What’s probably the best showcase festival in Europe happened last weekend in Aarhus, Denmark‘s second city. SPOT Festival traditionally hosts the latest and hottest talents the Kingdom has to offer, alongside selected newcomers from neighboring countries, all orchestrated around the city‘s music school. On the ticket over the four days were more than 300 concerts, including headline performances by When Saints Go Machine, Iris Gold, Nelson Can, Anya, and The Asteroids Galaxy Tour.
Team Poule, naturally, was drawn to the smaller acts and stages. The first group that left a lasting impression was Norwegian singer Hôy La who filled the packed A-Huset venue hosted by the Limbo Collective with an air of meandring electronics and soothing vocals, leaving you in a James Bond theme song type of mood. Her driving single Please could well serve as the soundtrack to Daniel Craig's newest activities in espionage, and is attached below at your convenience.
Right after came Danish, mind you, rapper Monti. Now, even if you don’t usually listen to hip hop, few things beat the power of rap vocals backed by a E-Street type live band. Absolutely infectious. Banging drums and strings that make all the difference, as captured below. Monti has lined up a few more shows, primarily in Scandinavia. Find them nicely listed, here.
What‘s great about SPOT Festival is that while most of the lineup is Danish, the sheer depth of talent and energy feels ever expanding. You have the newcomers who zip all their gear into a KIA hatchback sharing the stage with two-nightliners-type of bands. One gig that rather fell into the first category came by Hamburg based ensemble and ode to partner cities, Krakow Loves Adana. Despite already having a handful of albums under their wings, their latest feels like a fresh newcomer. The duo played a vicious set at Godsbanen, showcasing their entertainment and musical talents. They are currently on tour, playing Warsaw tomorrow, May 18th, if that is place you call home.
Another Hamburg hero came in the form of Ilgen-Nur and her flying orchestra. Ilgen played a buzzing set under the low ceiling of the Headquarters venue, sizzling atmosphere. She has a great EP out and is busy playing festivals this summer. Find the listings here, and photographic evidence below.
Further honorable mentions need to go out to Danish smooth talkers Motorique who played their hearts out under the sunny Aarhus skies on the Volume stage. Pure and powerful, driving riffs paired with on-point drums and a stage presence that was hard to resist. Aarhus locals Yune also created a one in a kind performance, at the Limbo Collective venue. The group of five put of offer their funky dreamy turn of indie pop, perfectly executed. Not an abundance of hard facts on them available, but surely one to keep an eye on.
So, there are a couple of things that make SPOT a standout festival. First of, the amount of talent and new music they manage to bring together every year is almost unbelievable. And it's mostly Danish! Must be something in the drinking water. Then there is the range of venues. From opera like halls and auditoriums, to basement clubs and smaller DIY type stages, every location manages to create a distinct vibe and emotion.
And finally the sound. No matter where a show goes down, and they had a good handful of in-store concert this year, the technicians on the boards almost always manage to set those buttons and knobs in the proper constellation to balance it out quite right. Really, a stellar festival if you love music and like moving around in and out of an inspiring range of venues in different sizes and styles. If you will have us, SPOT Festival, we will be back next year.