Stars Burn Stripes

support Nobelkommittén + The National Shut Up
author PP date 10/03/10 venue Lades Kælder, Copenhagen, DEN

You certainly can't blame Stars Burn Stripes and The National Shut Up for not playing enough gigs, to quote my fellow scribe AP's comment to an announcement of yet another show by two of the most prominent names in the Copenhagen underground punk scene. Nearly every other week, Copenhagers have the opportunity to witness one or both live, so it would be logical to assume the crowds to be scarce given the constant bombardment of live underground punk rock. Apparently the locals are catching onto Stars Burns Stripes, which might have something to do with their new EP "Buy Now, Pay Later" and the better songs it has brought to their setlist, and The National Shut Up never seems to fail in attracting a decent sized crowd no matter what day of the week they are playing on. This despite not having even a debut EP out yet. Throw in an extra bonus in the form of Nobelkommitten from Sweden, and voila, around 50 to 60 people decided to make their way to Lades Kælder for some cold brews and good music.

The National Shut Up

Ten minutes before The National Shut Up got on stage, there were about 20 people at Lades, tops. Ten minutes later, the front of the stage was crowded to the point that space was pretty much the only thing that wasn't in abundance tonight. A special atmosphere surrounded the band's set, an almost label-showcase like one, where the crowd was tightly packed in a semi-circle close to the stage, nodding their heads and tapping their feet to the band's infectious rhythms, but without sick moshing or danger to one's pint spilling over. Somehow, it was the perfect fit with the band's set tonight. The setlist didn't differ much from the usual, but a new song, "Satellites", was introduced to the mix, a power ballad type track which had me singing along to the chorus by the end of it, so good stuff on the way from these guys pretty soon. "Ann", "Clara", "Dreadful Letter", "Do You Miss Me" and "Smearing Lipstick" were all delivered together with the usual cover material, although no coca cola one this time. I think it's pretty scary how many choruses and verses I can sing out of memory now, despite not owning a single track by these guys, but hey, that speaks volumes about TNSU as a band. Catchy, fun-oriented, energetic emo pop punk, that's what we've come to expect from TNSU, and that's what they delivered tonight. Always a pleasure.

Nobelkommittén

The Swedes in Nobelkommittén were in the unfortunate situation that only a tiny handful of people knew anything about the band prior to the show, so most of the crowd dispersed towards the bar and the tables for some chit-chat soon after the band played a couple of tracks Shame, really, because the band got better and better as their set progressed forward, "Brustet Hjärta" being the highlight of their set. Mixing together feel good Fat Wreck punk rock and gang vocal heavy melodic oi-core (yes I just made that up) plus an energetic, typically Midwestern punk stage performance with few words communicated to the crowd, my guess is they'd be a spectacle with a little more of a crowd who'd also know the lyrics to some of the gang shouts. Overall, their set felt like a good, seasoned punk rock set that was a little too under-appreciated by the crowd for my liking.

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Stars Burn Stripes

A few moments later, the crowd has re-gathered around the stage to witness tonight's headliners Stars Burn Stripes. After a few minutes of goofing around in the beginning, Stars Burn Stripes kick off their set with old favorite "Tomorrow", instantly starting a dance/mosh-pit that intensifies by the song, to the extent that seemingly everyone watching near the stage is involved in crashing into each other by the end of their set. New track "I Lost The Point" is played tightly with conviction, encouraging even more response from the crowd, which rubs off to the band's energy nicely, but I think that even the band itself was surprised over the response to "Rot Away": there were people actually singing along "I've heard some say the point of life is just to fall in love, to fall in love, to fall in loooove"! That's a first for this band from what I recollect from past shows. And this, my friends, really exploded the mood at the venue, creating just the sort of awesome underground basement punk atmosphere that can only be experienced, not described on paper. One where every crowd member feels an intimate connection to each other, where people (even the photographers) are pushed on stage singing random lyrics to the mic, where bruised limbs are unavoidable, but most importantly, one where everyone's having a fucking great time. From this point on, songs like "Sever The Tie" (without the trumpets again, but still awesome), "Straight To My Head" and others take the Stars Burn Stripes show to another level. The new songs are, simply put, so much better than anything the band has released in the past, and this is starting to translate into crowd turn outs at their shows. If you haven't checked them out yet with the new songs, do so now, they're playing all the time.

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