June 10, 2008

Vesterbro Festival 2008...

This year’s Vesterbro Festival is over and now it’s time to recapture what happened during the 3 intense days of sex, drugs and rock 'n’ roll sun, music, talking and drinking. Plenty of stuff to write, so it might take a couple of days before this post will be finished, so check back every now and then for updates. As usual I didn't bring my camera, so no pictures I'm afraid (thanks a lot to Fiepige for the permission to use this photo of Ginger Ninja).

Probably couldn't have started the festival in a better way, than "suffering" through an amazing performance by Cody. "Suffering" as the heat, which was a result of the small venue, the many people, the spotlights and the dark curtains attracting the sun, was almost unbearable. But in spite of the sauna-like conditions, it was a truly wonderful concert by a very talented band and somehow country/folk rock sounds a lot better when the weather is great and the beers are cold. Looks as if the band will not remain one of Denmark's better-kept secrets, as both The National and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy have asked the band to be the supporting act, when they visit Denmark during the summer.

Following the concert I had the fortune to (finally) bump into Ivan of Oliver North Boy Choir, and he kindly introduced me to a few friends including fellow ONBC and EPO-555 band member Mikkel. So the rest of the afternoon we had a few beers, discussed some music, where I among things tried to convince ONBC to play live (no luck), told them that they should start releasing physical albums (no luck), asked for some EPO-555 gossip including the release date of a third album (no luck), and wanted to know the story behind some EPO-555 song titles (finally I had some luck, but I won’t even try putting those explanations in writing).

Back to the music and next in line was a nice little concert by E Bird, though they did look somewhat uncomfortable (shy perhaps?) on stage. And vocally, a little less Bright Eyes inspiration wouldn't hurt.

Following a charming show by country rockers Southern Gothic Tales (with a few Cody band members on stage), there was a huge gap in the program with no interesting acts on for a few hours (though I was told that Monkey Cup Dress should be pretty good), but the weather was still fine and the beers were still cold, so a break from the music wasn't the biggest of problems.

For my part, the last concert of the evening (I once again must confess that my age is catching up with me) was by blog "darlings" BREUMM and they delivered a pretty fine performance in the (now) dark evening. Though I remain a bit puzzled why they opted not to play Ingen Verdens Ting, which I continue to rank among my favorite songs of the year.

Started the day by watching Mellemblond performing a few songs on one of the smaller venues, but the sound wasn't really good and my friend had to ask me if they were singing in Danish or English. Quite a shame, as the band was recommended to me as a pretty good live act.

So we quickly decided to move on and instead had the pleasure of watching Little Jimmy Reeves play a terrific set inside the atmospheric Øksnehallen. This is not the most complex stuff you'll ever hear, but fronted by Kashmir drummer Asger Techau, the band plays rather straightforward rock music, with the occasional inspiration from his other and better-known band.

Following the concert Asger was selling the band's EP Bring Out The Dogs (buy it here if you like) and my friend and I each bought a copy. He looked surprisingly flattered, when we told him that we had enjoyed the concert and my friend also got the inside story behind the band's name.

A little sun and a beer later, Twins Twins entered the stage, but unfortunately the band failed to impress me. The songwriting is great (no question there), but I guess it is the lack of variation that made the concert rather tedious after a while. But we still stayed and watched the entire set.

Plans were that we were going to see Halph next, but before the band entered the stage, I got a phone call from Northern Portrait front man Stefan, who just happened to be in the neighborhood and he asked if we had time for a small chat and a beer or two.
So for the next hour I had the privilege of speaking to one of Denmark's finest songwriters and among several things I finally got information on some of his previous works, news on concerts, the story behind the single cover, the record deal with Matinée Recordings etc. Some of this will (perhaps) be posted at a later and more appropriate (?) time.

A few minutes to 9 Stefan had to rush away, as he was going to play an acoustic live set (cover songs) at a nearby bar. But before leaving he suggested that we should drop by on our way to Tivoli Gardens (to see Kashmir), as we would be passing right by it. So we did and though he vowed not to do it, he treated us with a small gem, as he played acoustic versions of the two Northern Portrait songs Crazy and What Happens Next. According to Stefan it was the first time that the later was played live, so you can say that we witnessed a world premiere.

Off to Tivoli Gardens, where the plans of attending the Kashmir concert were quickly put to rest, as the length of the queues made us realize that we would be more than lucky to get in before the encore.

Slightly disappointed we went back to the Festival where we strolled around for a while trying to find some interesting bands to give a listen, but with very little luck. So instead we finished the evening at the bar, where Stefan played the third Northern Portrait song of the evening; I Give You Two Seconds To Entertain Me as well as a smashing version of There She Goes (The La's). Probably the highlight of the weekend, which in fact had very little to do with the Festival!

It really wasn't my plan to see Evil Death Machine, but my train was delayed and when I arrived, my friend was sitting in the sun enjoying the band, so we stuck around; and I'm glad we did. Somehow I've always believed that his was an electronica project by EPO-555 member Hans Emil Hansen, which until now has kept me away from listening. But instead I (to my big surprise) found out that the music is a pleasant blend of alternative/indie/electronic pop/rock, so perhaps it's time to give in and give it a decent listen?

Waiting for No and The Maybes to start we spent 10 minutes listening to Danish electronica queen Tilde. But as I've stated a few times before, this is not my favorite genre, so when the sound of the synths suddenly disappeared...we did the same!

The start of No and The Maybes wasn't really anything to write home about, but 10 minutes into the show things somehow got adjusted and from that moment on it became very clear why this indie pop band has recently been signed by A:Larm Music, as the band played a string of catchy pop tunes and gave a charming performance.

Didium and The Black Bonnie Picture has been much hyped the past few months, so my expectations were really high. Normally the hype would mean that a large crowd would be showing up, but strangely it was one of the smallest of the entire festival! Whether this had anything to do with it I don't know, but the show turned out to be quite a disappointment. But as I do like the band's music a lot (their demo's are really great), I'll use the sound at the venue as the explanation for my disappointment and instead I'll be looking forward to the next concert (whenever I get the chance to see them again).

Luckily the last show I got to see at this year's Festival was a real treat. Ginger Ninja delivered one of the most energetic and dynamic concerts I've seen for some time and the four lads really made the most of this opportunity, and proved that they are a great and highly entertaining live act as well as more than capable of writing catchy pop tunes.

Thus ended this year's Festival and as you've probably understood by now, I had a pretty good time. So I've already started looking forward to next year's edition, but as a final remark I hope that they'll return to the original concept, so we'll see fewer of those established mainstream names that no one really (be honest now) cares about!

+ Cody - Just For You
+ Oliver North Boy Choir - Enola Gay
+ EPO-555 - Hyperschlieb
+ E Bird - Everyone Here Is Without A Past
+ BREUMM - Silhuetter (Zvook Mescalin Remix)
+ Little Jimmy Reeves - Romance on Drugs
+ Twins Twins - San Sebastian
+ Northern Portrait - Crazy
+ Evil Death Machine - Sugar In The Baby's Face
+ No and The Maybes - Mouth
+ Didium & The Black Bonnie Picture - The Twisted Way of Blues
+ Ginger Ninja - Stuck In A Rough Stream


Chris said...

looks like you really had a hell of a good time... well, I'll try again next year! :)

Anonymous said...

Mikkel Max Hansen er en all around jolly good fellow. Lød til at VBF var super sjovt, Jeg skulle have været på Spot i år. men det blev ikke til noget alligevel... sad!

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