French Films, Ideal Bar, September 2013

French Films: A cut above ‘ideal’

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French Films ***** (5 stars out of 6); September 19 at Ideal Bar
French Film’s musicianship illuminated Vega’s Ideal Bar Thursday night (Photo: Wikipedia)

Welcome to the 21st century of globalisation and cultural fusions, where a Finnish band by the name of French Films can perform songs loosely rooted in classical American pop influences that shudder with clangs of the Beach Boys and The Ramones in central Copenhagen.

French Films marked their return to Danish soil last night following their widely popularised outing at Roskilde’s Pavillion junior stage last year, and what a return it was. Clad in skinny jeans and leather jackets that echoed the sartorial traits of bands such as The Libertines, the Finnish quintet stepped on stage looking blasé and calm, following solid warm-up work by local band The New Investors. The compact confines of Vega’s Ideal Bar allowed the audience to get very close to the stage, rekindling memories of one of the summer’s most promising festivals, Henry’s Dream, where a band with an orientation like French Films would be right at home.

The boys from Helsinki were quick off the mark, getting straight to business with a hot-to-trot opener followed by ‘Take you with me’ off their debut EP, 2010’s The Golden Sea.  Lengthening the proceedings,  songs such as ‘Ridin’ on’ off 2013’s marquee album White Orchid added form and substance to what was ultimately a very intimate concert that had sweat dripping off the walls of a sweltering Ideal Bar.

Invariably, the distinct indie pop renditions of French Films do tend to sound rather repetitive after some time, as one feels lost in the thick mass of strums and heavily percussive melodies. In spite of this, the concert did seem to grow in stature and depth, as the musicians used the full width of the stage to perform with a tremendous amount of energy and free spiritedness. By the end of the show, many of the evening’s guests found their feet and torsos swaying from side to side in sync with the rhythmic instrumentals, backed by vocal patterns that sent wave upon wave of sun-drenched summer memories into the cold September night.

French Film’s musicianship is a joy to watch, and their sheer energy on stage is a tremendous compliment to their rich, absorbing take on rock. Far too adroit to be playing at Ideal Bar, expect bigger and brighter things from them in 2013 and an almost certain graduation to bigger concert venues for their next visit to Denmark.

Going Underground: Sept 2013

As the festival season comes to a gradual end and the summer ebbs gently away, paving the way for the arrival of autumn, you’d be pleased to know that there are still quite a few events that’ll pique your interest in the city over the next month or so. Distortion Festival is back (if only momentarily in a minuscule late summer version, Red Bull will be throwing a huge event by Christiansborg plus there are several very interesting rock-related gigs here and there. Here’s the best of the bunch :

Friday 6th September: Distortion Garden party, AmagerFælled / 50 DKK- free entrance for everyone with a street armband from this year’s Distortion festival: Little is known about Distortion’s late summer garden party, other than that there will be a festival setup complete with different tents and the well-known rave bus. The relaxing confines of AmagerFælled are as an deal a location as any and with quite a few people committed to attending, expect a bright, breezy and entertaining evening.

Saturday 7th September, 13:00 : Red Bull Copen’Waken 2013 / FREE Red Bull are the maestros of cultural event design in the modern day, venturing into everything from arranging Snowboarding championships to running a very laissez faire albeit highly successful Formula one team. Their Cliff Diving competition held earlier this year off the glitzy Opera house was a huge success. This time round, Red Bull will be assembling 16 of the nation’s most adroit Wakeboarders for a competition that will leave many a spectator gasping at the array of trickery and showmanship. It all takes place by the canals alongside the iconic Danish Parliament, Christiansborg and is, unsurprisingly, free.

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Red Bull CopenWaken 2013

Saturday 7th September, 21:00 : Concrete Rockers #1 Soundsystem Release: Bolsjefabrikken Ragnhildgade / FREE between 21:00-23:00, 40 DKK afterwards: Bolsjefabrikken or “The Candy Factory” is about as close to the mirror-free grunge environment of Berlin’s revered cultural aesthetics as you can come in these parts. With the more popular Bolsjefabrikken on Lærkevej set to close soon, the good news is that the larger, more spacious of the two candy factories on Ragnildgade has got a revamped soundsystem which will be tried for the first time on the evening. “Concrete Rockers” is the first in the series of musical events at the venue focused on showcasing heavy dub- based sounds.

