The Accelerators

support Mikey Erg + The 20Belows + Pocket Full Of Lies
author PP date 04/04/14 venue UnderWerket, Copenhagen, DEN

It's a lovely Spring Friday night in Copenhagen and the guys behind DIYMCA booking have set up another show featuring a display of names from the underground punk scene at UnderWerket. Accelerators, who have played in Copenhagen at least a couple of times in the past, are headlining with their tight punk rock expression, but for many the headline of the night is Mikey Erg of seminal punkers The Ergs. Alongside the two foreigners we have local pop punkers The 20Belows playing a rare show as well as one of the DIYMCA members Jakob Pries with his acoustic solo project Pocket Full of Lies, so there's plenty of entertainment for the cheap 60 DKK entry price. Tonight, the venue looks a little different with balloons hanging from the rafters, a DIYMCA banner hanging at the back of the stage, and a flag featuring upcoming shows on the right side of the stage. It's a welcome addition that makes the somewhat dire looking UnderWerket look a little more festive.

Pocket Full Of Lies

Pocket Full of Lies

Pocket Full Of Lies is the brand new project by Jakob Pries, who used to play in The Respirators before they broke up last year. He's since then continued to write punk rock songs in an acoustic format, so tonight's set is all about gravelly vocals, upbeat melodies, and nicely energetic shredding on the acoustic guitars. He screams and shouts his vocal lines with his heart on his sleeve, even if some of the songs are a little less on the serious side (one of them is called "I Used To Have Friends (Now I Got A Cat)"). There's not much else to say about the set except it felt like a good, upbeat opener for a night of punk rock to come.

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The 20Belows

The 20Belows

One of the guys in 20 Belows lives in Holland these days so it's not often we get a chance to witness them live. Tonight, they tell us they haven't really rehearsed so things are understandably a little sloppy along the way, but that's just punk rock for you right there. They kick off with the upbeat and bright "Momentum", follow it up with "Double Gin", which sees a small sing along in the crowd, and "What A Nightmare", all played in a row without any pauses in the best no-frills manner. That's a trend in 20Belows live shows which also holds up tonight - there is little interaction with the crowd other than things like "this is a slower track" (right before "Like A Choke Slam"), introducing a new song ("In Heavy Rain"), et cetera. Instead, the band upholds a consistent upbeat tempo that's perfect for anyone using this show as a pre-drink session before venturing elsewhere in Copenhagen for the remainder of the night. The band play with more energy tonight than usual, and when the mic stand falls down, singer Ulrich jumps to splits to reach the mic, only for the song to be cut short because he wasn't able to stand low down like that for any longer. No problem. "For Better Days" arrives shortly after; those in the crowd singing along to "sing those songs 'til our heads turned blue we could drink til we couldn't quite play" are doing so from the top of their lungs, and though we may not have been many in numbers, we made it count. Finally, we get a Ramones cover with Mikey Erg singing the song on stage - a nice touch that left a great impression of the 20Belows show.

Mikey Erg

Mikey Erg

If you ever thought singer-songwriter is for acoustic guitars only, Mikey Erg of The Ergs is here to prove you wrong in his one-man electric guitar singer-songwriter act. Turns out you don't need a bass or drums to write a good punk song, and that's pretty much what Mikey proves tonight. What's more, he has tonnes and tonnes of energy, jumping and shredding around the entire stage making it feel less empty than otherwise would be the case. His experience from the high-energy Ergs shows is clearly on showcase here. Still, he could use a full band, because after a while of listening to electric guitar only punk rock songs you do start to miss the bass, the drums a little bit. That being said, towards the end, songs like "Pray For Rain" (originally by The Ergs) serve as examples of how good of a songwriter Mikey Erg was with his main band, so it's hard not to like the infectious "yeah, I could write you the perfect song, and you could sing along" chorus that's given to us a capella to allow for a small sing along in the crowd. That said, I definitely felt that Jakob's opening set was more varied than the Mikey Erg set tonight.

The Accelerators

The Accelerators

The legend says Accelerators are one of the tightest punk bands on the continent, and tonight's display suggests that isn't entirely untrue. Their brand of pop punk is exceptionally tight and held together, and when accompanied with an upbeat rhythm, it can be something special especially in live environments. Tonight, the crowd is scarce and there isn't much movement, so the infectious energy of the band falls through a little because no-one is dancing and partying along with the crowd. And this is the problem with no-frills pop punk bands like Accelerators: if the crowd isn't there, the songs can't pull it off alone. This is because they are simplistic, and often miss the wow-factor of many other styles of music. So although there are moments of brilliance in their show today, and the band does everything in their power to play the best set possible, the lackluster response from the audience leaves the whole set feeling somewhat tame.

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