Turbonegro, at an earlier show. In Norway, they’re considered sexy.Photo: Tina Korhonen / Retna
What is it about a pigtailed, potbellied Norwegian that makes people want to get it on? The potbelly, apparently. Hank Von Helvete, the husky, chaps-wearing front man for Turbonegro, Oslo, Norway’s foremost ambassadors of “deathpunk,” repeatedly assured those at Times Square’s Nokia Theatre last night that his portliness is a thing of sexiness and will result in unending satisfaction for the ladies. Trouble was, the crowd was too busy getting busy to listen to Von Helvete pontificate on the orgasm-inducing powers of his distended gut: Dudes were already moshing their shirtless bodies into each other or chanting “Erection!” in anticipation of the band’s angry ode to untimely boners (“I Got Erection”), and the few gals in attendance — mostly devoted girlfriends or glammed-up groupie types — had all found someone to dry-hump like they were at a junior-high dance.
Audience members’ members aside, the double-encore live show from these exuberant Oslo old-timers, who released their eighth full-length, Retox, last month, was spot on. While the advert-saturated Nokia — which will soon be headlined by platinum sellers like Yellowcard and Rihanna — seemed an uncomfortable setting for the schlocky sextet, Turbonegro cleverly extended their part-camp, part-hair-metal shtick to its logical extremes, with backing members sporting Village People–inspired hats and Von Helvete lacquering on Kiss-style makeup. Von Helvete growled, drank, clapped, straddled the mike stand, stripped, strutted, and salaciously flicked his tongue. If his band wasn’t powering through arena-sized songs about annihilation (“We’re Gonna Drop the Atom Bomb,” “Do You Do You Dig Destruction?” etc.), it meditated on what fans might do in their free time (“Sell Your Body [To the Night]”). And, certainly, it was the latter they were more concerned about. “Remember when Times Square was hot and sexy and cheap?” Von Helvete asked at one point. We don’t, but last night, for an evening at least, it was. —Julia SimonTurbonegro Bring Boners Back to Times Square