Aarhus, Denmark's second city, first weekend of May, SPOT Festival and a celebration of new and rising Danish and international talents. It has long become an annual tradition at Camp Poule to travel to the creative hub that is Aarhus and take a deep dive into the scene. This year, with Aarhus being a European Capital of Culture for 2017, you could feel they really wanted to put the cat among the pigeons. A few extra venues thus expanded the festival map and numerous concerts were placed at places like Dokk1 - Aarhus' public library that opened in 2015 and largest in Scandinavia, the Dome Of Visions - a temporary two-story wood and glass, well, dome in Aarhus Ø which is a new and growing quarter of Aarhus that is being constructed by the expansion of the habour area, and ARoS - the Aarhus art museum with its iconic rainbow panorama sky walk.
So, this year, SPOT saw landmark performances by newly formed Blondage, Sekuoia, main man Wangel, and Palace Winter who had the mighty Congress Center audience eating out of their hands. The one show however that cast a large shadow over all of them came by Kalaha - as pictured above. The quartet produced a thumping drums-fused jazzy performance at the packed Ridehuset stage. Truly a genre bending performance in the best way possible, music from the future, a flashing stage, and an absolutely mental drummer that drove their vocal-less 40 minutes set. The guys have a brilliant debut album out called Masala (Spotify), Team Poule suggests you get yourself behind that right away. They already lined up a range of live dates for this fall, hope your city has been selected. Attached below is the exciting video for their single Tippi Tabu.
Furthermore, indie all stars Luster played a banging set. The quartet casts members from at least four different and established Danish indie bands and feels like a Liima-situation waiting to happen. The group played a thumping set at Double Rainbow for Limbo Collective, complete with driving riffs, rattling drums and vivid keys. Attached below are both photographic evidence of the set as well as their debut single Good Dreamer from earlier this year. Look out for those guys, they mean business.
Another banger came from Luster-alumni Masosolo who played an energetic power pop set, going full rainbow on all SPOTters. Also one to keep an eye on for the coming summer festival season. One more up the Kalaha-roads of Team Poule's ears was Uffe. A very instrumental driven, jazzy set by the great Dane, a mix of electronic almost dub waves and the hands-on push of keys and a bass player who knows his strings. Brilliant. Attached below is the burly I Care off their album No! that is out on XLR8B (Spotify). The whole album is a blast, give it a shot.
So and then there are all the day time shows throughout Aarhus. It's like you don't even get a chance to take a breath and process all the goodness around you. The one that struck most came by IRAH. In a duo set up they enlighted the cozy patio of the Vesterlauget pub a few blocks down from the main festival area. Stine's vocals and Adi's take on the keys were a perfect fit for that sunny afternoon and distant church bells only added to the crisp atmosphere. Evidence, below.
Another honorable mention has to go to duo THANKS who turned the huge and somewhat sterile main stage at the Congress Center into to a proper dance hall. Last year they played a tiny side stage in a semi-official show, just the two of them. This year they played in front of a hungry and packed audience at the main stage and brought out fellow friends and singers on stage, making it a proper disco show. What a night. One to look out for across Europe.
Also one to really get your moneys worth was delicate electro pop duo Sherpa who played not one but two shows on Saturday. First in one of the bigger venues and then later that same night under clear Aarhus skies for Aarhus Volume. Sherpa started out as a one man show a couple years ago and last fall added his friend and long time producing partner in crime as a permanent band member and to the live set up as well. Their banging set with Sherpa's vocals and Tore's pure and on-point electronic production works just so well, not few of the established media present called their set the discovery of the festival. The two will play support for Wangel's headline show in Copenhagen next Saturday, if that is something you might find yourself interested in.
So, SPOT Festival proved once again to be a hot bed of new vibes and new music. Team Poule's new found love for the jazzy ends of the music spectrum certainly found a love or two in the line-up and a few names to be shared and tangent off of. At the same time, the chillwave'y dream pop roots and desires of Team Poule were adequately catered to by the seemingly endless creativity and pursuit of the young Danish music scene. It is truly amazing how Denmark and the city of Aarhus in particular achieve to produce an ever growing and ever innovative amount of musicians. Year after year. Team Poule says, twelve points go to SPOT.