NXNE: The punk show

photos and review by Michael Thomas

On the Sunday of NXNE, listings fall off the face of the Earth, but there’s always at least one show that boasts a solid lineup. For me last year, that was Rancho Relaxo’s final night, which featured a lineup that would have been jawdropping even if it weren’t on a Sunday.

This year, the Garrison’s show was that with the solid lineup. It was also a change of pace for me—most bands I’ve seen at NXNE have been more in the folk, pop, or rock vein.

The Beverlys
The Beverlys

It started off with the Beverlys, an all-girl trio who kicked things off with a bang. The band barely said anything between songs (a characteristic all of last night’s bands) but instead let their ferocity speak for itself. Their drummer absolutely kicked ass, and the two guitarists alternated between vocals. Their performance got a healthy dose of applause from the roughly half-full Garrison.

Ell V Gore
Ell V Gore

Following them was Ell V Gore, the band led by Elliott Jones. The band, which has recently experienced quite a boom in popularity (or at the very least, namedrops in the media), was bathed in a blue light throughout, giving the set a bit of an intergalatic feel. The songs almost all happened without the band stopping, which is a good trick for a band to have. If you have interludes, play them—it will keep the audience listening. I was waiting to see if Jones would put the microphone in his mouth, but he instead elected to let flow a beer bottle, which he eventually kicked to the side of the stage. Joe Strutt explained to me that stunts to do with beer are an Elliott Jones staple.

Lower
Lower

It was then time for the Danish punk invasion- first up was Lower. After one song, they quickly established to the now-bigger audience how they would sound. Unfortunately, after that song a bass amp died, leaving the band floundering for a few minutes while the replacement made its way. Once they got back on track, though, they really made up for lost time with a full-on assault. The lead singer didn’t have an instrument other than his voice, so he was free to move around quite a bit, which he did. He was also wearing a long-sleeved shirt. Needless to say, that shirt was drenched in sweat at the set’s end.

The showcase’s “secret guest” had barely been a secret, and naturally the hype brought in a few more people to catch Denmark punks Iceage. The band played in almost complete darkness. No stage lights—the only lights that could be seen were the bulbs of various cameras going off. While the set was only a little over 30 minutes, it felt longer than that thanks to all of the short songs the band played. They were perhaps the most aggressive band of the night, and after a song or two a mosh pit broke out.

Iceage brought its icy cool to the Garrison to end off my week of NXNE shows with a bang. And I’m sure other people would say the same thing.

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