Night Fever

support Death Token + Obnoxious Youth + U.X. Vileheads + Hjertestop
author MGA date 15/10/11 venue Ungdomshuset, Copenhagen, DEN

Full disclosure: I've never been to a hardcore punk show before. I'm much more at home at an extreme metal show, but when my phone vibrated letting me know about the Adult Crash Showcase at Ungdomshuset, I went armed with a camera and an open mind.

What I got was a hearty dose of hardcore injected directly into my blood stream. I experienced the showcase not knowing a single band or song (I had to spend a few minutes researching what bands I had even just taken pictures of), so in that sense I was receiving a totally unbiased, unadulterated version of what hardcore is all about. The insights into each band below are admittedly short because of this; whatever I took away from that evening is whatever was left on stage.


I arrived towards the end of Hjertestop's set, and was immediately struck by the appearance of the crowd. I hail from the Los Angeles area of California, and my experience studying abroad in Copenhagen so far musically has mostly been centered on how the scenes in Copenhagen are much more fluid than they are in the U.S. The U.S. music scenes are extremely divisive and fractured, but what I had observed up until this point was that there was much more crossover and community in Copenhagen; no one really seemed to be 100 percent in one genre. That is, until I got to Ungdomshuset.

Though filled with a fairly rag tag mix of different people, a good portion of them I would have called hardcore lifers if they didn't appear to only be in their early 20s at the oldest. Decked out in sleeveless jean jackets, mohakws, black flag tattoos and matching septum piercings, this was a group of people who had very solidly drawn their own line in the sand as far as where they stood musically. Hjertestop's final few songs that I caught had the hardcore kids trading forearms to what really felt like fairly upbeat punk to me. I didn't know at the time that this was essentially a warm up for things to come.


U.X. Vileheads

Up next was U.X. Vileheads, and the energy was immediately different. The music was much less melodic, much faster and much more up my alley. The crowd seemed to agree with me, as the mosh evolved from the hole it had been into the pit everyone had wanted it to be. With a bassist wearing a Meat Puppets shirt, a guitarist in a sweater his grandmother could have stitched for him and a vocalist that could scream the unintelligible with unmatchable passion, this was an interesting mix. But it was an enjoyable mix, and even though (due to my lack of expertise) there's no stagnant form of hardcore I can call it the antithesis to, it did feel fresh to me.


Obnoxious Youth

This was odd; something unexpected. Some metal! Or, an interesting metal hybrid that combined oldschool metal with hardcore. Imagine upside down cross necklaces and belts made out of bullets combined with a bassist with a buzz cut that would repeatedly punch himself in the face between songs until his face bled. For some reason, I appreciated the blood. Passion in any form is always appreciated, even if it means punching yourself in the face. The crowd agreed – the pit grew. I approved.

Death Token

I caught Death Token from a bit of a distance so I didn't get to bask in the energy from the crowd up front, but their brand of hardcore was enjoyable to my inexperienced ears. If anything, it reminded me of a toned down version of the American band Nails, only without the grind elements. The result; more mosh, more mohawks, and more morphine needed for the unlucky ones.

Night Fever

Finally, Night Fever. This felt like the band everyone had been waiting for, and I soon found out why. The performance was hardcore in its unpredictability but still had a polished feel to it like this was a professional act. The temple of the vocalist bled, the stage diving hit a critical mass and I began to fear for my camera's life. It's hard to take photos with manual focus when you're at the very front center of a pit; these were the most chaotic conditions I'd ever snapped a shot in. The mass of humans ebbed and flowed to the music until it was hard to tell which was causing which; was it the music causing the turmoil in the crowd, or was it the crowd's chaos that was dictating the direction of the music? I wasn't sure, but I liked the result.


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