By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Iceage came onto Slowdown Jr.’s stage Friday night with angry/pouty frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt looking pissed off, but purely in a theatrical sense. As the band corked into their first song, Rønnenfelt hopped off the stage and snatched a poor young lady’s cellphone right out of her hand. She stood startled, her mouth open as wide as her eyes, as he tossed the phone next to the bass drum, where it would sit for the duration of the set. Needless to say, folks kept their phones in their pockets… at least until halfway though the set.
By then, Rønnenfelt was so engaged with the audience, leaning atop a monitor and traipsing into the crowd, that he didn’t notice phoners, or didn’t care. Iceage music is rough, a dry-heave style of punk with shadows of early monsters like Gang of Four and The Fall lying hidden beneath the waves. The rhythm section always is front and center providing a solid bedrock for Rønnenfelt’s low, breathy brays and yells. Always the center of attention, his demeanor swayed between flirty come-hither stares and lean-forward spit-in-your-face attacks, both delivered with the intensity of a petulant school girl.
By song three moshing did ensue, as a crowd of a dozen ground against each other and the stage with Rønnenfelt looking onward from his perch atop the stage monitor. The set lasted only 30 minutes. The crowd of less than 100 waited for an encore until the house music and lights came up. That was it. A glance at their tour on setlist.fm shows they always keep it at nine songs or less, and never play an encore. And to be honest, that was all I wanted. Any more would have been overkill. What’s that they say, “Leave them wanting more…”?
The performance seemed like a captured moment in time, and I felt lucky to be there. Iceage is a band burning brightly. But like all bright flames, how long will it last?
BTW, that young lady got her cellphone back, and I saw her chatting with Rønnenfelt outside afterward, smiling.
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Fans of Daniel Lanois may want to check out tonight’s Rocco DeLuca show at Slowdown Jr. Lanois played on and is executive producer of DeLuca’s new self-titled album, and also produced his 2009 record, Mercy. No doubt you’ll spot the influence. LA band Old Man opens. $8, 9 p.m.
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
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