Syreregn

support Unnamed Unknown + Bjergtaget + Shivas Nat
author BV date 30/11/12 venue Dragens Hule, Copenhagen, DEN

Upon arriving at Refshaleøen on a cold and windy November night, I was wondering what the hell I was getting into, as Dragens Hule is placed in the worst possible place in Copenhagen, when it comes to public transportation. However, all worries and doubts were instantly erased from my mind, as I entered the warm, comfortable and most of all welcoming atmosphere of this underground gem of a concert venue.

Unnamed Unknown

The first band of the evening was a young trio called Unnamed Unknown. They played an aggressive mix of alternative rock and grunge , and throughout the evening, their Nirvana influence became quite obvious. While the guitarist/vocalist's use of a battered Fender Jaguar did tip me off in that direction, I was completely convinced when I started noticing the song-dynamics; quiet verse leading into a loud and ferocious chorus, all filled with awkwardly forced vocals, even though they actually sounded quite cool. This way of songwriting, coincidentally turned out to be the recipe for the rest of the band’s 45 minute set. The crowd seemed to enjoy the music, even though it was quite evident that this was not the main attraction of the evening. I have to admit that I found their music to be quite catchy as well, even though I eventually became quite agitated at the fact that their 45 minute set sounded so uniform, as I think they could be a wicked live experience with some more variations in their set.

Bjergtaget

The second band of the evening, Bjergtaget turned out to be something completely different from the aggressive style of Unnamed Unknown, as they focused on the moody and low-key singer/songwriter spectrum. This turned out to be quite a pleasant listening experience, as the songs tended to pull you in to their own quiet little universe. The huge disadvantage of this, and a major bummer overall was the fact that when you’re not a headlining band, your acoustic sweetness and soft vocals tend to drown in the loud conversations heard throughout the audience. A real shame actually, as I think more people would have been into it, had they actually been able to hear it. The other thing I noticed about Bjergtaget was the fact that the songs they played weren’t really that catchy, and as a direct result thereof I can hardly remember the melodies, or the lyrics to most of the songs. But even though I have a hard time remembering the specifics of the set, I really liked the downplayed vocals and the overall relaxed atmosphere coming from the stage, even though I did find a lot of the set to be inaudible at points, due to the rather chatty crowd.

Shivas Nat

Now, the third band of the evening was something I had really looked forward to, as I’ve been a fan of singer/guitarist Patrick Lykke Heinsøe (formerly of Highway Child) for quite some time now, but I have never actually gotten the chance to see his band Shivas Nat perform live. Well, this time I finally did, and I can honestly say I wasn’t disappointed. Shivas Nat plays the type of far out psychedelic hard-rock a fan of retro-rock will inevitably enjoy, and this time the previous problems with audibility were immediately laid to rest as Shivas Nat struck the first chord – absolutely raw power, right from the start. Most of their rather 70’s-like songs featured long instrumental passages in between Patrick’s hauntingly powerful, echo-drenched vocals, thus empowering the overall psychedelic atmosphere. Due to the raw power incorporated in the set (especially the guitarplaying) some accidents inevitably occurred. The bands last song of the evening eventually turned out to be a drawn-out psychedelic jam, as a direct result of the psychedelic nature of the band, as well as Patrick breaking some strings on both the guitars he had brought with him on this night. I must however hand it to the guy, it takes quite a lot to break the strings on a guitar and just keep playing as if nothing happened, while actually maintaining both tuning and overall proficiency. Overall, I was quite excited about Shivas Nat and I am looking forward to their debut release, which will hopefully come soon.

Syreregn

Finally, Syreregn went on stage around midnight and this alone, seemed to please the crowd. It was apparent who people came to see. I am not going to lie to you, I am a long time fan of Syreregn and as such I had high expectations to this evening, as they are (in my personal opinion) a tremendous live experience. This time however, should prove to be something else entirely, from what I have previously seen. Since the last time I saw Syreregn live, previous guitar-player Jakob Møller has quit the band and has therefore been replaced by Knud Damgaard. Due to this line-up change, the overall on-stage dynamics have been altered, as well as the general feel to some of their older material - not necessarily a bad thing, but certainly something new to get used to. This night, the crowd turned out to be in for a treat, as Syreregn had brought along two guest-musicians; William Kaae on organ and Freddy from Fuzz Manta on guitar, thus expanding the usual trio to a five man band.

Syreregn opened their performance with a powerful version of one of their two new singles entitled “Søvngængeren”, complete with blistering guitar solos and some exceptionally tight rhythm-work – this song stayed fairly true to the studio version, as one of the only songs of the night. The next track already found the psych-blues group experimenting with form, as the relatively straightforward “Mirror Mirror” was ultimately turned into a wild and extensive jam, including slide-guitar and some mean, pounding bass lines. During this jam, it was a real shame that organ-player William wasn’t more audible, as I think it could have added another cool element to a jam of this caliber. After “Mirror Mirror”, Syreregn gradually started slowing things down, with a couple of low-tempo songs, most noticeably their cheeky cover of Skousen & Ingemann’s “Svært at Nå Frem” – a Danish folk-rock classic from the early seventies, which they did justice to, even though it lacked the folk-element as the stage was dominated by electric guitar solos flying around from here to there. After this track, the pace gradually started speeding up again, as Syreregn played another of their new singles entitled “Hvem Ved Hvad” – an up-tempo classic rock song reminiscent of the Danish seventies rock band Gasolin, once again fueled by a driving rhythm section and two guitar-players dueling for attention.

One of the things I start noticing at this point is, that even though the curious and jamming nature of the band is still intact, I start to miss the magic touch Jakob Møller had in this context. Their new guitarist, Knud Damgaard is by all means talented and incredibly skilled, but throughout the evening it seemed as if he struggled to really click with band. This is understandable however, as all new things tend to take some time to get used to, but it did lessen the experience a tad. At least until the final song of the evening, this was of course Syreregn’s live staple “Tag Solen Ned” – an absolutely stunning track when performed live, in stark contrast to the studio-version which I at points find to be quite boring. “Tag Solen Ned” which is quite lengthy in itself, proved to be the longest song of the evening, eventually turning into a jam lasting nearly 15 minutes, before finally returning to the original form, thus ending an evening filled with unusual people, cool music and extensive jamming.

8

Setlist:

  • Søvngængeren
  • Mirror Mirror
  • Psychedelic Baby
  • Skabt Væk
  • Svært At Nå Frem (Skousen & Ingemann cover)
  • Hvem Ved Hvad
  • Spoonful (Blues Traditional)
  • Tag Solen Ned

All photos by Tuk Alexander Jacobsen

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