Concert Review: Iceage @ La Sala Rossa, June 25th 2018

I first heard about Denmark’s Iceage in an Iggy Pop interview with Australia’s Triple J in 2013. They had just released their critically acclaimed sophomore album You’re Nothing, and Iggy was praising them on their ability to “express negative energy.” This led me to downloading the album immediately, and I’ve been a fan since. With Plowing Into the Field of Love, their 2014 album, they displayed their growth in both musicality and lyricism. Their latest effort, Beyondless, supports Iggy Pop’s claim. It demonstrates further growth and maturity and proves that Iceage is a band with something to say, and that they are here to stay.

As I walked into La Sala Rossa, the first thing I noticed was the drummer and bassist standing behind the merch table. Excited to see half of a band that I’ve admired for years, I had to go over and say something. Their lean, brooding faces changed as I reached out a hand and congratulated them on their new album. These were not the gloomy guys I expected.  

As I turned around, their opening act was setting up a large, 47-stringed harp. Mary Lattimore proceeded to loop her gorgeous plucking’s and transport the audience to a different place. She even brought out Iceage’s guitarist, Johan Wieth, to accompany her and “riff”. As Mary Lattimore left the stage, the audience began to buzz and move towards the front of the stage in anticipation. “Do you think there will be a moshpit?” asked a guy in front of me. “Nah I don’t so,” answered his friend.

Iceage strutted onto the stage, accompanied by a violinist, picked up their instruments and went right into the first track off Beyondless, “Hurrah”. Half a second after they kicked things off, the pit opened up and bodies started to fly. Lead singer, Elias Ronnenfelt, strutted about the stage looking like a strung-out Harry Styles as the other band members attacked their instruments. He looked out into the crowd as he sang and yelled deeply personal and poetic lines that were yelled right back at him.

At first glance, you wouldn’t expect these pretty-punks to have enough angst to put on a true punk show. Their minimalistic, fashionable style might set them apart from other bands of the genre, but it does not stop them from expressing negative energy in an exciting, engaging, and slightly dangerous live show. They just look better doing it.

Mainly playing tracks from Beyondless, they hit the crowd with some deep cuts and fan favourites, keeping the pit going and the energy alive. Drummer, Dan Nielsen, did not let up once. His arms flew around the kit, smashing cymbals and banging toms with remarkable timing. Suave, cool, and collected bassist, Jakob Pless stood on the right side of the stage, looking back at Nielsen often, providing the backbone of the angry soundscape that emitted from the speakers. One cannot understate the importance of guitar tone in a live set, and Weith has it down to an art. His huge, sharp riffs filled the room, constantly escalating the energy of the crowd.

The barrage lasted just over an hour, then they put their instruments down, and coolly walked off stage to cheers from the crowd. It’s impressive enough that these young men from Denmark have released consistently strong albums, but their live performance shows that that’s not all they are capable of. They are experienced, professional, and passionate musicians that know how to work a crowd. Now I need to find out where they buy their clothes.