The National Shut Up

support Pranksters + A New Day
author PP date 08/10/09 venue Lades Kælder, Copenhagen, DEN

As I step into yet another night of local/small-scale punk rock at Lades Kælder, Copenhagen, full of high expectations, I'm immediately met with a hollow feeling of "is this it?". I gauge around the venue in the hopes of finding at least a few dozen people hiding behind the corners or perhaps in the smoking area, but to my disappointment there were probably fewer than 15 people at the venue who weren't part of one of the three bands on the billing tonight. Not exactly what you'd hope for a young, relatively unknown UK punk band on a DIY tour across Europe. Where's the support for punk rock guys? On a Thursday night and free entrance nonetheless!

A New Day

What's even worse is that the band that was supposed to be headlining is forced to start first, simply because the venue (or promoter, not exactly sure who) decided that the local acts on the bill tonight could pull a bigger crowd and thus keep the people in the venue longer. Fair enough, I guess, but when A New Day start their first song of melodic hardcore punk, the only two people standing in front of the small stage are myself and one of my friends that I dragged with me to the show - both wearing shirts of course. Everyone else seems more comfortable sitting down far at the back, engaging in conversations instead of watching this entirely decent band - on record that is - stroll through their fast paced melodies. The band tried their best in the beginning, but the lack of interest from the crowd eventually started affecting their performance, and it became one of those "empty venue-static band" experiences no band likes to have. Apparently one (or two?) other band members also abandoned the tour at some point, so the band were performing in a crippled mode for the rest of the tour... whether it was internal problems or that the band simply ran out of money, I have no idea, but considering that and the low turn out, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the band.



After the combination of confusion and disappointment with A New Day, it was time for Denmark's own Pranksters to take the stage. Now I wasn't familiar with the band before (why not? Copy of a recent release my way please) aside from a brief Myspace listen prior to the show, so don't expect any song titles as reference points, but they certainly impressed me with their melodic brand of straight forward punk. They played with considerable speed and energy throughout, spicing up their show with occasional jumps, and received a good response from the crowd with at least a dozen people in front of the stage by now. In other words, a very typical punk rock show, which was also reflected in their rather hilarious stage banter in between show. But if there's one thing I would've wished more of, it'd be the synchronized jumps. Increase the frequency of these by a few multiples, and their performance would be much more interesting straight away. Example: the guitarist pointing his guitar towards the crowd like a machine gun while playing... it's a small detail, but it's something you'll remember for sure. A decent performance nevertheless.

The National Shut Up

I'm running out of things to say when it comes to The National Shut Up. I've seen them four times including tonight, called them Denmark's best pop punk band, compared them to New Found Glory and even Simple Plan, said they're energetic live, and complained about some sound problems they've had at a few shows. On one hand it's great, because I'm starting to learn the lyrics to their shows even though they haven't released anything yet, but it results in somewhat repetitive reviews unfortunately. Regardless, the announcement that they'd be headlining tonight came as a positive surprise, because lets be honest, the last band to play always tends to be better than the rest. No exception here, then, and I'm glad to announce tonight's show tonight was also the best one I've seen by these guys yet. Seems they're getting better and better as time passes. Starting off with the joyous "Bodybuilder Boyfriend", nearly everyone who was at the venue crowded the area right in front of the stage, creating a nice and intimate atmosphere for their set. Sooner than later, small mosh pits erupted, much thanks to the band's incredibly energetic performance where every band member was moving as much as they could in the tiny corner space known as 'stage' at Lades, to the extent that by the end of the show you could see every one of them drenched in sweat all around. Good times.

One thing I've learned to appreciate about The National Shut Up is how they feel so cozy and at-home on stage, no matter how big or small the show. They joke around as if they were just hanging out as friends, and as such, they form a down-to-earth atmosphere that's easy to relate to and easy to feel part of. Maybe that's why the crowd took such a big liking on them; a fast-paced song like "Ann" was met with a small mosh pit, while "Clara" saw a bunch of people if not headbanging (this is pop punk, after all), then at least nodding along with big smiles on their faces. The usual cover of the coca cola anthem was expected, and even though it's still pretty funny, I'm sure that everyone's heard it by now so perhaps the band could make a similarly humorous cover of another popular brand song to fill their set before they have more songs to play live. Now my memory fades a bit here so don't hang me if I'm wrong, so it could've also been Pranksters who did this, but I think as an encore the band played a fast-paced cover of "Hvor skal vi sove i nat", a popular Danish pop song from the 70s (? my knowledge of that is limited, I admit!), to end a night that started as a disappointment into fun, light-hearted pop punk awesomeness despite the low attendance.



1. Bodybuilder Boyfriend

2. Clara

3. Ann

4. Do You Miss Me

5. Mondays

6. Dreadful Letter

7. Coca Cola cover

8. Smearing Lipstick

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