spot festival 2013 - musikhuset

SPOT Festival 2013 – Day 1 – countless shows and a great time!

You know that feeling when you’re confronted with a delicious and overflowing buffet of food and you stuff yourself? SPOT festival is like that, but with music. There are over 120 official acts to choose from and countless off-SPOT showcases, bands play an average of 35 minutes. You have so little time to make it count. The sun was rising on day two, several fences have been blown or knocked over, the detritus consisting of beer cans and cigarette packs from friday’s madness has been picked up, and NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION has been there to tell you about some highlights.


This seven member Danish hip hop band killed it with their set. Let’s face it, playing the early slot (15:15) at a huge music festival is a raw deal, plus they were on the Foyer stage of Musikhuset, essentially in the entrance to the music hall in Aarhus. This didn’t stop the main lyricist, NAPKIN COLE (Louis) from jumping all around and rhyming his way to heaven, all the while vibing off the crowd. Backed by a band that includes keyboards, a saxophone and trumpet player, Point Blank has elements of ’90s hip hop and R&B; the most soulful way to begin a two day immersion to the Danish scene.


This five piece band from Aarhus chilled the crowd out with darker toned electro pop. They played the stage Cafe Scenen stage, which was directly across from the Musikhuset cafe. Not the best acoustics for electronic but they gave the the crowd a skillful set.


An all girl trio out of Copenhagen, these girls proved you can be young and female and still absolutely kick ass. They played a packed house at Voxhall, a venue that is so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Guitarist and lead vocalist Lola has stage moves worthy of ANGUS YOUNG, Andrea wreaked havoc with her guitar despite a broken ankle, and Benedectine destroyed the drums. I want you to imagine the pressure of adding firecrackers to napalm.


Earlier that day we interviewed BROKEN TWIN and even earlier this year (in January) we already fell in love with them at Eurosonic Festival. Somehow it seems to be there year so far. An amazing start in January, an interview that impressed us a lot and then this: a breathtaking live performance at SPOT Festival. A completely packed location and a show that was as intense as possible.


At the Atlas venue, Danish electronic band INDIANS, three guys at synthesizer and keyboards, seduced the world with their creative and meandering electronic tracks.


Unlike much of the festival, LULU ROUGE are a quite well known, especially outside Denmark. So a lot of people were looking forward to seeing them live. The location was completely packed, first because LULU ROUGE are hyped a lot and already have a huge fanbase. But even more: Danish pop wunderkind ASBJØRN joined the show for a couple of songs. So there have been a lot of rumours before the show. Will he really join the show? To make the long story short: yes, he did. And it was a blast!


Next, it was a quick trip next door to Voxhall to see seven teenage boys pummel the crowd with music that is rage personified. Danish for “sin and shame,” this band has an electric live performance. Just apply the word frenetic to everything. A spastic frontman whose eyes cross at points, and a fluid band arrangement (there were several switches of instrument playing, keyboardist when over to play guitar, vocalists went between a guitar and a trombone) SYND OG SKAM was insane. With a furious energy, they unleashed a type of noise-punk-rock that reaches in and squeezes your adrenaline gland for all it is absolutely worth. This is the kind of music that challenges you, it’s beautiful because it is inaccessible.


Then it was time to mellow out a bit, with the modern epic symphonic rock pop of Norwegian band EINAR STRAY. Exuding a subtle genius, the band plays full bodied and melancholy songs built around Einar’s keyboards, with a percussive string section (cello and violin) that is simultaneously beautiful and broken.


Before that show it was said that this is the show whole Denmark is waiting for. CTM at SPOT Festival. Caecilia Trier, also known as singer of CHOIR OF YOUNG BELIEVERS, payed at the big stage and proved what she can do. What can she do? Impressing people and bringing the 1980s right to the year 2013.


Rounding out the day was one of the most talked about musicians at the festival, SCHULTZ AND FOREVER. Like BROKEN TWIN he played Lille Sal, a low, sloping stage that is actually a theatre, requiring the band to play up to the audience. He started just him and an acoustic guitar, and his live band joined him for the second song. The keyboardist impressed with a wobbly, theremin-sounding notes and screamy background vocals, while the drummer took the bow to the high hats. It made for a distorted, more rock n roll sound, with the bassist contributing some feedback. Let it be said here while his influences are clearly folk, SCHULTZ AND FOREVER is not a folk singer, he has a much richer and mature sound that is not just derivative, it is something new.


