Keane

support Eliza Shaddad
author LF date 09/02/20 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

One of the main bands of my high school years was the British piano rock group Keane. Their two first albums "Hopes And Fears" and "Under The Iron Sea" would run on repeat in my room day after day, their melancholic yet optimistic songs the soundtrack of many events of my youth. Until today, I have never had the chance to see them live and so I have obviously been looking immensely forward to the sold-out show at Store Vega, following their Danish festival appearance at NorthSide last year. On this current tour, they are celebrating the release of their 2019 comeback album "Cause And Effect", their first release after their four-year hiatus between 2014 and 2018. I have had a bit of a hard time getting into it because of the sheer amount of down-tempo and somewhat nondescript ballads but from my sneak peek on their recent setlists, I already know that tonight is gonna provide us with plenty of older material mixed in with the new. Along with the general hype around lead singer Tom Chaplin's incredible live vocals, I make my way to the venue through terrible wind and rain, firmly believing that tonight is going to be a good one.

None of our photographers were available tonight but you can check out Vega's own gallery here with photos by Joseph Miller

Eliza Shaddad

As their support, they have Eliza Shaddad who is an upcoming British singer-songwriter that has put out several EP's as well as a full-length record through the last couple of years. Tonight she presents her songs with just her voice and guitar and yet leaves a surprisingly personal impression. Her voice has such power in it and the reverberating guitar supports it perfectly. For the first two songs, "Make It Go Away" and "This Is My Cue", she commands the room and gains solid applause, as she weaves her songs of heartbreak that are sad but also full of strength somehow. "Same As You" complicates the picture with more ambiguous lyrics and stands as a highlight of her set for me, partially also because the vocal melody and rhythm bounce off the guitar in a new and exciting way, although it does end a bit abruptly. By here, the magic grasp she had on the crowded Store Vega room seems to have lessened, though, and for the emotional song about her grandmother, "In The Morning", talk is breaking out around the room. She doesn't miss a beat and keeps smiling confidently but it's still a shame. For the last two songs, she picks up the tempo and nuances her style a bit more, fighting at least some of the increasing buzz around the room. First, it's "Just Goes To Show" that has a more traditional hit vibe in its melody and structure, but the really interesting part arrives with the fierce "Waters" that finally ends the 30-minute set. It does so on a high note with its captivating chorus and darker tone, providing the second highlight for me and leaving me with an urge to check out her songs more in-depth at home. All in all a great outcome for a supporting artist I didn't know of before this show and a fine start to the evening.

7

Keane

As the clock nears 9 pm, the buzz in the room increases and as soon as the lights dim, immense applause and cheers break out from the excited fans. The band kicks off the set with the great opener "You're Not Home" from their newest record, a song that builds up brilliantly in layers striving ever upwards. As half hoped, half expected, lead singer Tom Chaplin does sing beautifully, not missing pitch at any point now or throughout the show. Furthermore, making me just as happy is the fact that the three other members of the group all support him with backing vocals - yes, even the drummer, which you don't see with every pop-rock band of this kind. It gives their sound a grounded and natural feel, even with piano and synth sounds all around, played of course by pianist and main songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley. The band is rounded out by bass and drums and feature no live guitars but manage to sound full and vibrant nonetheless.

The crowd tonight is very mixed but consisting primarily of what you might sweepingly call adults, but even though it is a Sunday and there could arguably have been a bigger party vibe the day before, everyone is readily singing and clapping along to big chunks of the set. It begins with the first older song on the setlist, "Nothing In My Way", and is only encouraged by Chaplin as he for instance gestures for everyone to chime in on the "Woo!"'s in the upbeat and insisting "Spiralling" and even later on doing an interaction bit, preparing everyone to sing along in the ending part of the anthem "You Are Young". His general level of activity is great and gives their music an upbeat, celebratory mood, even if the lyrics most often describe more complex feelings at the same time. The attitude does get a bit too lighthearted for me at points, though, as Chaplin, for instance, chooses the break just before "She Has No Time", their arguably saddest song as he comments himself, to show off his Danish by listing items he had for lunch.

Later on, a loud group of audience members also disturb the emotional weight of "Try Again" as well as "Bedshaped" by singing along partially to the riffs football stadium-style. It's confusing to me but I guess it only goes to show that this band is indeed a mainstream success and people celebrate even sad music in very different ways. It's not all quiet songs that get this treatment, though, and for instance, the newer "Strange Room" gets plenty of space and gives Rice-Oxley some well-deserved time in the spotlight, as he and Chaplin perform it alone at the front of the stage. Rice-Oxley himself is almost as active as Chaplin throughout the show, gesturing and interacting with the audience by the front and generally doing his part to be just as much a centerpiece of the live band as his singing counterpart.

For a fan, the 24-song long setlist provides lots of highlights, but especially "Bend And Break" and, of course, "Everybody's Changing" get immense applause. Apart from the aforementioned songs, personal favorites "We Might As Well Be Strangers" and "Is It Any Wonder?" both make great impressions, and even the new single "The Way I Feel" finally manages to click with me here. The last 8 songs, including the encore, provide a stretch of gold set off by "A Bad Dream" which lifts the experience by letting the band follow its movement and use the ending to actually rock out with more edge than at any point before in the show, strobes and all. Following this, we get another personal favorite in "Silenced By The Night", again with a particularly stellar performance by Chaplin. "This Is The Last Time" picks up the tempo a bit before the softer ballad of "Bedshaped" and finally the hit "Somewhere Only We Know" ends the regular set. They treat us to the sweet "In Your Own Time" from "Strangeland" in the encore instead of one of the newer songs, which is much appreciated, before "Crystal Ball" and "Sovereign Light Café" end the night in festive singalong fashion.

I can only corroborate what I have myself heard about Chaplin's singing before tonight: he is a great live vocalist and definitely won't disappoint anyone coming to see Keane. I appreciate the band's approach of celebrating their music instead of wallowing in melancholy every night but I still think they could have done slightly more to frame their quieter songs in a way that would command a different kind of awe or respect from the audience because the songs do merit it. Still, I had a great time tonight, although of course "Hamburg Song" and two or three others would have been very welcome additions to the setlist. Then again, there's only an even greater incentive to join the band the next time they make the trip to Denmark.

Setlist:

  • 1. You're Not Home
  • 2. Day Will Come
  • 3. Nothing In My Way
  • 4. Spiralling
  • 5. We Might As Well Be Strangers
  • 6. Love Too Much
  • 7. Bend And Break
  • 8. You Are Young
  • 9. Strange Room
  • 10. Disconnected
  • 11. The Way I Feel
  • 12. She Has No Time
  • 13. Phases
  • 14. Everybody's Changing
  • 15. Is It Any Wonder?
  • 16. Try Again
  • 17. A Bad Dream
  • 18. Silenced By The Night
  • 19. This Is The Last Time
  • 20. Bedshaped
  • 21. Somewhere Only We Know

- Encore

  • 22. In Your Own Time
  • 23. Crystal Ball
  • 24. Sovereign Light Café

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