Thursday 19th September, 21:00 : French Films, Ideal Bar: 90 DKK: Finnish alternative rockers French Films have got a new album out and return to Denmark following a solid showing at Roskilde’s pavilion junior stage last year. French Films sound like a sprightly concoction of The Beach Boys fused with Indie influences not too different from bands like Vampire Weekend. The band will be visiting Ideal Bar as part of their European / American tour, promoting their latest album, White Orchid.

 

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Finnish band French Films: http://www.blablablahscience.com

 

Thursday 26th September, 21:00 : Shannon and The Clams, Drone : FREE: Nørrebro’s Drone is one of the few clubs in the city dedicated specifically to rock music. Loud, intimate and smoky, the venue welcomes Indie garage-punk trio, Shannon and The Clams for what should be a lively night. The Oakland-based indie group sound like a mix between the cult psychedelic bands of the 60’s fused with an ecstatic modern-day touch that mimics the style and mannerisms of synthpop act Santigold and will be backed by local band Fright Eye.

Friday 27th September : Chef Records, Store Vega: 200 DKK : The Danish Dancehall mafia, Chef Records have been performing at almost every music venue in the city this year, backed by the popularity of the likes of Raske Penge, Top Gunn and Klumben, all of whom are enjoying booming success as artists. Expect a sold-out show and lots of dancing.

 

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Chef Record’s Raske Penge: Photo/ http://www.vimeo.com

Saturday 5th October, 19:00 : Danish Beatbox Championships, Pumpehuset : 60 DKK pre-sale, 80 DKK at the door: Beatboxing is a musical discipline that has yet to attain recognition as an independent form of expression. The recently formed Danish Beatbox union (DBF) is however working on championing this cause locally and will be hosting an entertaining showcase of 16 of the nation’s slickest beat boxers, who have been selected on the basis of pre-sent video material. With rumours of a live stream of the event to a global audience rife, this is one show you’d like to say you had the pleasure of going to.

Penny Police Interview, Vega April 2013

Original article pending publication for The Copenhagen Post

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Photo: oopenheimer.dk

Penny Police is a act that caused quite a few ripples across the Danish music scene when she first surfaced a few years ago. Those ripples have been spreading ever since, and bear the potential of developing into storm waves, if Penny’s ascendancy in the hallmarks of Danish music continues. The Copenhagen Post caught up with Marie Fjelsted before her performance at Vega’s Ideal Bar last week, (see my concert review here)   for a quick chat about her music, new E.P and where she is headed in 2013.

Amk: “What’s your music about, for all those who don’t know ?” “Why make music in the first place ?”

Penny: “I make music because i’ve got a lot going on inside of me. My music is an outlet for all the many thoughts and stuff that are sailing around my head”

Amk: “A way of sharing your thoughts perhaps ?”

Penny: “Sort of, it’s not as if I think, now I MUST tell everyone what’s going on – it’s more something that happens and my feelings are translated through music in a natural way.”

Amk: “Penny Police is an interesting stage name.” “Where does it come from and what does it mean ?”

Penny: “Penny is the pleasant aspect of the two P’s and Police is the harder, rougher dimension.” “It’s a duality that reflects who I am and what my music is all about”

Amk: What about your inspiration, where does that come from ?

Penny: “It’s all thoughts- thoughts that I have about different things; life for instance.” “It’s about what’s right for oneself.” “It’s so easy to say, “I should have done this or that or the other” so it’s important for me to constantly think about what it is that’s important for me.” “It is about finding ones balance, which of course is a never-ending process.” “Musically, there is lots of stuff that inspires me-the Norwegian Ane Brune is really cool, The Beatles- George Harrison, Paul McArtney and all of that lot as well- they’ve got some amazing melodies !”

