Junius

support City Of Ships + Late Night Venture
author PP date 14/04/15 venue UnderWerket, Copenhagen, DEN

It's Tuesday night. Not usually an easy night to attract crowds out to Valby and UnderWerket despite its proximity to the Copenhagen central station (only five minutes away by train). But tonight, a lineup featuring post-metal royalty and local post-rock upstarts Late Night Ventures, the venue is more than half full by the time City of Ships start their set. Impressive.

Late Night Ventures

Openers Late Night Ventures can barely fit on the tiny stage as a five-piece, but they make do with the little space they've got. As they open the venue is still largely empty, which probably reflects on their performance somewhat and explains the slow start. After a short while, the band's instrumentation picks up the pace and becomes more interesting. They play a brand of relatively heavy and down-tuned post-rock that's mostly instrumental with a few vocal incursions every now and then. Down-tuned groove and lengthy build-ups are instead the driving forces behind their expression alongside a few subtle electronic effects on the background. The songwriting is good, but the band simply need to engage the audience a lot more via their performance, either through a more hypnotic soundscape or by moving much more on stage. Right now, there's virtually nothing happening live that you couldn't imagine with your eyes closed while listening to the record. That needs to change before they'll convince me in a live environment.

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City Of Ships

I'll be honest. After the release of the monumentally great "Ultraluminal" a few weeks ago, they were the main draw from yours truly tonight. Thrice-influenced, extremely detailed and texture driven post-metal just doesn't get much better than that album. Armed with large sets of effects pedals, the band take the stage primarily focusing on material from the new album. Understandable - "Look What God Did To Us" is great, and "Minor World" works too, but the new record is undeniably their career masterpiece. Unfortunately, we don't get to experience the record in its full glory thanks to a muddled sound that makes it virtually impossible to recognize the detail on the record. Especially the vocals are struggling for the first half of their set - the piercing screams are too loud, and the quieter and more melodic croons exactly the opposite. Sure, "Alarm" sounds fantastic as does "Metadata Blues", but even these tracks need better sound to be properly appreciated. I remember the band having similar issues last time I caught them live, so perhaps their guitarist/vocalist needs to drop one and focus on the other. Right now, it's very clear that in the studio these parts have been recorded separately, whereas live they aren't executed in as crisp manner. As a result, if you don't know the songs they are difficult to appreciate live tonight (especially with the murky, dark light setting), but even if you are familiar with them, the detail in the live soundscape is not on a good enough level versus the brilliance of the album. Hence, as the band slowly makes their way through their set with little interaction or notable movement on stage, I'm thinking to myself that it needs better circumstances before it'll work as well as it does on the album.

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Junius

Junius stand for the biggest surprise of the night for the undersigned. Having brought their own light bulbs (!) that look like they came straight out of Edison's lab, the band make sure everyone wakes up the exact moment the first riffs of their metalgaze (post-metal meets shoegaze) sound hit the heavy notes and an inferno of light is sent towards the audience. Combine that with how fucking loud the band are at the same time, it creates a crazily immersive overall experience for the audience. Waves upon waves of melancholic barrages of post-metal are thrown at us as we watch the bands simplistic but utterly effective on/off light show in awe. It's a uniform display of sheer power where most songs sound extremely similar but fit the overall theme of their sound. I come to think of strange monk prayer ceremonies given the atmosphere and the religious vibe their music brings out both in terms of the sound but also in terms of the light show. All of this works great for a long while where Junius justify some of the hype I've been reading about them online, but they opt to play for more than 60 minutes which feels like an eternity tonight especially given how samey their songs are. A shorter set would've done wonders, right now we were amazed in the beginning, thought it was excellent midway through, but found it a little monotonous by the end.

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