support Uphill Struggle + Shuvit + Dungeon Days
author PP date 08/12/17 venue Huset, Copenhagen, DEN

I don't usually find myself at Punk's Undead events, mostly because their bookings are all too often obscure and mediocre unmelodic representatives of the Ungdomshuset punk scene that don't really match up against the international standard in the genre. But every once in a while they strike gold, and tonight's 72nd edition of Punk's Undead is one of those times. Headliners Adhesive were a legendary name in skate punk during the late 90s, originating from the same Swedish scene as No Fun At All and Millencolin. They haven't been active since 2002 before this year's reunion, which makes them a spot on booking. The energizing pop punk of Shuvit and the Epi-Fat style punk rock of Dungeon Days and Uphill Struggle also push all the right buttons for the undersigned, so here we are at Huset in central Copenhagen, a cozy bar that also houses a board game cafe on the lower floors.

Dungeon Days

First up are local punk rockers Dungeon Days, who start the show in front of a half-empty venue. As such, their set has a showcase feel, where many are clearly here to cautiously check out the band for the first time. They've recently released a self-titled debut, so naturally a number of songs are aired from this one. "Copenfornia" sticks out as a highlight just as it does on the record, alongside "Bandshirts", which is perhaps even catchier live than it is on record. A couple of non-album tracks sneak into the mix as well - one of them a ska song dedicated to a small ska band called Pix Lips. In general, the band do a good job at chatting in between songs and adding some humor to their set, however, if one thing needs to be ironed out, it's the silent pauses in between songs that make the set feel disjointed. Any strike of an instrument to keep some background noise while preparing for the next song would do. Needs some work but otherwise a decent set.



Next up are Swedish pop punkers Shuvit. Weird Swedish techno music encompasses the venue and the band enters the stage with their guitarist/vocalist sporting sunglasses inside. The attitude is in order, then, but it turns out it's all part of a show - and what a display of sheer energy it is. What follows is one of the most surprising and spirited pop punk shows I've seen in a long time: the guys are hilarious and constantly topping one joke off with another while mastering crowd control as if they were used to playing arenas. There's a constant buzz and a vibrant sense of energy that quickly rubs off on the crowd and off we go: people are moshing, bouncing up and down and responding like few other crowds I've seen to a small band that is virtually unknown to most people in the crowd tonight. But that just speaks volumes about the kind of enthusiasm and joy Shuvit present on stage. Sure, their melodies are practically stolen from old Blink 182 records - think "Cheshire Cat" or "Dude Ranch" days - but they dress the expression into a breakneck speed, high-energy punk onslaught like no other.

"How fast do you want it Copenhagen? Really fast?", they ask and get us to step even closer to the stage. The energy never ceases as the band storm through one song after another oozing of positivity and pure charisma: you can really tell how much genuine fun they are having on stage. That a cover of Teenage Bottlerocket's "Skate Or Die" doesn't sound any better than their own material says a lot: these guys should be much, much bigger based on this showing. What an infectiously catchy surprise!


Uphill Struggle

Somewhat surprisingly, the newest band on the bill, local Copenhagen skate punkers Uphill Struggle, play second last just before their idols in Adhesive, whose song "Uphill Struggle" is behind their name choice. This is a group of dudes that play punk rock in the vein of the good old Epitaph days, channeling their fair share of Pennywise and No Fun At All in their expression. Tonight, they are tighter than their record lets off, but it's hard not to take note of the vast difference in between enthusiasm and professionalism between this set and Shuvit's just before. Where the latter was constantly upping the speed and ensuring something was going on the whole time, here we are treated to a number of awkward silences between the songs where nothing is really happening as the band tune their instruments and gear up for the next song. Perhaps that's why the crowd looks like they wake up from a coma finally when the band cover "Uphill Struggle" by Adhesive and finish off with ripping skate punk riffs to their last song. Their energy on stage is decent enough, the songs aren't bad by any means, but there's very little that sticks to memory. In other words, standard fare skate punk that just doesn't measure up in such a stark contrast to the upbeat set by Shuvit moments before them.



And then it's time for the first appearance of Adhesive in Denmark for at least fifteen years, probably a little longer. "Which language should we speak? English? Swedish? Norwegian?", they ask while joke around with a few Danish expressions, before settling for a mix of the first two. They fire off "Nothing Is Won" from 1996's "Sideburner", which culminates into fists-in-the-air shouts of "NOTHING IS WON" by nearly everyone in the crowd, followed by the ultra-tight Pennywise style skate punk of "All In The Name Of Progress" a few songs after. Great start, in other words, because these are classic skate punk jams that fuel mosh pits in the crowd, and later even crowd surfing and a few instances of people hanging from the rafters.

A great party atmosphere ensues in the crowd, yet the band on stage are awfully static and, in the classic skate punk spirit, just play their songs without added bullshit. So basically, none of the charisma and positive energy of Adhesive, because the point here is to let the songs do the talking. They are played tightly and the sound is relatively good, yet something is missing. It feels like another day in the office as opposed to the special reunion after so many years that many of us were hoping for. Not that the crowd notices - everyone is fucking wasted by the looks of it to the extent where the mosh pit is best characterized as...unstable. People are falling around - one dude even looks like he injures himself as he flies over one of the monitors towards the side of the stage. With a little bit less to drink, well, the band is tight but the whole endeavor doesn't leave behind a particularly memorable impression. A few crazy fans keep the pit moving, and there are regular highlights of classic skate punk jams to keep the night going, but were I to compare it to, say, the awe-inspiring display of skate punk godhood by No Fun At All at Groezrock last year, it falls regrettably short.

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