CJ Ramone

support Skullclub + Havvaii
author PP date 11/08/16 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

Albeit not of as legendary status as Dee Dee, Johnny, or Joey Ramone, CJ was nonetheless an important member of Ramones during their final years between 1989 and 1996, recording three albums together with the band. But since he's not an original, his appeal to classic Ramones fans appears to be limited based on the choice of venue tonight, the 160-capacity BETA. Their loss, since CJ is known to play a repertoire of Ramones classics spliced with his original material during his shows.

Havvaii

Tonight's opening band is Havvaii, a local Copenhagen rock band that just started out last year. They play a brand of alternative rock that draws in equal part from grunge as it does from pop rock, resulting in an indie-flavored vibe. Armed with lofty and airy guitars, and good, smooth vocals that find themselves somewhere between beloved 90s vocalists from Incubus and Soundgarden, their material is decent with especially "Wet Dogs" leaving a good impression tonight. Their stage presence, however, does need some work. Tonight, they basically just stand still exhibiting no particular charisma traits or other features that would make their live performance memorable. Maybe there are no negative aspects to remark on, and the band display good talent instrumentally and especially vocally, but this is a classic case of a young band starting out with not yet much live experience underneath their belt.

6

Skullclub

Skullcub, on the other hand, are the polar opposite of Havvaii. Hailing from Kolding, these guys make an immediate impact just on their looks alone. Their bassist is wearing a kilt, one of the guitarists has a banjo setup next to him, there's a guy with a skull mask standing in the background, and their mascara-wearing vocalist looks like Davey Havok of AFI from the "Decemberunderground" tour ten years ago. His gnarly vocals carry a classic punk Oi! style rebellious attitude, whilst musically the band range from straight up street punk through horror punk to folk punk. Imagine if Misfits added a banjo and played Oi! instead? That's Skullclub in a nutshell. "Skull!", he says with a smirk on his face, replacing the Danish cheers with something a little more suitable to his band name. "Laa, laa, la la laaa" we sing, as the band jumps into a pirate metal style song that wouldn't have felt out of place on an Alestorm record. It's groovy and catchy, and there's even a bit of harmonica to spice things up during the last couple of folk punk songs. The mic stand is placed in the middle of the crowd for a brief moment, and in general, Skullclub showcase plenty of energy and charisma on stage. At least for half of their set. Towards the second half, the shortcomings of their straight up punk become clear, as the novelty factor of their outfits and the banjo-driven punk songs begins to fade. Started out so well, but dwindled towards the end.

CJ Ramone

"I thought everyone would be at the Eagles of Death Metal show next door? I think I saw someone in the queue wearing a Ramones shirt, how ironic", says CJ in a rare remark to the crowd after a couple of songs. I say rare because this is a classic no-frills pop punk show with no additional bullshit in between. CJ shouts out a song title, we all cheer, and off they go, completing an impressive 28 songs during their allocated one hour and some timeslot. A setlist, which includes Ramones classics both fan-favorite and lesser known, ranging from "Judy Is A Punk" and "I Wanna Be Sedated" to "Strength To Endure" and "Glad To See You Go". Watching these old school classics played live draws some very distinct parallels between bands like The Dopamines and The Murderburgers who essentially all sound just like Ramones songs, a connection I've never truly established to the same extent as here, tonight. But that's the thing about a generational shift in music. With the last Ramones album from 1995, we are two decades separated from the last group of teenagers who grew up listening to these songs. Today, sing-alongs are curiously muted even to some of the bigger Ramones classics, reflecting exactly the fact that people have since then moved on. I can't necessarily blame them: the bands mention in this review as well as others like Direct Hit! are simply turbocharged versions of these songs with more edge and better vocal melodies, at least from a modern punk fan's perspective.

They are also far more energetic: tonight, CJ & co play the songs tightly on stage, but honestly there's not much else happening on stage. Rescued by a wealth of classics like "Rockaway Beach" and "The KKK Took My Baby Away", not to even mention "Blitzkrieg Pop", the result is an altogether enjoyable set where we experience a glimpse of the past musically, though never the renowned Ramones concert atmosphere we've all surely read about. "This is where we normally go, now scream, and we'll just play", CJ shouts, and off they go playing "Blitzkrieg Pop", "I Wanna Be Sedated", and the Motörhead cover "R.A.M.O.N.E.S" before heading off.

Setlist:

  • 1. Do You Wanna Dance? (Bobby Freeman cover)
  • 2. Judy Is a Punk (Ramones song)
  • 3. Understand Me?
  • 4. Rockaway Beach (Ramones song)
  • 5. One More Chance
  • 6. Cretin Hop (Ramones song)
  • 7. Won't Stop Swinging
  • 8. Three Angels
  • 9. Strength to Endure (Ramones song)
  • 10. Pitstop
  • 11. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend (Ramones song)
  • 12. Glad to See You Go (Ramones song)
  • 13. Carry Me Away
  • 14. Last Chance to Dance
  • 15. Cluster Fuck
  • 16. Swallow My Pride (Ramones song)
  • 17. Listen to My Heart (Ramones song)
  • 18. Baby, I Love You (The Ronettes cover)
  • 19. The KKK Took My Baby Away (Ramones song)
  • 20. Commando (Ramones song)
  • 21. Sheena Is a Punk Rocker (Ramones song)
  • 22. California Sun (Joe Jones cover)
  • 23. Durango 95 (Ramones song)
  • 24. Wart Hog (Ramones song)
  • 25. 53rd & 3rd (Ramones song)
  • 26. Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones song)
  • 27. I Wanna Be Sedated (Ramones)
  • 28. R.A.M.O.N.E.S.(Motörhead cover)

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