Stars Burn Stripes

support Mighty Midgets + Thought Police Brutality + The Revolt Of Darwin + The Supervisors + The Respirators + Die Oi!tonome
author PP date 20/11/10 venue Kraftwerket, Valby, DEN

5FeetUnder Records is quickly building up a reputation as a solid punk rock record label within Denmark, having released almost unequivocally awesome music within the genre since its inception. Tonight is dedicated to the release of their compilation album "Punk Rock Generation Vol.3", a 34 track record housing some of the best in Danish and European punk, which has drawn one of the largest crowds I've seen in a Danish punk show yet to make their way to Kraftwerket to celebrate the release. It helps to have 7 awesome bands on the lineup, including the owners of the label themselves: Mighty Midgets, who are playing a rare Copenhagen show tonight. The entire scene is present tonight with members from pretty much every single Danish punk rock band, their friends, and people who just like the style given the extensive promotion the event saw in, among others, MetroXpress and And so the stage (really just a space at the center of the room) is set for a number of awesome performances tonight, lets dig in.

Die Oi!tonome

First up is Die Oi!tonome, a crusty street punk band with rough vocals from Copenhagen. They are probably the band with least ambition and seriousness tonight, what with their mohawk-sporting lead singer chilling out with the microphone in one hand and a beer in another, and the performance being as you might expect from such an outfit: very static and non-energetic. The songs and style resembles English style pub 'n' roll mixed with an 80s hardcore base, where songs about beer and football mix in with more 'punk' topics like nazism. The songs aren't very good aside from the nazi-song and the "Copenhagen is full of twats & wankers" woo-hoo piece, which draws some laughter from the crowd. So when you combine that with the lack of energy and the strange feeling that the guys don't feel like playing, you have to conclude that the show was pretty average.


The Respirators

The Respirators then are a polar opposite to Die Oi!tonome, and have my feet tapping and head nodding from the very beginning. They own a great, instantly likable sound, which draws comparisons to really old school Green Day (think their first album and Kerplunk! etc) through its simplicity and catchy, easy-going melodies. Basically, they play similar high-energy, feel good, poppy punk rock as a bunch of smaller Fat Wreck bands, and it's the sort of band that we don't really have here in Denmark. Maybe that's why they sound so fresh tonight, but it of course helps that the band's performance looks and feels similar to watching bands like The Dopamines and Banner Pilot play: they are playing their hearts out but still appearing casual. They don't move too much out of their individual squares, but the little that they do is drenched in 'small-scale energy', where you can tell each band member is passionate for the music they are playing and have full confidence in their songs. They should indeed, because they sounded great even on first listen. Looking forward to seeing and hearing more to these guys.

The Supervisors

As the only foreign band on the bill tonight, The Supervisors have travelled here all the way from Oslo, Norway. They play melodic hardcore/punk, and play it extremely, extremely fast. The place is packed by the time they start, so when the band floors the pedal, a small but destructive mosh pit quickly develops courtesy of Losing Must and a couple of others. The going gets so crazy that a few moshers are falling on the band, knocking out their guitarist at one stage, but this doesn't bother them in the slightest. In fact, shortly after the band encourages people to keep going despite potential damage being done to themselves and/or the instruments. Gotta love that attitude. The 30 minutes that they spend on stage are likewise drenched in passion, so it doesn't bother anyone that their songs aren't quite on par with The Respirators. The most important thing is that they're putting on a good show and the crowd is eating it up..


The Revolt Of Darwin

For quite some time now The Revolt Of Darwin have been doing damage in the Copenhagen underground with their hardcore groove. I've seen them play in a ton of venues in the past, in both large and small, but tonight they are very clearly in their element at a basement-style venue such as this one. There's a shitload of people by now - most I've ever seen at Kraftwerket to the point that moving anywhere is starting to be impossible - so when you see the band's vocalist/guitarist placing his feet on the drumset straight after screaming in our collective faces from only inches away, it all feels very rock'n'roll like. Except Revolt Of Darwin are far more hardcore than rock'n'roll, playing their groovy southern-fried hardcore with the kind of tight intensity and energy I've only seen Every Time I Die do at Loppen once. The crowd fuckin' loves it, and it all becomes like a ping-pong effect: the harder the band plays, the more the crowd gets going, and consequently the more intense the band appears as a result of living off the crowd energy. The songs are of great quality, but that's something we all knew by now surely, because mixing together Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster and Every Time I Die is exactly what we ordered from the menu tonight. Towards the end, the vocalist ditches his guitar, leaning in even closer to the crowd up front, demonstrating showmanship few small Danish bands possess. Great set, nothing less.


