Online music magazine based in Copenhagen, Denmark

Author

Charlie - page 4

Charlie has 88 articles published.

LIVE REVIEW: Young Fathers, Loppen, 16.10.15

in Live Reviews by
Young Fathers

A wry smile crosses G Hastings’s face as he leans into the mic and observes “I’ve never been tear gassed before a gig before.” It’s probably fair to say that for most of us in the audience at Loppen this also is the first time. While a police raid on Christiania continues into Friday night, the venue begins to feel like a refuge, but Young Fathers are not a band to make us forget the burning makeshift barricades in the street outside.

The Edinburgh-based trio burst into the limelight after winning the Mercury Award for their album Dead, quickly following it up with this year’s White Men Are Black Men Too. But no matter how much praise their records receive, it is immediately obvious that Young Fathers are primarily a live band. While a drummer flails his limbs wildly along with the distorted synth lines, the trio rap, scream and croon with a rare intensity.

The first half of the set draws mainly from the band’s most energetic, uncompromising material. Songs like “Rumbling”, “Just Another Bullet” and “Old Rock n Roll” seem to justify the hip-hop tag that often gets bandied around, but their energy derives from the lo-fi simplicity, rather than samples and complex beats. The defining feature of Young Fathers is the interplay between the vocal styles: G Hastings’s howls and screams, Kayus Bankole’s violent rhymes and Alloysious Massaquoi’s more soulful side.

Young Fathers
Photo by Amanda Farah

From the far-left of the stage my main view is of Kayus Bankole, his purple shirt drenched in sweat, gazing intently into the crowd. This power of the band’s presence, their attention to what is going on around them. You can see it in Bankole’s eyes, hear it when Hastings speaks in support of migrants, or else when they gently discourage people from moshing. To many that last part sounds like the words of a kill-joy, but really this is a battle that has gone on since Ian MacKaye’s passionate disavowal of mosh pits during the hay-day of 80s DC hardcore. But whereas MacKaye could sound a little holier-than-thou, tonight Hastings manages to discourage annoyingly violence dance moves with a gentle firmness that instantly quells the crowd. Gigs are for everyone, not just jumped up meatheads.

It feels a bit perverse to claim that the highlight of the gig is the final a cappella song, given how rhythmically exhilarating the band can be, but I stand by it. Because it proves the thesis that this band is driven by three unique and urgent voices.

LIVE REVIEW: HEALTH, Pumpehuset, 12.10.15

in Live Reviews by

Photos by Tom Spray (www.tom-spray.com)

Defining HEALTH in 2015 is not as easy as it once was. On their first two records the band mixed the cold synth noise of peers like Crystal Castles with mathematically precise drumming and razor-blade guitar riffs. But chatting backstage with bassist John Famiglietti, it is evident that he is just as enthusiastic talking about Daft Punk as he is Mudhoney. And their latest album, Death Magic, released a full six years after their sophomore effort, is evidence of that bridging interest in both pop and experimental music.

Throughout Death Magic, though it veers between blasts of noise and calculatedly danceable tracks, there is a common thread, a pessimistic gaze that finds nothing to separate mainstream and alternative. And when you consider that the hits of today include the disaffected moroseness of the likes of the Weeknd, or witness Miley Cyrus’s doomed attempt at edginess, it isn’t hard to be convinced that we are living in an uncomfortable yet fascinating transition period where words like “pop” and “indie” express mere quantitative, rather than qualitative, differences.

DSC_6455

And yet, tonight I do hear a difference. HEALTH’s live sets are well known for their energy and abandon, the band carefully planning out the setlist to maintain peak attention. They scramble in between songs to minimize the gaps, tearing through the set at a blistering pace. Songs are cut off as soon as they risk losing steam, at times reprised later in the set. But in spite of all this amazing display of dedication towards the craft of live performance, it is very easy to pick out the old HEALTH from the new. New tracks like “MEN TODAY” and “NEW COKE” (note: HEALTH are dedicated to the art of caps-lock) still thunder with a violent obsession that borders on grind-core, but there are heartbreaking moments when drummer BJ Miller starts playing a four-to-the-floor disco beat (see “LIFE”) and it all threatens to fall apart at the seams.

