Roskilde 2017: Not quite an avalanche – but close enough in the downpour

4 out of 6 stars. Original article written for The Copenhagen Post, available here.

Aussie sample kings, The Avalanches played a blend of music to suit all tastes (Photo Ercosid) Aussie sample kings, The Avalanches played a blend of music to suit all tastes (Photo Ercosid)

Australian sample kings The Avalanches rolled onto a drenched Apollo stage at Roskilde Festival facing a crowd that had endured one of the wettest days in modern memory at the annual event. Unfazed, the iconic Aussies, armed with the talents of Baltimore rap starlet Spank Rock and the moxie of vocalist Eliza Wolfgramm took to the stage backed by a witty, quirky, peculiar, lovable mash-up of sampled sounds.Not quite an avalanche
It was always going to be a hit or miss affair, as the torrential summer rain wept down, unrelenting against a backdrop of mud and wasted figures clad in wellies and waterproof garments. Under the circumstances, The Avalanches just about managed to get the evening’s festivities started with a show that began in lamentably inaccessible fashion (for all those for whom their music was unfamiliar). While seminal tunes such as ‘Frank Sinatra’ are indeed recognisable, their repetitive verses could arguably have been cut to get the fire burning sooner.

The show turned in the right direction, however, with a sparkling rendition of iconic cover track ‘Guns of Brixton’, which saw Wolfgramm swing a baseball bat in tandem with the music – a direct reference to the Brixton riots of the 1980s, epitomised with great effect by The Clash, who lay claim to the original track. This being Denmark in 2017, few recognised the symbolism in it, so its application was more peculiar than it was entertaining.

Perhaps The Avalanches recognised this (or their pre-planning did anyhow) – their tune selection thereafter yielded nothing but positive responses from a gumboot-clad crowd that kicked into gear with a bang. Synth delights such as ‘Subways’, the leftfield ‘Flight Tonight’ and thumping banger ‘The Radio’ definitely had the desired effect – The Avalanches owned the Apollo Stage (rain-strewn and haggled as it may have been).

What (sample) sorcery is this?
Theirs was a sampling act that spanned genres ranging from soul to hip-hop, all cooked together into one messy, blissful mash of curious tunes that got feet stompin’ and shone a welcome light onto a dark, drenched festival.

Yes, at times their profound samples made only sense to them and a handful of dedicated aficionados, but this is a band with two studio albums 16 years apart – an act whose versatility and eclecticism are a joy to behold. Bands such as Chinese Man and Hocus Pocus may have won younger audiences in recent years with their sample magic, but it is theses troubadours of the mould that leave spectators with something to think about long after the stomping, screaming and sing-alongs grind to a halt.

On Friday night they were seminal albeit patchy and inaccessible at parts. But who cares? They got a muddy party started and credit is due for this at the very least.

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Roskilde 2017: Beyond Illimatic – Nas gives festival a lesson in hip-hop

6 out of 6 stars. Original article written for The Copenhagen Post, available here.

 

Nasir Bin Olu Dara aka Nas at his illimatic best (photo villunderlondon / Zoe Klinck

Nasir Bin Olu Dara aka Nas at his illimatic best (photo villunderlondon / Zoe Klinck)

Following the cancellation of hip-hop heavyweights A Tribe Called Quest ahead of this year’s Roskilde’s Festival, the honour of flying old school rap’s flag high and dry fell, rather unanimously, on the broad shoulders of New York rapper Nas.The last name to guest Roskilde’s emblematic Orange Stage on Thursday night, Nas’s show was tainted slightly by the pouring rain which, flowing steadily since the performance of British band The xx earlier in the evening, had sent one or two festival-goers to the shelter of their tents.

The king of Queens

Nas is not a man who is easily swayed, however. With an air of natural nonchalance that many of today’s hip-hop greats don’t quite have, Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones rolled calmly onto the stage sporting a pair of aviator shades on a scene that may as well have been a rap booth in Queens.

