Siamese

support Odd Palace + South Haven
author LL date 25/05/19 venue Hotel Cecil, Copenhagen, DEN

The Danish pop metallers of Siamese just released their fifth full-length "Super Human" this month. I have been a fan of theirs for many years and with their consistently bold and interesting output through their career, of course, there was no discussion whether or not I would be going to their release concert this time either. For support, they have tapped the always remarkable progressive and wild Odd Palace, whom I also have a soft spot for, as well as a brand new group in the scene called South Haven, who are having their debut performance tonight. All in all, the sold-out evening seems lined up with great party potential.

South Haven

Like the headliner tonight, South Haven is a band that moves between hard rock and metal breakdowns mixed with pop melodies that are downright infectious. They have been honing their songwriting for quite some time up till now, and that is very clear from the highly efficient songs that present us with a surprisingly high standard tonight, considering we're witnessing a debut live performance. The band is fronted by two singers that complement each other very well: Christine Nielsen's voice is emotional and often cuts long, straight notes while Angel Jegembe is more prone to roundly reverberating vocals and R'n'B-like intonation. They interchange between different parts of the songs, often coming together for specific lines and hooks, especially during choruses. I find that they each have strong and powerful elements to bring to the table while they still have work to do perfecting their styles. They really shine when they sing harmonies together, though, and those moments are the very best of the set for me.

They seem to be hitting the Siamese-demographic spot on and immediately following their first song that sports an acapella breakdown and really gets heads banging around the room, they have already convinced everyone up front of their merit. Some of the songs are very bouncy while others hit a more heavy metal tone, but no matter what, they are first and foremost melodically solid. They present one song towards the end as "Winter in June", which is followed by their only released single so far, "Dancing in Nightmares", which is overwhelmingly clapped along to by the audience from the beginning. In between songs, their hype for Siamese is almost a little too much, but on the other hand, they take up their spot as the humble support and certainly set a good tone for the evening. Mostly I get a positive feeling of them having an explosive potential collectively in the group but I'm not sure they have fully unlocked everything just yet. And that's fine, because then they have somewhere to go, and I'm definitely curious to follow them on their coming journey.

7

Odd Palace

After the fine start to the evening, the progressive rock outfit Odd Palace seem pressed for time during the changeover and they also end up cutting a song from their set for everything to pan out. It's been a while since I have seen them live so it's great to hear eccentric songs like "Carnivore" and "Chemical Solution" once more. Their demeanor on stage is like a 180 degrees flip from the band preceding them, most heavily underlined as their vocalist thanks Siamese only to confidently add with a cheeky smile that they will have their time later and now it is about Odd Palace. And indeed, Odd Palace have their own fanbase as evident from the activity in front of the stage, but their set is somewhat hindered by a sound mix that has the lead guitar placed very high, giving everything a weird overtipped balance. As always, though, the concentrated looks of joy on the band members' faces and their energy as they groove on the stage are welcome elements that build in intensity during the set. The live-effects that their vocalist puts on his singing as well as his cornet-playing sessions in a few songs also add integrity to everything.

They play two new singles for us that will be on their upcoming sophomore album. It seems to me that they are more traditionally built than many of their older songs, with a more standard formula including breakdowns at certain points for maximum rock heaviness, but we'll have to see when they are released as studio versions. The older "Delirious" ends the set and gets the first moshpit of the day going during its more chaotic parts. As always, just when you think the song is ending after the band has been wildly collapsing into each other and their instruments on the stage, the sound lingers on and they develop it into a final burst of sound to great applause. The weird sound, and somewhat rushed set, coupled with their over-confidence doesn't result in the best Odd Palace set I've ever seen. Still, it's good fun and great musicianship, and with their latest period of silence due to studio work, I'm happy to see that they've still got that spark in them that won me over when I first found them.

7

Siamese

Siamese have been branding themselves as every metalhead's favorite guilty pleasure and with their latest album "Super Human", they certainly make a great candidate. It's a heavy and bold mix of rock riffs, metal breakdowns, and electronic bolstering, with pop melodies front and center and tonight they include all of its 9 tracks in their set. With classic grandeur, they have even posted their setlist online ahead of the show, to make sure everyone will come and sing along. They set out with the weakest card on the new release, though. "Unified" with its layers and layers of harmonies doesn't provide the best opening, and the sound mix seems sort of closed and flat, but come second hit "Tunnelvision", everything is suddenly crystal and especially Mirza Radonjica-Bang's vocals are impressively on point. For anyone that knows me, it's no secret that I haven't been a fan of their drenching of Mirza's stellar voice in too many autotune-sounding vocal harmonies but for a good part of tonight, albeit not all the time, the balance is actually done right.

There's a great party going in the crowd through most of the set, and especially "Give Me Up" and "Not Coming Home" from the new album do great with venue-wide bouncing and moshpits appearing. The R'n'B-single "Super Human" features the rapper Olivio on stage tonight, just like on its studio version, and having him provide backing vocals provides a nice break in the more mechanical vibe of the other songs. The beautiful "Ocean Bed" is very atmospheric and benefits from a great, blanketing light show, but the vocals seem oddly un-grounded. It doesn't make quite the impact I would have expected, as is the case for the lighter "You're Not Alone". The slightly older "Tomorrow Never Dies" and the even older classic "A Liar Cried Wolf" make welcome appearances in the main set, though, and provide fine reference points in how the group's songwriting has evolved over the years, especially concerning the violin parts. Especially the latter is also a superior performance as Mirza freestyles a bit over the verse melodies. While that can often be annoying, here it only spices up an old song and makes it even better. Not a small feat.

The last parts of the show have near constant casual moshing and dancing as the audience have finally let loose, and their cover of The Weeknd's "Party Monster", the more determined "Animals" with its little violin solo, and of course their latest party banger "B.A.N.A.N.A.S." become one long stretch of good vibes and solid live energy. Finally, the encore goes back to their previous album with the impeccable "Cities", a surprisingly chilling version of "Ablaze", and finally "Soul & Chemicals" to end the party. The latter evolves into a dubsteppy ending akin to what they have previously mixed into their live sets but here, it has an appropriate length as the instruments shred over the aggressive music and the crowd gives it one final shot. With dramatic music in between songs and a very professional show, we get a vibe of Siamese prepping for bigger stages than ever before. While there are weaker moments during the set, the ratio of great songs is sky high and their live energy is a force to be reckoned with. As always, a Siamese show leaves you happy, sweaty, and probably more than a little hoarse from singing.

Setlist:

  • 1. Unified
  • 2. Tunnelvision
  • 3. Give Me Up
  • 4. Tomorrow Never Dies
  • 5. Ocean Bed
  • 6. You're Not Alone
  • 7. Super Human
  • 8. Not Coming Home
  • 9. A Liar Cried Wolf
  • 10. Party Monster (The Weeknd cover)
  • 11. Animals
  • 12. B.A.N.A.N.A.S.

- Encore

  • 13. Cities
  • 14. Ablaze
  • 15. Soul & Chemicals

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