Tag Archives: Northside Festival

Northside Festival, Day 3

I’ve already written more than I expected for the other days, so here, for the third day I’ll allow myself to be a tad brief. The day also turned out to be the musically least interesting day, although definitely not with a few good experiences.

In general the festival has been very good. Perhaps not matching last year exactly, but very close: this year the good bands for me have been the lesser known bands, while last year I mostly enjoyed the well-known bands such as Elbow and Editors. A bit loud at times, and a bit expensive for just three days. However, it was well-organised without being forced to pick in the programme nor to wait at the toilets and food stands.

Little Dragon
At the concert I was not convinced: too electronic, too lounge. But I’ve actually ended up ordering Ritual Union after listening to it on Spotify for a while. It’s not amazing – the first two tracks being by far the strongest on the album – but there is something to a few of the songs that made it worth it. On stage the sound was letting her down but unmatched on the album. Official website.

Bat for Lashes
Another positive experience during the morning; as with Little Dragon I didn’t know Bat for Lashes prior to the concert. Preferred the quite, less electric, songs of hers which were great. Reminded me of Björk which is not generally a good thing. She also put on a good performance (smiling, sincere, general likeable) which is a big plus no doubt. Official website.

Although currently a big Danish name I’m not fond of their music at all. Let’s say it’s too mainstream. However, I noticed during the concert that I kept recognising people from the other days, which added a kind of local feel to the festival. Official website.

James Blake
Another non-favourite. Official website.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Not unlike Oasis (even played a few). I’m not a huge fan of their style but it was not too bad for what it was. Also, I thought he would have a lot heavier brit-pop attitude, but seemed way more likeable than e.g. Kasabian – positive surprise! Official website.

No guitar switching! Compared to some of the other bands that have played here this is very old-school by now. I enjoyed the concert, and only slightly ashamed when I realised half-way through that I knew them. No doubt preferred their old stuff. Official website.

Snow Patrol
Perhaps fortunately, the festival ended with Snow Patrol which was not really our kind of music, thereby making sure we didn’t go to bed too late. They engaged the audience well and were rewarded with a large scale sing-along. A good way to end the festival for all of us :). Official website.

Northside Festival, Day 2: Kashmir

I was introduced to Kashmir half way through secondary school – for some reason that I haven’t investigated further they are particular popular among this part of the population. And as far as I can tell as much today as 10 years ago.

Going back to these days they had just released their third album, The Good Life. And what an album! Mom In Love & Daddy In Space made it on to MTV but was not even on my top four: Lampshade, Make It Grand, Miss You, and Graceland. I should say our top four though, because we often heard and sang along in groups. An enjoyment that by the way repeated itself out of nowhere five years later on a road trip with a good friend.

Now, before moving on I should point out that Kashmir has one thing in common with D-A-D: I can’t tell if it’s actually good or if I just like it for nostalgic reasons. To the best of my knowledge they never made it that well outside Denmark, and whenever I’ve tried to play it for foreigners it hasn’t gathered nearly as many eye sparkles as when played for a fellow Dane (at my first attempt at this it was simply written off as a Radiohead clone). At any rate, it was evident that I was not alone in being excited to see them live again.

For reasons I can no longer remember, they’d decided that this concert would be a tribute to The Good Life album and hence played it in it’s full. It was brilliant, and none of the people I could hear from my position could help but to sing/scream along to less than half of the songs. I haven’t really heard them for the past five years but that made no difference – we’d abused our CDs so much 10 years ago that it’s forever imprinted as long as someone knows the first few words of every verse. And lead singer Kasper Eistrup seemed genuinely happy and touched by being there on stage in front of us.

Northside Festival, Day 2: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

I didn’t know these guys until my girlfriend played them during breakfast (another perk of a festival 15 min in walking distance from your flat) but writing this in retrospect they turned out to be the biggest surprise of the festival! It’s the band I’ve been playing the most since and couldn’t even wait for the CDs (so thank you Spotify).

I must really have been sleeping though because they are from Denmark (at least my girlfriend didn’t know this and asked during the concert how their Danish were) and have not exactly been hiding deep in the underground: their first album Fruit has been out long enough to be used in a Heineken beer ad. Searching their YouTube page a bit you also find that they’ve done three tours, two in Europe and one in the US.

