Although primarily conceived and promoted as a release party for Lust for Youth’s new album Compassion, the event that took place at Sigurdsgade on Saturday was much more than what could have easily been a headliner concert with support acts thrown in to fill the lineup. Actually, as the evening wore on, the most important performance casually turned into the least memorable one. But let’s start at the beginning.
The “Ny Dansk Romantik” duo Rosen & Spyddet had the ever-unrewarding task of opening another band’s big night. Fortunately they were wise enough to regard this as an opportunity – and promptly took it! It’s probably safe to assume that a good deal of the early-bird audience was not acquainted with their work, and (as always) some preferred to chat at the bar rather than to engage with music. But all those who cared to listen quickly found themselves enchanted by the duo’s soothing melodies. Rosen & Spyddet presented the recently released Drengen Ved Brystet as well as material from their beautiful 2015 album Fortuna, using warm synths and gentle beats to create a dreamy atmosphere moving you to a different place and time.
While setting up their gear, members of Orphan Ann brought some flowers to arrange on the floor. The Morrisey-invoking gesture couldn’t have been more misleading though, as the flowers were soon overshadowed by chains. Unlike the lush ambience from the romantics playing before them, lulling the audience into daydream is about the last thing Orphan Ann wanted to do. Their brief but intense performance amped up the volume and increased the ferocity of what many expected to be a benign synth-pop event. Those of us who don’t mind a little disruption and/or challenge found plenty to appreciate in the Swedish duo’s blend of concert and performance art driven by harsh electronics, rallying cries and narration in Russian.
After two gorgeous and demanding performances, it was easy to forget the reason why most people came in the first place. As the venue started to fill up, it seemed like the intimate underground gathering was over and all of a sudden it was time to party. Having previously shared the bill and/or label with the opening acts, Lust for Youth have clearly had a hand in the lineup selection. The decision to have what is very much an experimental band performing before their polished synth-pop, as well as the music they make with their solo projects, makes it impossible to write Lust for Youth off as some incidentally talented poseurs – no matter how much they sometimes tried to go for precisely that image.
It is debatable whether an album release party is intended for the band and their friends to simply have fun, or if it’s supposed to be the band’s night to shine, and the experience of Lust for Youth’s Saturday concert would probably depend on your view on this. Having seen them perform elsewhere, I know this was far from the best they can do, and surely they know it too. Considering the technical issues that marked the entire first part of their performance, it’s somewhat understandable that things didn’t run smoothly and that the band was visibly annoyed. However, while Fischer and Rahbek made sure that the music continued properly blasting regardless of the issues, Norrvide seemed as if he couldn’t be bothered to sing, turning his usual fittingly deadpan delivery into careless shouts and sneers.
Sure, Lust for Youth’s anthemic synth-pop hooks still sound powerful over the PA, but on this particular occasion, it was kind of difficult to care. They should nonetheless get praise for putting together such a daring lineup, and for providing two amazing acts with a chance to gain some new fans.