Iceage - Eurosonic Noorderslag 2012 review
'A visceral, anarchic whirlwind'
Chris Swindells - 15 January 2012
In Germany there's a saying:
"Where there's singing, sit down without fear, mean people do not have songs."
In Groningen it's 1:15am; there's songs, very little singing and a fearless vibe of self-preservation once Iceage have their way. It flies by in a visceral, anarchic whirlwind, but can only allude to real moments of inspired punk songwriting.
On the week that Refused and At The Drive-In announcements caught hardcore circles in a frenzied fever, all wide-jawed, this show had a renewed optimism around it. The strip of alt-rock acts named around the circumference of the venue almost mapping the musical events leading to Iceage. From Shellac to Mogwai, and it's apropos that it all starts with their most notable influence, in his former incarnation Black Flag, punk spokesman Henry Rollins. Whereas today Iceage could sit comfortably next to Gallows, even if they lack the unpredictable fire previous frontman Frank Carter brought to the Gallows fold.
For all the faux-Nazi insignia and alleged KKK references in their music videos the onstage Iceage proposition is a very apolitical event, even if Elias Rønnenfelt sings in English over his native tongue, all meaning is craftfully lost in the punk translation.
The short and sweet two minute melodies seems to be the speed-punk preference for Iceage, raging battle with mic stands and cameramen as they rally the already charged mosh pit to break it's way to freedom. For the large part this is unadultered steam-letting but in one more brutal moment an elbow does clip a face and we get our first sight of blood at Eurosonic Noorderslag 2012. Nothing pretty or poetic about it, the audience wounded but still wanting more.
If the anger and tangible hunger for change in time of recession and economic imbalance can get young people as fired up in the clubs as it has in the streets then Iceage and their punk roots still have a big job to do in 2012.