Photo by Øjvind Fritjof Arnfred
The second and last day of Newbees offered a rising curve of intense attitudes and dreamy electro pop, with a side of turkish rock ‘n roll to send you dancing home.
First up this evening was the Danish-American duo with Katy Gunn & Anna Lidell. Armed with a nothing more than a drumpad and a violin, they took us on a quirky intergalactic journey through melodic tunes and spacey stories.
They definetly know how to play and how to make it sound for their genre, but their excessive use of backing tracks did produce some difficulties for them. It could be hard at times to figure out when it was their own instruments and when it was the backtracks, and it seemed like it also was that way for them. Their female (and quite a bit more on-top of their game attitude than) Tenacious D-style might be challenged at bit by adding a backing band. But I think it would also liberate them a bit on stage, and make room for more of the improv that they seemed capable of.
That being said, the songs were catchy and skilfully performed, and the reluctant audience slowly accepted the invite to join Teenage Love on their intergalactic quest for cosmopolitan music. A good beginning for what was to be a diverse musical evening.
Next up was Masasolo. Two weeks ago, they released their first EP – you can read Asbjørn’s review of it here. Their psych-pop with spheric guitars and keys on top of a rock solid bass/drum cooperation worked really well and the bands sweet way of being on stage worked well with the audience. Even though they managed to fall into a few awkward silences too.
When they came on, frontman Morten Søgaard began by boldly lining up the menu for the night, like the head waiter in a fancy restaurant, telling us that the intensity would be increasing throughout the eight songs they were going to play. Between the first and second song that curve was explosive, but then it stayed on level almost until the last song.
Their freely harmonized cover of Kink’s classic You Really Got Me was another bold move. Playing covers of classic songs really puts the surrounding tracks out there, and lends the audience a measure for your songwriting. Luckily (and skilfully, I might add) they got away with it. Just.
When they ended the concert with their “single” Medicine, they gave the energy another (by then much needed) notch up.
Voicing over one of their pretty soundscapes, Morten asked the reluctant audience to move forward and partake a bit, and slowly they did. Thus the concert ended on a great vibe with the auditive vision of what might have been a dream in the mind of Sgt. Pepper.
I hate to be the bringer of ancient complaints, but once again this really had my piss boiling: What was a great concert from the band, was absolutely destroyed by a WAY to chatty audience during the silent songs.
Not all of it, mind. The heavier songs were played so loud that no one could shout over it. IRAH looks like the archetypal electro pop band, with a front girl that explore the possibilities of her voice backed by a drummer and a synthesizer, but their music is more extroverted that a lot of their peers’. Frontgirl Stine Grøn was really sweet in her appreciation of the audience after a song had ended, but somehow the audience didn’t seem to respect that.
I don’t know if the band noticed (although they must have) since they launched into an ear shattering decomposition in one of their songs, ending in a high pitched synth-note so a few audience members were covering their ears. The guy next to me didn’t seem to care, though, but then again, he was busy making out with a girl he’d been chatting up during the previous few tunes. Guess all is well that ends well…
The musicality of the group is unquestionable, and the way the played around with different energies on stage made the already good mood in the room even better. Just a damn shame that people expressed it by talking over the music – and more loudly between songs. Had the band said more than “thanks”, and had the guy on synth looked up every now and then, and made the people feel that they were attending a concert and not just watching a music video, it might have been different
Think early Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and add a dab of Tremolo Beer Gut, then you’re just about there. Both in terms of sound and of stage presence.
Lead singer Heine Tegtmeier cast a ravenblack shadow on the front row as the feedback from his Gibson ES335 mixed with the dronelike noise from the Gretsch Electromatic bass between each song.
Their attitudes were right to the core, all the way down to coming on stage about 10 minutes late due to slow set up. And that’s a bit of a minus. The violent volumes in the room, that was geared to a bigger audience than were in fact left, weren’t doing them any favours either. This didn’t break their hardcore one bit though. The front row was jumping and moshing and they ended the show properly – with more feedback and a bang as if they blew a tube.
“Whatever happened to my rock ‘n roll” Peter Hayes asks on the first BRMC album of the same name. Looks like Bleach Blondes ran off with it.
Last on the list was the Swedish-Turkish band Gothenburg Gadjos. Their up-beat balkan madness were sure to be a hit. And so it was.
Now, with this kind of music it’s hard Not to have a party, but Gadjos had some aces hidden around. One was the trumpet player trying out his Swede-Danish and charming everyone, but their addition of Aarhus’ own Orhan Özgür Turan for this gig, and his way of blending in on the electrified saz, like if Ravi Shankar and Jimmy Page had a Platonic lovechild, really stole the show.
And what a show to steal! The complex horn-melodies on top of a bottom heavy tuba/tabla/drum beat kept the people dancing like mad and begging for encores. The vibe between the musicians was great, and they really gave each other space to show off and take chances. Very much a live happening. Orhan sang a few songs, and even though the poetry of the words was lost on me (not understanding the language) the poetry of the wholeness of the band a audience was not.
They call their music Anatolian Balkan Funk, and that’s a perfect name for it, because in the tonality of these words, you get an idea of how joyful and lively their music is. These guys get a full 6 – not because of the inherent party in their music, but for the party they made with it.
Newbees Festival lived up to both potential and expectations on the last day of the 2016 edition. (5/6)