Copenhagen’s very own singer and producer, Dinner (Anders Rhedin), certainly won the award for the most bizarre experience of the evening. Before we had even got to the venue a friend of mine reckoned we would be actually eating some free food, due to the show update of “Dinner @ 7.” The entirety of his set was enjoyably confusing. Dinner, as an act, comprises simply of vocals, fleeting use of a synth guitar, and a laptop. Despite the lack of any live instrumentation, Rhedin’s ludicrous “Thriller”-esque dancing and eccentric third-person self-reference only just made up for it. The songs were musically reminiscent of the New Romantics movement of 80’s with bands like Yazoo and Talking Heads coming to mind; really not something you hear everyday, and I honestly can’t decide if that is a good or bad thing.
Ultimate Painting are the first band to really excite me in quite a while. The London-based project combine Real Estate’s idling rhythms with guitar solos and tones you’d expect to find in Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”. The band, originally conceived by established musicians James Hoare and Jack Cooper, has now become a four piece for touring purposes. Their set comprised four relatively long, medium-tempo songs containing glimmering chords, soaring solos and a rolling bass and drums combo. The repetitive tom and snare drumming style was my only fault with the set; some variety in the rhythm would have been welcome. However, this is only a minor grievance, and I truly enjoyed Ultimate Painting’s set in all its indie rock glory. You may have thought while reading this that a four-song set would seem rather short… However, in their last song the band exploded into a five-minute feedback and solo infused buildup and breakdown. While some may have been complaining it went on too long, I was too busy rocking out and living my 70’s Forrest Gump dreams.
There are some staple elements you’d expect from a Mac DeMarco set. These include a wild crowd, comedic stage presence, unadulterated fun, and a permanent smile upon leaving. It’s safe to say I got these in bucket loads; I’m still smiling now. Mac DeMarco (born Vernor Winfield McBriare Smith IV, would you believe it) is a Canadian singer/songwriter who has achieved much critical acclaim for his quirky indie-pop music. The set was kicked off with the brand new and bouncey “The Way You Love Her”, which had the crowd immediately dancing and jumping. The sound benefited greatly from new member and keys player, Jon Lent. This addition to the band allowed for a fuller and rounded sound, which was sorely needed in the cavernous Camden Roundhouse.
For a band that identify as slacker-Pop, they were anything but lethargic; they were tight, focused, and sounded huge. Mac powered through the entirety of their new record, Another One, and also played a smattering of hits from his back catalogue. An example of this was the effortless rendition of “Ode To Viceroy” that demanded the inclusion of every voice in the room. The highlight of the night was certainly the incendiary “Cooking Up Something Good”, which not only had the standing arena going wild, but also had the seated balcony on their feet too. You could have cut the energy in the room with a knife, wrapped it up with a little bow, then given it to a loved one at Christmas.
The set finished with a full band, jumped up and jazzed up version of the usually acoustic “Together”. The song descended into a ten-minute breakdown of noise, solos, guitar-throwing, and crowd-surfing from which I wasn’t entirely sure Mac would re-emerge. He did eventually, albeit without his shoes, socks, or un-torn t-shirt. The only disappointment was the lack of an encore. However, I’m not sure I’d be up for playing another song after being grabbed, pulled, and thrown by roughly five hundred people.
But hey, I’m still smiling.