No place for a sober man

2.6.2011 by

JUNE 2, 2011 by Lasse


That's French Films, with groupies. Photo: Sini Pesonen

No rest for the wicked. The SPOT-festival in Århus is no place for a sober man. Too much fun to rest, too many bands to see, and for me the best way to enjoy an occasion like this is to let go of all illusion of control.

For us at the Finnish Cultural Institute the festival went splendidly. Our main event was throwing a networking brunch on Saturday morning (together with the Finnish Embassy in Denmark and Music Export Finland) for the music industry people at the festival. The British music journalist Kieron Tyler of the Guardian gave a very good presentation of Finnish music in the past and present decades, and we had also invited Viljami Puustinen of the Finnish music magazine Rumba, and Ilkka Mattila of Finland’s biggest daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat to give their views on the state of Finnish music.

The brunch was quite well-attended, we counted something around 120 people in the audience, and we got some very good feedback on the event. People enjoyed themselves and a lot of them stayed on after the event, until the restaurant people asked them to leave. We also got some nice feedback afterwards from people who had attended, so on all in all I believe we have a good reason to feel satisfied.

I especially enjoyed listening to Kieron Tyler on the stage. He has a way of combining British verbal elegance with a brutal frankness of opinion, and I find that kind of honesty is rare in a person being interviewed. I told him so afterward, when I thanked him for participating. ”Yes,” he answered, ”that’s why so many people hate me.” I gave a polite chuckle, but he just kept his icy, unmoving gaze on me, like he was asking me why I found that amusing.

If you want to suck up to this guy, just send some money. By the way, here is an interview with him in the Danish music magazine Gaffa, and here’s what he wrote about the festival himself.

I saw a lot some good bands, and a couple of amazing ones: French Films played on Friday, the singer emulating the ennui and blasé-attitude of an Andy Warhol-hangaround right down to the wearing of sunshades at midnight. The music was a nice combination of old-school light rock and indie, the audience was digging it, and a bunch of blonde groupies went nuts in the front row. All in good fun.

Neufvoin, with the harsh, brutal bass. Photo: Sini Pesonen

I mentioned the Finnish band Neufvoin in my previous post, but unfortunately their gig wasn’t as well-attended as the band would have deserved. I don’t know what the problem was – that the audience didn’t find their way to the venue down at Vox Hall, which is outside the general festival area, or that the savage thundering bass scared away the customers – in any case it was a shame to see a good band playing for a small audience.

Saturday evening we saw K-X-P in the big brick hall Ridehuset, they played a gig that strayed deep and far into the wilderness of experimental ambient distortion weirdness.

I saw an amazing concert by the Norwegian musican Bernhoft, who played an absolutely magnificent gig in the large hall, the crowd was on fire by the end of it. (Just watch the video, you’ll get the general idea.) Walking out, dazed and humbled, I remember thinking that any band would have a hard time following that act.

K-X-P at Ridehuset. Photo: Sini Pesonen

But then I’d severely underestimated the strength of Siinai’s performance.

I was never a big fan of slow stoner rock, but there was something incredible about seeing Siinai perform, in my sleepless, intoxicated mind I was elevated to a state of ecstatic clarity. Like my colleague Jonas said after the gig, “they know their psychedelic shit, man.” Word up.

Siinai. A truly kick-ass performance. Photo: Sini Pesonen.

So here I am, Thursday, four days later, and I have slowly managed to get my head together enough to gather the receipts from the weekend and compose this rather lengthy post. Jonas and Sini, my other colleague, tried their best to tempt me into joining them for a Zombie Pub Crawl in the streets of Copenhagen last night, but fortunately I had the good sense to give them the slip.

You see, there’s this other thing I have to attend next week, that requires me to replenish my stamina. The Festival of European Contemporary Playwrights at Husets Teater, four days of drama readings followed by heavy drinking in the theatre’s splendid little cellar pub. Looking forward to it.