Young Flowers

support Syreregn
author BV date 28/11/14 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

The year is rapidly coming to an end and gig activities are slowly starting to quiet down – at least for myself. However, under the moniker “A meeting of two generations of psychedelic rock”, Amager Bio managed to lure me in one last time this year to witness performances by Syreregn and Young Flowers. As I joined an audience consisting mostly of people twice my age – at the very least – I patiently awaited Syreregn’s arrival on stage to kick things off.

Photos courtesy of Philip B. Hansen

Syreregn

Now, Syreregn is a band I’ve seen numerous times before and while I’ve been really into them at different stages of my life from my teens and up until now, they’ve recently been striking me as a sort of hit and miss experience. One could argue that the previous inconsistencies in their lineup have done their part to add a mix of troublesome elements into the band’s performance but it is still only fair to say that, lineup trouble or not, when Syreregn are having a good day they are basically on fire – delivering riveting performances that stick to mind long after. Unfortunately for me and the rest of the crowd, this just didn’t seem to be one of those nights. Perhaps it was the intimidating effect of occupying the stage at Amager Bio (a stage quite a bit larger than they’re used to), but their performance seemed relatively bland from the get-go. In spite of launching into familiar tracks like “Hvem Ved Hvad” and the ‘hit’, “Tag Solen Ned” from their debut album, the crowd seemed lukewarm at best – responding with applause after lengthy solos and when the songs ended but nothing else seemed to be going on.

With “Skabt Værk Består”, the band was joined by a percussionist and Scott “Dr. Space” Heller himself, creating trippy oscillations and spacy sounds to accompany the droning, repetitive riffs. While it is always a joy to hear the spacy oscillations of Scott Heller, his presence could only do so much for their performance. Nearing the end of their 55-minute set, Syreregn played the highlight of their set – “Hypnokongen” – off of their newest album. With its catchy, fast-paced riff it managed to sway an adequate amount of the crowd and had the band finish on top after all. In the end, however, I can only say that I have seen them play far better and more interesting gigs in far smaller venues – perhaps they have yet to master the larger stages and the dynamics that follow?

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Young Flowers

Young Flowers on the other hand received a hero’s welcome when they entered the stage. Ancient as they may look, Young Flowers were pivotal in the development of Danish rock music and garnered a reputation of being the Danish equivalent of British blues-rock legends Cream. On this night however, pivotal roles seemed long gone as the band kicked off a series of lengthy blues jams that had most of the nostalgia-affected crowd in their power. There’s no doubt that Peer Frost is an excellent guitar player and that a large part of the band’s dynamic revolves around a traditional blues pattern that is further beefed up by Peter Ingemann’s boogie-bass and Søren Berlev’s highly traditional, driven and straightforward rock-drumming. However, these lengthy improvisations within the confines of the blues were occasionally far too lengthy – losing a great deal of the crowd in the process. With familiar tracks like “Three Birds” and “Party Beat” Young Flowers reeled them in again and then continued their pentatonic onslaught of endless soloing. In spite of the playful origins of Young Flowers, it seems like a shame that they see the need to incorporate some very uninteresting blues-jams into their set to unleash that sort of playfulness, seeing as the band have written more than a few great tracks in their own right. – As noted by the great applause heard during the opening riff of the aforementioned “Party Beat”.

With “The Daybreak” select parts of the audience entered complete nostalgia – subtly dancing like the hippies they used to be, to the slow, soothing tones of this low-key track while taking in every single word of the lyrics – looking like they found a small part of their youth again for a brief, fleeting moment. Such a sight is, of course, touching in a sense and goes to show that there is still some relevance to Young Flowers as performers – uninteresting as others may possibly find them. Quite naturally a larger part of the crowd was near-ecstatic when Young Flowers unleashed their definitive hit, “Oppe I Træet”, a song frequently noted as encapsulating Danish music of the late 60’s in the minds of many a person who was present at the time. With its bubbly, strange wah-wah guitar parts and bombastic bass, the track is quite the attention-grabber – making sure that a dominant part of the crowd was giving the band their full attention. This was, without a doubt, the high-point of their set. After this, however, Young Flowers entered something very close to ‘tribute band territory’ as they played no less than three Cream tracks in a row – “Sunshine of Your Love”, “Tales of Brave Ulysses” and “SWLABR”. Joyous, as these sounds were to some, they were borderline irrelevant for others and more than a few crowd members grabbed the chance to leave the gig or go to the bar to refill their drinks before the band wrapped things up. In essence, Young Flowers still matter to some – that much is obvious. However, in spite of my own fond feelings towards their albums and indeed to the live performance I saw them play at Amager Bio a few years ago, I just can’t find it in me to call this night spectacular, fantastic or something similar. It was a somewhat solid showing which seemingly satisfied the needs of most crowd-members but I have my doubts that this will be a gig I’ll remember much of a few years down the line.

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