had the set been cut down to size to fit the support format? Yes. Is any of this of any importance when the opening tones of "We Might Fall Apart" make even a bi of the crowd give everything they have, or when "Black Euro" closes the show, while the people in front bring up amounts of energy they didn't think they had, in order to fully enjoy the dying seconds of the Disco Ensemble set? Hell no! While Miikka repeatedly thanked us people in the front, even dedicating a song to us, for being 'insane' and 'amazing', it is indeed us that are extending our full gratitude and admiration for the incredibly lively performance this band is capable of. Even if the performance lacked a little bit when compared to the one the band did at Roskilde, Disco Ensemble still stole the show in the eyes of many, and seriously, if you ever get a chance, regardless of what kind of music you like, go see Disco Ensemble. It is SO worth it.

As soon as Disco Ensemble left the stage and preparations for Veto's appearance commenced, many took advantage of the opportunity to go outside and have some fresh air and a cold drink. When people returned, and Veto started the show, the mood had settled a bit compared to the high level it had kept throughout Disco Ensemble's performance. Even though the people who had come exclusively to see Veto took over the front area, they couldn't quite maintain the intensity of the former set. This contributed to the feeling that this part of the evening was the more quiet one. A feeling that had already been quickly established by the dark soundscapes Veto creates with their stylish electronic rock. Now, when speaking of Veto, there's is no escape from the voice of frontman Troels Abrahamsen. The man has an absolutely stunningly powerful and diverse vocal range, and he changes his expression with ease from deep and quiet melancholy to wild rock'n roll outbursts, reaching out to every soul in the room with nothing but his voice and manic stage behaviour. The one dominating issue Veto has to struggle with is their very limited range of songs. With only a single album out, there's only so much to choose from, and when the songs from aforementioned album tend to be as similar as is the case, the band will inevitably run into problems when trying to hold and extend the grab they get on the audience from playing one of their hits. As such, songs as "We Are Not Your Friends" and "From A to B" become even more amazing live, with "You You" and mainstream hit "You Are a Knife" not far behind, the rest of the songs fail to match the previously mentioned ones' potential. This causes a Veto show, in spite of the quality showmanship and the very intense moods, to be an experience that only reaches the high grounds momentarily. I'm sure this will change over time though, as the band gets a firmer grip on their songwriting and releases more material. With Veto, the best is yet to come, but even so, tonights show was still highly enjoyable. Even if you had burnt yourself out to the tones of your favourite Finnish partystarters.

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