[Sexdrome; all photos by Oda Egjar Starheim]
Once a year, the Distortion Festival takes over the clean, wide streets and sidewalks of Copenhagen. Over a five-day period, the city is home to hundreds of official festival parties and DIY raves; the activity moves from one neighborhood to the another with each passing day, though it leaves no corner, alley, or storefront untouched. It's a true spectacle, unlike any I have ever seen. I found myself wandering around in a lush garden, watching a hundred Danes vogue-ing to "Better Off Alone", then venturing into a eight-foot alley housing the skinniest dance party I've ever attended (to Darude's "Sandstorm"). The fest is hosting some really stellar American acts this year-- Laurel Halo, Abe Vigoda, Lucky Dragons, and Gang Gang Dance, to name a few-- but it's really a showcase of Denmark's vibrant musical culture. Thus, it was only fitting that the organizers pay credence to overnight post-punk sensation Iceage by giving the band’s own zine-label hybrid, Dogmeat, free curatorial reign over a night of mayhem at Stengade, one of the biggest, dingiest dives around the Nørrebro district.
Dogmeat's "DANISH PUNK FUCK YOU" showcase was the black sheep of a fest that consisted almost entirely of trance, house, and minimal techno raves. But with tickets punk-priced at the insanely cheap price of 30 Danish kroner ($5), this incongruence didn't stop the Dogmeat stage from completely selling out. Interestingly, many of the bands at the Dogmeat show had received almost zero blog coverage up to this point, and successfully eschewed any sense of obligatory online presence via MySpace, Bandcamp, or SoundCloud. Most shocking, however, were the strong live performances from locals Lower, Torchlight, and White Nigger, who were playing their first or second shows ever.