Last Night: Iceage, Midnight Society at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios

Iceage, Midnight Society
Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios
Sunday, July 17, 2011

Better than: Seeing punk poseurs that don't deliver.

Jesus fucking Christ! Last night the crowd at Denton's Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios was treated to one of the most amazing personality transformations I've ever witnessed.

The members of Iceage, and most particularly Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, had wandered around the club throughout the night, keeping much to themselves, sipping on cups of water rather than the beers they would have been knocking back in their hometown of Copenhagen. Almost humorously young and, well, dorkish in appearance, the members of the band would pop in to catch a few minutes of the opening acts and retreat back to their table.

Finally, at a bit after midnight, the final waves of noise generated by Midnight Society ended and the Danes kicked into action setting up their equipment.

Aided by a road manager that looked a bit like a heavily tattooed Murray from Flight of the Conchords, the band set up and miked everything for maximum volume in the little space. Without fanfare the band kicked into its set and unleashed a sonic fury that was stunning in both intensity and execution.

Sweet Elias erupted into a vocal-chord-shredding screamer of indecipherable words. While he and guitarist Johan Wieth played buzzsaw guitars, bassist Jakob Pless and Dan Kjær Nielsen layed down a solid percussive foundation. Loud enough to induce vertigo, it was clear the musicianship of these guys was actually amazing.

Piercing feedback? No problem. Tuning? Give me a microsecond between songs to fix it. Rønnenfelt abandoned his guitar four songs in to devote himself to vocals, swinging the mikestand around the edge of the stage to the peril of the intensely moshing fans leaning against it.

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And 22 minutes after they started, with even less fanfare than when they began,  Rønnenfelt dropped the mike, jumped off the stage into the crowd, marched with exhausted eyes through the club and out the front door. As the other band members started breaking down their gear, the audience was left shell shocked for a few minutes.

I sort of recognized the songs from the band's recently released New Brigade, which is quite a good album. But frankly, it didn't matter that you couldn't understand a word that Rønnenfelt screamed. This was all about intensity.

I'm glad I was there to see it.

Critics Notebook
Personal bias:
I've had about enough of bands that cover everything, particularly vocals, in a massive drenching of reverb. Such was the case with the opening bands Marriage Material and Midnight Society.

Random Note: 22 minutes of performance--may seem like short change for two hours of drive time, but in this case it seemed like a fair trade. They absolutely killed it.

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