(Splendid)

support Siamese Fighting Fish + Trusted Few
author TL date 14/02/09 venue Rust, Copenhagen, DEN

Ah, Saturday February 14th. Valentine's Day, and what better way to honor it than to take ones girlfriend by the hand and go see some bands with a couple of friends? Perfectly romantic if you ask me.. - Okay maybe not, but this particular reviewer's better half knew all too well what she was getting herself into, and thus we've gotten ourselves to Rust on Nørrebro in Copenhagen on this cold night, so that we may check out the most recent material from Trusted Few and Siamese Fighting Fish.

Till now, I've never set foot in this venue, and to those of you who are in the same situation, I can inform you that this must be pretty much the smallest actual music venue in the city. Rust is in fact really more of a club that just moonlights as a venue on occasion, and this of course means that most of its basement floor, even though dedicated as the place where gigs take place, is really more of a club setting than a concert one. The room is long and narrow and the actual stage and dance floor only takes up about a 3rd or a 4th of its total square metres, and this makes for an intimate setting where people who are here for the music have room to dance and appreciate the bands, while others can still casually chill with some drinks down in the back. It doesn't look bad, and as I bump into Mirza of SIFIFI upon entrance he also promises that the place has good sound, so hopes are somewhat up for us it seems.

Trusted Few

Now it's no secret that I've met Trusted Few on several occasions and that I consider the band for friends of mine, and effectively much has already been written about the band in these pages considering how small a band we're really dealing with. Tonight is a different setting from usual though, as the band actually have 40 minutes to play an entire setlist for once, and with new songs on the way from them, there's a healthy chance that the show will provide a sneak peek into what the future might bring from the band. Their position in the bottom of tonight's bill is a result of them being responsible for the smallest partion of the tickets sold, and this shows in the composition of the crowd members, most of them looking like they're definetely here for the more poppy and mainstream Splendid than for TF's screamo/post-hardcore show. That doesn't seem to faze them in any way though, and to begin with, it seems like they're on top of their game, giving one of their usual lessons in what an energetic show is supposed to be like.

It doesn't take long before cracks in the surface start to appear though, and soon it is evident that there are a good deal of things going against Trusted Few tonight. First off, Rust's sound fails to deliver on Mirza's promise, as the speakers simply seem to be too small for the volume they've been set to, and the mix is way off. The drums are too high, same goes for the bass and vocals, while the guitar is almost nowhere to be heard, and overall it sounds a bit like an amplified experience of listening to heavy metal on laptop speakers. The clarity of the vocals isn't something that flatters singer Johan either, for while he has definitely improved his capabilities for aggresive delivery, his clean singing still leaves a lot left to be desired, and tonight a substantial amount of notes sound like they're a half or a whole note below the one that is meant to be. Andreas also forgets and misses a couple of his vocal lines, and things don't get any better when a string on his bass breaks and he can't seem to fix it. Even though Adam and Philip keep the crowd entertained with drum and guitar wizardry while a replacement bass is borrowed from another band, it does feel a bit amateurish to see that there's no contingency plan in case of an event like this. Given these circumstances, my attention is effectively diverted away from paying close attention to the new material the guys play, so I'll have to take a raincheck when it comes to hyping that for you. Instead I can only say that this performance was much sloppier than what I'm used to seeing from Trusted Few, even if it did have some good energy to it.

6

Siamese Fighting Fish

Things are then much different with Siamese Fighting Fish, as they seem to be bursting with the will to prove themselves to tonight's audience - Which is understandable given how they've been busy replacing one of their guitarists and effectively finishing new songs and reworking old ones. Their presence is instantly more professional, coordinated and potent than that of Trusted Few, and Mirza's confidence seems stronger than ever as he commands the crowd like a seasoned rock-veteran. You can't blame him though, because his singing is spot on with the exception of very very few mistakes, all in spite of a bad case of the flue that has been haunting him the whole day. When it comes to the band's songs, I would be lying if I tried to tell you that it was easily accessible or enjoyable in a live setting. Between the ethnic sound of Mirza's vocal delivery, the Incubus influence in the funky bass work, the breakdowns and what ever else is going on, SIFIFI seem intent on jam-packing their songs with more different elements than most people care to keep up with.

This fact will probably keep them a closely guarded underground secret if this is a path they are intent on staying on, but that may actually just be for the better, because even while 'instantly catchy' doesn't ever seem to enter the equation with this band, tonight's set shows a band with a sound that's both weird, detailed and charismatic all at once.. And while I think the majority of the crowd has the same difficulty with seeing through to the core of what's going on, few can shake the feeling that this is a quality performance, topped off with Mirza instigating a 'wall of love', where people cross the gap in the middle of the floor, not to mutilate each other, but to hug those on the other side. Smooth Mirza, very smooth my friend. Overall I still can't say that I remember many of the songs SIFIFI play, and this may or may not be something they want to work with, but be that as it may, I'm warming up to them more and more, and I can't wait to hear the next batch of material they get to record.

Splendid

Now Splendid is tonight's main attraction, and given the mainstream feel of their music, they are not a band I have currently fallen upon in my traversing of the underground music scene. A quick pre-show plays off their myspace player reveals that they're a skilled bunch at writing pop-rock songs though, even if their female-fronted Kelly Clarkson-esque sound seems a bit too safe for my preference. Waiting for them to come on I'm actually excited to see what they can do, but as soon as they do come on, I find myself in the bar, blocked completely from view by the mass of people that suddenly feel like paying attention to what's going on on stage. Not feeling like venturing into the dense crowd with a fresh glass of beer in hand, I stay back and listen with open ears, and what I hear brings that feeling of "too safe" back into mind again. I'm not alone in this feeling, as my friends start arguing that we should go home because none of them really care about this band, and while Splendid are right to resent me for my lack of objectivity and not giving them a fair shot, this is still Valentine's Day, and if there ever was a day for compromising journalistic integrity for the sake of one's girlfriend's wishes, I think this is it. So yeah, I let myself be talked into leaving the show, so obviously I won't attempt to judge the quality of Splendid's performance, instead I'll just encourage you to head over to their myspace page and check them out, at least if you don't mind your rock being fused with pop and fronted by a female singer.

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