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Iceage Live at ATP Pop-Up in Dalston on 2/12/15

Iceage Live at ATP Pop-Up in Dalston on 2/12/15

By: William Alexander

Danish quartet, Iceage, rocked the ATP Pop-Up venue in Dalston last night and blew the minds of everyone in the room with a killer set of songs that heard a mix of old tunes and new unreleased material. Having played the O2 Forum in Kentish Town only days before, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, Jakob Tvilling Pless, Dan Kjær Nielsen and Johan Wieth, all of whom make up the punk rock outfit, put on a startlingly good show that will prove hard to forget. 

Danish quartet, Iceage, rocked the ATP Pop-Up venue in Dalston last night and blew the minds of everyone in the room with a killer set of songs that heard a mix of old tunes and new unreleased material. Having played the O2 Forum in Kentish Town only days before, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, Jakob Tvilling Pless, Dan Kjær Nielsen and Johan Wieth, all of whom make up the punk rock outfit, put on a startlingly good show that will prove hard to forget.   

Upon walking into the venue, it looked plain and characterless with its low ceiling and its broad rectangular shape that make you feel as if you’re standing inside of a dull, concrete cuboid. Closer to the stage, however, small plastic bats hung off the venue’s pillars and Halloween masks decorated its perimeter. These little touches built up a peculiar atmosphere that seemed fitting with the style of music that was soon to follow. Mueran Humanos kicked things off fairly swiftly with a forty-five minute set of intense electronic sounds that looped incessantly, locking you into a trance-like state. If you’re ever planning a weeklong trip on acid then you can rely on this Argentinian duo for its soundtrack. 

When it hit 10pm, it was time for Iceage. The Danes took the stage and Elias, the singer, introduced us to ‘On My Fingers’ from their third album Plowing Into The Field of Love. He belted out the lyrics, “They try and feed me in times of hunger but I refuse their generous hands,” and made each corner of the stage his own, prompting the crowd to mosh out in a truly animalistic manner. It looked hazardous to say the least. 

When you see Elias lose himself in the music, in front of your eyes, he looks unstoppable and wilder than ever. During ‘On My Fingers’ he plunged forward into the audience’s reach and frequently pulled himself back in rhythm as if the front row of the crowd were a swarm of piranhas hungry for a nip of his flesh. It would make sense too, as Elias would surely make a delicious meal. ‘Forever’, also from the same album, was up next and began with Johan’s distinctive, scratchy guitar work that sounded as raw as ever in its opening moments. The entire song was near deafening, partly due to Dan’s violent drumming, which triggered the audience to push one another with such force that the speakers on either side of the stage started to wobble uncontrollably. All that the security could do was watch and hope that the chaos would settle down as there was no way they were going to be able to physically stop the profound moshing effort. It didn’t help that ‘White Rune’ from Iceage’s debut New Brigade followed it and you could feel the intensity levels rise to a new high. Half of the crowd broke off into a vicious free-for-all while everybody else looked on from behind, keeping their distance from the sweat heap. The song sounded tighter than usual, and notably clearer in the mix, which might have been because Elias remained guitar-less on the night, meaning a handful of the songs, like this one, were stripped back. That’s not to say that the performance was missing anything at all, because Johan, Jakob and Dan were mighty in how they played their instruments and how they left your ears ringing after the show – if you braved it without using ear plugs that is. 

After swinging the microphone over his head in a helicopter propeller-like motion, Elias mumbled the lyrics, “I think I am the only one breathing on this planet tonight,” from ‘The Lord’s Favourite’. This standout track from Plowing Into the Field of Love had people leaving the mosh pit to catch their breath and refuel with a sip of beer before barging their way back in. Elias repeated “favourite one” in a catchy vocal line that brought out the best of his unique, unpolished tone. A myriad of hands grabbed him for the closing twenty seconds and how on earth his shirt remained intact, and without a single rip, I will never know. 

Iceage tore into a brand-new song opening with a chunky guitar hook that bounced off a swing-like drumbeat. I do not exaggerate when I say that its introduction led into an incredible guitar-line that left me absolutely speechless. Johan is clearly in a league of his own and he remains composed, humble and concentrated on his playing. You’ll see that Jakob, on the other side of the stage, is the same also, balancing out Elias’ relentless and unforgettable presence. After downing their beers and taking a breather the Danes gave us ‘Plowing Into the Field of Love’ just when I thought things couldn’t get better. Elias’ lyrics, “Paddling through still dark waters and the moon illuminates a thin white line,” were particularly special and you’ll find that this imagery stays with you and seeps into your dreams. The set came to an end, and after vigorous applause from the crowd Elias wished us a “Merry Christmas” and “sweet dreams” before the band left the stage with a simple nod of appreciation. 

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