Go Go Berlin

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author TL date 06/03/14 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

It's a Thursday evening somewhere mid-stride between winter and early spring, and after a ten hour work day I'm on my way across town to Christiania and Loppen. The Rockfreaks.net photographers are all occupied tonight so I'm flying solo (hence the promo pic above, brazenly stolen from tonight's headliner's facebook) and I haven't had time to eat since lunch, but that's all okay, it only means the obligatory mini-buzz will come cheaper, and having seen Go Go Berlin's live prowess on two previous occasions, I'm confident there's a night ahead that will be worth it.

The Aarhus quintet appeared almost out of nowhere last year, seemingly skipping past any traditional periods of underground obscurity to drop their debut album "New Gold" (word-playing on the retro phrase "new old" are we?) and soon made relatively swift appearances in both radio and TV, with highlights of their year likely being a show at Roskilde Festival's camping stage and a nomination for best newcomer at Danish Music Awards. Still, somehow I hadn't yet managed to catch the band playing in our capital city, where groups often step up their game a notch, hence I'm casually excited as I swig beer pre-show in a Loppen that's fairly decently populated for a Thursday, with the majority of tonight's guests looking like they're either in their last semester of high school or their first semester of university.

Go Go Berlin

Since no support band has been advertised, I'm not too surprised when a The Who-esque opening melody replaces the PA music roughly two minutes past ten, catching the crowd's attention and heralding Go Go Berlin's arrival on stage. Bassist Emil Rothman yells "Yeaaah København!" as he steps on stage and the band quickly pick up their instruments and add to the build-up, breaking off into an early rendition of "California Mind", gratifying a group of fans up front that have been singing its chorus line loudly a few times over already. "Gimme Your" and "You You You" follow quickly as singer/guitarist Christian Vium starts working the crowd, encouraging people to clap along even though plenty are already dancing, bouncing or nodding actively of their own volition.

Positioned directly below Loppen's leftmost speakers, I notice little if any adjustments being made in the early set, as the mix is well-adjusted from the very beginning. Directly in front of the speakers it's painfully loud perhaps, but that's a condition for things to sound decent in the rest of the room, with each instrument clearly audible, including Vium's ever-raspy and charismatic vocal work. This is a good thing, especially because part of Go Go Berlin's agenda tonight is to try out some new songs on their audience, and songs heard for the first time are of course always even more hindered if the mix isn't good. Of these new cuts aired, "Electric Lives" has a surprisingly and awesomely heavy bridge right past its choruses that gets our heads banging, while "The Party" borrows shamelessly from Kings Of Leon's toolbox only to borrow four or five notes of melody from a certain Coldplay hit in its bridge.

Each new cut sounds delicious, interjected between "On The Run", "Waste Of Trying" and the band's hit single "Raise Your Head", and while "Waste Of Trying" works well as a mid-set ballad, "Raise Your Head" predictably picks the pace back up, and if you've previously wondered why the song's chorus feels a bit tempered on record, it makes sense when you hear how easy people can sing along to it in this environment, while the post-chorus break again marks an area that adds good punch to Go Go Berlin's otherwise light-and-tight expression.

During songs, the band is actively moving about, brandishing instruments as befits their image. The guitars squeal in Thin Lizzy-esque harmonies and the keyboard injects mini-dozes of The Doors-ish psychedelia while Vium leads proceedings with a vintage rock'n'roll vocal that borrows from many greats (Steven Tyler, Jim Morrison etc.) and with an energy that sounds like it comes off a Mando Diao record. Between tracks the guys are in a joking mood, teasing the audience when the response isn't loud enough and when the group down front wants to hear "California Mind" again. One song gets a reggae style outro treatment as a fun salute to Christiania's common association with weed-smoking and another sees Vium singing Justice's electronica hit "We Are Your Friends" on top of the closing instrumentals, giving you a nice feeling of this not just being a "let's play the songs and get off" kind of thing.

Overall, the mood feels pretty good for a Thursday as well. There are people in the back nodding slightly more dignified than the happily grooving and singing front half of the room of course, and few seem so enthralled that they don't have time for a trip to the bar to collect fuel for the proceedings, but as "Darkness", "Bad!" and "Shoot The Night" end the night, I wouldn't be surprised if many wished it was a Friday so they could carry the good vibe onwards into the night. Go Go Berlin expertly orchestrates the sit down/jump up routine towards the end, before spacing out into a long bridge which sees the stage invaded by eagerly dancing fans, and as things inevitably end with pretty much every expectation met, one only thinks of the friends that stayed at home and missed another solid show from one of Denmark's most correctly hyped bands.

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