Spitting to a James Brown sample of ‘Get down’ served with complements from the erstwhile Dj Green Lantern, Nas had the Orange Stage in the palm of his hand from the get-go. In contrast to other names who’ve played on the Orange Stage this year, Nas’s show contained all the elements one would expect from a show of this size and scale. A massive signature 3-D logo revolved in the backdrop, powerful, relevant projections beamed out on either side of the stage,  and a simple stage setup threw Nas and his smooth, well-timed rap lines and tip-top sound into the limelight.

No cheese, peerless breeze
Impassioned renditions of tunage such as ‘New York State of Mind’ and ’Halftime’ cemented the bold start, before tributes to greats such as recently deceased rapper, Prodigy from Mob Deep, showed Nas at his sentimental best, devoid of the cheesiness that tends to accompany these things. Similarly, the interjections he made to his stream of tracks were simple and honest – delivered without all the references to how great the crowd was, how wonderful the festival is and the usual fluffy language that we festival-goers have been accustomed to. For Nas, a curt “Thank You” and lines referencing the power of music sufficed.

Backing the peerless on-stage prophecy, witty projections of boom boxes and city streets from the rap heyday of the early ’90s took us back to the early era of a genre that we must admit has veered so far from these veritable beginnings today it can scarcely be compared.

A lesson in hip-hop
Thursday was about Nas and his deejay as much as it was about the state of music de jour. Thankfully for all of us, his performance was illimatic – beyond ill, beyond the ultimate. Roskilde did not see Nas, we experienced him – a music great at his best long past the golden days of old school hip-hop.

It is little wonder that he returned onto the stage for a flawless encore after a long break at the end of his show. Swapping a combat jacket and plain black shirt for a Roskilde 2017 t-shirt, Nas returned to ice the cake with a seldom-seen swag. This was the incarnation of ‘the orange feeling’ and a lesson in hip-hop history for today’s Millenial generation.

Roskilde 2017: More than something for The Weeknd

That’s what you call a second act! (photo: Kayla Johnson)

That’s what you call a second act! (photo: Kayla Johnson)

original article written for The Copenhagen Post, available here

Canadian R&B act Abel Makkonen Tesfayese (aka The Weeknd) was always going to be one of Roskilde Festival’s highlights in a music line-up that many festival-goers contend is void of veritable headliners this year.
This notwithstanding, there was some confusion as what to expect from the show – would it be a masterclass in Tesfayese’s undeniable vocal prowess or would he wilt in the limelight?

Lukewarm start
Kicking things off later than expected, The Weeknd shook the partisan crowd to life with a performance of his flagship track, ‘Starboy’. A significant screen lag and palpable sound issues marred what was otherwise a befittingly bold opening. This was further diluted by the black and white screen projections against a dark, restless sky.  The lukewarm start dragged past the first few songs before a driven performance of ‘party monster’ changed the direction of the show.

Gone were the insipid black and white screens, duly replaced by rich colours and strong visuals. The sound still wasn’t quite right though and several punters questioned whether what we were hearing was playback or a tone maestro at his recognisable best – pushing his tenor range to the maximum with some mind-blowing falsettos.

Midway through and any doubts as to what we were hearing were consigned to mere memory compliments of an epic rendition of ‘Six Feet Under’ – another of the monumental tunes off Tesfayese’s 2016 album ‘Starboy’.

Cementing his popularity with the crowd, The Weeknd then rolled out a bold performance of  ‘Low Life’ (minus the grunts and barks of Atlanta rapper Future, who features heavily in the studio version).

Spellbinding magic
With the skies darkening and a crescent moon rising low over the trees around the Orange Stage, Tesfaye’s show peaked into top gear, as club grooves such as ‘Secrets’ and the iconic ‘Earned it’, off the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ soundtrack, worked a powerful, spellbinding magic on the indefatigable crowd.

A reminder of The Weeknd’s local popularity came towards the end as his popular party anthem ‘Can’t feel my face’ received unanimous backing from the crowd, who sang along for its entirety.

The Weekend came, saw and conquered Roskilde Festival 2017. If Tesfaye arrived as a Starboy, he left as a legend, carried by cheers for what was quite possibly the biggest crowd this reviewer has seen at the Orange Stage in his eight years at the event.

