support Circle Takes The Square + KEN Mode
author AS date 14/02/12 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

This gig was meant to be covered by AP, but he unfortunately had to cancel due to being mega jet-lagged after flying back from vacationing in Canada. Instead, we bring you a guest review written by André Sønderbæk, who was kind enough to step in and put some words on the performances. So please read on, as you join him in Beta with the show being just about to start...

... The venue is filled with people, and there is a great energy in the air. People are sitting in small groups drinking beer, divided equally among the three floors of Beta, which isn't by any means a big venue, but still an exciting one in which to see bands such as those playing tonight. The low height of the stage and the lack of barriers makes it an ideal location for hardcore bands that inspire moshing and crowdsurfing, something I am hoping to see some of tonight. It's an exciting line up and with a good sized crowd gathered even before the warm up band takes the stage things looks really promising.

KEN Mode

First band to take the stage is KEN Mode, an acronym for Kill Everything Now, from Canada. Formed in 1999, KEN mode have been bringing their noisy, mathy, metallic brand of hardcore to kids all over the world, and tonight it's Denmarks turn. The first few songs they play are quite fast, very technical, and the rythmic play between brothers Jesse (vocals/vuitar) and Shane Matthewson (drums) is very impressive. The band is completed by bass player Andrew Lacour, whose size and ferocity on stage helps them present a very powerful opening to the night. The musical soundscape this band produces is a very loud mixture of heavily distorted, and interesting basslines, rhythmic, tight drums and mathed up, effect-drenched guitar, that played through two sets of Orange Amps, manages to not sound muddy even with use of many very different effects. The set slows down around the middle of the show and the last few songs features long instrumental passages, which almost brings bands like Tool to mind. While the music coming from the stage iss engaging and ferocious, the bandmembers themselves are not. The only time they adress the crowd is right before the last song, where they state their name, and sure, both Jesse and Andrew jumps a bit back and forth, swinging their instruments now and then, but they do so only inside their own designated spaces, like they have invisible boxes that they never move from. It's understandable with music of this complexity that the bands movement is somewhat limited, but to not once adress the crowd in any way (except to tell them who they are) is disappointing. All in all, interesting set, but lacking perfomance.


Circle Takes The Square

The next band is Circle Takes The Square from the US and judging from the way the crowd is lining up in front of the stage, this is a band a lot of people have come to see! Formed in 2000, the band quickly became one of the most renowned screamo bands in the US. With the relase of 2004s As The Roots Undo, an album that Sputnikmusic put on #3 on their top 100 albums of the decade, they cemented their status as the masters of progressive screamo. This tour is their first time playing in Denmark, and you can feel the electricity of that in the air, a lot of people have been waiting for this show for a very long time. The show starts out with the chanting sample of "Enter By The Narrow Gates" from 2011's "Decompositions Vol. 1 Chapter 1", and follows up with another song from the album. The songs are highly technical and complex, with Drew Speziale (guitar/vocals) leading the band with complete control over both his guitar playing, and his enormous board of effects. He is joined by Kathy Copolla Stubelek (bass/vocals) and Caleb Collins (drums/vocals) and normally they would be joined by lead guitarist David Rabitor, but unfortunately he is not with them on this tour due to conflicts with his day job. The two first songs clock in at around ten minutes, and explore a vast variety of musical styles and influences, and they are delivered with more confidence and playfulness than one would expect from a screamo/metal band such as Circle Takes The Square. The manic look in Drews eyes as he screams into the microphone and the apparent joy he takes in performing these songs is a wonderful thing to see in this time of angry screaming singers and serious looking bands.

One of the things that make Circle Takes The Square such a force of nature in the live setting is the dual vocals performed by Drew and Kathy. Calling Drew the lead singer is close to exaggerating, as Kathy delivers almost as much of the vocals both live and on the records. All of this combined with the supreme drumming of Caleb makes for a mind blowing sight to witness, and for fans of the band it is like a dream come true. When Drew starts the song "The Same Shade As Concrete", from As The Roots Undo, with the shouts "Rejoice, rejoice a noble birth" the crowd goes wild (see video above here). This is followed by more songs from "As The Roots Undo, Crowquill" - with it's drum and screaming intro, "In the Nervous Light of Sunday" - which sent the crowd into a frenzy (and me up on top of the crowd, surfing) and then the superb "Non-Objective portrait of Karma", which starts slowly with a effect ladden guitar intro, building in speed when the bass comes in before exploding in technical and lyrical madness. They finish their set with an old song from their first EP called "Our Need To Bleed", which sendes the crowd, which one would have thought would be getting tired now, into new levels of frenzy! All in all the band plays a tight set, the old songs are played a little slower than on the record and one fourth of the band is missing, but the energy and joy coming from the stage more than makese up for it.



Tonight's main event is the band Kylesa also from the US. Kylesa plays music that is a mixture of metal, indie, sludge and psychedelic rock, but it's all mixed together in a way you wouldn't imagine. Formed in 2001 the band has released five full length albums since then, as well as a handful of splits and EPs. They kick off the last set of the night and the mood is set in an instant. Beginning with Phillip Cole (guitars/vocals) playing the always amazing theremin (google that instrument if you don't know it), the drums of Tyler Newberry and Carl McGinley kick in before the rest of the band )that's right, this band has two drummers, and uses both to maximum effect) - completed by Eric Hernandez (bass) and Laura Pleasants (guitar/vocals) - come in with the most heavy sludge riff I have heard. The soundscape is heavy and distorted, and very bass driven, with Phillip singing almost on top of it, his voice covered in reverb effects, before Laura takes over with her almost growling screams. Almost the entire crowd is headbanging in unison and there is an amazing energy in the air, like the feeling of a big outside concert but inside of a small venue on Amager. If I had to describe Kylesa in one word, that word would be groovy. This band is above all else groovy, and that is a huge compliment. The set does get a bit repetitive, with most songs flowing into one the next with no telling when one ends and the other begins, and the female vocals struggle for most of the show, but besides that, this is a great showcase of what heavy should sound like.


These and more photos courtesy of Rasmus Ejlersen

See even more photos by checking the website of: Peter Troest

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