Polica better than the last time around
original article in this week’s version of The Copenhagen Post
A solid improvement over their last Lille Vega show and a sign of better things to come (PR Photo)
January 27, 2014
by Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
January 24 at Lille Vega
Synth pop dreamers Polica had a solid if underwhelming debut on Danish soil last summer when they performed at a steamy Lille Vega. Wind the clock forward and plummet down the temperature gauge a good 30 degrees and the Minneapolis quintet are back in town, this time around having grown musically over the past half a year or so.
A welcome blast of brooding bass served by Marijuana Death Squads, the industrially inclined, R&B-influenced warm-up act, breathed life into a frozen audience that quickly warmed to the evening’s entertainment. Whilst solid in their performance, the Death Squads were perhaps too hefty a cocktail to start the night off with, as their high pitch frequencies tore into the thin evening air with a menacing vengeance.
Polica pranced elegantly onto the scene and tamed the chaos, driving home coaxing, organic-sounding synth pop that highlighted the best of lead singer Channy Leanagh’s vocal talents against a backdrop of heavier sounds. From time to time she did sound slightly at sea in the waves of instrumentation, but it was certainly an improvement on Polica’s last appearance at the same venue.
Leanagh’s charm is by and large her greatest asset as a performer and this was ultimately what allowed her to gain the respect and attention of the begrudging audience who fronted their usually icy first impression upon Polica’s stage emergence.
Songs off 2012 album Give You The Ghost were the order of the day, performed with flair, fluency and a remarkably quick wit. The highlight of this was signature track ‘Dark Star’, a number that encapsulates all that is good about Polica: Leanagh’s soft vocals over a firm foundation of synth pop brilliance that sparkles with flares of distant melancholia and elation in equal measure.
The audience warmed to Polica as the show neared its conclusion, charmed no doubt by the quick wit of Leanagh, who reinforced her performance with short bursts of creative banter in between songs. After a short, swift encore Polica exited the stage as they had come, humbly pleased with a good performance on the night. Though just shy of a five star rating, it is pleasing to note how much the band have grown in just six months and fair to expect even better from them in the future.
Aussies bring back the glory days of acid house
original article: http://cphpost.dk/news/aussies-bring-back-the-glory-days-of-acid-house.8129.html
Friday’s show at Lille Vega was a colourful explosion of sound (Photo: The Windish Agency)
December 13 at Lille Vega
Free Your Mind. The album title of Australian indie electronic band Cut Copy is as self-explanatory as they come – a casual maxim that holds true through all aspects of their addictive synth-filled, strobe-stroked beat landscape. One of four fantastic, varied albums by the Aussies, Free Your Mind is the coming of age of a band that’s up there amongst the very best in electronic music at the moment, a point that their sold-out show at Lille Vega on Friday did its best to hammer home.
Cut Copy stepped on stage before a crowd more curious than anything else and set the ball rolling with new material off the aforementioned album. The album’s recent release date means it’s not that well known so it took some time for people to warm to the proceedings. Several songs in and material off other Cut Copy albums soon followed suit, creating a sense of familiarity that the crowd responded to with warm enthusiasm. Not so pleasing however was the crisp, almost plastic quality of some of the sound at times, as the vocals failed to hit the emotional high points that they so often do on their albums. Poor transitions between songs also did their bit to dent the evening’s promise though ultimately there wasn’t much that could dampen the rush of blood to the head from the high points of the show, which came and went with the ferocity of waves on a sandy seashore.
Things peaked midway through and once again towards the end, as the Madchester sound of the late eighties that demarcates Cut Copy’s sound, as some of the most ardent purveyors of the bygone days of Acid house music hit home. Epic strobe-light sessions and crowd surfing at the front of the action accompanied the thundering reverberations on stage, rekindling memories of the days when bands like New Order and Happy Mondays run riot on the airwaves, demarcating what music critics of the day charted as the second summer of love (after Woodstock decades before).
After minds were freed and feet were swayed, Cut Copy exited the smokey stage to raucous applause from an audience who’d been taken back in music history in a show that underlined the credentials of one of the most creative bands around.
