Elias Rønnenfelt might resemble Justin Bieber more than Dennis Lyxzén, but when he is literally screaming in your face there is no doubt this kid is pure punk rock! No soundcheck, no soundguy — hell, there isn’t even a stage at Rhinoceropolis — these Danish kids just plugged in and launched a noise and verbal assault on the large audience in the small room. The set started with “White Rune” and continued through tracks from their critically acclaimed debut album, New Brigade . Stationed directly in front of Rønnenfelt, it took every cell in my body to just keep myself standing. Pushed, shoved, kicked, hit — at one point I practically took out the drummer. The music wasn’t conducive to a circle pit or any sort of malevolent violence, but it did incite slam dancing. There was no barrier between the band and the crowd, which allowed Rønnenfelt to join the sweat soaked masses — he was literally surfing on top a sea of hands. There was no stage banter (he might have uttered a thank you at one point), but Iceage didn’t come all the way from Denmark to have a conversation. They came to remind us what punk rock shows were all about, and with that they were a success! There was something classic about this show, but also something very modern. Punk might be dead, but its offspring are here and they have a cerebral element to go along with the intensity — an intelligence that has been lacking for quite some time.
As I made my exit from the DIY space on Brighton, I felt a high I haven’t felt since I was 17 and a sense that I just saw something that won’t be repeated. When Iceage come back through town they will perform at venues like Larimer Lounge or The Bluebird and it will be different. They will perform from a stage above the crowd, and as intense as it will be, it will not be what we just witnessed at Rhinoceropolis.
To be honest, I am still not sold on the album, but as I stood outside, drenched in sweat, with a smile on my face, I understood why this band is something special — they have resurrected the lost art of the punk rock show. Forgoing the intricacies of the song for pure intensity, pure energy. Ending the set around 1:00am gave us time to hit the dive bar and have a few drinks — time to wait for the adrenaline to subside before heading home.