Kraftwerk Roskilde Festival Orange Stage (Last show) July 2013

German precision, but little passion, from festival’s closing act

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Electronic pioneers Kraftwerk offered a 3D spectacle, but Roskilde’s decision to have them close the Orange Stage was nothing short of bizarre
Cyborgs in a computer world: The Kraftwerk quartet before a sea of festival goers clad in 3D glasses (Katrine Emilie Andersen/Scanpix)

July 7 at Roskilde Festival, Orange Stage

To say that electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk are a band whose influence on modern music has been tremendous would be a gross understatement. The German quartet have inspired acts such as Blondie, Joy Division and Depeche Mode in a 40-plus year career that has seen them carve a name for themselves in the annals of electronic music.  They had the honour and challenge of being the last act to grace the Orange Stage at Roskilde this year.

Kraftwerk stepped onto Orange for what would be an engaging two hours through some of their best known content. Cementing their unique form of musical artistry, their live show was aided by free 3D glasses that were worn by most of the 60,000 or so revellers who showed up for the festival’s final big show in a scene that resembled a cult gathering of anonymous cyborgs gathered before the four stage silhouettes of the Kraftwerk quartet. The show began in a modest manner as a series of robotic tracks performed in the backdrop of a bewildering 3D show that added a creative interactive element to the performance.

As things progressed and the sky turned dark, Kraftwerk stepped up their game and delved deeper into their repertoire of driven, repetitive tunes, all the while backed by 3D visuals that contained numerous references to European culture and history, such as the Cold War conflict. A welcome break to the generally monotonic drone of beat sequences and synthesiser stabs came in the form of a lengthy performance of their ‘Tour de France’ track, which was flanked by excellent visuals that highlighted the cultural symbolism of the annual cycling event.  Lighter, more ephemeral beat foundations ousted the heavy, structural patterns that punctuated the better part of the show. This was a short-lived occurrence, however, as the robotic, alienated structuralist beat patterns returned all too quickly. In fact, whilst the show did indeed play on the themes of human alienation through technology, it appeared that Kraftwerk themselves seemed too alienated from the audience during their performance.

A lack of footage of the musicians in action behind their instrument panels was partially to blame for what seemed to be an unfortunate lack of interaction between the artists of stage and the crowd. Similarly, Roskilde’s bizarre decision to choose Kraftwerk as their closing act must be queried. Having seen the likes of Coldplay and Björk do their bit in the past to leave Roskilde Festival attendees with an emotional overload of epic, memorable moments, It was something of a disappointment to leave the Orange Stage after a performance that left many in search of the essential elements expected of a closing act.


Efterklang, Roskilde Festival Arena July 2013

Danes deliver music for the contemplative at heart

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Allan Mutuku Kortbaek
July 6, 2013 – 18:30
Danish experimental indie band Efterklang staged a performance of the more relaxing sort at Roskilde’s Arena stage on Saturday
Caught up by the breezy, relaxed vibe, our photographer couldn’t even be bothered to get up and take a photo

 *** (3 out of 6 stars), July 6 at Arena

Roskilde’s third day of music is in full swing and the festival is ablaze with a brilliant orange feeling, aided no doubt by the soaring temperatures and the adrenaline-laden air of anticipation ahead of Metallica’s concert at the Orange Stage later tonight, which should be the apt antidote to many a Roskilde fan who may feel somewhat conned by pop diva Rihanna’s presence at a traditional rock festival.

With the sun high in the sky, I managed to catch Danish experimental indie rockers Efterklang at their afternoon show at Roskilde’s Arena stage.  Rasmus Stolberg, Casper Clausen and Mads Brauer are the charming trio behind Efterklang, the Danish word for “remembrance” or “reverberation,” both of which are abundant throughout the band’s music and live shows.

A dreamy show start that consisted initially of an almost purely vocal intro that soothed the crowd gently into the Efterklang ethos set the tone for what was never going to be a dance-friendly concert. Efterklang wooed the crowd with a blend of arty, contemplative content that, truth be told, is more at home on film scores and abstract art installations.  For their fans though, and there were many, this seemed to be exactly the sort of poetic respite they’d been waiting for after a week in the primordial conditions of Roskilde Festival. Many simply shut their eyes and swayed gently to the celestial, ruminative combinations that Efterklang wove together with the elegance of a swan on still water. It was however apparent that others were all but bored by the afternoon’s proceedings, which perhaps didn’t match their expectations or band stereotypes.