What you discover listening to HEALTH today is that their most interesting associations with pop music have absolutely nothing to do with their lately-acquired Depeche Mode pretensions. It is rather in the fact that their moments of drum madness and feedback loops bring to mind Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead” rather than Crystal Castles. Pop music has sporadically moved closer to the experimental, with greater results than the inverse move. It is true that the topic uncovers a cultural divide between the US and Europe, where we tend to be much more staunchly divisive. But one only has to hear the band tear through a bleeding-edge rendition of “We Are Water” to be reminded why we should still allow HEALTH the benefit of the doubt. A band that can make a track like that sound as urgent as the first time we heard it might still go on to do great things.

DSC_6388

LIVE REVIEW: Einstürzende Neubauten, DR Koncerthuset, 19.09.2015

in Live Reviews by
Einstürzende Neubauten (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh / mortenkrogh.com)

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

Once known for drilling holes through the floors of venues with their power tools/instruments, it is at first an odd notion to encounter Einstürzende Neubauten in the wood-panelled pomp of DR’s Koncerthuset. Yet the acoustical properties boasted by the venue, as well as the circular seating plan, make it the perfect place to experience the performance of a piece as singular and theatrical as Lament.

During the first year of the centenary of the First World War we all witnessed various attempts to commemorate events that remain baffling despite their continued influence throughout history. Last year saw two Flemish towns commission ambitious musical pieces from left-field bands. The In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres sought Tindersticks to create a brooding string piece pockmarked with dolorous bells. With Ypres the band evoked the huge, blank austerity of memory, a musical equivalent to architectural pieces like the Cenotaph in London. The town of Diksmuide, on the other hand, decided upon a very different course, opting for these German industrial heroes, Neubauten (it bares reminding that their name translates to “Collapsing New Buildings”, though perhaps on this occasion Old Buildings might be more appropriate).

The resulting performance piece, which was then recorded as an album, draws heavily both on historical research and the band’s own musical influences in the 20th century avant-garde. The stage of Koncerthuset is dominated by large sheets of metal, piping and chains. A barbed-wire harp lurks in the back. Backstage are instruments made out of empty artillery shells and period crutches. The orchestra is penned in the middle of the stage, as if to say: “there is a space for conventional pathos, but only when confronted with something more alien.”

Einstürzende Neubauten (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh / mortenkrogh.com)

The opening piece, “Kriegsmaschinerie”, lives up to its title, a drawn out wail of metal scraping against metal, chains falling and drills boring into sheets of steel. Frontman Blixa Bargeld stands in the centre, conveying his lyrics not in song but with the means of large placards: “War does not break out. It waits/For a singular but thousandfold:/Hurrah.” This is at once the absolute essence of Neubauten, the punk musique concrète they are famous for, but also a clear reference to one of the defining artistic movements during that war, Futurism. The ad-hoc instruments evoke Luigi Russolo’s “Intonarumori” sonic sculptures, whereas the placards evoke the tone, if not exactly the content, of the belligerent poems of F.T. Marinetti. But even with eyes closed the cacophony is startling, dramatic, strangely pleasurable. The apex of metal screeching, accompanied by the rising wails of strings, is less oppressive than invigorating, a reminder that to some war embodied the possibility of sublime aesthetic overload (they would, to paraphrase Ezra Pound, learn later).

As a whole Lament succeeds as a piece that uses the First World War not only for its subject but for its materials. Its methods are those of Dada, Futurism, artistic currents born precisely in those years. The second piece, “Hymnen” exemplifies this: the melody is that of the British Anthem, which, it turns out, was the same used for the anthem of the German Empire, “Heil dir im Siegerkranz”, while the text is a mashup of the two anthems, interspersed with satirical lyrics by Heinrich Hoffman. One often hears in documentaries about how before WWI Britain and Germany thought of themselves as similar, but here this becomes immediately, absurdly, apparent.

In spite of such bleak subject matter, there is a subversive humour to Neubaten’s work that manages to appeal both to the senses and intellect of its audience. “The Willy – Nicky Telegrams” sees bassist Alex Hacke impersonate Tzar Nicholas of Russia, with Bargeld playing the part of Kaiser Wilhelm, singing (with autotune) the telegrams between the two cousin-monarchs. The autotune lends a further ridiculousness to their nicknames for one another, a sense of farce that two such people should be in charge of nations, and a note of insincerity in their professions of affection. Announcing the beginning of “Der 1.Weltkrieg (Percussion Version)”, Bargeld explains that every beat in the piece represents one day of the war. A hushed silence of anticipation is then broken when he remarks “You should be thankful we didn’t write this about the 30 Years’ War.” It’s a funny aside, but it also reveals the depth to which Bargeld and his bandmates have steeped themselves in research, to remind us that although the conflict of 1914-18 might have been the first of the World Wars, it was just one of many enormous European wars.

