Less Than Jake

support Guttermouth
author PP date 05/12/08 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

The last time Less Than Jake played in Denmark was more than five years ago, which probably explains why the average age at the show tonight is closer to 23 than to the usual 18 at the 'scene' shows. Much has happened between then: LTJ released three albums, one decent, one terrible, and one excellent (which happens to be the latest one), and the band's drummer Vinnie signed and kick started the careers of bands like Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy at his label Fueled By Ramen before leaving the business two years ago. And that's just for starters. Nonetheless, I'm fearing the worst for two reasons, as only 10 minutes before Guttermouth is due on stage, Lille Vega is almost empty, and secondly, the building might catch fire considering how many The Game fans are wearing their stupid wannabe gangster clothes on the other side of the wall at Store Vega, and this could be an opportune moment to get rid of all of them for someone a little crazier than me. Anyway, lets get to the review.


It only took a few jokes and the first sounds from the guitar for Guttermouth to fill up the room. And when I mean a few jokes, I really mean ridiculously many. For the first few minutes, Guttermouth's frontman is merely joking around in the vein of NOFX, talking to people in front of the crowd, and taking huge mouthfuls of his bottle of red wine that seems to be only a third full at this stage. But the real fun doesn't start until the band launches into their first song, and vocalist Mark Adkins demonstrates his full scale lunacy. Not only is he switching the microphone between his left and right hands at a rate of about one switch every half a second, but he's also bouncing around like a maniac, and the look in his eyes really makes me think like he belongs more to the mental hospital than on stage (the lyrics fortify this thought as well). Adkins switches between several styles ranging from the dancy to the chaotic, appearing as a strange combination of Joey (Lagwagon), Fat Mike (NOFX) and a lunatic, which anyone who's seen either of the two perform knows is fucking fun to watch. The band are super energetic as well, headbanging at ridiculous speeds to the rhythm of their songs.. that is until they stop mid song because Adkins finds a 2kr coin and stops everything, refusing to play before "I get at LEAST 10 of them". Five seconds later, Lille Vega experiences what must be its first ever money-rain, and Adkins says "Okay, that's enough guys, now I want some paper! At least 200kr" while proceeding to offer his hip/ass for girls to place their 'tips' in. Long story short, this results into a teenage girl at the front to give him a big smooch on the lips.

By this time, Adkins has just about finished his second bottle of wine, and songs like "Bakers Dozen" and "Lucky The Luckiest Donkey" are initiating bigger circle pits than I would've imagined at their show, and the singalongs were huge as well, especially during the hilarious "Marco Polo" song: "MARCOOOOO.......", shouts Adkins, and about ten people respond "POLOOOO", prompting Adkins to say it louder and longer: "MARCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO"... "POLOOOOOOOO".. "MARCO!" "POLO!".. "MARC-" "POLOOOO" and so on and so on. The singalongs by the end are stupendous, prompting one crowd member to say to the mic "you guys should be headlining", to which Adkins simply remarks "yeah we get that every night". And truth be told, judging from the sheer number of people getting on stage to jump off again, Guttermouth is really looking like the headlining band tonight, even if they spend most of their set playing older classics like "Bakers Dozen" and "Lucky The Luckiest Donkey" instead of newer material. Absolutely hilarious and non-stop fun from start to finish.

Less Than Jake

As for Less Than Jake, they were now facing an uphill task trying to beat Guttermouth, but if nothing else, the band's frontman Chris DeMakes is trying to outbeat Guttermouth in stage drunkenness. I'll get back to that later, because from the first moments of the Less Than Jake show, the circle pit is on much bigger than before, with people ska dancing and moving around throughout the entire venue. The feel good ska-punk of the band is a delight to watch even though the band are considerably less active on stage than Guttermouth, but this doesn't bother the crowd much because the band is trawling through some of their all-time classics in the form of "Johnny Quest (Thinks We're Sell Outs)", "Dopeman" and "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads", while also playing the newer material like "Does The Lion City Still Roar?" and "Conviction Notice". Chris DeMakes gives all sorts of remarks how all Danish girls are really pretty and all Americans are fat and ugly, and proceeds to invite all of the hot girls to the afterparty at the venue, which, according to his own words, "has promised to keep open a bit later - until 5am - because it's my birthday". We are told Chris is 52 years old even though he doesn't look like a day older than 26, and all of us sing happy birthday to him and he does a few shots on stage. Now unless Wikipedia isn't being accurate for the time being, Chris' birthday is in September and he certainly isn't 52, he's only 35, but what the hell, it's still fun to watch and it gets the crowd going.

Still, the lack of singalongs is starting to bother me since I know that only a few weeks earlier the band played massive venues in the UK where people were singing along night after night - surely Guttermouth can't out-sing Less Than Jake in Denmark? The sound isn't optimal, which probably contributes a little, but it doesn't explain the lack of joyous singalongs I was expecting tonight. Maybe it's because the band hasn't been here for five years and people have stopped caring, or maybe it's the lack of songs like "Ask The Magic 8 Ball" and "Shindo" on the setlist, but either way, the set doesn't live up to my (unrealistic, perhaps) expectations. That being said, people are having fun, and even more people are launching off the stage to the crowd than before, which can't possibly mean that the band did a bad job.


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