Midway through the show, and with the crowd comfortably entranced, Efterklang gave a polite and well-versed thank you to the crowd, that soared above the usual “we love you all so much and this show is so special” routine cliche that too many musicians tend to embrace all too often. Efterklang complimented their gentlemanly gratitude by handing out festival memorabilia from their recent performance at a Dutch music festival before steering the show into its closing stages with a casual performance of ‘The Modern Drift’ one of their well-known tunes.

The still, almost dull silence present at the start of the show culminated in a colourful, complex end that had the crowd clapping and swaying in approval after a relaxing, soothing concert by Efterklang, who were performing for the fourth time at Roskilde.

Of Monsters and Men, Roskilde Festival Arena July 2013

Of Monsters and Men **** (4 stars out of 6), July 5 at Arena
It wasn’t how they looked, it was the way they held the crowd

When Icelandic chamber pop maestros Of Monsters and Men performed on Danish soil for the first time last September at Store Vega, there were not that many people who had heard of the band and fewer still who defined themselves as fans.

Fast forward a few months. Roskilde Festival is kicking into gear on its second day and the event is alive and awash with a cheery vibe to suit all tastes. Of Monsters and Men are the third act of the day to perform on the Arena stage and the first to open the evening’s merry making.

The Icelandic quintet opened proceedings with the sun high in the sky, playing a set that consisted predominantly of songs off their 2012 debut album My Head is An Animal. Rather surprisingly they opted to unleash one of their marquee tracks ‘From Finner’ very early into the show, which was initially not that well received but by the end of it all had become an essentially catalytic element that set the tone for what would be a memorable evening.  In similar vain to ‘From Finner’, it took time for Of Monsters and Men to well and truly woo the crowd, but once they did, they had the concert in the palm of their hands, playing with a musical mastery that complemented the uniqueness of their folk-influenced music. Similarly, as was the case with last night’s final show at Arena by American psychedelic trio Animal Collective, poor acoustics at the start of the show tainted things somewhat, as lead singer Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir seemed to struggle to make her potent vocals heard.

The acoustics did improve however, and with the crowd enjoying themselves as much as they were, Of Monsters and Men went all in and unleashed their signature track ‘Little Talks’ at the peak of the proceedings, much to the delight of the partisan crowd who danced and shouted with approval. This and ‘Mountain Sound‘, another banger off the same debut album, underscored Of Monsters and Men at their best, an act who took up the baton from chamber pop pioneers Edwarde Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros and popularised a genre of music that may well become a familiar fixture on the global music stage.

Animal Collective, Roskilde Festival Arena July 2013

Teetering on the brink of sheer genius

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Allan Mutuku Kortbaek
July 5, 2013 – 02:06
Animal Collective **** (4 stars out of 6), July 4 at Arena
Animal Collective were on top form at the last show of the evening at Roskilde Festival’s Arena (Photo: Scanpix)

As something of a wildcard in the concert lineup, experimental band Animal Collective were always bound to cause a slight bit of controversy or turn out to be sheer genius, or perhaps do both. Animal Collective, or simply AnCo as their fan base affectionately term them, stepped on as the last act on Roskilde’s Arena stage and after a slow start wound up delivering what will surely be one of the most seminal concerts of this year’s event.  The boundary-breaking trio were in peak form throughout a concert that ventured into the dreamy, contemplative territory frequented by the psychedelic enthusiasts from Baltimore.

Animal Collective stepped on to an ornate stage, colourfully adorned and laden with elaborate stage props that magnified the presence of the trio quite.  A weave of trippy visual effects interspersed with adroit if not abstract tunes for the first half hour or so set the stage for a concert that grew in personality as the minutes ticked.

