Mutiny On The Bounty

support The Fall From Grace
author TL date 20/09/13 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

It's been a long summer without our otherwise monthly All Killer, No Filler events, so to try to get things back into gear, we decided to make a night out of Mutiny On The Bounty's Friday night show at Beta, hoping to wow at least a few curious Copenhageners with both the wild performance we know the band is capable of, and some crazy technical tuneage from our own storages. Of course, with the band's mostly instrumental and hardly pigeon-holed material distancing itself considerably from "lowest common denominator" music, a modest turnout was probably to be expected, so when a crowd of what I'm guessing is between 30 and 40 strong hang around the various corners of the venue before the set of support act The Fall From Grace, I'm optimistically thinking to myself that it's not too shabby.

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The Fall From Grace

I'll be honest, I am predisposed to liking Odense-based The Fall From Grace, simply because the many early 00's emocore and alternative references in their sound nod to an era of bands that helped spark my musical upbringing. So I'm glad to see them get a second chance at a set here, since they were one of the only acts at our recent anniversary party that had some issues with sound during their set. To begin with I'm hence happy to hear that singer/guitarist Miki Petersen's vocals sit much more comfortably in the mix tonight, and that people initially reward the songs with benevolent applause, prompting smiles from the band themselves.

If you're not an old emocore fan however, The Fall From Grace are not the easiest band to get into, because the waves of noisy dual-guitar interplay they conjure up are so busy that hooks can be hard to pick up in the overall soundscape. This means that in front of an unfamiliar audience, the music needs help from the performance to come across, and here's where it feels like The Fall From Grace needs to rehearse and play more, because while they have occasional jumps and moves, they pull them off with an initial hesitance that defies the point. Add some awkward pauses during tuning breaks, a guitar string that doesn't quite stay where it's supposed to and the fact that the guys seem too cautious to make eye contact and engage the audience, and it's pretty clear what the lads are missing, that could otherwise help make their music come across.

So it's not that songs like "Static Conclusion", "I Hate Robot", "Funeral For An Enemy" or the band's spirited cover of "Watch Out!" by Alexisonfire don't sound good if you ask me, it's more likely that TFFG's at times almost shoe-gazing shyness is to blame when curious audience members gradually migrate back out to the bar. Admittedly they do seem to get some energy going in the last third of the set, but it's a bit too little too late at that point unfortunately.

Mutiny On The Bounty

After about half an hour's worth of changeover, a crowd that's grown slightly to an estimated 50ish finds its way back into Beta's concert room, which now has its LED panels giving off an eerie blue light as Mutiny On The Bounty steps on stage solemnly, only to launch into a flurry of activity as the backing track from "The Long Loud Silence" builds to the moment the instruments come in on its sister-track "North Korea". And yes, Mutiny On The Bounty play with backing tracks, but for a good reason, seeing as most of their songs would require one more guitarist or keyboardist than the band actually has members, and as the crowd sees right off the bat, it certainly doesn't seem like the idea is to hide any lacking skill on the band's behalf - Because these guys are stumbling back and forth and hammering guitars like there's no tomorrow right from the beginning.

The spectacle of it alone is pretty cool then, especially with the atmospheric back and forth between white and blue lighting that has been chosen for the occasion, but it alone is only a sideshow to what the Luxembourg quintet is primarily about: Namely playing an absolutely blistering blend of post- and math-rock where songs get progressingly more dynamic as they develop, to the point where the end of each tends to mark a point where, as an audience member, you feel like you need to remind yourself to catch your breath. The three standing members of the band twirl around, contorting their bodies and brandishing instruments while trading fretboard gymnastics back and forth in a carefully orchestrated gallop, and in the middle of the stage the phenomenal drumming is afforded a prominent position in clear view of the audience, with sticksman Sacha Schmitz also taking the lead on the occasional songs that require vocals (which, to the band's credit, sound to me like they come out in sound harmony despite the raw edge to them).

With, unique, busy and dynamic probably being the words that describe the band's music most accurately, it's no surprise that the show feels like a fast-paced and frantic zig-zag between moments that are oddly-yet-wildly danceable, and others when I feel like I'm watching a classical music performance on fast-forward, as guitarists Clément Delporte and Nicolas Przeor and bassist Cédric Czaika all exhibit equilibrists' touch as their hands race up and down the necks of their instruments. Throw in some disarmingly down-to-earth "we're present right here in this moment" attitude between songs and reflect it in the wide smiles of audience members that have their expectations fulfilled and others that are positively surprised with a band they'd taken a flyer on, and you have an atmosphere in the venue that's just genuinely good in fullest sense of the simple word.

In fact, the only real issue seems to be that while the mix is clear overall, Delporte's guitar comes through a bit weaker than it optimally could. Otherwise the only thing anybody seems to feel willing to complain about, is that Mutiny On The Bounty's high speed set feels like it ends almost too soon, although it made time for both older "Danger Mouth" tracks, new unreleased songs and of course a good number of cuts from "Trials", including "Myanmar", "Modern Day Robbery" and the rarely played "Mapping The Universe", with which the band concludes the set by pulling out both a keyboard and an extra drum to boost the finale. Overall it's a second kickass set in as many years, that I've seen with one of Europe's most unique and underappreciated bands. So long story short: Don't miss these guys when you have the chance.


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