It’s Tricky to stay relevant after two decades
Original article: http://cphpost.dk/news/its-tricky-to-stay-relevant-after-two-decades.7959.html
No doubt the man is a pioneer, but his Friday night performance didn’t feel very vital
December 2, 2013
by Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
November 29 at Lille Vega
Trip-hop is a genre of electronic music spawned in the aftershocks of the UK’s acid house culture of the early 1990s, with significant rooting in the city of Bristol. Fusing influences of hip-hop and electronica with doses of rock for good measure, trip-hop is eclectic, trippy, and experimental in its purest form. Indeed it was these three tenets that punctuated Tricky’s concert at a haze-filled Lille Vega on Friday night, as the godfather of the genre himself gave a show that didn’t well and truly get airborne but nonetheless offered a distinct musical experience.
Tricky (née Adrian Thaws) was one of the driving forces behind the legendary act Massive Attack, whose music continues to demarcate the most poignant moments of movie soundtracks today, almost two decades after they rose to fame. His forays with Massive Attack led him to branch out as a solo musician, enjoying chart success with albums such as 1995’s Maxinquaye, whose heights he never quite managed to recapture over a consistent tradition of album releases through the years thereafter.
Playing to a crowd predominantly in their 30s, Tricky walked onto the Vega stage sporting his familiar bare-chested look flanked by his backing band in low-lit, smoky confines, emphasizing the shamanic quality that characterizes his live shows.
An eerie, almost intoxicating start found a rather quiet Tricky confining himself to one side of the stage, even turning his back to the audience on many occasions. Tricky elicited a strong response from the audience with ‘Black Steel’, a riveting revolutionary tune off Maxinquaye that seemed to denote a welcome change of pace midway through. This was however short-lived as technical glitches shot down the track in mid air, prompting a switch to another song. Tricky seemed unfazed by this and oblivious to the world around him in his corner of the stage, surrounded by a maze of swirling smoke and clearly on a superlative high of his own. The audience then joined the experimentation as a good 20 or so frontrunners got the opportunity to clamber on stage for a couple of songs. Come the end, a noncommittal applause for a curtain call was the audience’s way of responding to a dull and unconvincing performance. Tricky re-appeared and like Shantel before him on Wednesday at the same venue, performed a few good songs to round off the concert, an eclectic, trippy and experimental performance that called for an acquired taste. There’s no doubting Tricky’s contribution to British music nor his talents as a pioneer in electronic music, but Friday’s show left much to be desired and lacked the spark and creativity of his earlier career.
original article :
A mid-week Balkan delight
We didn’t seem them arrive, but we’ll assume this is the car they pulled up in (Press photo)
If Balkan Beat is your fancy then Lille Vega was a pilgrim’s temple on Wednesday, set alight by Shantel and the Bucovina Orchestra. Though the show did not sell out, the crowd that showed up was a very enthusiastic bunch, hyped-up from the word go and loud to the very end, somewhat of a marvel considering the concert’s midweek placement.
The Bucovina Orchestra is one of the exciting projects of German DJ and producer Shantel. Many are familiar with their jolly, uptempo Balkan sounds that awaken memories of the film Borat. A boundary breaker from the techno stronghold of Frankfurt, Shantel draws from the likes of Balkan greats such as Fanfare Ciocarla and Goran Begovic himself and is no stranger to these parts, having performed at the very same venue just over a year ago.
Chaotic at times, Shantel and the Bucovina Orchestra deliver pure party msuic, played with the intent of causing a riot. Wednesday’s midweek shenanigans at Lille Vega were no different. After a slow start by their own standards, Shantel & co kicked into gear midway through the proceedings, as signature track ‘Disko Partizani’ rang out to a raucous response. This was followed by a neat ream of back-to back brass-laden tunes that saw T-shirts flung with reckless aplomb as the crowd rekindled memories of Roskilde Festival’s mosh pit moments.
With the night coming to a close, merry, anthemic songs such as the comical ‘Citizen of Planet Paprika’ and the well-known ‘Bucovina’ were but two peaks in a series of late-show antics that worked the crowd into a frenzy. The highlight of this was the entire audience squatting and kneeling on two occasions before flinging themselves upwards for particularly epic chorus moments. In fact, having gone off stage, Shantel & Co were cheered back for an encore from a kneeling crowd that may well have been in downtown Belgrade as opposed to Vesterbro. Six or so songs later and it was all over after one last wave of bombastic action wrung the crowd into a final furore. Whilst the long encore was a novel move, it did drag on towards the end, way beyond the climax of it all.
With winter closing in, more Balkan action at Vega can be found in the form of Gogol Bordello’s concert on December 6, which promises to be even more enthralling that Wednesday’s show was.
