Rovers Ahead

support Stars Burn Stripes + A Road To Damascus
author MN date 15/03/14 venue Stengade, Copenhagen, DEN

As has now officially become an annual tradition, our merry group of event organizers took over Spilletstedet Stengade to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and gave the normally alternative/grungy looking place our version of extreme home makeovers by bathing it in green, white, and orange. Dozens of Irish flags, hundreds of multicolored balloons, lots of cheesy wallpapers, gold coins, shamrocks and other decorations were ordered from UK's array of party shops and subsequently set up across the venue. To make the event as festive as possible, we of course colored the beers green, ensured that 240 cans of free beer were available to get the party started, and made sure to book an array of Danish live bands that suited the occasion best.

Upstairs lounge

On stage we had the authentic Irish folk punkers Rovers Ahead crowning the festivities at midnight with their directly relevant party music, as well as melodic hardcore / skate punkers Stars Burn Stripes and emo/post-hardcore act A Road To Damascus playing primarily new material to show off their upcoming albums, respectively. A mad night of dancing in a packed venue was ahead of us.

Stars Burn Stripes

Stars Burn Stripes

First up, it was Stars Burns Stripes' turn to entertain the crowd while dressed in green in unison to fit tonight's theme. They're well-rehearsed and tight on stage, having just returned from a European tour, and since their music is rooted in skate punk and melodic hardcore, the pedal was basically glued to the floor in the beginning of their 31 minute set and barely let go during the show. The end result? A vivid mosh/circle pit at the front of the stage that hardly showed signs of slowing down at any point during their set. The band play with a ton of energy on stage to match the crowd, and air mostly new material alongside a couple of old classics from their EPs. The new material is slower and more melodic, which sounds better and better the more times I hear it live, and the crowd seems to agree: I can't remember having seen SBS with this good of a crowd response in a long time.

PP

A Road To Damascus

A Road To Damascus

A Road To Damascus probably chose the most unlucky name in rock music with the recent conflict in mind, but luckily they make up for this in the valid currency of good vibes. Their sheer happiness and joy from being on stage is as contagious as a spring cold. As the band hits the stage, it's fairly obvious that the steaming temperatures of the room are not about to cancel out this party. The front of the room has dug heavily into the supplies of green beer and Irish outfits and by the end of the gig, most of the room is dancing, jumping or both. Working against them tonight is a saddening lack of decent mixing in the form of a way too bassy timbre that drowns out the lower tones of Mikkel Raavig's vocal details. Looking past these shortcomings it's fairly obvious to me that Raavig has grown impressively since I last saw the band play at Huset i Magstræde in 2012 and especially during some of their yet-unreleased songs like "Retrospect", his technique is above some of the biggest names in the game, playing with both hoarseness, clean ranges and vocal phrasings. His energetic spirit perfectly matches the pop-punk'ish attitude of the music and seems synchronized with the rest of the band - it doesn't seem to be their first rodeo tonight either. I'm feeling a bit ambivalent about some of the "come on closer" or "sing along to this bit" - but hey, people do come closer and they do sing along. I suspect the band of using vocal samples at one point, but I hope it was just me who heard wrong, as I personally think these steal from the authenticity of a gig. Otherwise the guys make a good deal out of being very much "with" their audience and not getting caught up in sweat, drunks or the bad sound mixing. I am genuinely intrigued by some of the new stuff (looks good for the band's upcoming album) but I am still also able to find myself being blown away by the 2011-classic "New Perspective". Overall we experience some minor difficulties but A Road To Damascus are easily forgiven because of their engaging and up-to-no-good smiles.

HES

Rovers Ahead

Rovers Ahead

Nothing is more befitting for an Irish St. Patricks themed party than a headlining show from Copenhagen's very own Irish pub punk masters Rovers Ahead. As the time clocked in at 23.30, the crowd was sufficiently inebriated from the gallons of Green beer lashed out over the counter. Being intoxicated for an Irish folk punk show is of course not a prerequisite for having fun at the gig, but it certainly does have an effect when you have a packed Stengade. Last time I saw Rovers Ahead was at their release party in BETA, here we saw Rovers Ahead perform with drive, but to a largely static crowd that did not embrace the highly dance-able nature of their music. Tonight's show turned out marginally different as the crowd danced everything from the odd river-dance, to some bashing mosh pits. Rovers Ahead is fronted by Nathan Corcoran who is still recovering from back surgery, and for this reason, his energy level on stage is a bit limited. Yet, keeping that in mind, last time Rovers Ahead performed, Nathan had to take a mid-set break, which was not the case this evening, apart from the performance of "Stingy's Jack Rumble". Nathan stood virtually static during his performance but radiated such immense front man charisma and charm as he embraced the movement of the audience. Having a debut album on their back, their set list tonight is jam-packed with songs such as "Bonnie Lass" and "Went Out To Get A Drink (But Ended Up In Jail)", the latter of which had the entire 8-piece singing raucously, not unlike Dropkick Murphys manage at their famous gigs. One of the more recognizable songs of heartbreak and debauchery is "Make Me A Saint" that actually sparks a significant singalong to the delight of the band. This song is class A material which will forever be immortalized in their repertoire. What is enjoyable about Rovers Ahead is that despite their clear punk influence, they lean more towards Irish folk most of the time, meaning their sound is as authentic as it can be.

Tonight's show lasts almost a full hour and despite the sound not really penetrating the back areas of the venue, the front segment was in for a hot and sweaty Irish party that sealed the live festivities for an extremely successful St. Patrick's Day Bash, a party that continued till 3 in the morning. We are already looking forward to the next bash in 2015!

8
MN

Photos by: Philip B. Hansen

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