OFF!

support Trash Talk + Brudte Løfter
author PP date 13/06/12 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

Doors have opened almost forty minutes ago when I first enter Pumpehuset, yet I'm among the first five or six people who have shown up despite a promised Facebook attendance of over 180 people to the second OFF! show ever in Copenhagen. The reason is simple: Denmark vs Portugal has finished only moments ago with a devastating loss so most people are still at home sulking over the loss or simply making their way to the venue from whatever bar/house/beach they were watching the game at. Not to worry, the attendance skyrockets before Trash Talk start; only the Danish supporters Brudte Løfter, featuring some of Stengade's very own, have to perform to a dismal turnout.

Brudte Løfter

Brudte Løfter

If you were one of the late arrivals, then don't worry, you didn't miss very much. Brudte Løfter basically sound like a band who popped on the first OFF! record from a couple of years ago and thought "well damn, this sounds awesome, let's make a similar band". So basically OFF! lite with less catchy songs, but the same raw, old school hardcore rooted sound to their music. The problem is that it doesn't feel very convincing at all. Urgency is lacking, which isn't surprising considering the old school hardcore sound can only really be done properly by the original members of the movement, anything else just sounds a little bit...derivative. That's also why the crowd response is minimal; it says something that the biggest cheer from the audience is when the singer removes his shirt halfway through. They have a couple of decent songs, so it's not outright terrible, but it's just a huge contrast on what is to come later on tonight. And if you can't properly entertain a crowd for 30 minutes, then you still have some work to do, but to be fair, they are a new band so that is to be expected.

Trash Talk vocalist kneeling in the middle of the pit

Trash Talk

Trash Talk then are a completely different beast to handle. On record, their chaotic form of grindcore-turned-hardcore may sound monotonous and, frankly, a little boring and uninspired, but their reputation as a crazy live band is definitely justified, and the biggest reason why there's so much hype about this band all across the board. The band is all over the place tonight both on and off-stage, showcasing energy and stunts that almost rival a Dillinger Escape Plan show. Lets start with the singer, who's like a big ball of hair flying everywhere on stage including on, against, and amidst the audience. Mostly the latter, though, whether rallying up the circle pit around him, hurling himself onto the unsuspecting onlookers on the sides of the audience, or just jumping up and down frantically, or spinning around like a tornado in what must be one of the strangest looking vocal performances I've seen in a while. There comes even a point where he rushes all the way to the back of the venue towards the stairs, sits down, says "I'll come hang out with you guys for a bit" into the mic, and then proceeds to scream another chaos-driven, furious hardcore song while sitting down. As a finale, the entire band leaves the stage with their instruments, head banging and playing ferociously in the midst of audience members while the singer stands on top of a table in the middle of the room screaming in no particular direction. It's no surprise that the chosen conversation topic after their set is "well how crazy was that band" around the venue, and it is precisely this type of performance that is needed to make their set far superior to their recorded output.

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OFF!

OFF! on the other hand don't need to rely on as crazed live setup as Trash Talk because their songs simply speak for themselves. For those not in the know, they play piercing old school hardcore from the late 70s era with ex-Black Flag vocalist Keith Morris as the centerpiece in an energetic showcase of how hardcore gigs used to be like back in the day (or so I imagine). With a solid set list of 21 songs split evenly across their two full length records (or well, the first one was a compilation of four EPs I suppose), OFF! demonstrate hardcore in elite class supplemented by the manic facial expressions of Keith Morris as he performs his songs in person. There's the occasional weird explanation behind what the songs mean, such as "Jeffrey Lee Pierce", which is apparently about some guy who they put into a container, set it on fire, and rolled it down a hill (or something along the lines of that), or "Borrow & Bomb", which is preceded by a lengthy rant about borrowing money from China, but generally OFF! spend little time talking and more time playing. This helps re-create the same urgency and feeling of immediacy as is omnipresent on both of their records, resulting in a tightly played show that has the crowd going crazy at least in the beginning.

OFF!

Although OFF! are nowhere near as energetic and all-over-the-place as Trash Talk just before, you have to give some respect for these old dudes bouncing around on stage even at a senior age (for a rock musician anyway). They don't necessarily have to break the stage equipment in a flurry or to break into the audience every second song, because the quality of the songs carries the set alone. While that might not be enough to rate the show 'great' or 'amazing', it's difficult to deny the appeal of the original hardcore crew even in 2012, showing once and for all that hardcore is still relevant, as long as it is executed properly.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Panic Attack
  • 2. I Don't Belong
  • 3. I Got News For You
  • 4. Poison City
  • 5. Now I'm Pissed
  • 6. Jeffrey Lee Pierce
  • 7. Blast
  • 8. Feelings Are Meant To Be Hurt
  • 9. Wrong!
  • 10. King Kong Brigade
  • 11. Borrow & Bomb
  • 12. Vaporized
  • 13. Crawl/Rat Trap
  • 14. Wiped Out
  • 15. Peace In Hermosa
  • 16. Cracked
  • 17. Fuck People
  • 18. Toxic Box
  • 19. Black Thoughts
  • 20. Darkness
  • 21. Upside Down

Photos by Rasmus Ejlersen

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