9000 John Doe

support Loud N Rowdy
author PP date 25/04/14 venue Dæmonens Port, Copenhagen, DEN

The Aalborg based 'hillbilly hardcore' group 9000 John Doe have been an elusive live experience for us Copenhageners, having largely focused on playing small shows in Aalborg and nearby cities in Jylland. Tonight, they make a rare appearance in Copenhagen at the quasi-illegal Dæmonens Port, a well hidden basement beneath a baby shop on Amager. Here we find a rather stylish venue with a plentiful selection in different canned beers, and plenty of seating that looks like it might have been imported from an 1800s style mansion somewhere. The venue's interior decor completely defies it's barren outside entrance, which is literally just a cement staircase down to the basement of the store with no signs suggesting there could be a venue of this quality down here. Neat.

Loud 'N' Rowdy

Copenhagen based 'redneck rockers' Loud 'N' Rowdy have been selected to open tonight's festivities with their attitude driven, southern fried rock'n'roll. Think Pantera meets the early 90s grunge scene (Stone Temple Pilots et cetera). They certainly look the part; all members are wearing their interpretation of the 'redneck' attire, where their bassist is playing barefoot and their vocalist sports a cowboy hat and a canned beer in his hand. He sounds a little like a mix between Chris Cornell and Scott Weiland, so in other words he has great pipes capable of carrying the songs on his own. Instrumentally speak, the band's material isn't much to write home about other than that it is rowdy, groovy, and suitable for headbanging, with a couple of catchy riffs drawing attention every now and then. But none of this matters due to the spectacular chain of events that transpires in front of us during their set performance-wise. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how to truly perform your songs with a sense of immediacy and inebriated fun.

It starts out small: the bassist exploring the crowd first hand, helping a bystander headbang while playing next to him. The lead singer sending numerous cheers to the crowd both during and in between songs. The whole band entering the crowd to dance in the midst of all of us. Having a song called "Bourbon N Bitches". All the while the venue's owner/bartender(?) on multiple occasions brings shots on stage to feed to the band. Visibly drunk from a day's worth of pre-drinking by the looks of it, the band's performance transforms into comedy one step at a time. First, their vocalist hops off stage and casually walks up to a blond girl's face to sing softly within centimeters from her lips. We can't see what is happening because her face is entirely covered with his long hair, prompting the bassist to join the crowd as well to get a closer peek of what's actually happening. Then, during a set of dueling solos where their two guitarists battle each other alternating between technical passages, the vocalist sprints off stage to the backstage area, and projectile vomits in all directions. We know this, because the sheet covering the backstage area to the left of the stage is thin enough to allow us to see through. Management then rushes over with a huge bin for him to continue dying, and the bassist sticks his head through the door to see what the fuck is going on. Bear in mind the song is still happening at this point. "We're auditioning for a new vocalist, anyone want to try it?", they say, after the bassist has done the universal "he's fucked, probably dead" cut-throat expression to the rest of the band. Unfazed by this, the band continues to play instrumentally, and we see their vocalist sprint (again) from the backstage area to the toilets... what is happening here is absolutely hilarious and fucking rock and roll in every possible meaning of the word, especially after the singer returns after having missed a song to say "I've just shat on myself and thrown up on people and on things, but this is rock'n'roll". The band play another song, but the bassist falls down to the floor where the crowd proceeds to pour beer into his mouth while he's playing. There are so many more funny anecdotes from the show I could share with you, but that'd be pointless. This is exactly how a FUN, attitude-driven rock'n'roll show should look like. Excellent first impression.


9000 John Doe

After such a hilarious triumph of a perfromance, 9000 John Doe were facing an uphill battle that felt almost insurmountable pre-concert. In the beginning, they do fairly well, starting off with an aggressive thrash metal song that's followed by "Wanna Roll?", one of their highlight tracks off their excellent 2011 debut album, "Roll With It Or Get Rolled Over". The venue keeps feeding shots at the bands and trays of these seem to be coming over during pretty much every song from now onwards, being poured into the band's mouths as they are playing their songs. Next up is "Designated Driver", another groovy track with its catchy "hillbilly hardcore" chorus parts. The problem is, the band are in the receiving end of absolutely awful sound, especially in the vocals. These are cracking and distorted beyond recognition, and far too loud, drowning the instrumentals underneath throughout the concert, but fortunately they compensate with some of the charming north Jylland showmanship in between the songs that makes the experience somewhat more bearable.

There's a ton of banter relating to Aalborg - calling the city double 'AA', referring to it by its post code 9000, and that sort of thing. There's even a part where their vocalist rushes through the crowd to a table mid-song, high fives everyone sitting on it and shouts 'AALBORG!' with a huge grin on his face. He's the life of the band tonight in general. At one point he jumps into the crowd, casually sitting by a table watching the show while giving a finger to the band and shouting 'boo!' at the guys still on stage. Later, he's elevated on the shoulders of their bassist for a bit while singing. There's a lot of stuff going on, but it's not as funny and as outrageous as what the openers were doing earlier. So despite being fed shots constantly by the bar, the entertainment value of the two shows is simply not equal. It's also a shame that 9000 John Doe make a very clear point throughout the night that they are playing rock AND metal, so they keep alternating between the two. The thing is, their groovy, Southern fried rock'n'roll songs are excellent and their key strength as a band. The metal tracks...well, these are totally anonymous and symptomatic of the classic Danish Metal problem soundwise where they are just heavy for the sake of being heavy without offering any detail or texture that'd be interesting for the listener. My advice for the band would be to drop the metallic songs altogether and focus on the redneck hardcore they are so good at right now. The show closes off with a smoke machine clouding the entire room, but we're left with a feeling of meh at the end for two reasons. One, the clear divide between their strong and weak material, and two, the absolutely hilarious performance by Loud 'N' Rowdy earlier.

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