It’s been a crazy two years for David Boyd, Søren Hansen, and Louis Vecchio. The first time I ever laid eyes on this Danish-American rock explosion was in 2012, right as their radio single “Harlem” was making waves on Top 40 stations across the US. Ultra5280 had made plans with New Politics to play an acoustic set at one of our annual Wash Park summer barbecues during one of their first visits to Denver, but due to a van breakdown that day, the band was running late to their show with Fall Out Boy and had to cancel their park excursion with us to make it on time to soundcheck. The impression they made by simply agreeing to such an outlandish promotional event stuck a chord with me. I was impressed with their willingness to do all they could with their art to reach the top, whether that meant traveling the world in a junky van, or playing acoustic sets for random blogs in a park. When I finally saw their live performance later that night, I knew without doubt that they could not be stopped. The band had potential, a great live show, and their devotion alone would ensure success, no matter how long it took. Last night - a mere two years later - I saw their goals come to fruition in front of a sold out crowd at the Gothic Theatre.
Since that fateful summer day I saw them open for Fall Out Boy, I’ve seen New Politics play four more times, but last night was the first time I’ve ever seen them headline. I was unsure of what to expect…did they have what it took to captivate a room for a full 90 minutes? I should have known better than to doubt, because it was one of the better mid-level shows I’ve seen in years. As guitarist Søren stepped onto stage last night, the crowd went mad. The band seems to have picked up a trick or two from their year spent touring with veteran bands Fall Out Boy and Paramore. Not only was their lighting rig better than any I have ever seen in that venue before, but their stage presence had grown and matured in countless ways since I saw them at KTCL’s “Not So Silent Night” last December. Lead vocalist David took to the stage well aware that he was in control of the room, using this fact to his advantage. Grabbing the hands of fans, and strutting around stage with his jacket half on/half off, it was nice to see them performing not to entice new fans, but rather to enthrall the ones already there. In the past, I’ve seen the band play all their cards quite quickly into their set - David doing headstands and dancing by song three, and Søren whipping out the Ukulele by song two, but this time the band waited - letting the energy build into the set. About one hour into the show, during the song “Burn It Down”, the room went silent; the band had literally been playing so hard that they blew a fuse on one of their rigs. Fans took it all in stride, realizing that the band had meant what they said when they said they would give it their all that evening.
Playing what I believe to be the best cover of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” I’ve ever heard, and a set list filled with fan favorites from both of their full length albums, the show kept you moving beginning to end. One of my favorite moments of the night was when the band played a new song, “Loyalty Among Thieves”, which I guarantee will be the next radio hit off of their next album. The band said they wrote an entire record while out on the road this summer on the Monumentour, and fans can expect it’s release around February 2015. When the band returned to stage for their encore at the end of the night, Søren stepped up to the mic to speak to the crowd for a moment. “Two years ago, we were lucky if we could have had five people (at) our shows, and now this is happening. They say that (nights like tonight) only happen maybe five times in your touring (career), And this is one of those nights. We were so broke and eating so much ramen, but we kept believing in what we were doing, and now this happening, so truly, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” The band closed the show with “Harlem”, and received a standing ovation from the entire room, back of the mezzanine to the front of the stage. The band is growing, their sound changing, their live show developing. Sometimes radio bands get stuck in a rut, failing to progress, yet continuing to grow in radio-driven cities like Denver. It’s taken some time, but the only thing that hasn’t changed since my first run in with these guys is their consistent drive, their unending desire to succeed, and their passion for what they do. I’m curious to see if their Euro-pop blended rock can continue to take over the states, but after this weekend’s show, I’m not too worried for now.
set list: Perfect, Berlin, Die 4 U, Give Me Hope, My Love, Loyalty Among Thieves (unreleased track), Die Together, Sabotage (Beastie Boys cover), Dignity, Overcome, Goodbye Copenhagen, mashup of “Love Is A Drug”, “We Are the Radio”, and “New Generation”, drum solo, Just Like Me, Stuck On You, Everywhere I Go, Yeah Yeah Yeah, ENCORE: Fall Into My Arms, Harlem.