The 60s inspired music is catchy, the use of horns refreshing, and the lead singer has a great voice that makes me think of Kitty, Daisy & Lewis. A good start is The Golden Age, Around The Bend, and Bad Fever on their first album Fruit, or Heart Attack on their second album Out Of Frequency.

They play at Train in autumn and I can only recommend it highly.

Northside Festival, Day 2

As it got a bit late on the first day we decided to skip the first two bands today and arrived for The Asteroids Galaxy Tour instead. I’ll do a summary below of the bands but let me start by mentioning one of the perks of the Northside Festival: you get to sleep in your own bed! Of course it’s not the full festival experience but after standing for an entire day I can slack a bit on my ideals (maybe I’ll change my mind after Glastonbury next year).

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Turned out to be the biggest surprise of the festival and the band I’ve been playing the most since! I’ve given them a separate post and can only recommend to catch them if the opportunity arises.

Bombay Bicycle Club (BBC?)
For some reason I had confused these guys with Two Door Cinema Club, and was puzzled that I couldn’t recognise their faces at all from Rock En Seine in 2010. Anyway, they gave an okay concert – most strikingly however, was that the lead singer kept smiling all the time, reminding me of Matthew Broderick in the Inspector Gadget movie from 1999. Otherwise it was hard to heard that you were not just listening to the album. They were constantly switching guitars though – I know there’s a difference in sound, but that much really? Several bands have done it a lot better using just a telecaster! :) Official website. PS: during this concert the smell of sour feet kicked in for real.

Lukas Graham
This young guy has been a massive hit in the mainstream lately with his debut album. My brother also recommending him. Hence, I was looking forward to the concert. I’d listened a bit to him on Spotify without much attraction but figured it deserved a second chance. However, while it was not bad as such, I had my suspections confirmed: it is not my type of music at all. How about adding a guitar for instance, say a telecaster..? Official website?

I don’t this kind of music. Not hip-hop, but crappy hip-hop. It evokes nothing in me and don’t get why the attitude is essential.

Massively overrated. Singer acted like the too-often seen brit-pop-attitude also found in Arctic Monkeys and Oasis, and using way too many cheap trick (you know, shouting “Denmark!” – couldn’t even be bothered to make a full sentence). Music is monotone, you might as well listen to the background noise. Official website.

Malk de Koijn
Again I can’t really say if it’s good or not. Gaffa liked them. But again, why the fake attitude and slow motion head padding from the crowd behind you?

Ah ha! Finally the good music was back. The trick with Kashmir however is the same as with D-A-D: is it good because I grew up with it, or is it actually good? Anyway, it was a nice reunion for me that I’ve given a few more words in a separate post.

Northside Festival, Day 1: Noah and the Whale

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Here, on its first day, we caught the Northside festival just as Noah and the Whale (NATW) where starting. After Mumford & Sons, who cancelled just a few days ago, NATW were among the high priorities (I’d be surprised if there hasn’t been a bit of rivalling between these two bands – not least if the rumour that Marcus Mumford “stole” the girlfriend of Charlie Fink is true). Since the Mumfords cancelled (maybe the claimed broken arm is due to Fink; or maybe self-inflicted by a fear of running into him at the festival?) only NATW were left standing on the stage of new British folk music.

During the concert it occurred to me that it’s the first time I’ve “followed” a band for a while and noticed a development – I’ve seen other bands several times as well, but never noticed a change like this. I caught them first time at The Roundhouse in London some years back after they had just released their second album, The First Days of Spring. Coming to the gig with an expectation of another album along the lines of Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down, we experienced a moody concert to say the least (this was just after the girlfriend had left). Not a bad concert, but definitely not bursting with happiness. It took me a while to like this second album but it was since grown on me: as an exploration of the emotions following a breakup they certainly produced an album with good lyrics and mood, and tracks bound together in a way I doubt many of the current mainstream albums are.

The second time I saw them was last year at Cafe de la Dance in Paris where they had just released their third album, Last Night On Earth. I remember being a bit disappointed. Maybe it just didn’t evoke that much in me that particular day, but I also recall a feeling of indifference on their part. For this reason I did not have my hopes up too high for their performance at Northside.

