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Counterfeit 142MusikZentrum, Hanover, Germany
31st October 2019
Counterfeit - Support: Vukovi

At the Pol’and’Rock Festival 2018 I saw the performance of a band that impressed me very much. It wasn’t only the energy and unclenched power that the band was transmitting but it was especially their frontman who was almost exerting himself. Sweating, free of upper body, tattooed and unbelievably present he even dared to go in front of the stage and raged with the crowd despite the concerns of the security forces. Later I learned that it was the band COUNTERFEIT with their singer Jamie Campbell Bower and that he is an amazingly successful English actor. But it had become clear to me that Bower takes his role as a singer in a band as seriously as his life as an actor.


The evening was opened by the Scottish band VUKOVI. The band calls their style Noisy Pop Rock and singer Janine Shilstone has no illusions: She candidly declares her task as the warm-up band of the evening. In fact, she performs this task amazingly well. She is in constant contact with the first row in front of the stage, for example by handing herself a smartphone and filming herself with it. Even when a Halloween mask is handed to her, she puts it on and animates her guitarist Hamish Reilly. Finally she organizes a free lane in the audience and jumps into it with joy. VUKOVI will play seven songs this evening, including the new song ‘All that Candy’ from their second album ‘Fall Better’ which will be released in January.

01. Behave 
02. Claudia 
03. All that Candy – new
04. I’m wired 
05. Target practice 
06. La Di Da 
07. Animal

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After a rather long break it was time for the main act at 22:00 o’clock. COUNTERFEIT consists since 2015 of Jamie Campbell Bower (lead vocal, guitar), Tristan Marmont (guitar), Roland Johnson (bass), Jamie’s brother Sam Bower (guitar) und Jimmy Craig (drums). By 2018 it had become a little quieter around COUNTERFEIT. The band apparently sucked back to develop and record new songs. With some of these songs in their luggage, COUNTERFEIT started a small tour in August - maybe to see if the songs also have their effect live. Now in October/ November they are back on tour, again with usually ten of the new songs.

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Music & Performance
Their gig in the MusikZentrum Hanover was in time with Halloween and so a part of the audience was actually dressed properly and also the band itself had some make-up or disguise. Tristan Marmont was even wrapped in a skeleton costume. Later there were also confetti and balloons for entertainment. After a funny intro, COUNTERFEIT goes straight into the full, the music is extremely energetic and Bower sprints and dances unruly across the width of the stage. This power is immediately transferred to the audience and it seems as if everyone knows: This will be a short evening and every moment is costly and must be used. But COUNTERFEIT, claiming “We sound like broken glass and bottles being smashed on the floor”, now have quieter pieces in their program.

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With the third song Bower simply sits down at the edge of the stage and waits quietly and without announcement for a lane to be formed in the audience. In this lane he disappears shortly afterwards and is interwoven and united with the crowd. This close contact to the audience is a strength of the band and especially of Bower who deals with this offensively. Bower uses the pauses between the songs to make some statements. He says that as an Englishman he now lives in America and calls Trump a racist. He asks everyone to raise their voices and vote to avoid the world’s illegality. But Bower’s also trying to give: The songs and the evening should not only be enjoyable but also recharge the personal energy.

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Bower demands to show feelings and not to close oneself off with negative emotions. “Do you feel empowered?” he asks the fans several times. And again the band gives everything and finally invites all fans to come on stage for the first single ‘It Gets Better’ of the new still unnamed album. ‘It Gets Better’ can be described as a symbolic song of the band and Bower once said about it: “Our goal is to bring people together, to dismantle the barriers that divide us as a species and to make a change in the world. We are in a time of need. We need to come together and to learn to love again. Learn to listen again. Learn to talk again. Learn to feel again. Learn to let go and let in.”

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But just as fast as the band produced this culmination the evening is already over. With ‘Enough’ only one encore is played, Bower makes a huge jump from the drums almost into the crowd - but then the lights go on and the COUNTERFEIT releases the crowd into the cold of the night.

01. Paralysed
02. Getting Over It
03. You Can’t Rely
04. New Insane
05. Jumpsuit
06. Lack Of Oxygen
07. Alive
08. Get Out
09. 1144
10. It Gets Better
11. Enough

Music: 9
Performance: 10
Light: 8
Sound: 9
Total: 9 / 10

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All pictures by Chris W. Braunschweiger

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