Einstürzende Neubauten (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh / mortenkrogh.com)

In the introduction to his unparalleled prose-poem on the First World War, In Parenthesis, David Jones speaks of his work as an attempt to “make a shape in words, using as data the complex of sights, sounds, fears, hopes, apprehensions, smells, things exterior and interior, the landscape and paraphernalia of that singular time and of those particular men.” That text itself is a collage of the trench songs, jokes, army drills and ancient Welsh epics, that manage to capture the pity, absurdity, boredom and even the strange and terrible beauty of the experience of war. “At no other time,” Jones claims, “did one so much live with a consciousness of the past, both superficially and more subtly.”

Neubauten do not presume to adopt the point of view of experience, but they do employ many of the techniques and concerns of a writer like Jones, one of the very few British Modernists to have taken active part in the war. In an effort to convey the diversity of the belligerents, Lament’s texts are in German, English, Flemish (“In de Loopgraf”), and though their music might evoke the real sounds of war, their perspective is one of detachment, looking at WWI in the context of past and future events. A piece like “Der 1.Weltkrieg” illustrates how distance can evoke a different kind of pathos, making us experience the time-scale of the war, as a endless list of painful days, whereas the cover of “Sag mir wo die Blumen sind”, the German version of Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”, references both the symbol of the soldier as flower and the continuum between First and Second World Wars in the figure of Marlene Dietrich.

Einstürzende Neubauten (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh / mortenkrogh.com)

The most interesting covers, however, are to be found in the middle and end of Lament. “On Patrol in No Man’s Land” and “All of No Man’s Land Is Ours” by the The Harlem Hellfighters—a black US regiment forced to serve under the French because of racial segregation—are perfectly chosen examples of some of the great ironies and oddities of the First World War. Originally written and performed by the soldiers whose deeds they catalogue, the humour of these songs is both biting and a testament to their incomprehensible strength. The tracks are stripped back, with none of the swing of the originals, and replace the chanted booms and bangs with actual ones. Bassist Hacke sings the first with a bravado that gives a good sense of the original, whereas Bargeld’s performance of the second lends a sad irony to the words “at last I’m home”, conveying the relief of escaping the war interspersed with the sadness of returning to segregation.

The evening ends with a couple of recent Neubauten songs, the haunting “Ich Gehe Jeztz” and the bombastic “Let’s Do It A Dada”. The latter, with its references to Dada and the apocryphal story of the chess game in Zurich between Lenin and the poet Tristran Tzara, stands as proof that despite Bargeld’s protestations of not having thought about the First World War before composing Lament, the war has always been a part of the band, if only in the figures of the artists that survived and reacted to it.

LIVE REVIEW: Future Islands, Store Vega, 16.08.2015

in Live Reviews by

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

There is a triumphant quality to Future Islands’ entrance on stage of tonight. Selling out two back-to-back shows at Store Vega might not be the ultimate indicator of a band’s success, but when they have previously been relegated to the venue’s smaller cousin for most of their career, it stands as a reminder of how much the band has achieved in the last two years.

Future Islands-1707-3

Having recently celebrated their 1000th concert–and toured their last album, Singles, for more than a year–, the band are in a slightly nostalgic mood. Interspersed with the big crowd pleasers like “Seasons (Waiting on You)” and “A Dream of You and Me” are a wealth of songs from their back-catalogue, including some that haven’t been played for several years. “An Apology”, with its delicate synth riff and trademark impassioned vocals, stands out as a reminder that, though most of us hadn’t heard of Future Islands before the success of Singles, the band has been releasing consistently brilliant pieces of left-field synth-pop since 2008.