Such was the experimental feel to Animal Collective’s opening that many would be forgiven for losing interest in the concert from the word go. An over-zealous approach and poor sound were to blame, yet remarkably the trio from Baltimore were able to dynamically and eloquently erase any poor first impressions with a performance that peaked in its closing stages.  Improved acoustics midway through the proceedings certainly played a part in this, though credit is due to the creativity and boundary-pushing musical ethos that competently underscored the better part of the show. Animal Collective veered between sounding like the path of a raindrop in a thunderstorm to a drum set in an ethereal  catacomb, a juxtaposition that evidenced their creative genius. Each song in their hour and half long set was built from the bottom up, generating a beautiful psychedelic sequence of layers that unfolded into picturesque musical soundscapes that piqued the imaginative character of everyone present. The show ended with a stage that was awash with a myriad of colours from the captivating light show, backed by passionate, experimental sounds provided the imaginative, hard-to pigeon-hole feel of Animal Collective.

The band produced one of the most artistic, creative concerts that this reviewer has come across and will surely carve out a name for themselves in Denmark after a performance of magnanimous stature.

Charles Bradley and his extraordinaire’s, Lille Vega June 2013

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Charles Bradley ****** (6 stars out of 6); June 17 at Lille Vega
Bradley’s impeccable presence rocked Lille Vega for the second year running (Photo: Flickr / sebascrub)

When Charles Bradley first came to Denmark in 2011, he was an unfamiliar fixture in the world music circuit. When he came to Lille Vega last year, he was still not that well known worldwide, yet alone in Denmark. But after last night’s show at the same venue, however, I have a sneaking suspicion that we have not seen the last of Charles Bradley, and that his best may still be yet to come.

Starting out as ‘Black Velvet,’ Bradley performed James Brown impersonations before eventually landing a contract with Daptone records a few years ago at the tender age of 62.  His songs chart his struggle and call for change in society, a veritable critique of the fallacy of the American dream and of the greed and corruption with which society is awash today. Bradley’s show last night was by far the best concert I have ever been to, a bewilderingly beautiful performance that saw him shed tears of elation and sorrow alike.

The backup band of the evening, the seven-piece Extraordinaires, stepped on stage before the main man himself, announcing their presence with an intense instrumental performance. Bradley took to the stage shortly afterwards, clad in clothes he’d made himself and resembling James Brown down to a T.

‘The World (Is Going up in Flames)’, off his debut album No Time for Dreaming set the pace, slowly working up a crowd that lived up to the cliché of being an audience with a frightful tendency to be stagnant and noncommittal. This stereotype was thankfully broken down as things proceeded though, the result being epic hands-in-the air moments and  genuine interaction from the crowd. With Charles giving it his all, performing with a dedication that saw him sweat profusely on the warm stage, an early instrumental interlude early saw him waltz off stage to take a breather before coming back on to woo the crowd with tracks such as ‘No Time For Dreaming’ and the sentimental ‘Loving You.’

With the venue in the palm of his hands, Bradley and co rounded off with an epic performance of the newer track ‘Confusion’, showcasing a series of dance moves that few people in their twenties, let alone a veteran, can muster.  A befitting encore saw him change outfits and come back on stage dressed in a fiery red suit to perform the powerful ‘Victim of love’ and ‘Why is it so Hard?’, both off his 2013 album,Victim of Love, which documents the travails and struggles of a man who has taken a long and weary walk to freedom.

Noah & The Whale, Lille Vega May 2013

Not a whale of a time, but the quintet’s consistent


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June 10, 2013 – 15:57
Noah and the Whale **** (4 stars out of 6); June 9 at Lille Vega
While Noah and the Whale’s show felt unenthusiastic at times, the quintet delivered an overall solid performance at Lille Vega on Sunday night (Photo: Flickr / Aurelien Guichard)

The major music news in Copenhagen this weekend was rock band 3 Doors Down’s performance at Store Vega on Saturday. While English quintet Noah and the Whale are far less known than their American counterparts, what they pulled off at Lille Vega last night was nothing short of special. The cheery indie band stepped onstage with a steely determination in their eyes, opening the proceedings with the catchy ‘Give a Little Love’ off their debut album Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down,  released in 2008.

Noah and The Whale are, in Craig David’s words, “slicker than your average”, in that they are a cut above the classic ‘two men and a guitar’ rock cliché that tends to accompany many revered acts of the modern day. Their varied instrumentation includes keys and an unmistakable violin input, which announced its presence from the word ‘go’ and punctuated many of the show’s peak points.

