Siamese Fighting Fish

support PMS + Enemia + Voltamp Power Plant
author TL date 15/10/11 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

Considering how many reviews I've written about them by now, it almost feels like forever ago that our friends in Siamese Fighting Fish last graced these pages. Note that down as a consequence of their firm belief that it's important to starve your fanbase just a little, to ensure that people keep coming back to your concerts. It's not like they've been sitting still though, no way. Rather they've been recording a demo to try out things before getting truly started with their follow up to this year's debut LP, and they've also explored interest in their band outside of Denmark's borders. Both are probably good ideas, because the band has obviously grown to the point where they are consistently considered headliners in Copenhagen, just as they are tonight, wielding enough pull to hand pick their own support bands.

Voltamp Power Plant

Speaking of support bands, the first one of the three SIFIFI have brought along tonight is self-proclaimed classic rock'n'roll outfit Voltamp Power Plant from Roskilde, who look quite young taking the stage at The Rock to a crowd no stronger than 20 in number. As they start the show however, the quintet quickly gets two things established. Firstly, they at least have every desire to give the crowd an energetic show no matter what, and secondly they are indeed very inspired by classic rock acts. So much in fact that their first song starts out sounding like an AC/DC rip-off, their second like a Beach Boys ("Surfin' USA") rip-off and their third like a Red Hot Chili Peppers ("Dani California" or "Can't Stop" was it?) rip-off. During these first songs, the band's lead guitarist and singer do what they can to act as focal points for the crowd's attention, one jumping and rocking about quite convincingly like Angus Young and the other trying to shake his nerves and get into his best Mick Jagger impression. Fortunately, the songs that follow seem a little less obviously inspired by songs you've certainly heard before, and VAPP steadily pick up momentum as the show progresses. The music is characterised by often employing a swinging, light-footed tempo that's almost never heard outside of rockabilly, in songs that are indeed from the Rolling Stones/AC/DC school of rock. The singer seems to be finding more and more confidence by the minute, and the lead guitarist solos and riffs around the stage constantly looking like he's taking borderline orgasmic pleasure in playing (which is the way to do it really). There are plenty of things to indicate that these boys try to compensate for inexperience with energy, but overall, the show is actually fairly well-played and entertaining. The music could really do with a more noticeable personality of its own, and with crowd presense at a minimum and PMS lurking in the shadows, likely to do something similar in a way more seasoned way just a little later, the grade for the set must reflect the considerable room for improvement VAPP still have.

E'nemia

The next men up are E'nemia, a metal quintet all the way from Jylland who are far and away the heaviest band on the bill tonight. The band launches into a set of music that's a mix of the heavier, mid-tempo nu-metal of bands like KoRn and Disturbed, and more modern, melodic metalcore alá Killswitch Engage and All That Remains. They quickly show that they're not too conservative when it comes to on stage performance, opting to move about quite a bit, diverting from the traditional 'stand and headbang/windmill/look mean' routine of many purist metal bands. Especially the axemen look comfortable moving about the stage and engaging the audience with both their moves and facial expressions. As for the actual music, the band gets a rather rough treatment in the mix however, as the more melodic riffs and clean singing ends up almost inaudible beneath the heavier elements, and hence it's hard to really appreciate the nuances in the songs. Meanwhile, recently added singer Carsten Albrektsen needs to work on his stage appearance, because where the other members look like they're doing, he looks very much like he's trying, which is weird, because the deep growls he mainly employs sound quite solid. His rather static performance looks, despite his various metal postures, more like a fan singing along from the pit than a performer who confidently overlooks a riot from a stage. Truthfully, it's not like there's a riot to oversee though, because other than the guys from VAPP having come down from the stage, there are still not a lot of people on the floor in front of the band. Could be it's just because I'm not too big on metal (especially not anything inspired even marginally by Disturbed) but from where I'm standing, inhibitions such as these eventually make E'nemia's set an experience that's actually slightly less memorable than Voltamp Power Plant's.