Future Islands-1994

Frontman Sam Herring’s vocal and physical performances have been the main talking point around Future Islands since that Letterman performance in early 2014, but when viewed in the flesh his idiosyncrasies become even more apparent. Breaking into a torrent of sweat by the first chorus of opener “Give Us the Wind”, Herring flails his arms, beats his chest, makes impassioned but gnomic gestures. Caught in the enthusiasm of performance, his soul-infused crooning switches more and more into guttural Death Metal howls.
Future Islands-1962-4

It is a rare thing to see a crowd this impassioned, so genuinely excited that they whoop and cheer whenever Herring waves an arm or reverts to his notorious dad-dance. During “Spirit” the floor is vibrating at a frequency that threatens to plunge us all into the venue’s foyer. That’s why Future Islands can sell out on Saturday and Sunday, and probably the rest of the week for that matter.

View the photos from the concert with Future Islands here

LIVE REVIEW: Belle & Sebastian, Tivoli, 31.07.2015

in Live Reviews by

Photos by Amanda Farah

“This was a good idea, eh? Someone had a good idea.” Gazing out into the coloured lights of Tivoli, and beyond them, the blue moon rising into view, Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch is in a jolly mood. The Glasgow indie-pop legends appear to have adopted Copenhagen as their mid-tour break spot of choice, and as they tell it, the grassy spots of Assistens Cemetery are the spiritual homeland for all things whimsical and twee.

In spite of their reputation for low-key chamber pop, the band’s latest release Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance veers in the opposite direction, towards something more danceable and extroverted. Certainly they have pulled out all the stops for this tour, cramming thirteen people on stage and peppering their set with little video interludes and slickly-produced projections. At times this veers into almost ridiculous territory, especially during the day-glo disco excess of “The Party Line”, but this is tempered by vision of Stuart bouncing around the stage in high-waisted jeans and a turtleneck.

Photo by Amanda Farah
Photo by Amanda Farah

As with any band with almost two decades of work behind them, Belle & Sebastian have to balance their new material with an impressive backlog of indie hits. But surprisingly, some of the most memorable moments of the evening occur during songs from Girls in Peacetime. The Talking Heads-channeling “Perfect Couples” promises to be a live highlight for years go come, aided by Stevie Jackson’s ad-hoc monologue including gems such as (to be read in a Glaswegian accent):

“Girls on bikes, we see a lot of that round here, we dig it”;

[on the subject of the tv show Borgen] “Have you seen it? Lovely interiors, best lampshades I’ve ever seen… But what do you want from me, I’m middle-aged.”

Photo by Amanda Farah
Photo by Amanda Farah

Keen to include their audience in as many ways as possible, Stevie and Stuart serenade a young Swedish woman with “Jonathan David”, before inviting twenty fans to participate in the traditional stage invasion/dance-along to “The Boy with the Arab Strap”. Everyone is invited to join the band for meditation and a canal tour on the following day, no doubt causing packs of oddly-coiffed skinny boys to desperately roam the city all of Saturday. Because no matter how big the venue, no matter how elaborate the stage set-up, Belle & Sebastian will always be the band for lazy book-readers and tea-sippers, the last vanguard of the quietest revolution.

Roskilde Festival: Day 1

in Blog/Live Reviews by
Bob Hund - Roskilde Festival 2015 (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

The day has finally arrived: the gates to the main festival grounds have opened, the sun is out, Roskilde has begun. The previous days of dolce far niente are replaced with a flurry of questions: which stage to run to, what food to eat (Korean Bulgogi is the official Here Today Food of the Week), how much alcohol do you have to consume before the prices stop feeling like stab wounds?

Off! - Roskilde Festival 2015 (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Off! – Roskilde Festival 2015 (Photo by Morten Krogh)

Off! — Avalon

After sixty years on the planet and founding not one but two legendary hardcore acts (Black Flag and Circle Jerks), frontman Keith Morris shows no signs of mellowing down. Eyes bulging, veins popping up in unexpected places, Morris stalks the stage in a defiant mood. His younger bandmates bounce along with him, though in their case the wild movements have the studied air of a re-enactment rather than the real thing. The songs themselves, rattled out in blasts of four or five, are one minute playful variations on the theme of fuck you.

While Off! might not be contributing anything new to a genre now almost forty years old, they can at least project some of the vitality of the original movement.