Article for The Copenhagen Post: http://cphpost.dk/concerts/newcomers-deliver-solid-if-underwhelming-show
4 out of 6 stars
With the recently concluded Strøm festival still reverberating through the spine of the city, one would be forgiven for not knowing that there would be a memorable show taking place at Lille Vega tonight. Minneapolis synthpop quintet Polica (Polish for “policy”) are a critically acclaimed outfit who’ve been impressing quite a few in the music industry of late with their curious forays into the warped world of synthpop, with a slight touch of r & b for good measure. One of their admirers is non other than Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon, who went as far as claiming that they are one of the best bands in the world.
Minneapolis band Polica, Synthpop affiliates destined for the grand stage. Photo: Flickr
Performing in front of an almost-sold-out Lille Vega, Polica were slow off the mark, playing with an uncanny casualness that left the audience somewhat in limbo. Sound issues did their bit to exacerbate things, making for an edgy half hour opening, with a performance of ‘Dark Star,’ off their 2012 album Give you the Ghost marking a positive turning point. The song showcased the unique quality of lead singer Channy Leanagh’s coaxing, high-pitched voice, which lost itself eloquently in the immersive, labarynthine instrumentation that accompanied her vocals. More of the same followed, as Polica looked more comfortable on stage and interacted with the audience with a bit of very straightforward stage banter. ‘Wandering Star,’ also off the Give you the Ghost album punctuated the peak of the evening, with Leanagh’s vocals given leeway to run amok once more, this time against a backdrop of sounds that reeked with the unlikely dichotomy of immense pain and great elation all at once.
Unlike the studio versions, Polica’s live music features sparse use of vocoders, meaning that its gloomy attributes are hidden more subtly. This notwithstanding, many of the songs sound very similar and with the band rarely venturing into their more adventurous, electro-heavy ethic, the concert did have the look and feel of a taciturn Monday night show at times. Venturesome antics towards the end did change this however, with a song that had been written only a few hours before the show being played shortly before an encore that bore many similarities to the loud, distorted chaos of fellow synthpop band, Crystal Castles (albeit with less of a rough edge). All in all, Polica put in a good show last night though there are no doubt many areas for improvement. For a band with only one studio album they are, by their own admission “only newcomers” so expect them back sometime soon.
Stor Vega 5 out 6 stars
Australian psychedelic dream rockers Tame Impala were on top form at their concert at Stor Vega last night. The Perth-based band are known for their eccentric forays into the hazy territory of psychedelic rock music, and having seen them perform last night, I can safely assert that this is one band that sounds just as good, if not better, live, a rarity in the modern day music climate.
Tame Impala, purveyors of the psychedelic wave of the modern day. pic http://www.1songday.com
Tame Impala went on stage to a sold-out, sweaty Stor Vega, under a backdrop of trippy visuals criss-crossing the stage in the shades of numerous colours. Guided by talismanic lead singer Kevin Parker, who went on stage barefoot, Tame Impala looked comfortable and at ease from the start, playing with a gentle, assured nature that enchanted more than it entertained. Signature track ‘Elephant’ was one of the first of many anthemic tunes of the evening, a night that traverssed elements of contemplative, dreamy content and jovial, unaccented moments alike. Smooth transitions in between songs, particularly at the beginning of the show added a tinge of sophistication to the performance, which took on the feel of a live set rather than an incongruous mish-mash of songs strung flimsily together for the hell of it, as is the case with many concerts today. Further credit is due to frontman Kevin Parker, whose outside-the-box musicianship saw him use effect pedals connected to his guitar to good effect; creating symphony-esque layers of complex musical arrangements that danced harmoniously together, each verse adding a new dimension into the complex equation. Adding to the experimental feel to things, the Australian quintet turned their backs on the audience midway through the show and strummed in synchrony with live visuals that were mimicking their quirky guitar plucks, gracefully slapping yet another touch of finesse to their performance.
Capping things off was one of the best stage exits i’ve seen; Tame Impala went off stage to the sound of a hollow drone vibrating in the background, before one of the band members came back with a torch, amidst wolf-like howls and encouragement from an audience that had hitherto been drab and boring (so kudos must be given to the one person brave enough to hold a lighter in the air during the show). One long encore later and Tame Impala left as they had came, exiting humbly, with the class and confidence of musicians comfortable in their element, flag bearers of the modern psychedelic rock movement.