Spleen United, Store Vega (Dec 2012)

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December 1, 2012 – 20:51
**** (4 stars out of 6); November 29 at Store Vega
Spleen United: better under the Vega lights than in the Roskilde campgrounds (Photo: Rasmus B.S. Hansen / http://www.terranaut.dk)

The last time I saw Spleen United perform, they were but a few metres from my tattered tent in the lakeside camping area at Roskilde Festival where they played a mammoth 24-hour set underneath a specially constructed rondavel. I’d heard plenty about the band and as such, anticipated a solid 24 hours of quality music, only to be disillusioned by a seemingly never ending stream of downtempo electronica that didn’t quite pack a punch.  It was a bold and dedicated act nonetheless, particularly considering that the electro rock quartet went on to perform at Roskilde’s Arena stage later in the festival where their downtempo affiliations were flung out of the window and replaced by rib-cracking rock with a vicious electronic twist.

The show at Vega Thursday night was a display of Spleen United at their best, on the edge and as driven as one could imagine. Slowolf did the opening honours with a heavy if not trippy excess of heavy percussive rock that, combined with a dazzling light show and a topless, impassioned drummer-slash lead singer, was a bit too much.  The wind chimes were an impressive element of their show however, and in a different context they may well be a solid act.

Coming on in front of a static, eager-to be-pleased audience, Spleen United took to the stage looking slightly nervy and opened their set in the same manner. However, a dexterous performance of their 2008 single ’66’ got the audience in gear, before a thunderous, Depeche-Mode sounding thunderstorm that saw the Nørlund brothers showcase their vocal talents whilst Rune Wehner and Janus Ringsted did their bit on the synth and drums respectively. Four songs in and the Spleen United quartet were huddled around their secondary synthesiser and studio gear, each twisting and pushing different buttons that created something of a frenzy that was amplified by a series of flashing strobe lights and a swarm of neon laser beams. Vocal samples of Opus III’s epic 1992 number ‘It’s a Fine Day’ interwoven with The Prodigy’s well known ‘No Good (Start the Dance)’ gem followed as Spleen United ventured deep into electronic territory.

A return to their rock base saw tunes such as ‘Days of Thunder’ and ‘Dominator’ played towards the end, accompanied by the acid-house influenced ‘Sunset to Sunset’, a track that set the pits alight as the front row audience scrambled onto each other’s shoulders.  Spleen United veered more towards their electronic roots, playing with the usual passion and zest that one has come to expect from them and look set to end 2012 in style.

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