Roskilde Festival 2017 A-Z day one

Another year, another Roskilde Festival (my 8th one to be precise). Here are my shots from the first day of the event, along with a few general observations. #Rf17 seems to be a lot more formal but that doesn’t neccessarily mean it’s better organised. It’s early on but I have yet to figure this festival out (or I have grown old).

A- Authorities

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Rescue services are in full force, which is reassuring for us merrymakers

B – Beer bowling

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Beer bowling – a national sport at Roskilde, comme tojours.

C – Can collectors

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Can collectors from far and wide

D – Delights

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Delights – of the (charming) culinary sort – lots of em!

E – Epic Sax Guy

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We found him!

F – Foxes

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Where there’s foliage there’s foxes – this one was sat by the train tracks in Roskilde West

G – Gadgets

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Gadgets & gizmos galore – Fatboys and fidget spinners are killin’ it at Rf17

H – Happy times

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Keep em coming 😉

I – Illimatic fashion

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Rf17 is hip ville 2.0

J – Jams

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Traffic jams, music jams, people jams (like this one on the bridge over to Roskilde West)

K – Kicks

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Some stand out more than others

L – Loopey slogans

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You can thank Trump for them later

M – Mobile phones

IMG_1466There are mobiles galore and I am also guilty of reaching into my pocket for mine a bit too often

N – Nosh

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Nosh – lots of it, mostly organic

O – Old Gees

IMG_1515.JPGIt’s a festival for the young and old but young at heart

P – Police

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There is a heightened police presence this year. I saw police with M16 rifles ( a first), plain clothes police with labradors and police cars driving around

Q – Questions

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What are you looking at?

R – Rubbish!

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One (wo) man’s treasure, another (wo) man’s trash

S – Skate

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The skatepark is less flamboyant this year. Last year’s festival saw Red Bull host a range of engaging activities in my favourite corner of Roskilde West. This year, not much is happening there, though Game Denmark have taken ownership of most of the sporting activities in the rest of the area.

T – Tunnel

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The tunnel at Roskilde station – blissful at this moment in time but typically jam-packed

U – Urine

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Urine – urine everywhere (but there are more toilets and urinals around)

V – Vans – They are off the wall and über alles

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W – Woodstock

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Woodstock and Roskilde – not that many parallels but you will find the Woodstock Hummel bus parked in Roskilde West

X – X marks the spot

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We all love setting crosses by the names we’d like to see on stage

Y – YOLO

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You really do only live once at Roskilde. Cheesy? – it’s Y, give me a break!

Z – Zzz

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Beauty sleep – get lots of it at RF17!

See you out there for more action from the music days from Wednesday onwards. Which bands are on your hit list this year? Here’s a list of my favourites from last year. For more Roskilde Festival pictures, check out my 2015 photo roundup

Capital Fluxus, waiting for the beat 2 drop since 1991

One of the exciting side-projects that I am working on right now is a hip-hop band that goes by the name of Capital Fluxus.

Contact me or use the details provided at the bottom of this post if you want to hear more or join us at Rust nightclub in the heart of Copenhagen’s Nørrebronx on the 3rd of August.

Capital Fluxus put the m in ‘multicultural’, with their French, Rwandese, Danish, Swedish and English influences. Theirs is a music replete with variation and contemplation; a sonorous repertoire that challenges, thrills and questions all at once.

Capital Fluxus Are About To Take Denmark By Storm

Even the most savvy of music nerds may not yet have heard of the name Capital Fluxus. Mark my word and watch this space though, for this exciting hip-hop quadrant is about to burst onto the scene with a vengeance.

“Waiting 4 the beat 2 drop since 1991”

Capital Fluxus are an unlikely combination of two Swedes (Jacob Schill & Jonas Algers) a Frenchman (Robin Houselstein) and a Dane with Rwandan roots (Céleste Nshimiyimana). A potpourri borne of a common affection for hip hop and beats, the name Capital Fluxus is a reference to the economic narratives of our time and life around them.

