Lights In Reverse

support Snakebite + Iwo Jima + Lights In Reverse + Dakota + Human Races Run
author TL date 27/11/09 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

It's a Friday night. One like most other Friday nights of mine. Suffice to say I'm at The Rock, some friends of mine are playing tonight, and so are a small handful of other bands. My buddy Mirza (former writer, sings in Siamese Fighting Fish) is promoting tonight's event, and he is trying hard to butter me up with beers from the backstage area. He knows how to get to me he does. Jokes aside though, as you may have noticed generally with articles of this kind, the writers of this publication does not think that having a fun Friday night and writing an article about live bands are mutually exclusive. That goes for tonight as well, so as a reader, please realize that this particular article is more of a subjective report of my experience of the shows performed tonight, more than it is the full, pure, objective truth about each performance. When you think about it, providing such a thing as an objective report of a rock show is pretty much impossible, as the experience depends so much on where you stand, how the sound is there, how well you know the band, if you had anything to drink and so on and so on. You can of course still criticize my writing in the comment if you will, just remember, that I'm only calling the shots as I see them.

Human Race's Run

Without further disclaimer, let's talk about the first band on the bill, called Human Race's Run. I had been told that they would start at nine, and as I arrive five minutes past that time, they are indeed playing already, yet I still get to witness four and a half songs, which is almost as much as each band was allowed to play tonight. These four local boys play an art nu-rave influenced seemingly equally by bands like Denmark's own Veto, as well as The Klaxxons, and spearheaded by a vocalist with a nasal croon much in the vein of Brian Molko of Placebo. Listening to their myspace recordings do them no justice, as their sound is, albeit far from perfect, still much more composed in this live environment. It's a shame next to nobody have chosen to show up for them though, as only twenty or so people are here, forming the familiar crescent shape around an empty space of floor in front of the stage. A shame because, despite the boys seeming a bit cautious on stage and despite the fact that their songs are perhaps allowed to drift on for a bit too long, their dance-ish nature taken into consideration, there's a recognizable identity at play here and small glimpses of a desire to rock out. It's still a good start though, and I'm sure that if given twice the experience and twice the crowd size, HRR can soon start making more of a name for themselves in the local scene. Oh, and keep an eye out for a review of their EP, which I will write as soon as I get down to its place in my pile!


After a short intermission and a beer-run, the next band takes the stage under the name Dakota. With another guitarist in addition to the keys-guitar-bass-drums lineup of the prior band, I am immediately delighted to hear that these guys crank out a somewhat beefier guitar sound than the minimalistic indie-sound of HRR, and it seems they've also brought more friends because the crowd is noticeably denser already. My excitement is short lived however, as I soon start to notice, first and foremost the lyrical content of Dakota's music. Lines of such artistic depth as "she looked like a star/ as she walked through the bar" (or something like that) while the level of quality and overall rock-feeling approaches that of Three Doors Down or Nickelback. Dakota's contribution to this, aherm.. easily accessible genre, seems to be a keyboard, but tonight the one they've brought is as close to inaudible as they come, so I can't really say if that would improve the overall impression. My attention span is soon challenged, as the band churns out one corny cliché after another in predictable pop-rock tracks, and as I turn to look at the crowd for a bit, I can't help but to notice that the people who are the most excited for this band, don't look like ones who would normally listen to any rock music, let alone frequent this venue at all. Now, forgive my superficiality - I hate to be the one polarizing audiences, because I believe all people should appreciate different genres - but coupling the band's fans with their seemingly utter lack of originality and artistic depth, makes me realize that they are about as rock as any skinny white guy, whose name is not Eminem, is hiphop. And when this is true, even a solid, outgoing performance like Dakota's can't change the fact that you'd have to be almost too casual a rock-fan to even call yourself that, to think that they're even average.

Lights In Reverse

The mere fact that seemingly 70% (if not more) of the crowd has been exchanged between the show of Dakota and Lights In Reverse, should be more than enough to emphasize that this will be an entirely different story. Skinny jeans and multi-colored haircuts now make up the majority of the audience, which has now also closed the gap between itself and the stage. It actually looks like people came to enjoy this band, and as LIR take the stage, they at least make sure to display that they came to enjoy themselves as well. Where the two previous bands looked slightly uneasy during their shows, you know - that look of someone who's not completely comfortable in the 'rock-artist' role yet, likely due to inexperience - LIR dot the i's and cross the t's for what a band of their kind is supposed to look like during performance. Sure, they're not an exhibition in originality performance wise, but if you know the scene you came from, and aren't ashamed of it, that's not a bad thing - as is shown in the vigorous brandishing of instruments and classic foot-on-amp stance frontman Jesper undertakes as he screams the harsh parts of the bands lyrics. So far, so good, I'm thinking, as the music sounds pretty good from the speakers, except from the vocals maybe, which could have stood stronger in the mix, at least as it sounded in the center of the crowd. Between songs, Jesper seems a bit disappointed in the lack of activity in the crowd, and while I understand why he might think his show deserves some more craziness from the attendees, I'd say give it some time mate. From the sound of these people, many of them are here because they simply know of your band rather than because they're overly familiar with the music already, and from the look of their faces, that's going to change when they get home. For now, this is your first show (right?) and your music is fresh on myspace, so give people a chance and take comfort in the fact that this sole writer was at least singing passionately along (so much that some woman told me I should be on stage with you guys - I'm waiting for that call guys). Anyway, even at only six songs, with a sound suffering from a lowly mixed microphone and a rather cautious crowd, I think it's fair to say that LIR still proved that they've got the performance end of their deal in order, and come February when they support fellow screamsters Adept and Her Bright Skies in this very same venue, hopefully people will have become familiar enough to provide that crowd-synergy that a show needs to grasp at the really good grades.

