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LIVE REVIEW: Hospitality, Stengade, 12.05.2014

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Early in their set, Hospitality ask the crowd in the semi-full room at Stengade — where everyone is standing a comfortable two to three meters away from the stage — who saw them at Roskilde last year. And it’s from this point forward that we know much of the crowd are repeat visitors, expecting a passably energetic show and a more involved set-up from a band that is formally a trio.

Much of Hospitality’s latest album, Trouble, is stripped back to a fairly limited composition. So that the band are bolstered by a fourth member and that additional instruments are featured on every song is a bit unexpected, but it does make the performance warmer and fuller where it could so easily have felt thin.

Their drummer and keyboardist switch places a few songs in, and Nathan Michel, previously playing drums, takes up guitar as well as keyboards. This is the way the B-side “Monkey” is played, which sounds positively dreamy. They aren’t exactly consistent stylistically, their songs vacillating between dream pop and grungier edges, and even at times tapping into big, 70s rock sounds. At one point their bassist taps out his beats on his own dedicated synth set up, though the vision may have not transferred clearly through Stengade’s PA.

Frontwoman Amber Papini comes back alone for the first song of the encore, “Call Me After,” from their new album, which sounds quite sweet and certainly less melancholy on an electric guitar compared to the sparse acoustic album version. The night ends on an upbeat note with with “Betty Wang.” As a quirky indie pop band, they may still be finding the right sound to fit them. As a live band, however, they definitely know what they’re about.

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