Bob Hund - Roskilde Festival 2015
Bob Hund (Photo by Morten Krogh)

Bob Hund — Avalon

When earlier in the day we interviewed Thomas Öberg, frontman of seminal Swedish indie band Bob Hund, it was clear that there is something very intensely considered and thought out amid the manic energy and comedy of their live performances. Obsessed with making every performance unique, two years ago the band made a leap in the dark and sold all their instruments and equipment, choosing to rely on the generosity of friends and fans to supply them with odd assortments of guitars, vintage organs, microphones, maracas…

For their Roskilde set the equipment was provided by a music school in southern Sweden and Copenhagen surf-rockers The Tremolo Beer Gut. The old Fender Jazzmasters serve them well for the surfy pop vibe of “Tralala Lilla Molntuss”, but it is clear that Thomas was right when he told us “whatever the instruments, we still sound like Bob Hund”. The crowd’s enthusiasm is mirrored in the pure, joyous, Buster Keaton-esque energy of Thomas’s performance. He calls Roskilde “the capital of Scandinavia”, and indeed there is something utopian about hearing a crowd of Danes signing along in a Swedish dialect.

The War On Drugs - Roskilde Festival 2015  (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
The War On Drugs (Photo by Morten Krogh)

The War on Drugs — Arena

Sadly today we only have one reporter on the scene, who can only glimpse the likes of Communions, Young Fathers and Electric Eye as he tramps around from stage to stage like the errant monk of rock journalism that he clearly is. After the sun has finally lowered its burning rays, we settle down at Arena stage for our final gig of the evening, Philadelphia dad-rockers The War on Drugs.

Adam Granduciel is an aloof frontman, bent over his guitar and myriads of effects pedals in intense concentration. His music is all about tonal nuance, but in a live setting this often comes at the cost of dynamism. Other than the enthusiastic baritone saxophonist (an evident attempt to out-Springsteen the Boss himself) the rest of the band is skilled but sedate, rolling through the songs with more professionalism than passion. Even during crowdpleasers like “Under the Pressure” and “Red Eyes” the initial euphoria slowly dissipates into almost monotony. But in after these moments it is thanks to Granduciel’s mastery of guitar tone that a short busting guitar solo can rekindle the fire.

Photo by Tom Spray
The War On Drugs (Photo by Tom Spray)
Photo by Tom Spray
Pharrell Williams (Photo by Tom Spray)

VIEW THE FULL LIVE GALLERY HERE

LIVE REVIEW: Moon Duo, Stengade, 22.04.2015

in Live Reviews by

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

The West-coast psychedelia of Moon Duo, full of prehistoric riffs and driving rhythms, has packed Stengade on a Wednesday night. The former duo, now a trio with the addition of a drummer, are riding the waves of glowing reviews for their latest album, Shadow of the Sun, a work which adds real meat to the band’s sound.

Certainly the inclusion of John Jeffries on drums adds heft and urgency to the live sound, relentlessly propelling the band forward. Tonight his presence is heard rather than seen, as his drum kit is completely obscured by a thick screen of smoke. But no matter, the audience at least has the satisfaction of being able to see Ripley Johnson’s Rasputin-esque beard and the effortless intricacies of the wonderful Sanae Yamada on keyboards.

Moon duo-04213

The band begin with album-opener “Wilding”, a fast, twitchy psychedelic pop song, something like a sped-up Suicide track. Skilled though the band clearly is, their strength is in their simplicity, the devotion to three-chord rock’n’roll riffs, and more importantly, to the perfectly sculpted sounds of organ and guitar. It’s music that sounds familiar, yet completely current and urgent. Their latest single, “Animal”, perversely has their drummer imitating a drum machine, over which they layer a chugging horror-theme of a riff.

The room is packed, hot and filled with smoke. Sweat trickles down as heads bang and girls do that thing where they shake their hair from side to side (have you noticed this seemingly gendered pattern, boys nodding and girls shaking their heads?). Hardly a second to breathe between each song, the set flashes and burns out after just 50 minutes, concluding our travels in the murky magical land of Moon Duo.

LIVE REVIEW: Purity Ring, Lille Vega, 19.04.2015

in Live Reviews by

Canadian synth-pop duo Purity Ring have packed Lille Vega this Sunday evening, treating their audience to a visual show of impressive proportions. Two months after the release of their second album, Another Eternity, the band seem comfortable in their reputation for pretty, shimmery electronic pop.

Though Purity Ring are known for the care and thought they put into their stage appearance, in person the effect is magnified. The stage is dressed like a Disney winter wonderland, draped with hundreds of balls of light, dominated by Corin Rodderick’s outlandish instrumental set up, essentially a sampler triggered by hitting bizarre illuminated diamond-shaped cocoons. It’s only a step away from Spinal Tap’s alien pods, but it certainly adds an interesting visual element to what is normally a rather dull-looking instrument. All the while singer Megan James is using her mirrored gloves to throw beams of light across the room.

