Iceage - Barboza - Thursday, March 21

Iceage is a young bunch of punks from Copenhagen. That we already knew. We also knew that they make brooding, creatively spun rock that's explosive when they want it to be, fashionably rough, and always charged with the electricity of being young and irreverent. Their records are rad, and I'd say, justifiably hyped. Now how about that live show:

GAG opened up the evening drooling, thrashing, literally wrestling/body slamming a couple of eager audience members in the pit. Their lead singer was punk's ugly-on-purpose attitude in a sweatshirt as he spat on stage, scowling under a bad haircut. The audience was quickly divided into two groups: those willing to take a few blows up front, and those content to watch the melee unfold from a distance. They controlled the pace well, with short builds and sharp spikes of volume. They seemed to know their limit and finished up a short set just as I was losing interest. It was a little schticky, but filled a void, and got people's juices flowing. One band member yelled "[something I couldn't make out] sucks!" into the mic on the way out, which basically summed things up. (By the way: GAG is basically un-Google-able, but I found this offer to local Raider Klan rap rep Key Nyata to play a shiow while trying to figure out their backstory. I really hope he takes them up on their offer!)

King Dude was the brightest highlight of the night. Main man TJ Cowgil is some kind of blender-ed Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Mark Lanegan. With an extra tough metal background, his grisly baritone scorches his guitar ballads like high proof whiskey in this stripped-down, black-clad folk setting. Joined only by inventive stand-up percussionist Joey D'Auria this time around, he held a mass of sorts on stage between two large-size candle fixtures. Sure, KD is a bit of an act too, but it's so perfectly written, and powerfully executed, you can't pull away. The Dude is one of the best acts in town at the moment, I'd say.

Finally, Iceage took to the stage. Looking every bit as young as advertised (all supposedly just over twenty), they ground melodic fuzz through their amps admirably. It seems like I dug some of the same pieces of the show that former Reverb review chef Grandy (who was understandably inspecting a band t-shirt for subliminal fascist imagery when when I caught up with him at the merch table) dug last time they swung through town, but my $0.02 on their set is: although I was into their music, their extended breaks between songs, and ambling pace of their set really crushed the vibe in the room. While they were playing, it was engaging, but if they could dial up the urgency a bit, they'd make a better show -- and that said, I'll definitely be back to check in next time they roll through town.

 
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