Forever Unclean

support The Sinking Teeth + Soreazis + Varggrav
author PP date 19/10/17 venue UnderWerket, Copenhagen, DEN

It's an early start by UnderWerket's usual standards when the doors open already at 18:45, and the first band is scheduled to go on at 19:15. With four bands on the lineup that's a great idea, especially since it's a Thursday night and people need to get to work the next day. Other arrangers take note, please. Tonight, the basement venue is visited by Australian gravelly punk rockers The Sinking Teeth, who are currently on a European tour together with our local skate punkers Forever Unclean. The two bands have switched roles today given that it's a hometown show for Forever Unclean, so The Sinking Teeth aren't playing last tonight. More on that later. The lineup is completed by Gothenburg's newcomers Varggrav and the extremely sporadically appearing old school Danish punks, Soreazis.

Varggrav

First up is Varggrav, who have been advertised as a potential suitor for becoming Sweden's Kvelertak. On record, that's a fairly accurate description for their roared metal'n'roll style that has some of the same elements of tight and groovy guitar playing as the Norwegian band. Tonight, it's their first show outside of Sweden and they've driven on short notice all the way from Gothenburg, called in sick at work the next day, only to perform in front of around 20-25 people at UnderWerket at this point. The murky sound of the basement does their expression no favours as the screamed vocals are a little too loud in the mix, drowning much of the guitar groove underneath, but that doesn't deter the band from engaging in some surprisingly aggressive headbanging. If the band members don't have a migraine by the time they're 35, I'll be surprised, considering how frantically the band rocks out on the little stage. Later on, we get a softer song with slightly cleaner vocals and a guitar tone that resembles the fast and tight rock'n'roll of Danko Jones to an extent. But despite doing their best, the raw sound and overpowered screams don't leave a memorable expression.

Soreazis

Next up is Soreazis, a name that has been popping up extremely sporadically in the Danish punk scene since 1997. The Copenhagen based punk unit specializes in old school punk rock with references to the late 70s punk bands, but particularly to Dead Kennedys whose sound they are emulating to a great extent. It's basic old school punk that honestly isn't very interesting strictly stylistically speaking, but what makes the band good is their singer's enthusiasm and quirky facial expressions. He's constantly moving in elaborate fashion, showcasing exactly the sort of charisma you need to draw the audience's attention. At one point he pulls out a makeshift wolverine glove with giant claws which are never really addressed during the set. Quite odd. But as the set progresses, the songs sound too samey and the vocals, while certainly being 'punk' according to the original standards in the genre, just aren't very good. Top notch energy, but the songs just aren't good enough.

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The Sinking Teeth

Dark blue ambiance surrounds the stage as the Australians begin their set with a long instrumental intro that sounds like a string quartet just took over UnderWerket. After that, it's time for depth-laden, introspective gravelly punk that draws equally much from Small Brown Bike as it does from Hot Water Music's early foundation. You know, the kind with roughened edges, scratchy and passionate vocals, and solid mid-tempo guitar melodies to top it all off. They've been on tour with Forever Unclean for a while now so they've started picking up on some Danish, so we get a couple of comments on the little mermaid and of course a "tusind tak" with an awkward Aussie accent. This is the first time the band is in Europe even as tourists, so they take a moment to tell us what a life-changing experience it is to see new places and different cultures. They're generally very chatty throughout the show and have admirable enthusiasm despite a small, maybe 35 people turn out, and the music is just straight up solid. The set is spent on roared vocals, tight guitars and Midwestern punk style melodies that ebb and flow with no bullshit attached. The stage show is fairly nondescript, aside from a guest segment by Forever Unclean who crash onto the stage and fall all over the place in the process. Decent, but not something you'll remember a week down the line.

Forever Unclean

"Dinosaur" is a great song and exactly the right choice for the opening song for Forever Unclean tonight. Its catchy "Come on, race me to the bottom" draws an instant reaction from local punk scene members who've seen these guys in various formations at most small punk shows in the past ten years or so, suggesting that "Float" EP has indeed been very well received. Tonight, they are airing a bunch of new songs from an upcoming record, which sounds stylistically unchanged: energetic skate punk with catchy melodies and snotty vocals. On first listen pretty good.

"Forever Unclean took the Aussies for Smørrebrød and Schnaps this morning... they are weak drinkers so we have won every night", singer Lasse tells us in one of many anecdotes about their tour in between songs, where all of "Float" is aired amidst the new songs. "Worthless", which features a small a capella section, is always good to draw a small sing along, and "Waves" likewise is great with its explosive ending. That's usually where the set ends, but the crowd keeps shouting for an encore, so the band get back and admit they're caught off guard because they're playing the long setlist as the headlining band tonight. After debating what to do for a moment, they opt to close their set with a great cover of Saves The Day's "At Your Funeral". Good stuff.

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