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Listen on Spotify

With the release of their first single, CTD (“Cherish The Day) in the bag earlier this year, Capital Fluxus are moving on to bigger and brighter prospects. Leading the charge with their latest release, “BYS” (“By Your Side”) – an upbeat tribute to the ups (and downs) of the summer, Capital Fluxus have also been booked for a first appearance at Copenhagen’s Rust night club on the 3rd of August.

The BYS release is one of a quintet of refreshing tracks off the “Capital Fluxus EP” which continues the tradition of re-interpreting the diverse music of English singer-songwriter, Sade.

 

 

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For Booking + Enquiries contact:

 

capitalfluxus@gmail.com

 

OR (+45) 50198706

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Soundcloud

Don’t take my word for it though, check out the following review of Capital Fluxus:

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 Bitchslap Magazine

“Hailing from Sweden, Denmark/Rwanda and France the lads have just dropped their first tune, Cherish The Day, and it’s perfect Friday evening warm down material.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best concerts of Roskilde Festival 2016

Befitting the diversity of the line-up, there are precious few overlaps in our three writers’ picks for the best concerts at this year’s Roskilde Festival. Performances from all six stages and on all four of the festival’s main musical days made the cut.
From legendary acts to Colombian experimental rock and UK grime – and just about everything in between – here are our selections for the best performances.
Justin Cremer’s top five picks
1. Neil Young + Promise of the Real (Orange, Friday)
Neil Young played a three-hour set on Orange. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix
Neil Young played a three-hour set on Orange. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix
From the opening keys of ‘After the Gold Rush’ through the 30-minute extended jam encore performance of ‘Love and Only Love’, Neil Young put on a commanding, thunderous performance. Mixing old favourites like ‘Alabama’, ‘Words’ and ‘Unknown Legend’ with newer tracks like ‘Mother Earth’, Young and his excellent backing band Promise of the Real put on a show that was quite possibly the best I’ve witnessed on the legendary Orange stage.
2. Kvelertak (Avalon, Thursday)
Kvelertak played a chaotic, cathartic late night set at Avalon. Photo: Justin Cremer
Kvelertak played a chaotic, cathartic late night set at Avalon. Photo: Justin Cremer
There were an estimated 7,000 Norwegians at this year’s festival and at times during this Stavanger band’s wild and raucous late night set, it felt like I was surrounded by all of them. This was without a doubt the highest energy interaction between band and audience that I had the pleasure of being a part of.
3. Savages (Avalon, Thursday)
A terrible photo of a great show by Savages. Photo: Justin Cremer
A terrible photo of a great show by Savages. Photo: Justin Cremer
When I saw Savages play the Pavillion stage in 2013, it was one of that year’s most pleasant surprises. Three years later and on the larger Avalon stage, the London-based quartet blew me away again with their mix of attitude, sexiness and intensity.
4. Sleep (Avalon, Wednesday)
The midnight set from doom pioneers Sleep was near the top of my list going into Roskilde, and it certainly did not disappoint. This was an absolutely hypnotizing set that provided the perfect ending to the festival’s opening night.
5. Gojira (Arena, Saturday)
Gojira kept the festival's final day going strong. Photo: Justin Cremer
Gojira kept the festival’s final day going strong. Photo: Justin Cremer
I had heard good things about this French prog/technical metal band’s live performances for years and now I know why. Even though the band apologized several times for being a bit “rusty”, their Saturday evening set was a blistering display of tight musicianship and crunching grooves. The band might not have felt like they had delivered their best, but for me Gojira lived up to the hype.
Chris Manion’s top five picks:
1. Sleep (Avalon, Wednesday)
Sleep at Apollo. Photo: Justin Cremer
Sleep played behind a wall of fog and lights at Apollo. Photo: Justin Cremer
I sceptically joined a group to see the band Sleep with no prior knowledge of them or ‘stoner doom metal’. As soon as we were about 50 metres from the show, I could sense perfect harmony between the music and the audience. It was this symbiotic relationship that some artists simply failed to capture in the same enigmatic style. The music was expressing a shared feeling, a collectiveness, and that is what Roskilde Festival is essentially about, being together for the love of music.
2. Neil Young + Promise of the Real (Orange, Friday)
One legend meets another: Neil Young on Orange. Photo: Justin Cremer
One legend meets another: Neil Young on Orange. Photo: Justin Cremer