DSC_6386

Understandably, the set leans heavily towards material from the latest album, a mixture of harsh beats and bass with sweet effected vocals. Songs like “Push Pull” and “Dust Hymn”, already anthemic, are pushed even more towards bombast by the visual accompaniment. At one point Megan climbs onto the podium and begins beating a gong, which, of course, lights up when struck. Eyes and ears are not allowed to relax for a second.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that all this audiovisual stimulation is a way for compensating for Megan James’ slightly awkward and shy stage presence, and indeed when she pauses to thank the audience her nervous laughter is noticeable. But it might also be a little ridiculous to expect even more from a band that has clearly spent so much time and effort into making their live concerts memorable. And as the evening comes to a close with “Bodyache”, the band’s latest single, it is clear that the audience definitely got what they came for.

LIVE REVIEW: East India Youth, Jazzhouse, 17.04.2015

in Live Reviews by

Photos by Amanda Farah

Last time we saw East India Youth in Copenhagen, he was opening for Factory Floor at a more or less deserted gig at Vega. Already a year and a half ago, when all Will Doyle had to his moniker was the Hostel EP, we recognized an artist on an undeniable ascent. Now, after two albums and a nomination for the Mercury Prize, East India Youth is the main act.

As a live act, East India Youth is a testament to passion and virtuousity. Doyle stands alone on stage, surrounded by keyboards, laptops and drum machines, a bass guitar around his neck and drum sticks in his hand, like a sharply dressed Wizard of Oz, controlling his fantastical universe from the shadows. The set begins with “The Juddering”, a glitchy instrumental that slowly emerges from static into lush synth orchestrations, before transitioning into “Turn Away”, his latest single. Doyle’s voice soars above the background, reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant, clear like a choirboy.

east india youth 1

East India Youth shifts between the angelic and energetic, electronic and analogue, experimental and anthemic. There is a restlessness at the heart of his music, though that has evolved from Total Strife Forever‘s austerity into the warm colours of Culture of Volume. That transition is reflected in the live renditions of older songs like “Heaven, How Long”, which effervesce with random modulations.

It’s unfortunate that at the height of “Hinterland”, which has the whole room nodding and twitching, the sound suddenly cuts out. After a few minutes of jumbling around with wires, a chance for the audience to catch its breath, Doyle is back online, launching back into the track with even more abandon than before.

The set draws to a close after less than an hour, not nearly enough to do justice to the amount of material produced in the last 18 months. I am a little disappointed not to have heard “End Result”, my favourite track from the last album, or the wonderfully cheesy “Beaming White”, but that’s just an excuse to catch another East India Youth gig as soon as possible.

LIVE REVIEW: Retox, Jazzhouse, 16.04.2015

in Live Reviews by

San Diego’s Retox, an off-shoot of hardcore oddballers The Locus, are a slightly surreal presence in Copenhagen’s Jazzhouse. People swill cocktails and politely nod along as the band tears through their set with violent precision. The stage is dominated by Justin Pearson sweating and spitting in his little leather jacket, looking like Adam Levine’s slightly troubled younger brother. That is probably why Asia Argento, nodding along in the front row, chose him to play a part in her new film, Incompresa. 

The band’s last album, Beneath California, combines the speed and violence of hardcore with meticulous precision and off-kilter riffs. Some of the subtleties of those tracks are lost when played live, or are at least undetectable under the force of sheer volume and speed. Song titles like “Die in Your Own Cathedral” and “Death Will Change Your Life” might lead you to conclude this is a rather angsty teen band, but there is an underlying humour behind them. Consider that Justin is almost 40 and has a song called “Disappointing Grade”.

The highlight of the evening is the encore. The guitarist comes back on stage and starts creating ominous textures with guitar feedback (a skill he has been exercising throughout the set), before being joined by the whole band for a single beat, a final guitar stab, cymbal crash and scream, ending the ‘song’. It’s both a parody of their brevity, but also the logical, satisfying conclusion to it. But I can’t help thinking it’s also a reference to the fictional band Crash and the Boyz from Scott Pilgrim Vs the World, and had to stop myself from yelling “It’s not a race, guys!”

1 2 3 4 5 6 9
Go to Top