Text and photos by Mia Vestergaard Andersen and Øjvind Fritjof Arnfred
The first day of Grimfest was a little hard on our sneaks because of the rain and the mud. But the bands still managed to make people dance and cheer the night away, forgetting about cold feet and muddy legs.
Take a crispy voice, a hard bass, lovely RnB beats and shove them into a small back yard and you have the perfect combination for spreading urban love among Grim-goers. The cute and collected Chinah made the Bonzai backyard the perfect place to be for RnB lovers and just lovers in general. You could really feel that they were comfortable being on stage, spreading lovely vocals and roaring bass tunes to the swaying and smiling audience. It was obvious that they have been playing a lot of places by now, and they are getting really good at being on stage while connecting with their listeners.
You could only love this vibrating little RnB adventure that happened in the backyard at Grimfest Friday.
I’ll admit it. I’m a huge fan of Turboweekend, so it was probably a little easy for Turboweekend to make me a happy and satisfied reviewer yesterday. However, it HAS been quite some time, since I’ve seen the boys live, so expectations were also quite high.
It was dark and muddy in front of ‘Skov Scene’ at this time Friday night, but the energy of the front audience was excitingly roaring as Turboweekend kicked off a party.
With a nice mix of a few new and a lot of old and, to the audience, well-known tracks, they had people jumping, screaming and clapping until their hands hurt.
The lead singer Silas also crowd surfed once he was assured that his audience wouldn’t drop him in the mud this time.
With ‘Holiday’, ‘Trouble Is’ and ‘On My Side’ especially, the concert went into an inferno of electro bass, hard core jumping and dancing and an energy showering from the stage into the mix of muddy but happy people.
Despite 3 years without a live concert with Turboweekend, I can only stress that I’m still a huge fan.
Kalle’s World Tour (5/6)
After getting my wristband and discovering what a dumb fucking idea it had been to go to Grimfest in sandals, I half ran, half slid in the mud down to the stage where the first act I would be seeing had been playing for the last ten minutes, according to the festival program. I write act, because the word ‘concert’ somehow covers what it was as badly as the word ‘performance art’ does. Fortunately, in the wake of the flood, everything had been postponed slightly, so I managed to get it all.
Dressed in a wrestler’s mask of rubber and wielding an electric buzz-saw on the cymbals – all unapologetic gimmicks – Kalle Mathiesen took his slowly growing audience on a musical detour through what used to be genres. Living up to what should be every band’s credo and giving it full throttle from the start, Kalle soon had a crowd gathered, but with the energy level with which he alternated between being on stage and drinking beer in the audience while shouting at the music, one got the impression that he just as easily could have started a moshpit on his own.
With the terrible jokes, cola tits, and translations of pop hits into German, this was the perfect first act to be seeing at Grimfest for yours truly who’s never been to the gig before. The poetics of Kalle’s performance is to take one type of music and look for it’s direct opposite, or what he considers it to be, like Slayer and Children’s songs or Hansi Hinterseer and Wild Cherry, mix them up, add a dab of not-giving-a-shit, and run it all through a loopstation. “This is danish culture,” – he shouted to the international audience members over the infernal noise and weird time- signatures; “I’m funded by the government, so it must be!”
Kalles music and show – dubbed “Dromedy” by somebody – is ugly as porridge. But sometimes, on rare occasions, something can be so bad that it’s good. Kalles World Tour was great.
Lady V & The Victory (3/6)
At concerts, the venue is a sort of “condiment” to the music, and the best bands are the ones that manage to adapt to the environment that they perform in, or maybe even change it with their performance. Sadly, this was not the case with Lady V & The Victory. While the songs had a lot of melodic qualities, and clearly all were about something, the band didn’t manage to grip more of their audience than the people in the front row, despite a few attempts at acknowledging that they had an audience. It would have been nice for the audience to see that they also had a band.
Since their musical genre is as introverted as it is, and since Grimfest is as extroverted as it is, it might take some extra work for a band like Lady V & The Victory to get across. Had the venue and time slot been different (not an old farm yard at 7pm – but a Berlin Club at 10), I think they might have had more of a chance of breaking down the barrier, something they only approximated to doing in their last song, where – although coming off as a bit “rehearsed” – they let themselves more loose and started interacting more with eachother.
Of course it’s not just a matter of choosing venue. As stated before, some bands manage to change the ambience of the venue through their performance. That, however, takes a lot of routine, and Lady V & Co. seemed a bit too green still to manage doing so. A lot of this is probably a matter of a few years of intensive gigging to get the band to seem as together as their tunes, so they can address their audience with more confidence instead of the rather tiresome singer-songwritery way of self indulgent intermezzos as: “the next song we want to play is about..” and so on, between each song.
Setting all of that aside, their melodies were solid, as was their overall sound and playing. Songs like “Breaking the Ice” and “Weightless” were spheric and melodic gems that would’ve fitted a midnight stroll through town perfectly – or a filled stadium even. Just not the Bonzai Stage at Grimfest on an early Friday evening.
I’ll Be Damned (5.5/6)
Last week, we listed them as a must see on the festival, and if you didn’t catch them – well, you missed out.
The Aarhus-based quintet took the main stage at five thirty, and, in a total symbiosis with their audience, they brought on a hard-rocking, lively show from the moment they walked in. Dressed sharper that Z Z Top, and with a stage presence that gripped you by the throat, the band managed to keep the balance between the fantasy-world in which their kind of hard rock with southern grooves and ballsy lyrics thrives, and the reality of the Danish muddy summer evening between the trees. They bridged the divide when Frontman Stig Gramborg dedicated the song “Hanging Job” to the Danish summer weather.
Waging heavy war on establishment, power and religion, with a molotov cocktail of groovy guitar riffs and vocal chord tearing screams, all executed with topshelf skill and conviction, they had the whole place headbanging along with them in notime.
Stig Gramborg came on like a boot in the face, and he kept raising the energy level throughout the show, even in slower tunes like “Luck Can Change”, where he jumped the fence and walked around the audience, literally getting in peoples faces about the whole thing. His charismatic performance was up there with that of Nick Cave or Mick Jagger, and like them, he never let the audience forget that they were experiencing a Band, not just him and a bunch of hired guns.
Ending the show with a hardcore encore of Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “Slave Driver”, I’ll De Damned manifested themselves once again as one of the true rock and roll hopes of Denmark. Amidst all the social criticisms and angriness of their songs, the band showed their love for Grimfest and – as I could understand on various of my co-audience members with longer festival records than myself – beautifully carried the heritage of Grimfest veterans Robudo.
Coming after I’ll Be Damned on ‘Skov scene’ can be a little bit tricky, when your music is a bit more calm and low key than a hardcore rock band.
However, a lot of people were gathered in front of the stage as Folkeklubben played their cheerful, folky pop tracks, interrupted by small anecdotes about their political orientation or experiences with their families. The more Folkeklubben talked, the more the audience started buzzing loudly and playing around with each other. And this made the music fall into the background instead of being the main character in this setup. It felt like everyone was only waiting for Folkeklubben’s hit song ‘Fedterøv’ instead of taking in all the music that was served.
It was a nice and cozy afternoon concert, but Folkeklubben didn’t sufficiently manage to maintain the attention of the audience.
It might've been a bit muddy, but so what? As long as the music is good, we'll be alright. And it was, last night at GrimFest.