The 70-year-old Canadian legend delivered a breathtakingly energetic performance. The show progressed from heartfelt renderings of classics such as ‘Heart of Gold’ to a full throttle rock’n’roll experience like no other.
3. MØ (Orange, Saturday)
Danish superstar MØ on Orange. Photo: Sara Gangsted/Scanpix
Danish superstar MØ on Orange. Photo: Sara Gangsted/Scanpix
The Danish international star came to the Orange stage on the final evening of Roskilde 2016. There were many festival-goers looking defeated and deflated, a tough crowd to bring alive. As soon as MØ came to the stage, it all changed. She brought a passion and energy that could not be topped by many other artists in the world.
4. Courtney Barnett (Avalon, Thursday)
Courtney Barnett at Avalon. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
Courtney Barnett at Avalon. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
A first-time Roskilde Festival experience for the young Australian singer-songwriter and she did not disappoint. She gave festival-goers a powerfully sincere performance. Many times throughout the show, you could see that this was still a 28-year-old playing songs that openly confess her deepest fears and regrets. That humility gave the performance a beautifully personal touch.
5. Mac DeMarco (Arena, Friday)
Mac DeMarco at Arena. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
Mac DeMarco at Arena. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
The cheeky Canadian up-and-coming star strutted on the stage with unabashed confidence, and then looked at the audience like a naughty schoolboy and gave his famous gap toothed smile. From then on, it was a fun, energetic and charismatic performance.
Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk’s top five picks
1. House of Pain (Orange, Thursday)
Old school rappers House of Pain showed that they still have the skills. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix
Old school rappers House of Pain showed that they still have the skills. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix 
The guys that brought us the legendary ’Jump Around’ tune rocked the Orange stage to its core during their Thursday afternoon performance. Who would have thought that a hip-hop mainstay such as this would play Johnny Cash’s ’Walk The Line’ in their set?  Schoolboy Q and Young Thug should take notes from these OGs.
2. Tame Impala (Arena, Friday)
Tame Impala put on one hell of a party on Friday night. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix
Tame Impala put on one hell of a party on Friday night. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix
Australians Tame Impala are a class act and have grown in presence and stature since their previous appearance at Roskilde a few years ago. Backing their performance with an impeccable light show and a ton of confetti, they were simply insurmountable on the Arena stage.
3. Los Pirañas (Gloria, Saturday)
Los Pirañas gave a commanding performance on the intimate Gloria stage. Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
Los Pirañas gave a commanding performance on the intimate Gloria stage. Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk 
Colombia’s Los Pirañas churned out an endearing stream of psychedelic rock fused with South American influences that blew the roof off the intimate Gloria stage. Hats off to the stage crew for outfitting the stage with an epic light show to match an assured performance.
4. Tenacious D (Orange, Thursday)
Tenacious D gave a weird but wonderful post-midnight show on Orange. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix
Tenacious D gave a weird but wonderful post-midnight show on Orange. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix  
Honestly, I’m not a Jack Black fan and even after his momentous performance at Orange, I still have my doubts about the man’s sanity. Credit is due to him, however, for providing a fun and at times mesmerising show amidst the rain. Where others would have stumbled, Tenacious D were sure-footed, weird and even wonderful.
5. Elf Kid (Apollo, Saturday)
Elf Kid's early afternoon set helped wake up the Apollo crowd. Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
Elf Kid’s early afternoon set helped wake up the Apollo crowd. Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
Grime’s renaissance was reflected in Roskilde’s bookings this year. Of those on the billing, South London’s Elf Kid was, for me, the most impressive of the lot. Backed by his DJ, the kid spat out one lyric after another before getting bare-chested in the early Saturday afternoon chill, encouraging everyone to banish their hangovers to mere memory.

Above & Beyond, Store Vega Jan 2015

Original article published for Mediazink, available here :

Store Vega, 22nd January 2015

5 0ut of 6 stars

Trance trio Above & Beyond brightened an otherwise dull and insipid Thursday evening with a furore of a party that attested to why they are as highly ranked an outfit as they are.

