LIVE: Siamese @ Camden Underworld, London

By James O'Sullivan

The Underworld was served a smorgasbord of European metal, as Siamese, Resolve, SENNA, and Odd Palace descended into The Underworld for the London leg of the tour.

Venturing deeper into the bowels of the iconic Camden venue, the flocks of fans were met with Copenhagen based prog five-piece, Odd Palace. And, despite the rather slow growth of the crowd, their short set of six songs was nothing short of superb. ‘Insomnia’, for instance, saw a slow, methodical guitar — full of electronic reverb and anxiety-inducing squeals — break into some jarringly entrancing instrumentals, all while Gert Børsting’s surprisingly broad ranged voice both scorched and serenaded the passionate throngs of headbanging shades in front of them. All this even before Børsting’s mini trumpet — his trum-petite if you will — made its triumphant appearance on stage. 

Ending on the recently released ‘Wildfire’, firing up the crowd for one final time, it would be an understatement to say that Odd Palace’s first ever London show was a blazing success. 

Ten minutes later, and it was the Germans’ time to take the stage, with SENNA: another five piece, and another opportunity to cause some ruckus. This half an hour, though, felt slightly more controlled. With guitarist and soft vocalist Tobias Stulz providing a contrast to Simon Masdjedi’s guttural roars, the melodic metallers gave the crowd yet another fantastic — but heartbreakingly short — half an hour. The beautiful ‘Jade’, emerald lights bleeding past the band to drench the crowd, saw an adoring crowd whip out their torches, while the fantastic ‘Bodyguard’ and ‘Drunk Dial Anthem’ — both unreleased — proved fantastic choices, seeming to surprise even them with the crowd reaction. But it was final song, ‘Morocco Mint’, that really cemented the band’s set — which was, as with Odd Palace, their first one over here. The surprisingly gentle song – breakdowns galore, sure, but still with tinges of tenderness and vulnerability — was truly fantastic; if there was anyone left who hadn’t been won over, that sure did the trick, at least if the resounding shouts and cheers as they finished their set were anything to go by.

From Germany to France, now, as the first of the two headliners took the stage and some newly added standing strobe lights gave the stage an eerie glow; Resolve had arrived. Benches at the front of the stage allowed vocalist Anthony Diliberto to tower over the crowd throughout the set, both untouchable and the perfect height to hold the microphone out for passionate fans to scream along, while amp covers embroidered with circuitry and ‘BETWEEN ME AND THE MACHINE’  — besides giving a slight spoiler to the set — gave the whole set a far-flung, industrial feeling. 

Resolve were an incredibly slick machine. Nothing was wasted or left to chance; not even their almost mesmerising outfits, with the band bedecked in all black bar white trainers, creating a solid contrast to help silhouette them against their backdrops. Every moment of their eight song set seemed perfectly choreographed, down to each head-bang or incitement for walls of death – but, perplexingly, nothing felt staged. It all felt raw. Real. You could feel the passion radiating from the stage, particularly as they praised the rest of the line-up, and the crowd loved every second; from the deep-cut of ‘Of Silk and Straw’ to the acoustic opening of ‘Forever Yours’. Or, of course, the technically and vocally brutal odyssey that is ‘Between Me and The Machine.’ 

Funnily enough though, the biggest cheer of the set belonged to The Underworld itself.

“Everything you buy goes straight to the band”, Diliberto informed the perilous pundits; “this venue doesn’t take a God damn merch cut”. The resounding applause from the crowd almost eclipsed the noise for the actual bands, particularly with the current discourse online — though it’s still a travesty that not taking a band’s livelihood is such an astounding thing!

At this point, only one band remained. And Siamese, in contrast, had stripped their stage – the only thing present bar instruments was the rug the drums were sat on. It was utterly unadorned, and so anything and everything relied on the five Danes to carry the night home; yet, somehow, they made it look effortless.

As Mirza Radonjica and co took to the stage, what can only be described as musical mayhem pervaded the room. It was chaos. Carnage. From the electro-metal blend of opener ‘Numb’, flitting between beautiful ballad and blistering bedlam, to the final drawn out notes of closer ‘Ocean Bed’, the band became as much performers as they were musicians. 

There was comedy: who’ll be able to forget the ‘I love Brexit’ followed by the perfectly timed sting, or even just the chorus of ‘B.A.N.A.N.A.S’, with Benjamin Julian Ganzhorn from Daze of June taking over vocal duties? Hint – that shit really was bananas.

There was outpouring after outpouring of love — for the bands on the bill, the crowd, even the families left at home. The thick haze of effusive thanks given by the honoured band was almost tangible, and you could see just how genuinely touched they were, how much the show and indeed the entire tour meant to them. There was even an awesome violin — seriously, Christian Hjort Lauritzen’s musical prowess was only outdone by the macabre magnificence of his violin, the strings marking its pearly whites over a grinning maw. 

But overall, the set just felt right. From crowd led sing-songs, as in ‘Holy’, to the grins that split the band mates’ faces as every word was echoed back to them, it felt like a band who’d chosen London as a second home, and were lucky enough to have London choose them in turn. And, although the madness and chaos still paled in comparison to some of the insanity that was seen later on in the tour – Kulttempel in Germany saw Odd Palace invade Siamese’s set for a pillow fight, for instance — the frantic and frenzied fun had by Siamese, and indeed all four bands, was joyously obvious. 

Siamese, Resolve, SENNA and Odd Palace were incredible; each band played to perfection, their sets having that ineffable metal magic while still retaining that slight hunger from the crowd. And, even as Siamese were leaving the stage for the last time, the crowd was already counting down to their next visit, whenever that may be. A fantastic night.