Millencolin

support Satanic Surfers + Lowest Creature
author HES date 24/11/16 venue KB, Malmö, SWE

When Millencolin announced a couple of Nordic Fall shows, we all waited in vain for a Danish stop to turn up as well — but it never did. So instead of missing out on one of the bands we used to download on insanely slow internet connections, a trip to our neighbouring Sweden was inevitable. If you are still in doubt that Denmark has a small but dedicated punk scene, look no further than the small crusading army which the local punk group, Fredagspunk, was able to gather over a few weeks. After meeting up in Copenhagen for the train, a ridiculously unnecessary passport control, and a not too overpriced beer at a local rock bar, we finally hit tonight's venue, KB. For some reason Millencolin is the first band I have ever been eager enough to see, to justify crossing the Swedish border, and the myths of staggering beer prices probably played into that. But I find myself pleasantly surprised by a well assorted, reasonably priced bar, friendly faces and an intimate yet spacey concert hall.

Lowest Creature

Now, when a friendly Swede in the local rock bar told me that the band warming up was a thrash metal band, I was not completely sold on the mix, yet I was still intrigued by such a strange booking. I went as far as to think this band maybe had a loyal fanbase in the city or a particularly skate-punk related version of the metal genre (if that's even really possible). However, Lowest Creature proves to be the average thrash band your friends started in high school that you had to politely attend the shows of. As for the band being local and maybe somewhat popular, the half-filled room tells a different story apart from a couple in front, cameras out and encouragingly waving.

As the lead vocalist runs around stage growling, he is again confirming the sense of ‘high school’ that hit me at first: his primary focus seems to be less on the vocals and more on copying the generic ‘front dude in a thrash band’-routine, swerving his microphone stand and calling out for circle pits. Circle pits are not on the crowd’s mind however, firstly because the band has no intimacy to warrant an outburst of any emotion in the crowd, and secondly, because this crowd of late-youth (read: past 30 years old) punks is probably not all that excited about a (seemingly) teenaged boy telling them what to do. Musically, the band performs subpar — not horrific, but not memorable either. Overall, I am left with the need for another Swedish beer and uncurling my toes.

5

Satanic Surfers

There's something awe-inspiring about having to review a band that was formed in the same year that you were (1989) — especially when it comes to Satanic Surfers, who in so many ways have shaped a genre that many in our little community feel very strongly about. I wasn't an original fan, as I was way too young back then. But I later found a certain love for the fast-yet-melodic style of bands like Satanic Surfers, sparked by my dad bringing home a copy of The Offspring's "Americana". However I never got the emotional connection to Satanic Surfers that some of the audience here tonight has. Former drummer/vocalist Rodrigo Alfaro has decided to skip the drums to dedicate more attention to the vocals, which have a standing-back-ish quality on record, and it works wonders for the songs that are maybe not the most prominent pieces of melody writing. Generally the set is fast-paced and high on energy. My general problem with the band is the lack of emotional connection and thus no intimacy between the band and the crowd. Tonight's concert is not a bad show — it's just not stellar either, albeit that I do think the die-hard fans got a lot of what they came for.

7

Millencolin

When I borrowed CDs from the local library in my teens (yes kids, you could borrow CDs…), I somehow got hold of "Pennybridge Pioneers" from the ‘punk’ drawer. I dug into the rest of the band's albums, but back then I found their unmistakably Swedish accent extremely dowdy. A lot of years went by, and the band released albums that I didn't really notice — but last year, “True Brew” caught my attention once again. It seems that I am not the only one in the crowd with this Millencolin-history pattern: tonight's show is characterized by real enthusiasm around the Millennium-peak songs like "Penguins & Polarbears", "Fox" and "No Cigar”, and moderate enthusiasm around songs like "Brand New Game" from 2008, and "Cash or Clash" from 2005. However, there is also a pretty sad division between the rowdy part of the crowd and the majority of well-behaved Swedes looking to not get hurt. I am luckily situated exactly on the rim of where all the action is taking place.

Although “True Brew" is not the album that gets the crowd most excited tonight, it is clear that this album is the most well-composed. Songs like "Autopilot Mode" and "Sense & Sensibility" stand in stark contrast to crowd favourites like “Twenty-Two", "Dance Craze" and "Mr. Clean”, which honestly are some of the most hideous melodies that have ever been incorporated into a punk setting. However, I still can't wipe a stupid grin off my face when the band plays those particular songs. The crowd around me only supports this, as now-dads and young punks push each other around in a pit that looks like the first day of punk-school: arms flailing around everywhere, and most people looking afraid to actually break something. All of this is working splendidly. But it's hard not to feel like the show is a little hastily performed by the band, leaving us with many songs to enjoy but perhaps not as much room to fully experience. After a little banter in Swedish, of which I understand very little, the show feels abruptly over. It is to me still impressive and heart-warming how much of a community I keep finding with other people that I dance with to shows like the one tonight.

Setlist:

  • 01. Sense & Sensibility
  • 02. Fox
  • 03. Bullion
  • 04. Duckpond
  • 05. Dance Craze
  • 06. Autopilot Mode
  • 07. Brand New Game
  • 08. Twenty Two
  • 09. True Brew
  • 10. Penguins & Polarbears
  • 11. Olympic
  • 12. Bring Me Home
  • 13. Cash or Clash
  • 14. Kemp
  • 15. Pepper
  • 16. Mr. Clean

— Encore —

  • 17. Egocentric Man
  • 18. Devil Me
  • 19. E20 Norr
  • 20. Lozin’ Must
  • 21. Leona
  • 22. No Cigar

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