Playing to a capacity – packed Store Vega, Jono Grant, and Tony McGuinness put the loyal crowd into hysteria with wave upon wave of cathartic anthems, punctuated by epic, beat – free pauses that have come to demarcate the trance genre. And whilst the third member of the project, Paavo Siljamäki was absent from the festivities, if he was missed on stage, it certainly did not show.

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Above & Beyond: Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness and Paavo Siljamäki . Photo – Dj Mag California

Above & Beyond’s latest album, We Are Are All We Need provided some of the evening’s fodder and went down well with the jubilant crowd. This is a work that has been well marketed, in keeping with the strong marketing backing that the trio are flanked by in all that they do. And whilst there are certainly several gems on the album, such as the eponymous ‘We Are All We Need” track featuring the talented Zoe Johnston, I personally find myself more inclined to some of their older material such as Tri – state, from as far back as 2006.

The electronic music world finds itself increasingly dominated by the EDM sub-genre and the nefarious showbiz fascination that it pulls in its wake and much to many’s dismay, it is clear that no genre, trance included, can escape its clutches- as much of the material on the latest album demonstrates. This notwithstanding, the music of Above & Beyond has consistently stood out for its sentimentality and thoughtfulness; two elements that are are in abundance on We Are Are All We Need, as they were at Thursday’s show.

Amping the experience, a beautifully -strung light show and massive background imagery turned Store Vega into an amphitheater of dreams; propelled by the pulse of life and the tick of the soul. A monumental confetti burst towards the end summed up the feeling of ethereal nonchalance that the concert created; a sheer elation of being in a very, very comfortable place and a wistful longing for more of the same. . Above & Beyond exited as they’d come; playing softer material that left space for contemplation and unobscured imagination.

Tetiur, Vega Feb 2014

A fair weather fairytale from the stormy Faroe Islands

 

Five out of six stars

 

Faroese musician Teitur his storytelling, captivating self (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

February 25, 2014
14:53

by Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk

Faroese musician Teitur has the unusual ability of being able to connect with his listeners through poetic, captivating storytelling.

His lyrics are the winding tales about a multifaceted collection of people in all walks of life, from the desperate hipster, through to the cell-phone vendor and the merry-go-man at amusement parks. Each character is treated with equal amounts of love and humor in the Teitur universe.

Backed by two cellists and another singer / guitarist, a drummer and a chap who was introduced as “the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, on percussion,” Teitur was at his usual captivating self.

His latest album, Story Music was at the helm of his set on Saturday which also featured a bit of his older material and was almost a carbon copy of his set in Århus ‘Run the carousel’ and ‘Louis Louis’  are but two tracks that were well received.

The former brought a welcome kicking impetus to an otherwise tame concert whilst ‘Louis Louis’ took a cocky stab at the politics of George W Bush when he was president.

The mixed audience reacted with discreet laughter at the political touch, and this was where the politics started and ended on the night.

The rest of the evening featured Teitur’s lengthy banter accompanied by soft-spoken, discreetly placed musical arrangements that echoed with the unique creativity of Faroese musicianship, a lot of which has an almost spellbinding quality to it.

His is a form of musicianship that is replete with warmth and positive energy, elements that have been in short supply locally of late and that, by such virtue, were well received.

An extended three song encore came all too soon for many, most of all Teitur who looked as if he could have played for the entire evening and into dawn. Whilst his show was indeed a credible performance and an enjoyable experience that was shared by a very mixed crowd of old and young, there are some who felt that it was too close a copy of an earlier show in Århus.

This notwithstanding, originality was still an element that was present in plenty insofar as Teitur’s musicianship was concerned. There are well and truly few Scandinavian musicians that can cultivate an identity as well as he does through his anecdotal renditions.

 

The Range, Ideal Bar Feb 2014

Ideal Bar, 5 out of 6 stars

I traipsed lazily into the warm environs of Vega’s Ideal bar not really knowing what to expect on Wednesday night. Dark wintry evenings are not the best fodder for even the most ardent music lovers but Ideal bar, the smallest sibling in the Vega family, tends to impress almost every time out.

