The Devil Wears Prada

support Your Demise + Jesaiah
author PP date 03/11/09 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Admittedly, this review of the recent The Devil Wears Prada show in Denmark should've been written and posted a long time ago, but a long review queue and a subsequent one-week holiday to the UK prevented me in doing so. But better late than never, right, especially because a number of people who read this site (in?)frequently could be seen in the crowd that filled roughly half of Lille Vega (capacity: 500). My guess is that we could've been near a sold out show had The Devil Wears Prada not scheduled a show in Malmö, Sweden the next day, a meager 20 minute train ride away from Copenhagen. Usually the drunk & screaming Swedes form nearly half of 'scene' shows like this, so today we had to do with only the Danes, though the average age was still frighteningly close to 16-17 years old. Oh well, three decent bands on the bill, and now I'm going to share my opinion about them.

Jesaiah

Tonight's first act was a band I was quite looking forward to checking out live based on their chaotic debut album I reviewed about a month back. Usually bands of Jesaiah's style tend to throw themselves all over the stage explosively, and that's indeed what happened right off the bat, as the band dived into a hyper aggressive performance and a surprisingly loud cheer from the crowd. But unfortunately the band gave up all too soon because people were just standing still and watching without giving the band a proper response. After three songs the only people that really cared about Jesaiah's performance were a couple of asshole karate moshers. When will they stop ruining pits - and in Jesaiah's case, entire shows? One of the key reasons why the light in Jesaiah's set died quickly was that people had to either stand right in front of the stage, afraid of being fisted in the head, or alternatively too far to create the feeling of intensity that's a must at shows like these. Furthermore, the lighting was absolutely shitty for their set, at times making it difficult to see what was even going on! A shame, really, but no band should give up so fast though. Perhaps their chaos-hardcore was a bit too experimental for tonight's crowd of 16 year old scene kids? Whatever the reason, Jesaiah stopped jumping as fiercely and energetically only after a few songs, and it's really hard to like a band's set when nobody else does. Not because I want to act conformist with everyone else, but just because there's no atmosphere whatsoever. Still, watching Your Demise's rise from a similar status to eventually winning the crowd over shows just what you can achieve with persistence; however Jesaiah are a young band, and no doubt one that still needs to gain experience.

Your Demise

I completely forgot I had seen Your Demise once before back in 2007 when they were the opening support for a Shai Hulud headlining set, probably because I absolutely, totally, completely, entirely hated their set, and rated it 3/10 which is incredibly rare in a live review from us. Without knowledge of recent developments in the band's career, such as a new vocalist only a few months ago, I went in biased, expecting more of the same boring punk-driven hardcore with breakdowns that pissed me off so badly back then. Should any of you readers have been present at both occasions against all odds, then you'd definitely agree if I'll just go ahead and say holy shit, they were ridiculously much better tonight. First off, the new vocalist is about a thousand times better than their old one (he uses a much cleaner style rather than the monotonous scream of the old dude - think Champion), and second of all, I've seldom seen a band so frenetically jumping around during every waking moment of their set. I didn't spot a single moment where a member of the band would not have been either enjoying airtime or crashing around the stage. And here's where Your Demise really showed Jesaiah: not a single soul in the crowd cared for the band in the beginning because their brand of hardcore punk has about as much in common with The Devil Wears Prada as Coldplay has with Rise Against.

The first statement from the new vocalist was "this stage is yours, stage dive, do whatever you want", which was repeated multiple times at every given break until one brave (+tall & large) kid climbed on and proceeded to do a somersault off the stage, knocking around eight 14-16 year old girls over. It was like bowling - painful if you drop the ball on your foot, but funny for everyone else, and it encouraged loads of people to do just that. By the end of the set, the stage saw a constant influx of stage divers throwing themselves off the stage, each time preceded by a high-pitch scream from the girls crowding the immediate front area. What started off as shouting / yelling in people's faces quickly developed into utter chaos because of the following: the band's incredible energy catched on the crowd, and once the crowd got going, the band drew from their energy and became even more crazy on stage. The vocalist started charging into the crowd, nearly running on people's head in the best Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan) manner, stage diving in, sharing the mic to the folks to scream in, and just overall displayed an honest, genuine atmosphere with a "I LOVE DOING THIS" vibe instead of the fucking pretentious one you usually find at hardcore shows. Throw in the hardcore punk speed rhythms which probably 90% of the attendance aren't familiar with, an interactive stage appearance between him and the crowd, and all of a sudden you had a massive circle pit inside of Lille Vega, stretching from side to side, reminding me in relative size of the recent Rise Against pit at the much larger Store Vega. Karate moshers were a faded memory at this point, people were actually circling the pit! Now this is how a genuine, no bullshit atmosphere feels and looks like! By the end of their set, there were so many hands reaching for the band on the stage, so many people dancing, so many people moving along to the music... it shows just how much you can achieve by upholding your stage show despite people not giving two shits about you in the beginning: everyone liked it in the end, and I was duly impressed. Now the people of Vega: when a band asks for more lights on stage on three separate occasions, you should do something about it, but apparently the lights were reserved for TDWP only.

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The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada then had a lot to live up to in my mind, and my initial impression certainly wasn't good, but that's not something you can fault the band for: for the first song and a half, you couldn't hear shit because the sound was so heavy on the bass-side that anyone not wearing ear plugs probably went home deaf that night. Luckily it didn't take long for the sound to adjust back to normal levels, aaaaaand then it was back to the scene mosh core bullshit from the crowd's side. Funnily enough the band itself mirrored its stage appearance to that of Your Demise, spending most of their time in constant up-down movement, so I don't have a clue where the crowd gets the idea that they should swing their fists around like windmills. Especially their keyboardist was quite mental, resembling the guy from Emery with his energetic performance.

As the TDWP set progresses past its halfway mark, one thought begins circulating my mind: they're a brilliant band when they rely on sweet riffs, a great contrast between clean choruses and rough screaming, and bouncing around the stage in a non-choreographed, nicely unpredictable manner much like Your Demise. But they're so stereotypically 'scene' in the worst denotation of that word whenever they engage in those idiotic synchronized head bangs during the breakdowns. It's so blatantly obvious that these have been agreed upon in rehearsal, and I think most people will agree with me that it's painful to watch a band do something because they've agreed to do it instead of it coming from the heart, from the primal urge to move your body just the way you feel like based on the moment. Now that video I linked to is of course much worse considering it is not live, but nevertheless, the band is just so much better when they're crashing into each other stage without premeditation.

Other positives from the set included a much better light show (why couldn't they use the lights for the other two bands?), and a reasonably good crowd response with loud cheers and even a couple of sing alongs on their most famous songs. The band didn't spend much time engaging the crowd in between the songs, and they only played a 45 minute set, which most I talked to agreed was way too short (given that they had a full hour allowance by the venue), so I couldn't help but feel that their set was a little tame, especially considering the awesome Rise Against show was still in fresh memory from just a couple of days ago. And to be perfectly honest, Your Demise were the band that came on top tonight had it been a competition.

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