Stars Burn Stripes

support The National Shut Up + Kill The Rooster
author PP date 17/06/09 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

There aren't many things more punk than playing a free show with next to no promotion. You guessed right, tonight's three bands on the bill didn't receive a single dime from ticket sales considering people of all ages were allowed in for a round price of zero Danish crowns. I hadn't seen any posters or proper promotion on other Danish magazines other than ours, so I wasn't counting on a huge turnout, this despite the evening functioning almost as an exhibition of the state of the punk rock scene in Copenhagen: all three bands on the bill tonight originated from the capital city area. Anyway, when the doors opened, the venue was literally empty: only myself, AP, and a mutual friend were occupying the bar area together with some band members. Luckily, Kill The Rooster wouldn't start before an hour, and by then the turnout increased to a positive surprise considering it was a Wednesday evening and punk's state in Denmark is... well, you can't even call it a state really - all three bands even shared the same drum kit.

Kill The Rooster

I feared the worst after the first song by the all-red clothed Kill The Rooster. They started with a slow, balladic type of song with extremely weak vocals, and it all sounded like crap. Fortunately, their next few songs displayed close similarities to at least the three chord punk of Green Day, the melodic style of Alkaline Trio, the explosiveness of Anti-Flag's brighter material, and a handful of other bands in the process. I'd be lying if I didn't think it was decent, but there were a couple of huge problems with their set. First of all, all too many songs sounded like they could've been written by a different band each. All fans of the genre know that the best punk albums are those that have the same sound throughout; be it Bad Religion or Anti-Flag. Secondly, the overall impression of the set was fairly amateurish. You could easily tell that the guys don't have dozens of shows underneath their belt just yet. Some more movement wouldn't hurt, but more than that, this band needs WAY more charisma especially in between songs.

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The National Shut Up

Based on the sounds we heard tonight, The National Shut Up could've easily been the next up and coming pop punk sensation from the states, as these guys played the college pop punk sound precisely by the books. Insanely catchy choruses, raw-but-bouncy guitar work, and lots of energy and charisma on stage ensured that every fan of bands like All Time Low, Four Year Strong or Hit The Lights was sharing my sentiments towards this band: if they were situated somewhere in the US, their Myspace page would have 320,000 profile views instead of the mere 32,000 they currently have. I can't think of a single pop punk band in Denmark - now or in the past - who would appear as ready-for-international-success as these guys. The tracks on Myspace need some of the glossy production that the sound-guy slapped on them live, sure, but at their core the songs are so catchy that many were singing along after the first chorus of each song, the undersigned included. When you couple that up with the guitarist jumping off the drumkits, people spinning around and an overall high energy levels, you too would come to the conclusion that The National Shut Up were the surprise of the night.

Stars Burn Stripes

Pedal to the floor. That was basically the theme of the Stars Burns Stripes set tonight, spiced up with some funny stage banter in between songs (NOFX anyone?) and a boatload of energy on stage. These guys both look the part and play the type of music that screams Anti-Flag even on first live show, but does anyone actually mind? I know I don't, especially because a few of their songs are REALLY good. "Tomorrow" and "So Long Macaulay Culkin" have the perfect woo-hoo type choruses to get an audience going, that is if they'd know the songs beforehand like me, but lets just wait till these guys get a bit more popular and we'll be having sing along fests everywhere they go. When the guys were playing, they looked like they were in a whole another universe: one drenched in sweat, passion and throat-straining screams and yells. When they weren't, it was back to jokesland. For some bands the joking around comes as a natural part of the show; the undersigned has the opinion that this brings a nice contrast to the otherwise the serious punk rock vibe - anyone who's seen a NOFX show will be able to confirm that for you. Overall though, these guys appeared quite tight live, which is probably the single most important thing for a punk band in a live environment. I'm sure that the more people that Stars Burns Stripes are able to pack into their shows, the better their set will become as well, although the 100 to 150 people present tonight was a good start.

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