“Pressure! Pressure! Pressure!” Iceage singer Elias Ronnenfelt seemed to be shouting during the band’s opening song at the Black Cat Backstage on Tuesday night. And whether he was referring to pressure inside his head or the insistent, throbbing musical pressure that was to come during the 25-minute set, it was a fitting prologue.
The quartet of 20-year-olds from Copenhagen played an often enthralling show that paid little mind to “New Brigade,” their much-heralded debut album released last year. The couple of songs they did play from it — such as the title track — set off bursts of moshing in the steamy room. But the majority of the short, sharp (presumably new) performance told the story of a band very much in creative bloom.
Where songs from “New Brigade” ambled over, under, sideways and down, this new material knifed straight ahead. Fittingly, the best moments recalled bands from D.C.’s golden age of hard core: the upward thrust of early Gray Matter or the barely-controlled, headlong rush of Faith.
Besides dedicating a song to Dirty Beaches — the duo whose impressive set of propulsive and echoing pseudo-rockabilly that directly preceded them on the bill — Iceage said nothing to the near-capacity audience, content to simply put their heads down and plow forward, then leave the stage without a word.
Promisingly, shards of their brief jolts of song (nothing longer than two minutes) were immediately grabbing: a guitar run or bass line that rose from the tangle of wiry fury. This means that there is much to look forward to when Iceage gets around to recording its new material.
Foster is a freelance writer.