Beach Slang

support Petal + Forever Unclean
author PP date 04/02/16 venue Underwerket, Copenhagen, DEN

With rave reviews from magazines of all sorts, and plenty of hype by this magazine, in particular, Beach Slang's debut in Denmark sold out a few weeks in advance of the show. Purposefully booked to a small basement venue as opposed to an establishment one, it was one of those rare chances to catch a band on the verge of a breakthrough at an intimate venue before they'll return to much bigger places in the future. With classic lines like "It's Friday night and I'm in the basement, screaming out my lungs with my best friends" virtually tailored for Underwerket's murky decor and basement feel, there was little chance Beach Slang's passionate performance wasn't going to be well received tonight. They played a little longer than anticipated, but hey, when you tell a band they can play as long as they like as there is no curfew, sometimes they do just that. Shows that this isn't about money or fame for them but a connection between them and their fans. Kudos.

Forever Unclean

Forever Unclean

It was originally intended that Benny & The Me Love You Long Times were going to play as tonight's local support, but a sudden illness to their drummer forced them to pull out last minute. Not to worry, the UnderWerket house orchestra Forever Unclean (ex-Stars Burn Stripes) were good to go at a moment's notice. Now, they've been playing shows in Copenhagen for a while now with the new, slightly more pop punk oriented constellation, and they've been writing new material as of late. When combined together, the result is more upbeat and catchy than it has been in the past. Not only are they starting to draw a clear distinction between FU and Stars Burn Stripes stylistically (which was not the case early on), but the songwriting is improving, with solid vocal harmonies and tight riffs suggesting their upcoming EP this summer will be something to look out for. Tonight, they rush through a short-but-sweet set of high-octane skate punk meets pop punk, which acts as a good warm up for tonight's international names.

Petal

Petal

Petal is the moniker for Kiley Lotz's one-woman project, which has received the honors of becoming Beach Slang's supporting cast throughout the tour. Normally she has a band supporting her, but tonight she's on stage by herself with the exception of the last song, where the bassist from Beach Slang and the tour manager join her on stage for bass and drums, respectively. So it's just her and an electric guitar, which works surprisingly well, thanks to her sublime, silky-smooth vocals. It feels fragile - a little bit like Lemuria in a way - yet during the louder songs she makes clear her voice extends far and loud, drawing loud cheers from the crowd. Her set has an intimate showcase feel to it, which is only fortified by her cozy on stage interaction. "It's kind of toasty here right now, huh? Is my lipstick smudged yet? So, I love Prince... small, but mighty", are among her quotes on stage, which serves to disarm the slightly skeptical audience. In what seems like no time, she transforms the venue into a cozy showcase of soothing and calming indie rock with punk undertones every now and then. Usually, playing electric guitar alone isn't too interesting, but Kiley is an exception.

7

Beach Slang

Beach Slang

"We're Beach Slang and we're here to punch you in the heart" shouts James Alex at the beginning of their set in front of a packed crowd at the basement venue. Little do people suspect that what's about to happen is truly a for the fans type of a set, where Beach Slang will end up playing literally every single song they've ever recorded. That's right, the entirety of "The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us", every song off both EPs, plus a handful of covers they've been playing throughout this tour. I guess the combination of a sold out show and being told there's no curfew resulted in the kind of madness that every Beach Slang fan will be lusting over when looking at this setlist a couple of years onward from now.

Beach Slang

Tonight, they kick off with "Throwaways" followed by "Kids", during which the sound at the venue is a little bit muddled but where the band immediately make it clear why their live show has earned them so much praise. With exaggerated movements and constant movement, vocalist James Alex plays his heart out on stage, giving an exemplary performance of what passion is all about during live shows. By the time "Filthy Luck" raises the temperature at the venue, the sound has improved considerably, but it is the EP classic "American Girls And French Kisses" that becomes an instant highlight of the set. We all scream our lungs out to the "screaming out my lungs with my best friends" parts, creating the kind of intimate atmosphere this venue is all about during concerts.

In a slightly awkward pause in between "Hard Luck Kid" and "Noisy Heaven", drummer JP Flexner is invited out to come thank everyone at the front of the stage, given it's a sold out show and all. Kind of weird, but not as ridiculous as the band's party trick of guitarist Ruben Gallego apparently having a party trick where he can play any popular song on request. So we hear improvised versions of "Don't Fear The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult and "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath before Alex admits "Okay we gotta get out of this rabbit hole". "Dirty Cigarettes" follows together with "Dirty Lights", creating another highlight duo before "Punk Or Lust" has us all singing along once again. Someone happens to mention Phil Anselmo and his white power embarrassment, to which the band comments "That's not even old school... that's no school". Class act, this band is, that's for sure.

Beach Slang

This is usually where the band disappear for an encore, but given the tiny stage and no real backstage room per se, they stay on, especially when a crowd member (who shall remain unnamed!) shouts "SEVEN MORE SONGS!". The band laughs it off, but it turns out they're more serious about filling that request than you'd imagine. "I Break Guitars" - one of the first times the song is played on this tour - starts off the post-encore set, but sounds a little unrehearsed in terms of the guitar melodies (which is probably why it's not played more often). "Too Young To Die" is delivered in similar solo performance manner as on record by James Alex, before the set gets a little weird. They've played well over an hour and 15 minutes at this point, and they're literally running out of songs to play, so the covers start coming in. Two Jawbreaker tracks, a Senseless Things cover, and two Replacements songs later, the crowd dynamic has practically died as people are wondering what the heck is happening and whether they'll never stop playing or what. Crowd members are given an opportunity to come on stage and say things to the microphone. Awkward jokes are fired off by the band between the covers, and we're all starting to think "Get on with it" in our heads at this point.

Beach Slang

Finally, "We Are Nothing" and "Run The Wild Haze" finish a set which has seen a high-energy performance by the band, sing-alongs to their most popular tracks, and a true showcase of everything Beach Slang is about. We've been told small anecdotes about the background of the songs and what being in this band (or in Copenhagen for that matter) means for the guys, and all of it feels heartfelt and honest. That's what this band is all about. You can hear it in the songs, in the atmosphere, and in their words. For such a small concert, it's also impressive that the band play far longer than the 60 minutes they were initially slotted for. In retrospect, the covers could've been skipped for a truly magical experience; tonight they broke the flow of the set in an awkward manner. Either way, this is a setlist you're likely never to see again from this band. What a treat for the hardcore fans of the band like yours truly.

8

Setlist:

  • 1. Throwaways
  • 2. Kids
  • 3. Filthy Luck
  • 4. American Girls And French Kisses
  • 5. Young And Alive
  • 6. Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas
  • 7. Get Lost
  • 8. Porno Love
  • 9. Hard Luck Kid
  • 10. Noisy Heaven
  • 11. Dirty Cigarettes
  • 12. Dirty Lights
  • 13. Punk Or Lust
  • 14. I Break Guitars
  • 15. Too Young To Die
  • 16. Bad Scene, Everyone's Fault (Jawbreaker cover)
  • 17. All Fuzzed Out
  • 18. Bastards Of Young (The Replacements cover)
  • 19. Boxcar (Jawbreaker cover)
  • 20. Too Much Kissing (The Senseless Things cover)
  • 21. Can't Hardly Wait (The Replacements cover)
  • 22. We Are Nothing
  • 23. Ride The Wild Haze

Photos by: Peter Troest

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