Every so often you get to experience a show that pretty much defines an era in a city’s music scene. This was a red-letter experience, not just for the bands on stage at Tape – but the cities vibrant underground music scene.
This was my first visit to Tape – Aarhus’ newest proper venue. There is a heap of history with Aarhus and this room – for almost 30 years it was Musikcafeen – the much-loved dive-bar that held some of the cities craziest gigs – a place that has more sweat and blood in the floorboards and on the ceiling than any other in town. Let me tell you – after a few years of an identity crisis (as Backstage), it was good to have the old bitch back – and packed to the fucking rafters with kids and good music.
This show was not to be about nostalgia, though – Yung are the spearhead of Aarhus’s ‘no bull-shit’ punk scene. Plain and simple. Over the last few years, Mikkel and co. have been banging out their brand of razor sharp and concise punk/garage – and laying all of the other stale and dying genres of local music in ashes. It was a homecoming for Yung, and an arrival point for support act, Spines.
Spines are a three-piece from Copenhagen comprised of 2 brothers, Mathias and Simon Gørtz, (drums/guitar) and Nicolai Olsen (bass). I’d missed out on their other Aarhus shows – because quite frankly, I wasn’t cool enough to know about them. I plopped myself gingerly down towards the front next to eager fans already sitting on the lip of the stage (there was nowhere else to sit either). The band hit the stage and launched into a 30-minute set that absolutely melted my face. I’ve never been so enamored with a band that I hadn’t ever heard of before…well…since hearing Yung for the first time when they were just starting out as a 3-piece.
Spines performance never had a dull moment. There was not a single second that was un-realized or flubbed. There was barely a word spoken on stage (a trademark of the über-coolness of the scene) and only the thundering and awe inspiring performance to captivate me on stage. Buzz-saw drums at break neck speed, dissonant guitar riffs, sniper precise bass work and complacent to violent vocals – Spines were the real deal. It left me wondering how can these 3 young men- who looked like they rarely even had to shave – have put in so much research into the best parts of the punk/hardcore/noise scenes of the past and blended it together in a modern context. There were hints of Wire, Fugazi, Gang Of Four, Sonic Youth and even some Unwound or Party Of Helicopters (look up all of these bands up if you are bored). The show ended in a staggering minimalist display of effort and control – tension and repetition. This was a very loud post-modernist painting.
The stage was re-set for Yung. The venue absolutely packed and the huddled sweaty masses getting restless to see their heroes. Actually – there was quite a long break between bands which created a sort of tense frustration in which more 20 DKK beer was consumed than I thought humanly possible. I heard one audience member react with; “who do they think they are? Guns N’ Roses”? The one thing that I could probably say about Yung is – I don’t think they think they are anyone. As they would say themselves: “Nobody Cares”.
When Yung finally did hit the stage at around 22.30 – the crowd erupted into tentative fury. At this point – even at the start of the set – the sound was so incredibly loud that even with my earplugs in, it was close to unbearable. I toughed out the first half an hour up front and close to the action – finally retreating behind the mass of hopping humans for a buffer zone. Several friends of mine actually left – ears almost bleeding. Secretly I was delighted that the sheer volume weeded out some casual listeners from true fans who needed to see the whole performance. Yung are always tight – even tighter it seemed after their 3-week tour of Europe – they didn’t miss a beat.
I think there were a few more new songs than last I saw them – a solid indication that they hopefully will be coming out with an album soon. Each time that the band launched into an older song – one that everyone knew – the crowd positively lost their shit, though. Their set was a perfect mix of their recorded material and some unknown (to me) tunes. Again, though – you get bang for your buck – as there is only a second’s pause between numbers – even if one of the band members is still tuning. They are a well-oiled machine for sure.
I’m not kidding about the volume, though – a bunch of folks are still probably hearing high-pitched whines in their ears two days later. Tape unfortunately, had no earplugs for sale (which would have definitely been in the interest of public health) and should be wary of pushing the house equipment that far – I could smell the new speakers on stage melting!
To sum it all up though at my first experience at Tape: amazing.
Check out Spines, though – seriously, they are my new favorite band. Find their tunes here.
*We have been informed afterwards, that TAPE did in fact have earplugs for sale at the bar.
To sum up my first experience at Tape: amazing. I’m so glad the hallowed halls of Musikcafeen have been filled again with cool music and happy youth (or at least, the Aarhus equivalent). The new generation of concertgoers is a delight. I barely saw a phone out, I barely heard a bad word of complaint – and we didn’t get ripped off at the bar either for booze. Just good LOUD music, tight bands, cool staff and fair prices. What more could you ask for? (5.5/6)