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Iceage to bring dark post-punk sound to Ace of Cups concert

Courtesy of Alberte Karrebaek

Fans of punk concerts will often resort to aggressive moshing to show their love for the music. But members of Danish post-punk outfit Iceage just want attendees to be honest when listening to its music live.

“Sometimes the reaction is being aggressive and very physical,” said guitarist Johan Wieth. “It is not something that happens always. It happens if the mood is there. We have shows where people stay very still and simply listen.”

Ace of Cups is set to host Iceage Thursday at 9 p.m. The band will perform in support of its second album, “You’re Nothing.”

Wieth said he and his bandmates have been playing together since they were kids. When it came to the type of music Iceage was to play, there was no question about it. 

“It came very naturally,” Wieth said. “It just happened. There was no discussion about it.”

The members find a variety of musical influences that tinge their music, Wieth said. However, music is not the band’s primary influence. 

“(Iceage does) not (have) as much musical influence as much as other stuff,” Wieth said. “Literature, movies, what goes on in your everyday life (are stronger influences).”

Iceage is often cited for its dark lyricism and music. Iggy Pop, frontman of punk band The Stooges, acknowledged this aspect and praised Iceage for it on Australian radio show “Triple J Mornings.”

“It’s not easy to be that dark,” he said. “A lot of people who try to express negative energy sort of just flail. They kind of come off like hamsters or something, where the more they try, the sillier it is. I thought they achieve a certain darkness.”

Stuart Maxwell, a third-year in English and an Iceage fan, agrees with Iggy Pop. Punk used to observe a frightening quality, Maxwell said.

“I think (Iceage is) exciting in a way, because they’re really dark,” Maxwell said. “I feel like punk used to be a lot scarier, and I feel like they’re trying to play off some of it. There’s a bleakness to their music that’s not amusing necessarily, but I think it’s something that’s been lost over the years.”

One fan, Charlie Manion, a fourth-year in art, said he’s drawn to Iceage’s unpolished, even clumsy, style. 

“I think one of the qualities they have that is really charming is that they are unapologetically sloppy,” Manion said. 

Manion referenced a moment in the fourth song of “You’re Nothing,” known as “Burning Hand,” on which Manion said Iceage’s bassist changes chords one measure early. 

“They don’t acknowledge it, they didn’t make him do it again,” Manion said. Manion did mention that this characteristic was more prevalent on Iceage’s first album, “New Brigade,” than on the new record. 

“‘New Brigade’ was more full of moments like that. The band was a lot sloppier,” Manion said. “I think on the new record it’s still not exactly neat and shiny but I think there’s something more refined about it.”

Even with these minor differences in Iceage’s two albums, the songwriting process did not change, Wieth said. He added that some of the songs on “You’re Nothing” were written just after the band finished recording “New Brigade.” 

Just as the stylistic shift between each of its two records was small, Iceage fans who saw the band last time it came through Columbus back in summer 2011 can expect little to have changed in its performances. One of the aspects of an Iceage show is its short length; its shows do not tend to last much longer than 20 minutes. 

“We definitely prefer to do short sets. Our set has not changed very much since (the last Columbus show),” Wieth said. “My personal opinion is that I don’t want to watch a band play for an hour. I think it suits us better to give out a short, very high burst of energy rather than stay out.”

Iceage is one of many types of bands that play at Ace of Cups, said Jeff Kleinman, the booking manager at the bar, in an email. 

Ace of Cups bar is located at 2619 N. High St. The night’s openers are all Columbus-based bands and include Messrs, Nervosas and Unholy Two. Tickets are on sale for $7 through Ticketleap. 

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