Today, however, they did a good concert at Northside. I’m starting to doubt if they’ll ever put on a huge stage performance, but there was a blink in their eyes today, not least in Fink who jumped and danced around the stage a few times in his suit. Maybe, and this is solely my impression, The First Days of Spring have now completely passed and he is back enjoying the summer. Although they all (except that one old guy) look young, they certainly do a great job – I keep being surprised by how great a voice Fink has! As far as I could tell they only played a few songs from the back catalogue and otherwise stayed mostly at the third album. Maybe this helped form my impression that the past is behind them.

Oh, and I noticed that they play the telecaster – always a good sign.

Northside Festival, Day 1

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I’ve decided, even though I’m writing this in retrospect, to make entry for each day instead of one for the entire festival. After all, I’d normally write an entry for one concert and here we had 10 a day! :)

After the great lineup last year (including Elbow, Editors, Interpol, Suede) we bought tickets for this years Northside Festival when they came on sale – and it definitely didn’t hurt that Mumford & Sons were in the programme. For this reason it was with a sadness that I learn a few days ago that they had cancelled because of a broke arm; this was my top priority. VETO was called in as a replacement, but to be honest they could just have well put on the radio during that one hour, I wouldn’t have cared differently.

I’ll go through the bands of today below, and post a few photos along the way. Apologise for the poor quality of some of them – as usual we could only look in envy with our small pocket cameras while the official photographers were running around in front of the stage with their proper SLRs. Maybe I should look into getting whatever magic ticket whey have?

Noah and the Whale
I’ve written more details here, but in summary: still not a huge show but good music and Fink certainly has a great voice. I do like the fact that they dress up in suits. They seemed to have moved on a bit, leaving the old music (and feelings) behind: as far as I could tell they played mostly from the latest album.

The Gaslight Anthem
Also for these guys did I end up writing more than seem fit here in the summary. Played an ok concert, but I must admit that they’ve grow a bit weary on me. Seem to have grow older more mature compare to a few years ago at Hyde Park Calling.

Miles Kane
Evidently the worse half of The Last Shadow Puppets, which he sounded too much like. It was not bad as such but in no way remarkable. We ended up watching from a distance since it quickly got a bit flat (too similar) and we needed a sit and beer after two gigs already. Maybe Alex Turner was the talent of their earlier experiment. Official website.

Marina and the Diamonds
Awful, from every spot at the festival! But she couldn’t sing..! Official website.

Oh Land
Still recovering from Marina and the Diamonds (and finishing another beer) we watched from a distance. There’s been quite a hype about her – at least here in Denmark – but it really isn’t my kind of music. Official website.

The Kooks
I remember when these guys had they success with Inside In/Inside Out some years ago, in particular She Moves In Her Own Way and Naive. I liked the songs but also had a suspicion that his was not necessarily a band that would last that long – too much teenager-get-together perhaps. The fact that they played at Northside, and even have a few more albums out now, surprised me a bit. As far as I could tell they haven’t invented anything new but still gathered a big crowd of people younger than me singing along to the newer songs – I guess that means they’re still somewhat successful. We stayed for a few songs then went for food. Official website.

Called in to replace Mumford & Sons I’m afraid they were a poor substitute. First off, it’s a different kind of music. Secondly, from last years Northside I knew that I don’t really care for the music to the extend of it just being uninspiring and a bit overrated. Official website.

Not much changed since their concert at Aarhus University a year ago: still fire, still silly bass guitars (one with only two strings), still drummer on a vertical ramp! :) I expected a show and they delivered. I’m not surprised that they’re not too well-known outside Denmark (I seem to remember that they had some success in the US in 80s), but here we all know it and joyfully sing along! They played two songs I hadn’t heard before but otherwise stayed with the old stuff. You can’t help but wonder if they ever get fed up about playing the same sets all the time. Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way, and in fact they’re happy that people still come and sing along after all these years? Official website.

The xx
The album has its good tracks so we got somewhat up front for this one. They managed to create quite a captivating atmosphere with their slow songs and sincere voices. But it became a bit boring though half way through the set. Maybe it would have helped if I could have stayed in their universe. At one point during I was thinking of Youth Lagoon in a sad (lesser) version.

