Mindless Self Indulgence

support Julien K
author PP date 05/11/12 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

Not sure really what I was getting myself into tonight. Having heard a few Mindless Self Indulgence songs back in the day and dismissed them as completely juvenile and idiotic, albeit catchy to a certain degree, I opted to go check out the band nonetheless thanks to rumours of flamboyant live shows that reached my ears months before their show. As I enter the downstairs part of Pumpehuset I'm immediately met by a mixed crowd of freakshows with painted faces, hordes of screaming teenagers, as well as some older fans undoubtedly from the band's original reign in the early 2000s, and I'm again completely unsure, if not downright unexcited about being here tonight. Uphill battle for the band to impress me, you might argue, but totally worth it in the end. More on that later, though, because virtually the moment I chuck my jacket into the wardrobe and pop into the packed venue, Julien K are just stepping on stage.

Julien K vocalist

Julien K

It takes a few songs to get into the soundscape of Julien K, which seems to consist of a weird combo of noisy rock with an industrial rock base, effect-laden vocals, and a throwback to 80s melancholy pop complete with synths and electronics galore. It's a different sound for sure - one they've self labeled as 'indietronic' - which is only reinforced by the band's glam-inspired outlook on stage, as well as their unwavering confidence on stage. Their front man doesn't care that nobody knows the band in the venue tonight, he's more focused on using his undeniable charisma in clapping his hands, shaking his booty, and generating industrially tuned, danceable electro rock tunes that present nuances of Killing Joke's classic material and the occasional Marilyn Manson influence. It's fucking weird, but it works, and in no time they have the crowd bobbing along having surrounded the entire venue with their distinctly 80s revivalist atmosphere. Not even a 'Hello Sweden' proclamation by accident seems to deter the band from winning over the crowd bit by bit. They're a positive surprise tonight and certainly can claim a great degree of originality in their sound.

Mindless Self Indulgence

So now for the main event. Before I go any further, here's what I've learned tonight: on record, Mindless Self Indulgence are one of the most original and innovative bands in existence, but they are also on the same intellectual level of Insane Clown Posse. You'd get to China by digging before finding the depths of stupidity this band spends their lyrical universe in. However, you really, absolutely must see them live in order to put their songs into their proper context. They are clearly totally unserious and tongue-in-cheek, and it's all done for the sake of entertainment, nothing more, nothing less.

And entertainment, my friends, is what Mindless Self Indulgence master tonight. Not only are they the most hyperactive and frantically moving band I've seen since the insanity that is The Chariot earlier this year, but their outrageous appearance (enormous mohawk plus a suit of their vocalist is always a winner especially in contrast with the aging 80s rock star look of their guitarist, and the glam/sex appeal of their female bassist and drummer) is a spectacle in itself. On top of that, their vocalist is quite possibly the rudest, most chauvinist, most offensive loudmouth I've ever experienced live, leaving the likes of Fat Mike far behind in his stream-of-consciousness rambling.

The teenage girls scream their lungs out as the band first enter on stage, but something tells me the following events are the reason why they are silenced by louder cheers from the older members of the crowd later on. Immediately after the first song, vocalist Jimmy Urine (...) screams directly at individual members of the audience telling them to 'KISS THE COLUMNS' repeatedly while pointing at the pillars holding the venue together. He then proceeds to insult Pumpehuset as a 'shitty little dark club', before again pointing towards individual girls at the front while shouting "WHY AREN'T YOU A SUPERMODEL?", "WHY AREN'T YOU A SUPERMODEL?", "WHY AREN'T YOU A SUPERMODEL" for what feels like an eternity of awesome awkwardness of where the crowd doesn't really know how to react collectively. Surely this guy can't be serious, especially after flying across the stage in a huge leap from on top of the drum kit and generally acting like a pest everywhere on stage.

Jimmy Urine in crowd once again

Then, two or three songs in, he finally notices the makeshift barrier which seems to be squeezing the people at the front from the pressure of the people at the back. He immediately proceeds to go on a rant about the barricade, insulting literally everyone from the technicians, the organizers, the booking agents, the venue owners, calling them expletives and comparing the structure to a guillotine. He then claims "FUCK IT, I'M NOT PERFORMING A SINGLE SONG BEFORE THAT SHIT DISAPPEARS. I don't care who takes it apart, I want it gone. Right away." in a hilarious but at the same time completely serious tone, which oozes of rock'n'roll rebellion especially after he screams "that barricade is POISON, let's tear it apart, whatever it takes people". He fully means it by the way, because the moment after he decides to simply perform the remainder of the set from the middle of the crowd, on top of the bar, at the back of the venue behind the sound desk, on the stairs (where he calls the people losers for standing there), and virtually everywhere he can make it with his wireless mic. This isn't some preposterous rock star bullshit, by the way, this is venomous, real hatred for the structure, that fortunately for us manifests in what feels like an insane rave with Jimmy Urine starting dance pits everywhere in the crowd. He proceeds to set up a table at the back and stands on top of that in a weird turn of events where almost everyone at the venue is facing the back of the venue instead of the stage, while the security desperately try to remove the barrier as instructed.

It's not possible, so for the remainder of the night Jimmy Urine is fucking pissed. In a good way. It turns out he is even more maniacally insane than he normally is. It all feels ridiculous, but at the same time awesome, because the set is about as unpredictable as it gets, with new twists and turns of events happening all the time, mostly orchestrated by Urine's constant shouting and screaming of obscenities and insults at everyone and their mother in the crowd. He dances so much in the crowd that he disappears for large periods of time, which allows him to all of a sudden scare fellow dancers by literally appearing in between two friends dancing from behind. Creepy as fuck, but awesome reactions all around.

'Too cool for school' guitarist of MSI

At the same time, the band showcases that despite their reputation as the lowest common denominator intellectually, they have written some incredibly catchy songs throughout their career. "Never Wanted To Dance", "Faggot", "Bitches", "Stupid MF" among others lead the charge as Pumpehuset transforms into a crazed dance fest for the remainder of the night. When at the same time you have a band that appears to be entirely made out of lunatics (even the female bassist does a crazy crowd surf at one point), you can't but be awe-inspired by their performance tonight. When you leave the venue pumped and unsure just what the fuck you have watched for the last hour and a half or so, it's bound to have been an amazing night. I haven't even gotten to the part where he gets free booze from the bar while standing on top of it ('not the clear one, the brown one, because the clear ones are for pussies'), calling himself a supermodel and 'cool' while stripping on a podium, his weirdo facial expressions, his masterful control of his body through strange dance moves...MSI really need to be seen to be believed.

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Photos by: Lykke Nielsen

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