Satanic Surfers

support No Fun At All + Twin Pigs
author PP date 08/11/18 venue Kulturbolaget, Malmö, SWE

No Fun At All are just about wrapping up their enormous world tour that has seen them perform well north of 20-song sets in support of the new album "Grit" all across the planet. Yours truly has seen them so far in three countries during the tour (Jera On Air in Holland, Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia, and of course the summer outing in Copenhagen, Denmark), so why not add a fourth one? Especially when on offer is a classic Swedish skate punk package with Satanic Surfers as an added bonus on the bill, who for some strange reason have been swapped around as headliners tonight.

Twin Pigs

KB is basically empty by the time the relatively unknown Twin Pigs hit the stage. Those who didn't show up early are missing out, however, as the local guys deliver a fantastic interpretation of Fucked Up-style hardcore-infused post-punk. With a 50/50 gender balance, the band is equipped with two women on stage responsible for the guitar and the effects panel, respectively, who make a hell of a lot of noise considering they're only supplemented by a drummer and a vocalist. The latter is particularly fond of dancing, he tells us on multiple occasions, eventually ending up in the crowd to drive the pit action. That explains why his cord is basically 50 meters long. None of that karate mosh shit, by the way, this is groovy, move-your-hips type of dancing which ends up on display on one of the tables that he drags into the crowd. Looks pretty dangerous but effective in getting the crowd riled up. In the meantime, the girls on stage are rocking out in high energy fashion, leaving behind a consistently energetic and upbeat image that slowly wins the crowd over one song at a time. We'll be hearing much more about these guys in the future.

No Fun At All

For some reason, the running order has been swapped around today so No Fun At All play first even though they're clearly the bigger (and better) band on the bill. Their classic red skateboard logo is unveiled behind them and then off we go for yet another series of skate punk's all-time classics starting with "Believers" and "No Fun Intended". The venue is around half full at this point so we're fewer than expected singing along, dampening the overall atmosphere somewhat but it's just hard not to like these guys each and every time they play. The old-timer on guitar is circling around energetically, whilst the two younger members are busy doing scissor jumps and shredding like their life depends on it.

"Should Have Known" is a hit early on starting the sing-along process in commendable fashion, but it is "Perfection" which draws the loudest one before the predictable hits like "Catch Me Running Round", "Master Celebrator" and "Beat 'Em Down" come around later on. Here, the band pauses mid-song allowing the crowd to complete the "one time and one more time, keep repeating, keep repeating..." section to finish off the song in style. The pit is steadily moving around throughout the show, but it's moments like these that stand out and ignite it even further.

Of the other highlights, you could mention "Suicide Machine", "Out Of Bounds", and "Beachparty" among others, but the truth is this is no homecoming or magical celebration of skate punk's brilliance as a genre as we might have expected from a show on "home" ground in Sweden. Comparing to the killer late night set at Groezrock in a packed tent, or even the sublime scene-wide gathering at Copenhagen this summer, the Malmö concert is merely rock solid. Great skate punk anthems and sing-alongs, but not the unforgettable party some might have been expecting from such a long absence.

8

Setlist:

  • 1. Believers
  • 2. No Fun Intended
  • 3. Should Have Known
  • 4. Lose Another Friend
  • 5. Forth
  • 6. Strong And Smart
  • 7. Wow And I Say Wow
  • 8. Perfection
  • 9. Growing Old, Growing Cold
  • 10. Runner's High
  • 11. Suicide Machine
  • 12. I Won't Believe In You
  • 13. In The Moment
  • 14. Evil Worms
  • 15. Out Of Bounds
  • 16. Spirit
  • 17. Catch Me Running Round
  • 18. Where's The Truth
  • 19. Beachparty
  • 20. Beat 'em Down
  • 21. Master celebrator

Satanic Surfers

Ok, time for some real talk about Satanic Surfers. They're a decent skate punk band and definitely one of the fastest bands around. But just because they've been gone for a little over a decade doesn't mean they're now suddenly bigger or more popular than ever before. Are they really headliner worthy at festivals or at shows like this? I honestly don't think so, and half of the crowd that disappears following No Fun At All finishing their set seems to agree. If you had to name five Satanic Surfers songs off the top of your head, could you do it? It's a magnitude easier with NFAA for instance, which basically says everything about why the Surfers should not be playing after NFAA tonight.

Alas, here we are with a venue that's now half empty. The band start with "Egocentric" and quickly run through "The Usurper" from the new album, and for a while, they look truly great on stage. With vocalist Rodrigo performing scissor kick jumps and the guitarists shredding away, their tight, breakneck speed skate punk comes to its own. Songs like "Self-Medication" and "Even If Time Stood Still" are solid, but there's a lengthy middle section that follows where the band's music disappears into a whirlwind of songs that are lightning speed but sound too samey in the end. Let's be honest here: the whole super fast skate punk thing, Captain Everything! did that better with more memorable songs during the 2000s.

But criticism aside, this is one of the best I've seen Satanic Surfers play this year having caught them three times prior on different festivals. If you were to cut out the boring middle segment of their show where absolutely nothing worth noting was going on and focus on the great start and the equally solid finish with "Better Off Today", "Head Under Water" and the songs following the encore, then we'd be talking. They look revitalized and for once, Rodrigo isn't glued to his frozen position in the middle of the stage as has been the case so many other times before. That said, it's difficult to ignore the long period of meh permeating the middle of their set. In the end, it's clear the two acts should have been swapped around.

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