The Crackups

support Sunpower + Respirators + The Priceduifkes
author PP date 31/03/12 venue Kraftwerket, Copenhagen, DEN

Note: Photo NOT from tonight's show. No photographer + dark room + HTC Legend = 0 usable photos. Credit: Marc Gaertner

It's a Saturday night in Copenhagen and I've been invited to cover a gig exchange between Danish punk rockers in Respirators and three bands from Belgium. Basically, a gig exchange works much in the same way as an exchange works in universities: one university sends students to the other, and vice versa. Here, the case is simply that Respirators have helped set up a show in Copenhagen for the Belgian punkers, and they in turn set up a few shows for Respirators in their home country. The whole shebang takes place at the recently renovated Kraftwerket in Valby, where the stage has moved to the left side of the venue to create a more authentic 'gig room' atmosphere as opposed to the worn down underground basement vibe it had last time I paid a visit here.

The Priceduifkes

The starting honors tonight were given to The Priceduifkes, who I was told put together shows that are more akin to crazy parties than your ordinary concert experiences. Tonight, we catch a glimpse of what it's probably like at a packed show full of Priceduifkes fans when half a dozen of their fans form a spontaneous mosh pit consisting of intense headbanging, a ton of air guitar, and beer flying in 360 degree direction from its center point. The band plays the kind of tight, no frills punk rock that brings to mind bands like The Dopamines which lends itself perfectly for beer-infused partying of the kind on display right in front of us by their Belgian fans, so its no wonder the band play with great energy and lots of enthusiasm throughout the show. They're also very comfortable and confident on stage, an indication that they usually play much larger shows in their home country judging from how their "How are you tonight Copenhagen!?" chants even though only about 30-40 people are present tonight. Their songs are solid and easily accessible, drawing nods of approval from bystanders to whom the music seems to effortlessly glue itself. What's more, they finish off their set with a cover of Dillinger Four's excellent "Gainesville", who are one of my favorite bands of all time, so another nod of approval is in order from this direction.


Next up were Respirators, who recently dropped the 'the' from in front of their band name. They are slowly gearing up to release their debut album and have now embarked on their first European tour, which means they have been rehearsing a lot and playing a ton of shows lately. It shows big time in their stage apperance, which is now much more confident and entertaining than it used to be in the past. They no longer look as shy and uncomfortable on stage, instead offering a tighter and more experienced look at the Midwestern punk style that they championed on their debut EP. But tonight's not their lucky day when it comes to strings at least, as several of them break during the show which cuts away from the flow of the set slightly. As such, they lack the same fun-going, party dynamic as Priceduifkes just before, but that's okay, because those guys have been a band for a much longer time. What's more important is that Respirators look like a band ready to be presented to the international audience as well.



After the first two bands revolved around the more melodic side of punk, Sunpower (who will play at Groezrock festival this year) took the show into a more old school, hardcore rooted direction. Drawing heavily from the original hardcore scene, most notably Black Flag, Circle Jerks etc, or OFF! and Ceremony if you need more modern comparisons, their set had a real basement, old school fiery hardcore feel, though with just enough melody to keep the punk crowd interested. They had an active vocalist who seemed to be all over the place while delivering his high intensity old school hardcore expression, which received a solid response from the crowd. It's just too bad that there were too few people present tonight to make the dynamic work properly, because their set could've easily been a full grade better with proper crowd interaction and all that which comes with slightly bigger, though still intimate shows.

The Crackups

To close off the night we had The Crackups, the third and final Belgian band tonight, who were the odd one out of the group. Where the previous three bands were clearly connected to the punk scene, The Crackups' were more like a hardcore'n'roll band with only slight punk undertones remaining in their sound. Almost like The Bronx, but more punk rock, or like The Living End, but less rock'n'roll. You get the point. They play with a surprisingly high tempo considering their crazy solo based lead riffs, but the problem is that their songs are kind of monotone and boring, at least on first listen in a live environment. That doesn't prevent the crowd from going wild, though, as halfway through the set almost everyone near the front has disposed of their shirt and concentrate on a mosh pit where the highlight is a cardboard box that's wrapped around various members of the crowd. Their rowdy performance reflects what's going on in the crowd, sure, but I'm not sure the crowd energy can be attributed to their songs rather than large quantities of beer. But lets not take anything away from the band: they play with a swagger and rock'n'roll attitude, they're just not a fit for the band's tonight if you ask me.

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