Stars Burn Stripes

support Steel Will + Megafonzie + I Am Blueberry
author PP date 20/08/10 venue Kraftwerket, Valby, DEN

Kraftwerket at Valby, western part of Copenhagen is the epitome of a basement venue. Graffiti decorated outside area welcomes the visitor where most people bring their own beers to warm up before the shows, before a small set of stairs leads one into a hot, underground venue where you can probably fit around 50-60 people tops before it'll be unbearably hot. The venue has been closed for a while now, but is on its way back to the concert goers' radar, with a free "re-debut" concert tonight, featuring some of the best bands from the Danish underground scene. Picture is of Megafonzie, by the way, since no SBS photos exist from the show.

I Am Blueberry

First up is I Am Blueberry, who specialize in upbeat indie rock with clear influences from bands like Arctic Monkeys and the rest of the Brit rock movement. In fact, rewind a couple of years and move to the British island, and you'll find a hundred bands like I Am Blueberry. Behind the group, you could see a trippy video screen showing all sorts of psychedelic and strange images, ranging from things that makes the viewer feel like he's on acid (weird colours, shapes) to utterly odd decisions (360 rotation flash image set of fjortis), even a moshing teddy bear created through a series of stop-motion pictures. At first, the inexperience of the band shows, but as they reach their better songs during the second half of the set - especially the bouncy ones - I'm starting to find the band entirely enjoyable. They cover Lady Gaga's "Pokerface" by allowing two random (drunk) audience members to sing the lyrics, a task in which they fail miserably. Pretty funny, though. Then someone pulls out a mouth keytar (melodica, I think it may be called), adding a nice melodic touch to the set. Not great, but definitely not bad either.

Megafonzie

Tonight is the debut show of Megafonzie, a Copenhagen ska/punk outfit. I'll tell you one thing, the band definitely doesn't look like it's their first ever show. Usually first shows are synonymous with inexperience, a little shyness and questionable compositional skills, but these signs are nowhere to be found tonight. Megafonzie plays with conviction and good energy, combining influences from Less Than Jake (the vocalist has a similar melodic, low croon), Reel Big Fish and Mad Caddies in a variety of different ska styles. While their influences shine through the early songs, they become a little less clear as the set goes through, as if the band is coming into their own already. The songs are good, at times even great, inducing the crowd into a dancing frenzy, where skanking and other forms of dancing are aplenty anywhere you look. As Megafonzie exit from the stage, they can do so with pride as they leave the audience tired, sweaty and with smiles on their faces. Look out for these guys in the future.

Steel Will

Out of all bands playing tonight, Steel Will are the most suitable act for Kraftwerket. This is a band that emits a distinct basement punk sound that has all the symptoms of one that's likely to never make it out of the basement scene. Instrumentally, the band are solid, borrowing elements from Strung Out style metallic punk to Rise Against-rooted melodic hardcore punk, but the problem is that the vocalist fucking sucks, to put it bluntly. His style is far too unserious to be enjoyed properly, the jokes just aren't funny, causing the venue to bleed audience for every minute this band plays. There's not enough melody, nor grit, to make him fit either the hardcore or the melodic punk scenes, instead leaving him hanging somewhere in between in no man's land. Combined with the fact that the band are also lacking energy in their performance, this scribe, like almost everyone else at the venue, admits to having left after just five or six songs to drink cheap beers outside.

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Stars Burn Stripes

For the time being, Stars Burn Stripes are practicing hard for their upcoming, first ever European tour which sees them visit Germany, Netherlands and Sweden in the next few weeks ahead. Tonight is therefore like a dress rehearsal for the tour, and Stars Burn Stripes absolutely kill it. While there aren't as many people as for Megafonzie present at the venue any longer, there's just enough to start a semi-riot in terms of moshing and dancing as the band plow through their songs that seem to become better and better every time I hear them. Europe, I hope you're ready for a solid pack of Danish punk rock export. "Rot Away", "I Lost The Point" and others are again the crowd favorites, but my attention is stolen by Eva of Megafonzie who guests on "Sever The Tie" to play the saxophone, adding flair and character to the song because it's meant to be played this way. Later on, Dion from Stream City joins the band on stage to sing vocals on a Stream City cover, "Incompetent Doctor". Needless to say the crowd goes wild at this point; it's not often you see some of the best Danish bands perform together in this way. All in all, Stars Burn Stripes are looking good tonight. They're starting to look like a band with some serious international potential, so I'm sure they'll be returning to Denmark pockets full of European fans that'll allow the band to do more similar tours in the future.

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Photo credit: Filip @ Stars Burn Stripes

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