Nothing

support White Lung
author PP date 13/11/14 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

Since when did Loppen begin opening doors at already 20:30 and scheduling shows to start from 21:30 onwards already? That's a great development on weekdays for those of us who have regular workdays and have to get up early in the next morning. Thumbs up for that initiative. Tonight, we're at the venue to check out Nothing, one of the breakthrough acts of 2014 whose debut album "Guilty Of Everything" is a masterpiece in shoegaze that presents the genre in a completely new life. But they aren't the only hyped band on the lineup tonight as they've brought along female fronted post-punk / hardcore group White Lung from Canada, who have been rising to underground stardom through consistent critical acclaim on all of their three albums so far.

White Lung

White Lung

Known for their relentless and uncompromising high-octane approach on album to album, White Lung waste no time in showcasing their new album "Deep Fantasy", which is played almost in its entirety in rapid-fire succession with eight out of the ten tracks on the album being aired tonight. The band consists of a female bassist, drummer and vocalist alongside a lone male guitarist doing all the heavy-duty work in terms of their hyperactive and frenetic melodies, whilst the rest of the band is more free to rock out in their own spaces. Blonde vocalist Mish Way engaged in a mysterious dance routine at the center of the stage waving her hands slowly around as she howls and screams through their primetime material, but without ever grabbing the mic and moving around which would suit their otherwise fast paced music much better. Still, as the band shake and move in unison they generate an infectious energy that ties together with the sense of restlessness attached to their material, which is only fortified by their nonchalant presence and the choice to plow through the songs with barely any stops in between. "This is normally the part where I will make stupid comments but I don't have anything...I've used them all up" is pretty much the only comment we get from Mish Way and the band that isn't connected to their songs, but it adds mystery to their set and given their forceful and almost reckless abandon in jamming fourteen tracks into just thirty minutes, the crowd erupts into a loud and appreciative cheer as their set draws close. Guitar complexity has been out of this world and the band's song material some of the best I've heard in post-punk flavored hipster music in a long while.

Setlist:

  • 1. Sycophant
  • 2. Down It Goes
  • 3. Drown With the Monster
  • 4. Bad way
  • 5. Snake Jaw
  • 6. Wrong Star
  • 7. Bag
  • 8. Just for You
  • 9. I Believe You
  • 10. Face Down
  • 11. Thick Lip
  • 12. Two Of You
  • 13. Blow It South
  • 14. Take the Mirror

Nothing

Nothing

In comparison to the frenetic White Lung soundscape, the dreamy shoegaze world of Nothing feels even more calming and relaxed than it does on record when placed in such a direct (and probably purposeful) contrast. The band open with a looped spoken word passage lifted out of Richard Brautigan's "Love Poem", which echoes in a robotic manner in the half-full venue as the band struggle with technical issues in the beginning. They tell the sound man everything should be played "louder than you think... WAY louder" from the monitors, underlining the atmospheric and loud nature of their music. Ideally, we should all be encompassed into a dream world consisting of a barrage of resonating heavy riffs and the soothing vocals of the band's vocalists, so playing it loud sounds like a good idea. Unfortunately, already by track two "Bent Nail" it becomes clear just how much polish and production trickery has been applied to the vocals on record. They come off as off-tune and nowhere near as smooth as they do record, leaving at least a third of Nothing's beautifully constructed soundscape in shambles as a result. Granted, the band show signs of wear and tear over three weeks of touring, which they also mention at one point during the set, but the vocal quality on display from both of their vocalists is simply awful compared to the studio recording. So despite the band airing brilliant tracks like "Dig" and "Get Well", it's an issue almost impossible to ignore tonight: the more demanding the song vocally, the more clear are the shortcomings in this department. Likewise, their in between song 'banter' if you can call it that is rather terrible, which in reality sounds like a couple of people incredibly high barely being able to speak uttering a few words into the mic here and there.

Nothing

But if we disregard the vocal problems and focus on the instrumentals and their performance, the band sounds amazing. The loud and abrasive guitar/bass mix sounds near perfect and fills Loppen nicely, so the lengthy instrumental parts in their songs are an absolute joy to witness. In the meantime, the band members are headbanging and engaged in small movement in their own personal spaces, with the exception of their bassist who makes a brief venture into the crowd with his instrument. The audience is mostly hypnotized and silent as there are really no sing along parts in Nothing's music, instead concentrating heavily on the instrumental build ups. This part works well, as evident in especially "Hymn To The Pillory", but again, the vocals are almost unacceptable throughout the set. As a result I leave the venue disappointed over the contrast between how great the album is on record and how inconsistent it felt in a live environment.

6

Photos by: Philip B. Hansen

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