If SPOT Festival wouldn’t be a showcase festival, WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE probably would have been named “the headlining act”. Although they weren’t announced as headlining act, the concert still felt like that. And even more WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE that they can easily cope with big stages and huge crowds. Impressive!

spot festival 2013 - musikhuset 2

SPOT Festival 2013 – Day 2 – Punk, Pop, Big Surprises and Hootenanny

Sore legs, strong espresso, slight headache, and happy hearts: this is what we bring physically and mentally to the second day of SPOT Festival 2013 in Århus Denmark. The final day of the music festival gave us a few more surprises and chances to have our minds blown. Here are our highlights.


The musical program started with THE WANDS at Headquarters. A duo from Copenhagen, Christian Skibdal and Mads Gräs performed with their live band, bringing their brand of sweeping psychedelic rock into the tiny space. This is what it would sound like if JIMI HENDRIX and CAPTAIN BEEFHEART wrote a soundtrack to your acid trip out on a stormy sea.


This band started as the bedroom project of Kaspar Kaae and Moogie Johnson, and now consists of seven musicians. CODY brought their sensitively crafted and musically accomplished neo-folk to the venue in the Scandinavian Congress Center. In forty-five minutes they managed to channel early era UNCLE TUPELO and the best of alt-country and Americana tinged folk. The strings add a layer of sophistication, yet the vibe is firmly Americana inspired with harmonica and a plaintive tone of the pedal steel. The sound is all held together by Kaspar’s narrative and image-laden songwriting.


These guys know how to rock. We already saw them at last years SPOT Festival when they played a private show. This year, at the big stage, they convinced everyone. Big rock music that makes people freak out as if the floor is made of lava. Awesome one!


Nothing new that TURBOWEEKEND are a great band. After their shows at last years’s Berlin Music Week and this year’s Eurosonic Festival, we wanted to see them again at SPOT Festival 2013. Sadly there was no chance to get into the concert hall. It was too packed and even the line in front of the hall was way too massive. However, good to see that so many people wanted to see TURBOWEEKEND and that this band obviously brought a real turboweekend to SPOT.


Almost everybody was talking about CANCER. The new band by members of WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE revealed their new project at their show at SPOT Festival 2013. The hype was going even before anyone knew what they play. The whole situation felt a bit strange, but of course we checked it out to tell you if CANCER are worth the hype. To make the long story short: they really are – and you should really check them out too!


This Swedish band was introduced completely in Danish by the moderator, to which the lead singer remarked “I have no idea what that guy just said.” The three piece SIMIAN GHOST went on to play a set of sunny and synth laden electro pop, at Scandinavian Congress Center, complemented perfectly by the couple who were blowing bubbles up to the stage and over the crowd.

OFF SPOT : NOT SPOT 13 at Sway

We don’t always stick to the program and during SPOT festival there are opportunities to go “off the menu” through off Spot (and anti-Spot) showcases. At Sway Bar on Saturday, MOTH, four-piece band from Copenhagen, destroyed our carefully constructed ideas of happiness with a set of chest tightening and pulse quickening post-punk goth wave that was as loud as it was good. With a lead singer who’s tortured and darkly brooding singing style matches perfectly to the darkly building tones gradually built up by the keyboardist/synth player and the two guitarists, it felt like 1981 all over again.


Saturday night was the night of folk music! NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION moderated SPOT on Folk Music which was presented by Rosa’s secretary for folk music in collaboration with Für Records. The five acts hottest acts of Denmarks folk music scene played stripped down acoustic versions of their songs. MADS BELDRING, CODY, FOYN TRIO, ECHO ME and BOHO DANCER played. But not only each band played their songs, the acts even played songs with each other. A nice experiment of bringing acts together and introducing them to people who are interested in Denmark’s best folk music acts of these days!

article by Robert Helbig and Kika Jonsson