Quick, name Denmark's most well-known export. LEGO? The films of Lars Von Trier? How about brooding, nihilistic hardcore punk bands? The Garrison's Sunday night double bill of Lower and Iceage (with support from rising Toronto acts The Beverlys and Ell V Gore) wasn't sponsored by the Danish Ministry of Cuture, but it might as well have been.
While the two Copenhagen bands are currently on tour together - not to mention various members of both play together in other bands - their lead singers couldn't be any more different. Watching Iceage's Elias Bender Rønnenfelt's detached sway onstage, you can't help but be reminded of Joy Division's Ian Curtis, while Lower's Adrian Toubro resembled a soccer full-back and whose vocal performance was as equally muscular. Some brief technical difficulties aside, the latter's set was solid and it should be interesting to see how they develop with more touring under their belts.
Having caught their set at a packed Horseshoe earlier in the week, I was already familiar with Iceage's dislike (shyness?) of cameras (Rønnenfelt practically begged the crowd not to take pictures), but they took it one step further Sunday by playing their entire set in complete darkness. Some people could have viewed this gesture as pointless provocation, but it only enhanced the desolate and militant nature of their songs, which peaked with playing Morals from their most recent LP You're Nothing. A small but passionate mosh pit opened up, and even though its participants ran out of steam before they could finish playing, the show was the perfect way to close the festival with a bang and not a whimper.
Unforgettable: Overheard during Lower's set: "I just assumed all their songs were about grim fishing accidents."