With the foundation for a solid show laid by the end of the first track, Noah and The Whale played the cautiously optimistic ‘Tonight’s the Kind of Night,’ which veered more towards the cheery dimensions associated with the band. One song later and they had ventured into the more melancholic, contemplative territory that also demarcates them as a band, playing the emphatic ‘Blue Skies’ track from their 2009 album The First Days of Spring. Lead singer Charlie Fink showcased his vocal prowess with this particular tune, drifting off in a coarse, candid rendition that was simultaneously captivating and astute.

From then on, the quintet stuck to the jovial side of things as they slowly but surely built up a steady momentum that climaxed towards the end of the show and naturally enough got people’s feet swaying. Things ended rather appropriately with a bland albeit effectual performance of the self-explanatory L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N, which paved the way for a solemn encore.

All in all, Noah and The Well were solid and consistent last night, performing with a coolheaded wit that showed their maturity as a band. However, from time to time it did feel as if they could have injected a bit more enthusiasm and drive into the show.  This notwithstanding, their music, some of which is inspired by writer Charles Bukowski, is even more remarkable when performed live – the  bold, emphatic lyrics that characterise much it gain a heightened definition and a more pronounced meaning.

Carl Pris 2013











Talent of the year: Bandet Lukas Graham (song writing team: Stefan Forrest, Sebastian Fogh, Morten Ristorp Jensen og Lukas Forchhammer)

Classical Composer of the year  – Stort ensemble: Per Nørgård

Classical Composer of the year – Lille ensemble: Hans Abrahamsen, der med sin fjerde strygekvartet fortsætter rækken af unikke og stærkt personlige værker.

Composer of the year – Jazz/Folk/World: Jakob Bro

Composer of the year   – Pop/Rock: Aura Dione

Composer of the year, children’s music : Sigurd Barrett

Songwriter of the year: Marie Key

International breakthrough artist:  Aura Dione

Song of the year:  ”Sedated” : Choir Of Young Believers

Most played song of the year:  ”Speak Out Now”: Oh Lan

DMF’s (Danish Music Association) Honesty prize: Poul Bruun

Location: Mogens Dahl Koncertsal / Amager

Camera: Nikkon D3500

Imagine Dragons, Store Vega April 2013

These Vegas dragons rock Vega with a vengeance

Imagine Dragons **** (4 stars out of 6); April 18 at Store Vega
Imagine Dragons’ energy, albeit inconsistent, wowed a sold-out Store Vega (Photo: Flickr / DerekSchwartzPhotography)

Las Vegas-based band Imagine Dragons were in top form at a sold-out Store Vega last night. The indie group made a sleek entry to the sounds of crickets and pouring rain: tentative signs of an impending storm. Even before the show began, the young partisan crowd were enthusiastic and merry, cheering and stamping passionately in anticipation. Having been part of an insipid audience at British songbird’s Ellie Goulding’s show at the same venue last week, it was quite pleasant to be in more lively company this time around.

Armed with their usual guitar ensemble and a robust bass drum positioned at the front of the stage, Imagine Dragons hit the floor running, playing confidently in a near-perfect acoustic environment that had the elusive, inclusive feel of a concert in a large stadium. But several songs in, one could clearly feel the show slowing, the initial momentum waning – as it was inevitably destined to. A solid performance of marquee track ‘Hear me’ picked things up again, however, as the boys showed why they have been compared to revered bands such as The Killers and Arcade Fire.

The tipping point of the evening was always expected to be the moment that the band dropped their signature track ‘Radioactive’. And drop it they did, with an atomic vengeance – it was a cunningly constructed extended live version that thundered with bass echoes more common at dubstep raves than at a rock gig. An epic acoustic section towards the end of this tune, followed by a blizzard-esque finale that hissed, thumped and roared in a sea of smoke and strobe sequences, gave the fans everything that they’d come to the concert for in only a few minutes of brilliance.

‘Thirty lives’ followed, quietening the din somewhat and showcasing the band’s more sentimental, acoustic-based aspect, and inspiring the cliché flood of lighters and mobile phones in the air typical of particularly tender concert moments. By this point, the band had exhausted most of their popular tracks and simply proceeded to round things off by riding out the crest of the wave they’d created at the start. They rolled towards land with the verve and wit of a rock band with promise and talent up their sleeves. And their audience, young as they were, loved every second of it, so kudos are due to them too.

