This Saturday was a big night for the Aarhus music scene, with post-punk exports Iceage stamping their authority with not one but two gigs in Aarhus; while, psychedelic rock duo The Wands said their final farewells to the great river mouth city before their grand voyage into the unforgiving tide that is the UK music scene. I, however, found my musical fix in what is probably one of the city’s more peculiar music venues. Bogcaféen Regnbuen, in celebration of its 3rd birthday, played host to my very first taste of Denmark’s cult movement of underground Punk with the ironically titled “Anarchists’ Ball”. This ‘Ball’, however, was anything but tuxedos and caviar.
First on the billing were hardcore 2-piece Brutal Pelvic Dislocation (without a doubt the winners of the best name award) who psyched the crowd up perfectly with their energized and aggressive display of beat-driven punk. Don’t expect any complex vocal melodies or mesmerising guitar hooks from these guys; that’s not what they’re about. They’d more likely to spit in the face of such formalities than conform to them; but that is what I loved.
Next onto the stage were a band called Illegal to Exist, a self-labelled ‘anarcho punk/political punk’ band from K-town (not too sure where that is; but hey, I’m new here). As much as I’d like to comment on the political edge of the band, as with most performance Saturday night, any attempt to pick-up the lyrical message of the songs proved to be slightly problematic. Blame the language barrier or not, I’d challenge anyone to decipher the words of any given song from the night. But with song titles ranging from ‘Palestine’ to ‘Politi’ there is no doubting the existence of a political message behind Illegal to Exist’s music (both songs, among others, are available on Bandcamp).
The penultimate act of the night were Germany’s very own Gerøll. From a Danish perspective, it saddens me to admit that these ‘invaders from the south’ gave the performance of the night. I couldn’t help feeling that they simply added something more to their performance, there was an added dimension to their music. Paying greater attention to the dynamic potentials of music, their songs progressed from ear-puncturing choruses into sections of momentary rest bite, only to be plunged once again into the murky waters of disorientating noise. With the mime style costumes and face paint to match being a delightfully amusing cherry on top of the cake that was their musical display; they kept the rabid mosh-pit frothing at the mouth for the next opportunity to ‘lose their shit’. Without a doubt, this is a band to keep an eye on for their next visit to Denmark.
The night was rounded off with a minor deviation from the straight up Punk with the added dosage of Sludge Noise from Aalborg’s Inhuman Act. Sporting just about the most half-timed live performance I’ve ever encountered, it was difficult not to admire their obvious focus on exploring the unusual sonic and rhythmical territories of their genre. Be sure to check out their latest E.P titled Why Humans Why? on Bandcamp if you’re a sucker for anything obtrusive, unforgiving and god-awfully loud.
If what you are searching for in the Danish music scene is a gateway into a remarkably unique movement of passionate, fiercely uncompromising, (and perhaps slightly pissed off) underground punk music, then I strongly recommend you take note of any one these bands as a starting point.
So there you have it, my first taste of Denmark’s small but immensely dedicated movement of Anarcho/Hardcore/Noise/Sludge Punk. I find it oddly comforting to know that in a country so renowned for being one of the world’s happiest, there is still that teeny tiny part that is not afraid to say: fuck you. To Bogcaféen Regnbuen: thank you (and happy birthday). To the bands: thank you also. You have ever so slightly restored my faith in both humanity and music; I say slightly because complete restoration of both these would be a feat near on impossible to achieve. But, nonetheless, thanks.