I’ve waited a long time to feel true fear at a rock show.

Not fear in the tacky horror sense, nor fear of random violence at the hands of the hardcore kids—fear that comes from being in the presence of music that is truly dangerous, truly different, and truly threatening to upheave everything in its path.

Every band that plays vaguely up-tempo music these days seems to demand that a mosh pit open up before them, but last night was the first time I’ve ever witnessed such an audience reaction emerge out of sheer necessity.

Iceage’s show at the Golden West Cafe last night was everything I hoped it would be: the same excellent post-punk songwriting from their debut album, delivered with an aggression and immediacy that was simultaneously frightening and enthralling. Their performance was grounded in traditional punk elements, yet held the unmistakable ambitious qualities that made post-punk so exciting in the first place.

More so than their recorded music, Iceage’s live sound is incredibly raw and jagged, infinitely more comparable to their post-punk ancestors than New Brigade would lead you to believe. Their performance was simply monstrous, taking over the modest crowd gathered at Golden West and sending waves of disturbing manic energy careening throughout the room.

The second the band began to play, I was overwhelmed with the urge to move, to hit somebody and have somebody hit me, to do something in response to the sounds tearing through the artist. Iceage didn’t draw these urges out of me so much as they demanded they happen. I’ve never had such an organic response to a live band in my entire life.

The audience barely responded to opening acts Death Domain and Give, with splinters of movement found throughout the mass of steadfast bodies. (I found this dull solidarity especially frustrating during Give’s frantic set, which even left their bassist covered in blood.)  But once Iceage began playing, any hesitation among fans in front of the tiny stage was gone, and within minutes bodies were flying across the room.

Iceage surpassed any and all expectations set by their debut album, and most of all gave me hope that the spirit of 1979 was alive and well in music today. We need more bands to learn from the fierce example Iceage showcased for us all last night.

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