Written by Mia Vestergaard Andersen and Øjvind Fritjof Arnfred
Photo by Mia Vestergaard Andersen
Newbees is back, and yesterday, two of our dear writers, Mia and Øjvind, had the pleasure of witnessing the five bands on stage – and here’s what they experienced:
For Akia (Mia)
I arrived just in time for ’For Akia’ to hit the stage, and even though I was a little bit late, there weren’t that many people.
It’s always a bit rough to be the first band on stage, but I would still have expected more people to be standing up. Instead, many of them had actually taken a seat on the floor instead, 5 meters from the stage, which is pretty far back when no one is standing up front. A bit weird, I thought.
That aside, the guys quickly went from a calm starter to the more up-beat and known song ’Recognizer’, which had people nodding and clapping approvingly. At a point, it stroke me, that they even sounded a bit Brit popish in some of their tracks. And from my point of view, they can only get points for that.
The more they played, the more smiles I saw, and the more comfortable they got on stage. It really suited them.
‘For Akia’ was very active on stage and especially the lead singer jumped back and forth, meeting the bass player in the middle of the stage to activate the whole space.
They put on a decent performance with very little audience dialogue but a lot of nicely executed pop-rock songs with loads of loud guitar riffs – and off course at the end we were served a plate full of ’When I Come Home’ that left the crowd wooing while the band happily said “Thank you so much! You are all so freaking nice”.
De Forbandede (Øjvind)
The first in the coming line of Danish-language acts were struggling a bit to release their potential. When you give something a genre-definition it puts a lot of pressure on it. If a book is referred to as crime fiction instead of just a novel, then the reader normally would expect there to BE an actual crime. Same goes for music: If you instead of using the wider generic term “rock” use “psychedelic rock”, the listener (in this case yours truly) meets the music with certain expectations to the amount of soundscapes, fuzz, and visuals etc.
De Forbandede most definitely had the fuzz and the visuals down. But while the songs were shouted out in Danish, in a charming semitone below the key of the song over the catchy and Baby Woodrose-like (but much more riff based) music, the band still had a hard time getting the show off the ground. Partly due to a Thursday evening audience, but also because they didn’t seem to be able to stray from their rehearsed way of doing things, take the ticket and get on the ride that their music kept suggesting.
Even though they sounded good (and loud as F***) nearly all the guitar solos – which were numerous – came off as obligatory attempts, more than actual solos. At one point, they dedicated a song to their mother, took it to full LSD and developed the ambience with a daring a-tonal freakshow on the guitar, but instead of lifting the concert, this short-lived outburst just made me more aware of what was the rest of their show was lacking.
Vores Allesammens (Mia)
Arg, Damn. A lot of technical issues in the beginning, that kinda pissed me off a bit and made me very impatient – I know that Newbees Festival are very strict about timing, so the minutes passing with technicalities would only be subtracted from the band’s full playing time.
After 12 minutes, they slowly started jamming calmly, drawing the attention of the audience that wasn’t talking too loudly. Then suddenly, they jumped into a very hard-beating 80’s sounding pop song with rough guitar play – and people finally woke up! Hell, I woke up!
These guys surprised everyone. Going from technical issues, and without a word about it, they owned the stage and made everyone forget about the rough beginning, because of their apparent usual skills on instruments, vocal chords and stage presence.
Sometimes their music was soft pop and rock soul, and other times it felt like it was the Danish 80’s band ‘Danseorkestret’ who had had a 2016 update and a kick in the butt.
They were mixing so many genre-attached sounds and even added psychedelic synth features in some of the outros, that they formed their own unique genre. I wouldn’t say this was psychedelic soul, but rather 80’s electronic pop-soul with hard guitar riffs included.
Great drummer, great vocals, awesome lyrics, synth, bass and not to mention the guitar play!… Everything came together and had people dancing all over.
We, in Sound of Aarhus, predict a very bright future for these guys on the Danish music scene. So be sure to remember their name, ‘cause it won’t be the last time you hear it.
Amanda Glindvad is Jærv. The only female act of the first night of Newbees 16 of former The Polar Shift (now on hiatus) keeps her Nordic cool and coldness in her new project and leaves no doubt who is in charge. Supported by a guy on synths and a guy on electric and acoustic drums, she delivered her highly melodic tunes without too much jibber-jabber between the songs. Which is both good and bad, I guess.
Due to the general volume of the event by the time she took the stage, it sometimes was hard to hear her lyrics, and that was a pity because she creates strong poetic images of loneliness and has a good grip on what I with a bold statement will define as “Nordic Saudade” (no disrespect, Portugal!). This was evident in the fragile sounds of The Polar Shift but protrudes even more clearly when she sings in Danish.
Alright, let’s address the elephant in the room: MØ. It’s hard to be a Danish female electronic pop-act with the kind of backing that Jærv brought to the table without evoking references to MØ. Well, at least for me it was hard not to make that comparison when the beat began. But Jærv/Amanda proved herself as more than just a MØ ripoff in Danish, with her fjällräven clad sounds and her more restrained stage presence that worked really well with her music for this gig. It would however be nice to see her do an actual concert once, and not just a showcase of her tunes.
Farveblind – (Øjvind)
Later on, as the crowd thinned out, I was just about to do the same – but I felt I had to catch at least a glimpse of Aalborg-ravers Farveblind [Colourblind] before I did so.
When they got on stage and began playing, everybody (that was still there, that is) got up and stood in front of the stage. They opened the concert with a pumped synth-riff that slowly grew in intensity until the drummer came on and released it into full on partymode.
Under the colourful strobes the silhouettes of Magnus Pilgaard Grønnebæk and Jens Asger Lykkeboe Mouritzen created an atmosphere not unlike that of Kraftwerk or Daft Punk: You’ve entered their world now, and you can get with it or get out. This initial illusion was somewhat broken after the first tune when sythman Asger adressed the audience and thanked them for coming out and raving with them. But after he’d done that, it just became part of the reality that they were creating in the sparsely populated Stakladen on this Thursday evening.
The few people that were left were dancing, and Farveblind put their shoulder to the wheel, so even though it was in no way my kind of music, I have to respect their craftsmanship. The two guys were as sweet as their music was hard, and that says a lot! – the only major setback from my perspective, other than the fact that the show would’ve triggered multiple seizures for an epileptic, was the sound. It was directly painful to the ears to stand up front and my ears were still ringing when I got up today.
On a day where lyrics in Danish dominated the line-up, our two writers, Mia and Øjvind, experienced both highs and lows. Hopefully, a lot more people will turn up Friday! (4/6)