It was becoming a long day when these went on stage so we only stayed for a few songs. Didn’t know them beforehand but positively surprised. I also like this interview with one of them; reminds me of one of the guys from the university in Paris and really like the French sense of humour.

Northside Festival, Day 1: The Gaslight Anthem

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The Gaslight Anthem played an ok concert, but I must admit that they’ve grow a bit weary on me. It often happens that I forget a band I’ve played a lot, only to later rediscover it and remember that they’re actually good. A few years ago I listened a lot to this band but, like last year at VoxHall in Aarhus, it was a bit of a disappointment to see them today. It’s not that it’s bad, but it didn’t invoke more in me than mainstream American rock music – but maybe that is exactly what it is and I just had my hopes up too high. In any case, I’m now more certain that if they ever had it, they’ve lost it now: it’s too flat and too much the same. To be fair though, there are a few hits on the second album The ’59 Sound that I still fancy, but outside of those it’s quickly getting boring. I haven’t had a chance to listen to their new album Handwritten yet but it’s not at the top of my list either.

A few random thoughts from during the concert:

  • they went on as the second band at this festival (at about 1pm), yet when they played at Hyde Park Calling a few years ago they opened for, and played with, Springsteen – I guess that if you’re in music you can’t be too sensitive to (status) differences like this
  • they seem to have grow older compare to a few years ago – in particular, the lead vocalist Brian Fallon had grown his hair, looked older more relaxed and a bit fatter :)
  • the bassist still has a funny look, not really fitting in with the (commercial?) punk apparence of the rest of the band: a bit chubby, a bit awkward, a bit gay.

But finally: they play the telecaster! A nice blue one even.

Concert: D-A-D

Unexpectedly I ended up at a D-A-D concert last night, arranged by Aarhus University to celebrate (some would say ‘apologise for’) the new restructuring of the university administration. Two things came to mind as I was watching the show. Before continuing I should mention that as a teenager I listened to D-A-D a lot, like so many other Danes born in the 80’s.

So, the first thing that occurred to me was that D-A-D is not unlike an American burger chain (pick your favourite among McDonald’s and Burger King, but exclude Jack in the Box and Wendy’s — they’re too good):

  • it’s good, but not amazing
  • always the same, you know what you get
  • you can go without it, but if you haven’t had it for a while a need starts to build

Musically D-A-D is not amazing, neither the lyrics nor the guitar riffs. They are good, but not amazing. Perhaps one illustration of this is that the bassist didn’t move his right hand doing most of the concert.

Moving on to the second point, they have hardly changed since I saw them ten years ago. Most importantly: the songs are the same with one or two exceptions, but also making it very easy to shout along. They still bring a huge cow’s head, and the band members still run around the stage, only a bit slower now.

To an extend these two things imply that you can go for a while without any big need to see or listen to them. However, after some time, you’re really happy to see them play again, which brings us to the second thing that occurred to me: why I find a lot of concerts today boring. The music can be great but often the performance on stage is straight-off boring, most recently noted at Northside Festival — the music was good but nothing to watch. D-A-D on the other hand put on one hell of a show! Unlike most bands this includes:

  • smoke — but also proper 2m tall flames
  • light effects — but also fireworks, including a scene where the bassist run around the entire stage wearing a Mohawk fireworks helmet
  • drum solo — only with D-A-D the drummer is put in focus by being suspended from a crane 10m above the audience, or by strapping himself to his chair and then being raised into a full vertical position (in both cases complete with drum kit of course)
  • fancy guitars — which for the bassist means both a transparent guitar, a rocket guitar, and an obscure reversed guitar

As mentioned above there’s also a big cow’s head in the background, featuring a screen projecting film clips matching each song. And the tight leather clothes of the bassist with the word ‘nasty’ printed across the arse, which he on at least one occasion clearly pointed out by bending down.

So there it is: growing up with these sort of concert is bound to make concerts where they just play boring! It was a great pleasure being entertained by these guys again, thinking that instead of growing up they have spent the time coming up with new stupid things to do on stage. Besides making it very easy to sing along they also made it very easy to smile.