The Austin Chronicle

Chaotic Live Shots

Ceremony, Iceage, Moss Icon

Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, June 8, 2012, Music

Ceremony, Iceage, Moss Icon

Mohawk, June 3

If there's a singular action that defines a punk rock show, it's shoving a microphone into a mob of sweaty faces and screaming together. Ceremony singer Ross Farrar does it all the time. With his collar stretched out, hair tousled, and eyes mania-wide. He looks like a man who's just won a street fight on sheer craziness. Opening cold with "Brace Yourself," the California quintet sent Mohawk's ground floor into a forward charge with "Throwing Bricks" off 2006's Violence Violence and got a gang-vocal assist on "Open Head." Afterward noisy Danish teens Iceage appeared bored by comparison, but ripped though tracks off last year's critically acclaimed New Brigade. Elias Bender Rønnenfelt held a blank stare while delivering treble-less verses and stumbled around the dance floor after ditching his axe. Final-night Chaos in Tejas headliner Moss Icon's first concert in 11 years was tight and emotionally stark. Describing the Maryland act's style as "spoken-word Fugazi" is probably reductive, but it communicates their level of artistry. Singer Jonathan Vance rarely opens his eyes or addresses reality when he's standing on stage with a furrowed brow reciting his poetry and sucking up all the anguish in the room. Atop a backdrop of heavily patterned beats, Vance talks and screams, but rarely sings. His emotional nakedness is so compelling that when he was hit with an errant water bottle and heckled, fans responded with protective retaliation. As guitarist Tonie Joy levied feedback and Vance got louder, Moss Icon's performance became a gradual ascent to an inspirational summit.

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