Copenhagen Showdown #1

author PP date 07/11/09

If anyone tells you the Danish / Copenhagen underground music scene isn't healthy, slap them in the face for me and tell them to wake up and open their eyes. In the past 6-12 months we've seen so much happen; mass movements on Facebook to save Stengade 30, small underground bands starting to make a name for themselves inside the nation's borders and beyond, small clubs either starting up or continuing to gather audiences are all testament to the fact that there's a demand for this sort of thing in Denmark. That's why the organizers behind the newly launched Copenhagen Showdown have perfect timing, they're spreading gasoline to a small bush fire in an attempt to light up the entire forest. Although the turnout to Copenhagen Showdown #1 was modest early on, as the evening progressed more and more people started pouring in despite the Amager location (but in a great venue nonetheless), and if my crowd estimation skills are anything to go by, there must've been around 60-65 people in the venue halfway through All For Nothing's set. In a 100 person capacity venue that makes for almost 2/3rds full attendance, and because of the way the venue has been designed, it felt reasonably full but not uncomfortably so. Nevertheless a good turnout considering the launch event was held on the renowned J DAG, where everyone has at least three or four different party invitations on their Facebook pages and a burning desire to get immensely hammered (the J tap was opened by the undersigned, by the way!). But lets get down to business and check out the bands who played tonight.

Spinkick

Firstly I have to admit that tonight was my first encounter with the rather hyped (in their hometown Fredericia at least) Danish hardcore crew Spinckick. Sporting two vocalists in a dual vocal approach, the band dived headfirst into chug-chug hardcore and the floor was immediately absorbed by a couple of hardcore dancers of the worst kind - those who are out there to hurt people rather than to just have fun. Words cannot describe how resoundingly stupid they look without even realizing it. A modest crowd response followed the band for exactly one song, before everyone (minus the two aforementioned) in the crowd simply stopped caring. Not a soul was moving or even barely nodding their head once Spinkick went through their second and third songs. And I don't blame them. You'd have to look long and hard for a band that plays as generic, camouflage shorts & wife-beater wearing hardcore as they do (or you could just check out Trapped Under Ice). Not that they were actually wearing such clothing items, but it should give you a picture of just what kind of hardcore band they are - just the type that International Superheroes Of Hardcore (the New Found Glory side project) loves to ridicule. The singer occasionally made his way into the crowd but to little, if any, response. And although the horribly generic hardcore yells were a part of the reason why, by far the largest one is that Spinkick just don't have the songs to get a curious crowd like this going - or the performance for that matter. [4]

All For Nothing

Things did not bode well for female fronted, Dutch hardcore outfit All For Nothing before their set. Luckily, from the first moment of their show it became clear that this is a band with considerably more live experience, better songs, and a far better ability to create a connection with the crowd because the songs are just that much faster and less generic. Vocalist Cindy threw herself into the crowd the first instant and didn't leave for the entire duration of the set, obviously attempting to create some sort of havoc in the form of mosh pits and what not. She was by herself though except for the lone crowd member or two who joined her every now and then, but for the most part members of the crowd were content to just watching her scream in their faces from only a few inches away - just as I had predicted in my preview of the event. But at least people weren't just giving the band the static treatment, because side-to-side movement, head nodding and the sort could be detected in pretty much every standing crowd member. Much of this can be attributed to the band's energetic stage performance featuring lots of hardcore style jumping on the stage complementing Cindy's back-and-forth storming sessions in front of the stage. To give you an idea of just how much energy the band put into their set, I jotted down the keyword "energy" into my notes five times during their set.

But around half way to the set, quite a few people stopped moving so Cindy screamed to the crowd: "some people are standing still", trying her very best to the get the whole crowd going. You can't blame her for trying, but you have to face the facts and realize that perhaps your songs just aren't good enough - or that you don't have a large enough quantity of great songs. You're putting in a tremendous amount of energy, screaming right in the faces of people in the crowd without keeping the crowd interested for more than just 20 minutes or so...in fact that sort of development is common at most hardcore shows I've been to. In any case, my overall impression of All For Nothing's set is as follows: they played a decent set of hardcore with a fair amount of cool punk riffs but it wasn't anything special or particularly memorable. [6½]

Normally sets like the two described above would fly by without causing harm, but since tonight was the launch event, people will reflect on these two sets as their first impression of Copenhagen Showdown. I know I'm coming back because I like the concept, but judging from the crowd response, I'm somewhat afraid that all too many people will skip coming along next time unless they know for sure that the bands are gonna be good. And the only way they'll know that is if they've encountered the band before either on record or in a live setting. That's why there's a distinct need to bounce back with way better bands next time; even a Danish punk act that's well liked in the scene would do. Luckily the people behind Copenhagen Showdown have already booked the bands for next event and they're already looking much better. They stated before the launch event that they wanted to book one of the 'hardest' lineups they'll be booking in the future, and that's good in my opinion, because if there's one genre that's liked by less people in Denmark than punk rock (though the Rise Against show made me think otherwise), it's definitely hardcore.

But before I wrap up this article, lets have a sneak peak of what's coming your way on December 5th when Copenhagen Showdown #2 takes place. This'll just be a quick overview because a more thorough preview will be published about a week before the event.

Headliner

Sarah Blackwood from Toronto, Canada. Plays acoustic country / folk rock. Sounds pretty sweet on Myspace and I'm sure she'll create a great atmosphere.

Support:

The Untamed from Copenhagen, Denmark. Their specialization is in old school garage and psychobilly punk with an Elvis vibe to it. They've also just put out a new album.

Deadmen's Suit from Copenhagen, Denmark. Mix together country and psychobilly and a whole lot of 60s - think Johnny Cash. Album coming out soon.

So for their second event, Copenhagen Showdown are going for alternative acts with a focus on the good ol' days. This should be interesting. Flyer below, click leads to Myspace.

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