Live: ICEAGE // Scala, London
The Danish punk outfit bring their ferocious live show to London’s Scala.
The looming darkness and tangible sense of stoic anger lingers as Iceage takes to stage at Scala this evening. Their idiosyncratic take on punk is sharper than ever on their latest release, Beyondless, an album that really saw the Danes take their sound to new dimensions.
Possessing a tantalising combination of nonchalance and recklessness, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt steers the show with a steady hand, his ominous stage presence fuelled by the swaying melodies. Lead single Pain Killer maps out the audacious romanticism of Iceage’s soundscape with bursting guitar riffs and throbbing drumrolls boldly matched with unconventional sax seeping through.
The timeless nature of Iceage is seamlessly engaging. The savvy poetry of the lyrics gets a deliciously devious twists as they’re embodied by Rønnenfelt. Crawling through the palpable transformations of the musical terrain, the band takes the verity of their own sound to a new level in the all-encompassing performance.
Plead the Fifth is brooding on blasphemous as hammering bassline punctuate the melody. Elias’ groans, spitting out the lyrics as if it’s giving him a bitter taste in his mouth – and still the words linger.
The performance is as punk-eque as it is elegant, all framed with a touch of sardonicism. It’s genuine in every emotion conveyed – perhaps needed in the face of the post-truth society. Art is never made in a vacuum. The turbulent surroundings will bleed into any creation to some extent. This is something Iceage seems to embrace with a cunning attitude.
Throwing his body against the crowd, Rønnenfelt breaks down every barrier between crowd and band. The physicality in the performance speaks louder than any “thank you” might have done. The band’s tongue in cheek turns, instrumental gems and spiteful anger stands as the driving force as the absurd party continues.
Morals‘ looming intro and furious chorus stands as a stark reminder of Iceage’s pitch black beginning. The marching drum deconstruct the melody as Rønnenfelt snarls: “To be someone like you, Unable to carry, Life’s weight”. The song embodies the feeling of an Iceage show – fluid and yet constantly balancing the edge of danger.
With a piercing look over the chaos they created, Elias seems in full control. Catch It crawls out of the darkness, wearing the complexity of Iceage’s melodies on its sleeve. As the post-rock anthem draws to an end, Elias walks to the back at the stage, holding the moment with a swaggering confidence before furiously jumping into the crowd.
Iceage has a special kind of untameable fire in them. A band not afraid to gain momentum as well as lashing out. Their refusal to pin down their sound and their awareness of cultural heritage gives them a timelessness that blossoms live. It’s a marvel and a mess, and no one masters this balance better than Iceage.
Photos: Aurora Henni Krogh