Ellie Goulding, Store Vega April 2013


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April 15, 2013 – 13:41
 *** (3 stars out of 6); April 10 at Store Vega
While Goulding’s Vega debut had its memorable moments, the majority of the show was entirely forgettable (Photo: Flickr/Visions of Domino)

Brit sensation Ellie Goulding had a Vega debut to forget Wednesday night after a concert that failed to hit the soprano highs that her vocal range tends to soar to. A commendable warm-up by the sharpy Charli XCX left the crowd salivating for the same, as the 19-year-old prodigy showed just why she’s good enough to open for the likes of Coldplay.

Goulding then took the stage at a packed-to-capacity Store Vega (the original concert had been moved from Lille Vega due to popular demand), backed by a trio of instrumentalists. Opening with tracks such as ‘Don’t say a word’ off her 2012 album Halcyon, the BBC Sound of 2010 winner got off to a slow, uninteresting start. Things got better though, as the popular ‘Hanging on’ track, also off the Halcyon album, shot a dose of fresh impetus into the evening. A particularly witty electric guitar solo at the end of this song is worth a mention.

As the night went on, Goulding ventured into melancholic, pensive moods, as tracks such as the ironic ‘Joy’ resonated through the still evening air.  ‘Your Song’, her hotly pursued cover of the original by Elton John, and ‘Without your love’, a riveting rendition about resurgence after failures in love, managed to add some sparkle to an otherwise average performance. As Goulding herself playfully noted at different points in her performance, the audience were very quiet or, as she put it, “polite and well-mannered”. At one point she cheekily told someone off for yawning and generally didn’t seem too enthused playing to the Danish crowd, an audience that a fellow Brit, Mike Skinner of The Streets, has described as “one of the hardest to please”.

This notwithstanding, the show did have its memorable moments, particularly towards the end, as signature tunes such as ‘Starry eyed’ saved the day. A ravenous applause ensued at the end of it all, and Goulding took her time before coming on again for an encore to a late boomer of a crowd that had mysteriously conspired to save their passion for the end of the show. That things didn’t quite peak as they should have was no fault of Goulding’s, whose stellar soprano voice chirps with a winsome sophistication rich in originality and quick wit.

Penny Police, Ideal Bar: April 2013


Pic credits : Gaffa

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Ideal Bar is often the neglected child in the Vega family, consigned to a solitary, unsung existence in the shadow of its bigger siblings, Lille and Store Vega. In spite of that, the venue has played host to quite a few upcoming acts over the years, generally sticking to a more down-tempo profile. This was the case last night when Penny Police, one of Denmark’s most exciting alternative pop acts, took to the stage at the venue. Ideal Bar was packed to capacity, with many revelers sitting on the floor around the stage.

Warming up for Penny was 18-year-old Emma Søhested Høeg, as vibrant an intro act as one could imagine. She charmed the crowd with a host of reflective, socially-relevant songs. Clad in a pink dress and bearing a pert disposition, Emma Høeg was both witty, imaginative and daring, chuckling and cracking jokes in between her repertoire of contemplative tracks.

The humble, composed Marie Fjeldsted grew up in Denmark’s oldest town of Ribe and has a long history of producing melancholic, thoughtful songs charting her contemplations and interpretation of life. Her stage moniker Penny Police epitomises the essence of her music, with ‘Penny’ reflecting the lively, positive aspects of her productions and ‘Police’ constituting the more melancholic side of her music. Both dualities were present at this performance.

Penny softened the jovial mood created by her warm-up act, starting with a couple of solemn tracks off her newly dropped 2013 EP Sink Ships. Much like the EP, the opening was soothing, ambient and dreamy. ‘Run for your life’ is the only up-tempo track on the EP and is one of those numbers that rockets to life when performed live. It marked a turning point in the concert, paving the way for a series of tunes from her 2012 debut album The Broken, The Beggar, The Thief, many of which found Penny plucking away at an electric harp with an ethereal, weightless panache. A particularly notable highlight was ‘Up Here,’ a tune which got the crowd swaying and smiling, in a rare moment of sheer positivity.

Penny rounded off the show with melancholic tunes such as ‘What if Life Doesn’t Kill You’ and ‘Kid I Recommend You Stop Breathing’ before an encore with the catchy ‘With all the Best’ rounded off the performance. There is little doubt that Penny Police is a musician of some talent, who plays with ease and a tremendous sense of composure – that many live acts all too often lack.