On Saturday I had every intention of seeing Gap Dream and Grass Widow but had absolutely no energy left for anything not resembling sleep. My family was still in town and while it was wonderful it was still totally draining. I did make sure to catch the Sacred Bones showcase on Sunday at Glasslands, but didn’t get there until Vår were almost finished with their set.
As a side project of Danish band Iceage’s Elias Rønnenfelt, Vår could be considered a slightly darker and more electronic-based iteration of the hardcore punk for which Iceage is known. This show was supposed to be their New York debut but only a few days prior they’d played a raucous secret set at Wierd in which Rønnenfelt and bandmate Loke Rahbek made out to an instrumental track for almost ten minutes. When I arrived at Glasslands, the place was swathed in thick clouds emanating from multiple fog machines, and Vår was performing perhaps their best known single, “Hold Me In Your Arms”. The pounding beat and pleading vocals were not unlike an arrow through my chest, with any other senses obscured as they were by the dense fog.
I was slightly side-tracked by trying to locate my own crush, and by the time I found him Rønnenfelt and Rahbek were already locked in an embrace that made ours look pretty hetero-normative and not so Scandinavian, either, so we debated instead about whether their move was “brave” or “gimmicky”. The fact is that no matter how much I want a show-stopper like that to be commonplace, we live in a political climate where it’s still challenging to some. So challenge away, you beautiful Danish teenagers you.
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Amen Dunes played next, with Crystal Stilts to follow. But Amen Dunes’ set was admittedly less interesting to me at that point than going somewhere for a burger and flirting, so after they played a version of “Bedroom Drum” that (inexplicably) did NOT feature the essentially titular bass drum we took off.
Sacred Bones does a pretty awesome job forwarding the interests of the bands they represent; I think I’ve seen every band on that label play somewhere in Brooklyn or beyond at least once with exception of, I don’t know, Slug Guts? And maybe Pop. 1280 because I’m just not that into it. It’s not all that strange that label stalwarts Crystal Stilts headlined the show. But with all the buzz surrounding Vår, not to mention the fact that the band needed passports to get here, makes putting Amen Dunes above them on the bill a somewhat questionable move. After all, this was Vår’s official debut, and Amen Dunes plays NYC constantly. Then again, I can also go to Dumont anytime I like, so maybe there’s also something to be said for force of habit.