Live: COUNTERFEIT. // The Garage, London
“No matter how dark it gets, no matter how sad you are, I promise you, in time it does get better”, Counterfeit. return fully recharged and stronger than ever.
Taking to the stage at The Garage in London, Counterfeit. seem to be radiating new energy and truly tantalising confidence. Although the band hasn’t officially released any new music since their 2017 debut album, Together We Are Stronger, the excitement in the room is palpable. Heading out on a string of UK and EU live dates, they perform a set composed mostly of the new songs. This means, of course, that we’re in for a treat tonight.
The new album appears to be touching upon a wide spectrum of themes ranging from love, letting go of anger to self-doubt and self-worth. It also comments on the state of the world today as well as depression and addiction to alcohol and drugs. Translating pain into their music and embracing the toils of life, Counterfeit. return with songs that simply beam with a life-affirming perspective, and that adds to the passion and authenticity of their live shows.
Massive opener Social sees the band taking their rock influences a step further by incorporating a more spoken-word style into the verses of the song. As the thumping groovy sound ricochets off the walls, the electrifying guitars in Getting Over It propel us forward, and it is clear that Counterfeit. are fully in control of the situation.
Opening about his personal struggle for both mental and physical health by detailing his path to sobriety, frontman Jamie Campbell Bower creates a strong bond with the crowd. The band has always cared dearly about their audience, but this time it truly feels like having a heart-to-heart chat with an old friend. Music is many things, so let’s not forget about its healing powers.
Pushing their boundaries without ever forgetting where they came from, the new material seems more polished oozing with vibrancy and sonic expansion. There’s a positive mindset and determination to it too. With their signature rock firepower, New Insane brings in a darker, heavier tone, whilst Get Out is an embodiment of the band’s swaggering attitude and bite. To balance it out, we’ve got a ballad-esque love song, Lack Of Oxygen that gently flows in the air, and stunning acoustic Pictures which Jamie dedicates to his girlfriend.
One of the highlights of the set, the song Alive surprises with arena-worthy elements and a singalong chorus making it an absolute live hit. Elsewhere in the set, the intro to 1144 addresses the international community and the chaos we live in as Jamie brings up the events of a murder of a journalist in Saudi Arabia. Further exploring the state of depression, All My Friends finds him sharing a more intimate story from the time he wanted to kill himself in a car crash. It turns out wee all have inner demons to fight.
But there’s a purpose in all those hardships, as we hear: “Together we are stronger. No matter how dark it gets, not matter how sad you are, I promise you, in time it does get better.” With a glimmer of hope and as punchy as ever, the band goes to spin genre-crossing It Gets Better before rounding things off with fan favourite track Enough.
There is no doubt that this is a highly-anticipating return from a group with an already established position on the scene, but it also feels like a new beginning for the band. Pain is what makes us human, but so is love, and Counterfeit. are here to remind us about it every step of the way. With this new era on the horizon, we genuinely can’t wait to hear more.
Photos: Kasia Osowiecka