Iwo Jima

As LIR go off stage and the next band, Iwo Jima, start setting up, I think to myself that things are probably going to get somewhat more straight forward and crowd-attractive, now that we're drawing near the end of the bill. While it turns out that I'm right about the straight forwardness though, the crowd-attraction-prophecy isn't quite realized. Instead, it seems like the level of attention that gets paid returns to the that which it was for the first two bands. I wish I could say it was undeserved, but as I watch Iwo Jima play, my impression is that their novelty comes first and foremost from the fact that their four members look like they're far too different to be in a band together. This could of course signal something cool, if the band were to somehow fuse their different influences into some spectacular hybrid, but alas, this is not the case. Instead, their straight forward, mellow, clean vocal driven brand of rock reminds me the most of a balladic band like Staind - though it could of course also have something to do with the fact that their singer sits on a bar stool all show, what's up with that? Try as I might, my attention is fighting very hard to escape the focus on Iwo Jima, which is testament to a very weak emission of identity by their songs. They're proficient enough players, who seem to have a passion for their stuff, but it's hard to shake the feeling that they've only recently moved out of their high school's music lessons, and have some way to go yet, before they'll look and feel like a band to be reckoned with.


Inexperience however, is not something in which the last band on the bill, Snakebite, can claim to take refuge, nor do they seem to want to do so. More so than with any of the other bands, they come on like they own the place. Like rockin' is their business and business is good. There is a problem however, as their looks will put a concerned feeling in the stomach of anyone who recently frequents The Rock's live shows. And yes, as it turns out, it's justified, because they are in fact another one of those bands. Another one that seems like they really wish they were Guns N' Roses - Or is it Mötley Crüe? Or Aerosmith? Who can honestly tell the difference with all these similarly influenced bands rockin' local venues all over, well, the world I'd wager? It's the same curly hairdos, the same amount of denim, leather and chest hair and the same would-be Slash's guitar riffs. It's the same attitude as well, and as is normal with bands like this, there's no denying that the guys can fuckin' play alright. But as a newcomer you still feel forced to ask; What are these guys bringing to the table, beyond the obvious, done-to-death, rehashing of eighties hard-rock ideals? If Snakebite have an answer for that question, I'm afraid they don't manage to hold my attention for long enough for me to get it. And if they don't have an answer, well that's actually alright, because their rendition of their style is confident and convincing enough, surely proving an entertaining experience for anyone who can't get enough of this particular thing. Tonight however, the venue seems far from crowded with people so inclined, and as far as this scribe going, I don't want to say that this performance was particularly bad, but I don't want to say that it was good either. For that I prefer for bands to go on stage as themselves, rather than another clone of their ideals. I realize how hypocritical this could seem, given that I liked LIR and they hardly reinvented screamo yet, but in my opinion, there's simply a world of difference still. Take it or leave it.


Now, before I let this article send you off, I'd like to point something out, and that is that all the bands of tonight, except for Snakebite maybe, are bands who are at a very early point in their careers, and that is something that was very easy to see to at least some degree in all shows. Keep this in mind before you rage about some of the lower grades given. Take the time to think about how much of a difference there is between these bands, some of them which you might like, and then some of the bands that get 7 or 8 on this site. Think about how big the difference actually is. Even bands that are still small, like for instance Star*Rats, Trusted Few or Cleo Malone - all local bands I've recently seen - show just how much more experience those first fifty under the belt will give you, and I don't see any reason that the bands of tonight wouldn't feel the same when they have played some more gigs. In fact, I'm leaving room for them to grow like this, and I urge you, think about that before you fly into a rage because your best friend's band didn't get the same grade that Placebo did a few weeks ago. I'm not trying to talk down to you readers, that's the last thing I want to do, I'm just saying that I've seen haters before, and I don't understand them, because I do like to think that my grading is sensible, if you care to think about it.

Lastly, I also met this guy at the bar who made me aware that there was a release party from another band next door, and I of course promised him to write something about that. The band is called Forcentury, and their stuff can be heard by anyone interested, over on their myspace.

Anyway, flame away, and see you some other Friday @ The Rock, for another grass-root-level rockin' time.

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