6

PMS

After E'nemia, the short break before it's time for the main support band PMS is apparently enough to allow a significantly larger amount of people people to enter the venue, and as it turns out, either PMS is starting to get noticed or they're every bit as instantly engaging as I think they are. The Roskilde-based quintet, dressed as usual in suits with red shirt/black tie combination, quickly engage in their take on up-beat, classically inspired rock'n'roll, complete with sweeping riffage and vocal gymnastics courtesy of the band's frontman, whom I've previously described as a Danish Jack Black. Unfortunately, the singer soon explains that he is currently somewhat ill, which has him sounding a little more like Tom Jones, and although he still does a solid job, it detracts from the band's appeal that his falsetto flourishes aren't as convincing as normally. On the other hand, PMS do enough other things right to still blow most bands' liveshows out of the water. There's awesome harmonised riffing and soloing alá Iron Maiden, there's brazen, sexy bass lines alá those you'd find during love scenes in cheesy movies and there are five dorky looking dudes who just generally seem to catch fire as soon as they put on their suits and step on stage. A fire that they allow to bridge the stage/floor gap by engaging the crowd with traditional party band tricks, organising loud-singing contests between left and right and so on. Long story short, these guys have playing live down to a routine, kicking ass and taking names seamlessly whenever they take the stage. Their only real problem is that you never get the feeling that any of their songs are ones you want to go home and find on the internet. It's like they just don't have the depths or the hooks to really get you interested beyond the scope of the show. While that's gotta be a hurdle for their ongoing career however, it does nothing to subtract from a night like this though, and hence here's a grade given only to those that, like PMS, manage to be end-to-end entertaining.

8

Siamese Fighting Fish

Another break divides the PMS show from the entry of the headliners, and this one again sees the crowd grow, from one filling up the venue floor nicely to one making the place feel proper crowded. The Rock is not exactly bursting, but the many friends and fans SIFIFI have made so far are showing their numbers along with a good deal of curious new faces. The Copenhagen-based sixtet comes on seemingly intent on rewarding both the loyal and the intrigued with one of their trademark energetic and charismatic performances. Long time violinist Jonas Klitgaard is not on stage, having recently left the band - to be unemployed singer Mirza Radonjica jokes - but SIFIFI's music is not impaired, with Stream City's Christian Lauritzen deftly filling in. The band gets the show going with a couple of familiar tracks in "Perfect Human Being" and "K.I.T.T And The Heroic Villains", and soon Radonjica is rocking out so recklessly that he falls almost face-first off stage. The singer rolls back on stage losing little momentum though, and soon re-establishes his cool with a wild wall-walk up the structural pillar in the middle of the stage. After four songs off the band's debut album, it becomes time to test some of the new songs, and during the first (and best) of them, "A Liar Cried Wold", the band steps back to allow two limber young women to interpret the song in a dance choreography. It actually severs the band-audience connection a little, but on the flipside it works well in that people who have not heard the song before have something novel to look at so they don't get bored.

After the dancers, the more traditional rockin' about resumes full strength, as the band delivers another trio of new songs, most of which I find to work better here in the live setting than they have when heard on the band's facebook page. They have good energy and dynamics, but seem a bit lacking when it comes to the more layered, melodic hooks of the band's best songs (such as "Vilo Moja" and "Sundance", the latter of which is omitted today). The new material is then interupted by "The Day Me And My Friend Quit Diet Coke" before another new song is introduced under the name "Scared By Omens". At this point, there's been a good display of smiling, dancing, head-bopping and clapping-along in the strong, attentive and appreciative crowd, and it doesn't seem much lessened during this, the last song before the regular set ends. The band shortly starts into an encore however, which features the ballad "For You" played in it's original, up-tempo, rocking manifestation. This of course goes down a treat with the attendees who've been into the band for a while, and when the show effectively closes at its end, everyone seems stunned to find that a) the band has actually played for a full hour already and b) they aren't about to play more. The truth is most people seem very willing to hear more, which is proof of another show having displayed that SIFIFI are doing something right and definitely have potential to go bigger places yet.

8

All photos courtesy of Sascha Winther Photography

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