Thought Police Brutality

And so it's the hardcore bands that reign tonight, it seems. Thought Police Brutality own the sound of Ungdomshuset hardcore/punk to them, raw, extremely pissed off and angry, dosed with a load of socio-political themes, which is again a perfect fit for a basement venue. Their stage show is absolutely crazy in the beginning, creating a strong parallel to the smaller Converge shows, which can be absolutely menacing when the band pound away at their most hardcore and most aggressive of tracks. Speaking of aggressive, the band is all over the place, crashing left and right, making a mockery of any band standing still. I've seen them a couple of times in the past, and tonight's definitely the most energy I've experienced from them, probably a direct result of the close quarters that create an intense, intimate environment. Still, their songs are a little bit too monotonous over a 30 minute period, as they ravage and pummel through them in extremely small bursts of hardcore fury. So despite the destructive beginning, the feeling I sense in the air is that people become desensitized to the chaos and so the set starts slowly going out of breath after the first 15 minutes.

Mighty Midgets

I'm not gonna lie. Despite the sublime (best) lineup tonight of great bands only, Mighty Midgets is the one I came here to see. I've never seen them before, and their debut album "Raising Ruins For The Future" comes recommended to any hardcore punk fan reading this. The band kick off with their excellent rack "Thoughts On Article 19", and sound just as intense as on record, if not more so. But what happened to all of the people? Did TPB scare them away with their uncompromising take on hardcore? Apparently everyone is just outside smoking or something, because a few songs in people return, and you can't blame them: the songs sound awesome live, and precisely as raw and furious as on record. The basement-factor I've mentioned a couple of times is playing to Mighty Midget's advantage, too, with vocalist Troels being able to constantly share the mic with eager crowd members wishing to scream along. Fact is, a small sing-along even takes place halfway through, surprisingly for a show this heavy and fast, and encouraged by the response MM perform a new song which sounds even crazier and faster than the old ones. How about that ballad, boys? The band drenches the small locale into sweat throughout their set, and finally finish their 30 minute set into a big sing along party in the end. Great stuff, go see these guys wherever they play.


Stars Burn Stripes regulars (heh) Stars Burn Stripes are the last ones to tear the stage apart tonight, deservedly earning the headline slot (lets pretend it is one for argument's sake) through lots and lots of hard work and excellent songs. I've seen them a ridiculous number of times now and they just keep on getting better and better. Tonight, they are tighter and more intense than ever before, fully utilizing the crowd energy, the pumping fists, and the dancing happening in front of them to inject even more intensity to their show. I love it when bands source their energy from the crowd response, it really creates a nice interaction between the two. The songs sound fantastic as always. "I Lost The Point", "Straight To My Head" are sooooo good, melodic hardcore godhood, which helps fuel the crowd into a frenzied mixture of mosh and sing-along. The set's just the perfect length, retaining all the passion and the high spirit to the final note, which leaves the crowd hungry for more. "Ekstra nummer (song), ekstra nummer" shouts the crowd in unison, and so we are treated to Stars Burn Stripe-ized version of "Incompetent Doctor" by fellow Copenhagen violin-punkers Stream City, of course announced as "the best punk song in Denmark" to poke fun at yours truly. It completes the best Stars Burn Stripes show yet, no doubt about that.

All black & white photos credit to Rasmus Ejlersen

All color photos credit to Janus Bahs Jacquet

P.S if you saw me holding a phone often during the show: I was taking notes, being professional if you might believe such a thing!

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