I got in just in time for opening act Jongpadawan (Pronounced Young Padawan, a reference to star wars), who paved the path for a lo-fi evening with a serving of sautéed bits and pieces that contained a solid electronic foundation, lightly glazed with merry, abstract beat wizardry. For a 21 year old with only a handful of releases to his credit, Jongpadawan proved to be a class act, worthy of a stage at either August’s Strøm or Distortion later in the year , so keep an eye open for him.

Moving back to the main act; The Range, aka James Hinton, waltzed casually onto the stage and got straight down to business with his set, playing a tightly woven sequence of tracks that mixed seamlessly with each other from the get-go. Hinton’s music draws from influences as far wide as grime, hip-hop, and jungle, side-dishes around a main platter of electronic nature. The result is a complex sound, that sounds remotely similar to the surreal composition of underground British artists like Burial fused with infusions of Andreas Trentemøller’s driven experimental forays.

Several songs off debut album Nonfiction were particularly emblematic; ‘the loftmane’ for it’s wicked sampled vocal, ‘Seneca’ for it’s euphoric buildup and the fact that it sounds very much like the work of revered electronic artist Gold Panda and ‘Postie’ for its symphonic piano chords that sound like they’re straight out of a 1930’s Bechstein grand piano in a cavernous hall. Hinton sang along to many of his tracks adding layer upon layer of beats, effects and the occasional turntable scratch for good measure, luring the small crowd onto a bewildering journey through the sound that has earned him a call-up to Barcelona’s legendary Primavera Sound later this year. Equally impressive were the two old school hip-hop tracks that he played towards the end of the show, a humble tribute to one of the underlying influences of his music. Where Britains Disclosure have gained fame through accessible, pop-influenced tunes laden with wonderful electronic influences, The Range has developed a slightly similar style, rooted in hip-hop and woven in contemplative beat work that should see this kid kick it with some of the very best, if his present trajectory continues on the blazing trail it has lit over the last year or so. 

Point Blank, Ideal Bar January 2014

Original article in this week’s Copenhagen Post

 

5 out of 6 stars

After bearing witness to a mere five minutes worth of performance time by hip hop orchestra Point Blank, the first burning question in the back of my mind was why on earth lively boys from Århus were stuck in the miniature confines of Ideal Bar and not filling the floor at Store Vega. As the concert went on, it became evident that these chaps are surely destined for bigger and brighter prospects in the future, which is saying a lot, considering that they’ve already notched warm-up gigs for the likes of Ice Cube, and France’s Hocus Pocus.

Point Blank waltzed onto the small stage at Ideal Bar sporting smiles and heavily armed with an array of brass instruments with which to lay their mark on the cold evening. Their merry sound is one that is comparable to some of the epic hip hop tracks of the eighties, with a witty modernist touch that features rapid lyrics from their frontman that are not too unlike those employed by rapid rappers such as the U.S.A’s Ludacris. And whilst one may draw all manner of parallels with seminal bands like The Roots or point to their sound being a very Brooklyn- like affair, Point Blank are quick to distance themselves from most forms of classification, with good cause too, for theirs is a sound that is as unique as it is innovative.

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theslightlydarkerside.blogspot.com

 

Ideal bar have made considerable improvements to their sound and ambiance, through better insulation and a revamped wall section that contains the sound a bit better. It showed on the night, with the brassy sounds of Point Blank ricocheting stylishly off the wood-finish walls. Ahead of their debut album, set to drop in Autumn, Point Blank’s repertoire is not the most extensive but the few tracks they do have were played with passion, aplomb and Jutlandish humility, three tenets that underscore what they are all about musically. With sub-zero winds and gnarling temperatures lashing at people’s humour, the audience can be forgiven for taking their time to well and truly open up to the night’s entertainment, though it was never a venue that was going to yield wild scenes of merrymaking and chaos. Rather, things were chilled and laidback; a mellow, systematic buildup to a finale that saw Point Blank churn out some of the more lyrically driven tunes in their arsenal as their lead singer charmed his way into the crowd with a series of rapid-fire vocals. Expect bigger and better things from this band, probably the best in Danish hip hop at the moment and for some time to come.