System Of A Down

support Eighties B-Line Matchbox Disaster
author PP date 19/06/05 venue Valby Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN

System Of A Down must be used to playing in huge arenas by now, and Valby Hallen is no exception. It's a big hall, similar to that of Alexandra Palace in London, housing 5,000 people on a sold out night like this one. If you get to play in front of huge crowds like this one, you must be playing some great music. Now that is the case with System Of A Down but what on earth was Eighties B-Line Matchbox Disaster doing on stage as the support band for one of the hottest bands out there at the moment? I'd believe System can pick pretty much any band to do the support slots for them, so why Eighties B-Line Matchbox Disaster? What a disappointment for me, specially because I know that in the US, bands like The Mars Volta are supporting them.

Eighties B-Line Matchbox Disaster

So where to start with the Matchbox Disaster? Well, they got one thing straight with their name - they are a disaster. It's one of the first times i've actually had to leave a gig room when a band is playing because they are just so horrible. What on earth are they thinking? Who, for the love of god, decides at one point of their musical career to combine rock from the 80s in the style of bands like Aerosmith, with the current "big" emo/screamo movement? I don't think I've ever heard anything more horrible live before, than hearing a shriek/scream over guitars similar to "Falling In Love" by Aerosmith. This is all on top of their four guys just standing there in a line, damn near nailed to the ground. Well I have to be fair, their rightmost guitarist was the only one of them even making the slightest effort of actually PERFORMING on stage. So halfway through their set, the beer tap was more than inviting.

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System Of A Down

So after the shit was cleaned from the stage, the lights were shut and the intro song to "Mezmerize" was turned on while the System entered on stage as if they owned it. They knew they were out here to make a good show, I mean you can't possibly get a show wrong with songs as high quality as theirs. Or wait, yes you can. Just go watch Millencolin live. Luckily SOAD didn't pull a Millencolin tonight and song after song, the biggest favorites of all of their albums were played out. The setlist was amazingly long, including nearly every song from their hit album "Toxicity". And to our pleasant surprise, they also played "Kill Rock N' Roll", and "Holy Mountains" from "Hypnotize", out on September 27th.

Curiously enough, there were nearly no circle pits in the crowd. I would've expected these huge, Alexisonfire-like pits all around the crowd due to the size of the venue, but the only ones I faced were miniature sized, pathetic excuses of pits, around 1-2 metres in diameter. But then again, System's songs aren't exactly the mosh pit type of songs. "BYOB" unleashed hell in the crowd, and by the time they hit "Science", the temperature in the front was closer to that of a Sauna than a normal indoor temperature.

Where smaller bands just have a logo hanging from the ceiling behind them as they are playing, System's stuff was way more expensive. They had an electric light system behind them shaped up like a whole bunch of bar codes. Specially during "Prison Song", the light system amazed me. At first, the entire hall would be lightless. Then, synchronized with the intro guitars of Prison, the lights flashed bright white light, giving you the paniced feeling of facing about 10 big trucks heading your way flashing lights. "Prison Song" was the high point of this gig.

But it wasn't all that great overall. I wasn't impressed by their showmanship. Fair enough, Serj is very charismatic but it does get a little bit boring watching him stand there singing the lyrics with his other hand up in the air, as if he was holding a speech and using hand signs to express his ideas more. The guitarist and bassist didn't move much either - to me it seemed as if System relied entirely on their song material instead of actually giving something special to watch like Slipknot or Bullet For My Valentine. Where the latter band was very tight and intense, System's performance seemed loose and mild for the most part. Sure, everyone enjoyed songs like "Toxicity", "Forest", and "Sugar" but still. You can't rate a band 10 or even a 9 when you are missing the showmanship for the most part. And once again, I missed some songs from the setlist. I think that songs like "Lost In Hollywood", "Question!" could have been replaced with the likes of "Innervision", "Highway Song" or with the two best songs from their new album, namely "Violent Pornography" and "Radio/Video". When they improve their showmanship and make it less repetitive, i'll rate them higher.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Soldier Side
  • 2. BYOB
  • 3. Revenga
  • 4. Science
  • 5. Kill Rock N' Roll
  • 6. Suggestions
  • 7. Psycho
  • 8. Chop Suey
  • 9. Cigaro
  • 10. Mr. Jack
  • 11. Needles
  • 12. Deer Dance
  • 13. Aerials
  • 14. Holy Mountains
  • 15. Spiders
  • 16. Bounce
  • 17. Atwa
  • 18. Forest
  • 19. Lost In Hollywood
  • 20. Question!
  • 21. War?
  • 22. Prison Song
  • 23. Toxicity
  • 24. Suite-Pee
  • 25. Sugar

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