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Millencolin, Boy’s Night Out, Thorn For Every Heart, Roses Are Red – Wednesday, May 25 – Ogden Theater, Denver

Mellincolin Erik

The Ogden Theater is the type of place that feels really empty when it’s empty; and really packed when it’s packed. The transition from being empty for Roses Are Red to being jam-packed for Millencolin was so gradual, that it almost went unnoticed until the roar of the crowd for Millencolin became so deafening that it was impossible not to take note of the fact that the crowd had grown significantly.

But this comes as no surprise: Millencolin is a staple in most early skate-rock, So-Cal, BMX riding, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack listening, progressive punk, ’90s suburbanized teenager’s music collection, so of course they draw a large crowd. Although their fans are slightly older than most of the fans that today’s current pop punk radio bands draw, it doesn’t mean that older kids can’t rock out too. But let’s start with where things went wrong at the beginning of the show, and why it was so desolate in there.

It’s always a bummer when a band sounds great on a recording, but their live show sucks. Unfortunately, such is the case for Roses Are Red. Maybe if this band was headlining at a smaller venue like Rock Island, instead of opening a large, not to mention deserted venue like the Ogden, the story would be completely different. They might’ve felt more able to express their artistic mannerisms and more embraced by the intimacy of the crowd. However, it’s always interesting to see the way the crowd reacts to the band in such conditions, and vice versa. Their music was good, but their performance was significantly lacking. As for this particular performance, they get a B-. After all, there have definitely been worse shows than this one.

Thorn For Every Heart wasn’t much better, but not in the same way that the first two bands didn’t deliver. The intent was there, but there was not so much delivery in the talent department. How many times can a band have an overly-poppy singer counteracted by a metal sounding screamer and consider themselves to be “different” and “innovative?” The music was torpid and sluggish, draining the life out of each and every member of the crowd ’til the very end of their set. In fact, the lobby seemed to be holding more people than the pit did while they played. Overall grade: C. It could’ve been worse, but not by much.

Boy’s Night Out created some mixed feelings. Performance: energetic and strong, crowd participation: totally in to it, their attitudes: TOTALLY SUCKED. Okay, so feelings may get hurt when the drunk meathead in the pit starts yelling obscenities at the band and threatening to kick someone’s ass for no apparent reason, but don’t most bands just laugh it off and keep playing for those who actually did come to enjoy the show? Well, the answer is yes. Most bands ignore it. Boy’s Night Out, however, took it as an open invitation to see who could be the bigger jock. The fact that their lead singer was wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy hat matched with a baby blue western shirt didn’t help his case much, but all wardrobe issues aside, the trash-talking, crotch grabbing and hand gestures that ensued were enough to make anyone sick. Not to mention that their latest album, coincidentally titled, Make Yourself Sick, doesn’t quite hold enough variety of songs necessary to make their set seem diverse in any way. The result: one 45-minute headache of a song. Overall, weighing the machismo carryings-on and the ridiculous outfit, with the energetic live performance, these guys receive a B. Take it or leave it.

Millencolin delivered, as always. It seems that when a band from overseas tours the US, the sheer excitement and anticipation of the crowd makes the entire experience a rare and welcomed one. The mood of the crowd is more polite, the vibe is more positive and the music just sounds better when everyone can’t wait to hear it. Guitarist Mathias Farm added to the crowd’s begging by tossing his pick out to the fans in the pit after each song, and the occasional drumstick from drummer Fredrik Larzon wasn’t uncommon either. Bottled water, set lists, coupons, fliers and more—Millencolin knew how to return the love that fans have shown them for over 13 years. Returning for an encore, they played four more songs as opposed to the traditional two. Again, giving the crowd more than anyone could have asked for. Grade: A. Millencolin will always be America’s favorite Swedish punk band, next to Refused, of course.


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