Madball

support The Hitchcocks
author PP date 14/06/11 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

We're back at The Rock for another round of live music. It appears as though the new booking/management behind the venue are serious about turning things around considering how many awesome bands have played recently/are scheduled to be playing in the next couple of months. Tonight, New York Hardcore crew Madball packs a few hundred people into the intimate venue for an exemplary night of how hardcore should sound like when done right. Fredericia bands, look this way.

The Hitchcocks

Much like vocalist Kasper Keen's other band The 20 Belows, The Hitchcocks specialize in straight forward punk rock with a few old school influences thrown in for good measure. Trendy elements, tight jeans or fringe haircuts are nowhere to be seen, which makes them the perfect local support for Madball, especially given the occasional nod towards The Misfits style woo-hoo horror punk. They've confined themselves to the right corner of the stage, which is an excellent decision as it makes the band appear like a tightly wound unit. They don't move much outside of their comfort zones but that's okay, because they are the sort of band that is drenched in sweat after just a few songs because of the power and passion they put into their performance. It helps that they spend very little time in between songs talking to the crowd, either picking up straight away with a new song when the previous one is done, or just announcing the title of a song and off we go again. That approach attracts nodding heads and tapping feet from the whole crowd more or less, and given that the band airs a good selection of cuts from their recent album "Blood Will Follow", I'm sure they left the venue tonight with a heft amount of curious people that'll check out their studio output.

7

Madball

"Come on, let's get bouncing" shouts Freddy Cricien of Madball, launching The Rock into a frenzy of mosh pits from the very moment that the first hard-hitting notes blast out of The Rock's sound system, displaying an excellent example of showmanship when he utilizes every square meter of the small stage as he bounces, runs, and stomps from one side of the stage to another at a formidable pace for a man of his age. The hardcore Madball fans at the front are shouting back every lyric at him, which Freddy uses to his advantage by pointing directly at crowd members chanting along and offering the mic for a line or two at opportune moments. He proclaims that Madball shows draw their energy from the union between the crowd and the audience, which very much holds true tonight, because the band has great energy on stage and the dynamic between them and the crowd has a sense of genuine unity in the beginning.

It triggers Freddy to shout things like "Represent on the dancefloor" to the hardcore fans to stir up further activity, which works to a degree in the start, given the tight bond that exists between the band and the crowd. This is something Freddy spends a lot of time carefully constructing through anecdotes and stories from the original New York Hardcore scene. For instance, he spends a minute talking about never forgetting the streets of New York where this style of hardcore started in the first place, finishing off with a power-remark and a call-out to he crowd: "we are bringing the sound of New York to venues like this around the world". Needless to say, this generates a mosh pit near the front - a real once for once and not one of those stupid karate-kid mosh pits that we see at the generic hardcore shows - where people are two-stepping, circling, and crashing into each other, but more importantly, everyone is having great fun. Madball classic "Get Out" is one of these songs which draws a huge response from the crowd.

But then something happens from the audience's side. About 25 minutes into the show, the crowd seems to forget that clapping, cheering along and that sort of thing is what normally should happen after a song finishes. Freddy tries his best in screaming things like "let's go" and "are you guys having a good time?", but for some god forsaken reason the vast majority of the crowd does not sound enthusiastic or loud at all, which leaves a strange, awkward atmosphere lingering around the venue after a couple of such examples. Perhaps that's why Madball cut their set short tonight and only play 50 minutes worth of hardcore, a ludicrously short set considering their massive back catalogue offering, but who can blame them tonight? They are excellent on stage, flawless in many ways and one of the best hardcore bands I remember seeing in recent times, but the crowd and their response from halfway through is despicable - where's the respect for one of the longest-standing and most genuine hardcore bands around? Taking all things into consideration, it only speaks more about Madball's wealth of experience that they decide to cut things short when they are on top - playing for another 20-30 minutes would've potentially killed the feeling of unity and the idea that tonight we are all a part of the extended hardcore family from New York.

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