Amk: “Your new E.P sink or sail has recently dropped. Tell us a bit about it”

Penny: “All the songs on it are about the lives of inner feelings.” “Whereas my previous productions were way more outgoing, sink or sail is a lot more melancholic.” “The songs emanate from thoughts that came out of situations where I couldn’t do anything else other than bury myself in a sofa in sadness.” “It’s about what springs to mind in such situations, about getting knocked down and getting up again.” “Musically, it’s very ambient and there’s no autoharp on it.” “Some would say it’s art-pop, whereas my album from last year is more within the singer-songwriter niche and has more folk elements.”

I noticed that you grew up in Ribe, Denmark’s oldest city and culturally a place where lots happens. What was it like for you growing up there ?

Penny: “Ribe is a great town to grow up in !” “There’s lots of music, which affected me a lot.” “I attended a musical academy there and exploited all the opportunities I could such as performing in Ribe’s church and so on.” “It’s a small town with a big town feel because of all the cultural happenings that take place there , many of which I was happy to be a part of.”

Amk: “And how does Copenhagen live up to that ?”

Penny : “I’m happy to live in Copenhagen.” “It’s also a nice city.” “I couldn’t imagine myself living in Ribe in my youth, right now that is.”

Amk “So with your E.P on the shelves and several concerts on the calendar, what’s next for you this year ? “

Penny : “I’m writing songs for a new album. Some of them have already been written, some are still pending. It’s scheduled for a release in 2014.” “ I’m also talking to people in England and Germany about future musical projects.” “I’m also working closely with Barbara Moleko and we’ll be writing songs together for her new album.”

Penny Police, Ideal Bar: April 2013

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Pic credits : Gaffa

original article at: http://cphpost.dk/concerts/pert-and-pristine-her-presence-sure-pacify

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.

Anna Rosenkilde, Ideal Bar, Vega Jan 2013

original article at: http://cphpost.dk/inout/concerts/anna-rosenkilde-just-about-ideal

*** (3 stars out of 6); January 31 at Ideal Bar
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With Swedish garage rockers The Hives rocking it at Store Vega last night, one can be forgiven for not having noticed the much quieter singer-songwriter playing at Vega’s diminutive Ideal Bar at the same time.

Not really knowing that much about Anna Rosenkilde and her music, I turned up to a venue that was half-full at best on a wintry evening in late January. I was pleasantly surprised, though – Rosenkilde’s concert turned out to be an enjoyable Thursday night out and a fitting end to the month.

Kristian Harting and his 1966 guitar took care of the warm up duties and was backed by a brilliant sound technician who backed Harting’s steely vocals with a series of catchy loops and distortions and through a sequencer. Dream Jockey (Harting and his technician) played a short, disjointed set, consisting of ethereal vocal sequences layered dexterously on top of each other.

Despite having started off well, it all got rather complex and a bit too loud quite quickly. As innovative as he was, Harting seemed to be losing himself in the multiple echoes of his own voice and guitar strums. To be fair, this sort of sequencing could easily have worked well at a bigger venue with better amplification. The duo rounded off their appearance with a tune entitled ‘Queen of the Highway’, a song that drew on trip-hop and Sufi influences with a simpler sound compared to some of his more intricate sound arrangements.

Anna Rosenkilde then took to the stage shortly afterwards, looking confident in a green dress against the foreground of a couple of red keyboards. Her first few songs didn’t make that much of an impression, though she definitely found her pace when backed by a drummer, pianist and vocalist later on. She performed solo again towards the end and was more reassured and assertive, finding her stride with acoustic tracks such as ‘Blue Boat’, which was flanked by sampled sounds of waves crashing gently on a shoreline.

An obvious highlight of the show was the brilliant piano-backed cover of the English folk ballad ‘Scarborough Fair’, made famous by Simon & Garfunkel. Rosenkilde rounded off the proceedings with ‘Snowy Angel’, backed by a guitar player, drummer and pianist, before ‘Island’ put an end to the show, with its drearily optimistic contemplations of life after death.

All in all the show was nothing out of the ordinary, though it’s easy to see why Rosenkilde is regarded as highly as she is in music circles.