Silverstein

support Palisades + Dream On + Dreamer
author TL date 03/12/13 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

When I spoke to Silverstein frontman Shane Told in our interview last week he talked about the band's ethic of trying to not force any changes to their sound, which reignited a heated debate that seems to take place in the comments on this site on a regular basis, like the argument exists in a bubble and doesn't really change. In that way, it is a lot like Silverstein, who are back tonight - a December 3rd when temperatures have just started to drop below zero celcius - to play in Lille Vega for their fourth show in Denmark since 2007.

Pictures courtesy of Julie Decome

In the ten years since their debut album "When Broken Is Easily Fixed", the band has remained content to gradually hone the same core sound, and on what now feels like a regular visit from them, I get the feeling that they're pretty confident that this approach will once again give them and their audience a good experience here. The skeptic in me questions how many fans will keep coming back though, and admittedly in the minutes prior to the first support band Palisades, Lille Vega is only modestly populated at an estimated less than a third of its capacity.

Palisades

The sextet Palisades is a very distinctly American pop-hardcore band whose party-trick is a complete disregard for the conventional barriers between metal, dance and pop music, linking poppy verses to punishing breakdowns and stretches of brazen techno. Typically for a support slot however, the high end of their guitar leads are nowhere to be heard, and while they're less than a week into the tour, singer Louis Miceli sounds like he's also already worn out the highest of his notes. Perhaps its in awareness of these hindrances then, that him and his band put on somewhat of a fitness exhibition, rocking and stomping and spinning on stage in an entertaining flurry of constant movement. And if the early audience feels that their lack of numbers forms an awkwardness-barrier that stops them from joining the fray, Palisades clearly disagree, as Miceli constantly commands people to put their hands up, to bounce and to fuck this room up etc.

On one hand, I like the relentless attitude, but if there's a point in meeting audiences halfway, Palisades are clearly way past that, employing a "more-is-more" approach to crowd encouragement that honestly has me thinking that they could fall back and get careers as fitness instructors, yelling at customers constantly to "DO ONE MORE!". Still, towards the end of the band's half hour set, a decent amount of people have been convinced to drop palms and bounce a bit, marking a win for Palisades' efforts, but their show is clearly more driven by typical scenecore routines - right down to the robotically delivered "Has anyone in this room ever felt like an outcast" speech - than by any finer musical points. Could be it would've been different with a more detailed mix, but alas this was not the case tonight.

Dream On, Dreamer

If Palisades looked like a band of young dudes that had just finished reading "How to be a scenecore band 101" then Melbourne's Dream On, Dreamer instantly come off as having already graduated the more advance classes, benefitting immediately from a more dynamic light show and boldly opening with the title track off new album "Loveless", which sounds almost La Dispute-ish with its atmospheric build-up. It takes only a few songs for it to come across that these guys are considerably more ambitious with their music and considerably more serious about their performance, so you can understand that guitarist Callan Orr looks a bit frustrated as he gestures wildly towards the sound desk to have his guitar turned up. Yet after a few songs the mix gradually starts to favour the band's melodic tendencies more, complimenting the ebb and flow of their heavy end well and channelling some of post-hardcore's tendencies, bringing Underoath to mind for a likely comparison.

Guitarist/clean singer Zachary Britt soon flashes a remarkably good singing voice - and despite losing track of the tune on at least one song - you quickly get the feeling that the band needs to find even more ways to integrate his powerful contributions with the harsh screams of frontman Marcel Gadacz. Overall the band seems ripe to rid themselves of all the immaturities of your typical modern metalcore band and join the ranks of those that try to produce something more distinct, but there are still a few bad habits to spot in an otherwise increasingly passionate performance: Gadacz occasionally falls back into the "typical hardcore frontman" autopilot, and when Orr plays a few notes on his guitar with a bow from a violin, it's only cool until you see him playing the same part with his fingers right afterwards, after which it just seems a bit pretentious. Fortunately drummer aaron Fiocca does his to make up for it, juggling sticks behind his kit while looking like he's having the easiest show of his life, and overall the band plays a good set, both in terms of diversity of material and confidence of performance, making me feel that I should probably keep an eye out for both their current and an eventual next album.

Silverstein

By the time the lights dim for the third time, Silverstein's "if it ain't broken" attitude has seemingly half-filled Lille Vega with a mixed crowd of the young teens up front who look to have only recently gotten acquainted with the Canadian quintet, and the slightly more mature looking twentysomethings behind them who have likely been on board all the way back to 2003, and as they open up with the classic "Your Sword Vs. My Dagger" it becomes clear that the timelessness of the Silverstein show is that it can bring both groups together in something of a singalongfest. The mix is well-adjusted from the word go, and it doesn't seem to matter which record the band picks singles from, as people happily cheer for the opening notes of "Massachussetts" and "Sacrifice" and yell the lyrics back at Shane Told whenever he stretches the mic out for us.

The inclusion of the often underrated "The Ides Of March" - the understated verse guitar of which sounds all brazen and awesome tonight - transports me back in time to the memory of this girl who used to tell me how she loved the odd "my nose runs down my face" lyric, and as I take a moment to wonder what she's doing now, I think that at least half of tonight's audience are likely having similar memories conjured up by these older songs, while a newer cut like "Stand Amid The Roar" comes across convincingly and urgently with its middle-eight refrain striking home with its unforced "Stay true to yourself"-message.

As the band proceeds to medley "A Shipwreck In The Sand" cuts "A Great Fire", "Vices" and "Broken Stars" together, I do feel sort of ambivalent towards this, because on one hand it's a cool way to include more material from an album that's three releases in the past, but on the other hand ".. Shipwreck" could arguably be considered the band's best album so it's hard to not wish to hear its songs in full. I'm sure fans of "Short Songs" feel similarly when its "Brookfield" and "World On Fire" get a similar treatment, although you can definitely tell that while people receive the "Shipwreck" tracks with undiminished familiarity, the "Short Songs" clearly have fewer fans tonight and make for a bit of a lull in crowd activity.

Told and his crew aren't particularly talkative beyond the obligatory pleasantries, seemingly wanting to rather jam as much stuff into their slot as possible, airing among others a new song called "Illuminate" which sounds delightfully north of the band's heavy end. The spotlight makes a rare shift away from Told over to the band's new guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau, who showcases his singing voice in the opening to "Arrivals", doing well enough for me to wonder if more of this could perhaps make future Silverstein material even more interesting?

As the show moves to close with "My Heroine" and "Smile In Your Sleep", I've personally pushed my yelling-along to the point of tasting blood, and to the right, near the front, a solid group of guys are nearing the climax of their bouncing efforts while a crescent of older figures smile and nod their heads approvingly a bit further back. The band is quick to come back for an encore performance, "ending where it all started" with the ten year old album opener "Smashed Into Pieces", which sees a few more people stumble forward to get in on the celebration of the classic single. And thus concludes a half-full evening of nostalgia in Lille Vega, driven by decent sound, an energetic performance and most importantly: by a parade of great tunes - and as the crowd makes its way downstairs for the cloakroom and the merch table to meet the bands, I mark the show down as one that comfortably solid in all noteworthy areas, even if it never really took any steps towards reaching for the epic top grades.

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