Skindred

support Crossfaith + Deadly Circus Fire
author PP date 14/11/13 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

It's been a hell of a busy week show wise in Copenhagen, so it is only appropriate to finish it off with a party. Skindred's fusion of reggae, dancehall, punk, and metal is always a pleasure to watch live, and when you have some frenzied electronic metalcore to kick off the party, that's what I call an excellent way to close off the week. Too bad I'm in the minority who seem to think so, as Pumpehuset's downstairs stage area is only about a third full tonight, but it turns out that didn't matter at all to the events that conspired during the evening. More on that soon, let's talk support bands first.

Formal attire. Deadly Circus Fire bassist

Deadly Circus Fire

I was under the impression that tonight's opening band was meant to be Viza according to everything I had seen online, but instead we are treated to London group Deadly Circus Fire. Perhaps in reference to the name, everyone in the band is wearing white corpse paint that recalls KISS and/or any reasonably sized black metal band you can name. In addition, their bassist is dressed in formal attire with a suit, making it a rather comical display when he moshes and headbangs around the stage. Musically, the band plays a form of progressive metal and alternative rock, with frequent references to the thick complexities of Tool records but with a heavier and more aggressive sound, at least in terms of vocals. Even circa-2000s koRn comes to mind on occasion. Occasionally we do dive into metal as well. At first, people are skeptical, but as their set progresses people gradually step closer and closer, and once this happens, the band begins channeling the crowd for energy and conviction in their stage performance as well, resulting in their guitarist moshing uncontrollably in the crowd for their last song. Too little, too late, though, as the first half of the set was painful to watch as the band's lack of movement matched the crowd's passiveness.

6

Crossfaith keyboardist by his tech

Crossfaith

Now I had heard good things of Japanese metalcore heroes in Crossfaith before, but I had not expected the tour de force they displayed in Pumpehuset tonight. They embed plenty of brazen electronics into their sound, ranging from dubstep to insane trance melodies, which means that the moment they step on stage tonight the entire crowd of Pumpehuset erupts into a frenzy of dancing plus circle pits. Their keyboardist is maniacally active, whether it comes to violently headbanging by his area, or climbing on top of the keyboards to do the same, or just crashing towards his microphone positioned right behind him. Meanwhile, their bassist is busy throwing his instrument around in a manner that's almost comparable to the spectacle that is The Chariot, and the remainder of the band are also engaged in a frenzied performance that features frenetic bouncing and constant movement in general so that there is always something to look at on stage.

Crossfaith bassist engaged in a crazy maneuver

Their vocalist is super charismatic, shouting at the back "EVERYBODY, IN THE BACK, MOVE", gradually convincing even the most hardened of skeptics sitting by the stairs to join in the crazy jumping party, which the crowd has transformed into. Here, the keyboardist vaults himself into the crowd over his equipment and leads the circle pit first hand. While all of this is happening, the band are firing dynamic metalcore riffs and breakdowns on all cylinders, making sure the intensity levels are never lowered throughout their set. And even though Pumpehuset is only a third full, the crowd is going absolutely mental, and has me thinking that this could be a near-perfect showing had the venue been packed to its limits. This is how every band should look like every time they play live.

Skindred

Skindred

It's getting late as we are delayed due to the sound board breaking during sound check, which resulted in some time being used in finding a replacement, subsequently leading into the clock approaching midnight before Skindred hop on stage. Whether it's because they came here primarily to see Crossfaith or because it's getting late, some people have already exited the venue, but Skindred do not seem fazed as they enter the stage with the imperial march as their introduction. Benji, their authentic Jamaican-looking vocalist, is once again wearing his battle helmet and an arab scarf in an effort to intimidate the front rows, which is paradoxical really, considering what a party their music otherwise always is when experienced live. "Get your hands up", he commands, and everyone in the crowd begins jumping up and down with their hands in the air, no questions asked.

Skindred

There's a similarly crazy energy present in the crowd as for Crossfaith earlier, all thanks to Benji's masterful control of the crowd with his vibrant personality: whether it's through a "let me see your hands in the air" delivered in rap form, or rolling his r's in the best reggae manner, the crowd practically eats out of his hand. He's wearing black sunglasses for the look, and constantly embeds various crowd control techniques into their songs. When he says jump, the crowd jumps, and so forth. "Pressure" and "Kill The Power" are highlights again, with the latter being taught to the crowd during a pre-song crowd control point. Yes, usually crowd control is mostly annoying, but Skindred are the exception to the rule because they make it so fun and natural, instead of forcing it like so many bigger bands have to do. Finally, we all sit down Slipknot style only explode into frenzied jumping for a section that sounds like a Prodigy beat is mixed with dubstep, which leads into "Warning". People remove their shirts, and wave them around helicopter style above their heads, as is customary in Skindred shows these days, and by the end of the set I am once again convinced that Skindred belong into the elite few live bands who bring the party every single time, no matter how big or small the turnout.

Photos by: Peter Troest

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