DS Festival Review: Copenhell Day 1 – The Offspring, Empire State Bastard, DVNE and more!

Once again, it’s time for a festival, and once again, it’s time for us to see some music and think about it. This time, we are heading to Copenhell – Denmark’s biggest Rock and Metal festival, but after this year – I would call it Denmark’s biggest alternative festival.

Copenhell takes place a weekend in June every year, and people from all over the world come and celebrate music. This year, Dying Scene found their feet on the ground, and it’s nice being home for stuff like this. Because as we know, I live in Denmark, but up north, and I have a special relationship with the festival, but I don’t wear any rose-tinted glasses when I’m here.

This year is special, tho, because it’s my first year as our EU/UK coordinator, and that means I have a team of three other amazing people. Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen, Philip Onyx, and Sabina Hvass will give you some impressions of the festival and explain why we hope one of you, dear readers, will come along on the ride next year.

In Regards to Underoath

Underoath at Hades
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

The first band of my day. Maybe not everyone else’s, but Underoath made their return for the first time since 2017. And I honestly can’t say I was disappointed one bit. While Underoath is a highly energetic band, sometimes the energy can take over and become a slight hiccup for vocalist Spencer Chamberlain, who was making sure that everyone in the audience was moving. But didn’t have the microphone with him for a few songs, which wasn’t his fault. I’m looking at you, sound techs. But after that minor hiccup, Chamberlain came back strong, while Aaron Gillespie continues to prove that he knows how to drum and supply the clean vocals flawlessly. I mean, come on, he wasn’t breaking a sweat. And it did help that they varied set list, considering that it was a festival. I have zero complaints about it. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing a full concert with them.

 Did you say prog?

DVNE at Gehenna 19.06.2024
Photo by Philip Onyx

Before they were announced to play at Copenhell, I have to be upfront and say I had never heard of Dvne before. But seeing they were from a prog-rock band from Scotland, I needed to check them out. So, walking towards Gehenna, which, in my opinion, will always be one of the best stages Copenhell has. The sound on that stage USUALLY doesn’t fail, but for Dvne’s instance, today was the day that it decided to play some games. Dvne will hopefully find their way back… Maybe sooner rather than later.

Who the fuck is Empire State Bastard?

Empire State Bastard at Hades
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

Empire State Bastard is a band that consists of Simon Neil from the rock/post-hardcore band Biffy Clyro, Mike Vennart from Oceansize, and Dave Lombardo, the former Slayer drummer. It was an odd experience. First, I’ll say that the stage, Hades, was too big for them. They would have been better suited on Gehenna or Pandæmonium. But it was as it was. Now, I enjoyed their debut album, but it somehow got lost in translation because, for at least the first four songs they performed, they sounded a bit horrible. But after that, it did clean up a bit. I’m not going to dismiss this band after this performance because it was a first-time experience.

The Offspring, still got it?

The Offspring at Helviti
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

I may be the wrong person to ask this. Wednesday was only my second time seeing them, but I can happily say that it was the best performance I’ve seen from the band itself. The energy that they all displayed. They were in sync. From the moment that they all came out on stage, I felt the audience was very much ready to sing along to their all-time favorites. I was prepared to get proven different from that horrible set at Slam Dunk last year, which left me utterly shattered.

But kicking off with “Come Out and Play”, I knew from that moment that I was not getting a moment’s rest. But then again, I am such a fan girl that I was with friends in the pit. From that song, until they played their cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop”, people were not standing still. They even gave us an encore; no way in hell would they be allowed to leave the country if they hadn’t played “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” and “Self-esteem”. Dexter has been sounding amazing lately, and the rest of the band is just absolutely on fire. Noodles was even impressed that he hadn’t fucked anything up yet.

But jokes aside, this is a serious review. The Offspring are more than they have ever been, sound-wise, and they managed to put together the dream setlist. Is there a new one in there? Yeah, but that’s so fine. That gave us time to catch our breaths after partying in the pit. And I could see that the pit wasn’t the only one having a giant party; the hill was as well. They had the audience’s full attention, and we were hanging onto every word. The banter that Noodles comes with is funny; he continues to be one of the funniest people in music.” We broke the world record for attendance here”, likely they did. Likely he was taking the piss; who knows. But if you weren’t at The Offspring, that’s fine, but you missed out on the most insane concert ever.

Gosh, if I could see The Offspring once a year, I’d be happy.

From womb to Pandæmonium, Dying Fetus is here

Dying Fetus at Pandæmonium
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

It’s been 11 years since Dying Fetus played Copenhell, and somehow I found my way to Pandæmonium to check them out since my friends told me about how good their live shows are. Normally I’m not into death metal, and we don’t review it on Dying Scene. But I felt I had to say some words about their show.

Taking their steps onto Pandæmonium to the sweet song “The Boys Are Back in town”. Dying Fetus had no time to mess around, decending into fast riffs, and mean growls, it’s easy to fall into the mood of moshing. Even though I stood way back. There’s no beating around the bush with Dying Fetus. They are a class act, with some fast drumming, dirty growls and zero fucks to give.

If you’re into Death Metal, I suggest you check out a show when the band is near you.

Standout Set: Let’s welcome St. Digue to the stage.

St. Digue at Gehenna
Photo by Karina Rae Selvig

Suppose you’re into electronic, mixed with a vocalist that reminds you of nothing less than a perfect vocal mix of Robert Smith, Siouxsie Sioux, and Ian Curtis. In that case, you need St. Digue in your life. I didn’t even know how much I needed it until I saw it last night. I admit that I can be lazy on the Danish music front, but let’s say I’ll work on it for the rest of 2024.The audience was there, alive, having the time of their lives, but it was the first day of Copenhell, and we had all been drinking, even though it was late. But all honestly, I haven’t had such a good time for a bit—just the moment to switch off and enjoy the music. Gosh, I finally understood why people around had been encouraging me to go to a show. Now I can’t wait to go more, and more.

That concludes the first day and only the beginning of our coverage of Copenhell.

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