Photo by Rasmus Sleimann Nielsen
Ah yes, day two! Probably the weakest day, when taking a look at the line-up before actually going, but one could always hope, that Thursday would be one of those festival days, where the surprisingly good concerts appear.
The only thing is – with a line up holding Jacob Bellens, Mikael Simpson, Turboweekend, TopGunn and Nik & Jay for that matter – that you sort of know, what you’re gonna get. It’s acts you’ve seen before, maybe even one too many times, but let’s see if some of ‘em managed to do something extra special, shall we?
13:45 – Jacob Bellens (P3 Teltet)
I’m not sure, it that many know this name at Smukfest – and if they do, are they willing to show up this early? Well, no doubt, there could’ve (and should’ve) been more at his show, but again, enough people had made their way to this tent and this concert, enough people to avoid an awkward disaster.
Jacob Bellens is one of my personal heroes, to be honest, and I’m touched every single time he opens his mouth and starts singing. Even when he’s talking nonsense in between the songs, I’m touched. The band helping him out on stage is absolutely incredible; they’re tight, cool, relaxed, and their sound is, well, what you can expect from a band playing with Jacob Bellens.
With a catalog of songs such as his, there’s plenty of hits to play. In relatively short time, we were blessed with songs from all the different solo albums, from I Got You On Tape and even from his co-op with Kasper Bjørke – the only problem was, the songs had a tendency of sounding way too similar. It was, no doubt, a great way to start the day, but you could’ve expected a bit more from a Jacob Bellens festival gig.
15:30 – Jonah Blacksmith (P3 Teltet)
With seven guys on stage and what was introduced as “real instruments”, Jonah Blacksmith took the stage in front of a cheerful audience; the cheerful part seemed based on two things: that Jonah Blacksmith is doing really well at the moment, and that a lot of people from Thy had shown up. Two things everyone loves, obviously.
The seven guys on stage are good, everyone who’s experienced them live will agree with me on that one. There are so many layers and elements in their music, and it’s difficult not to appreciate, what they’re doing – but that’s sort of it, for me, I’m afraid.
You see, this kind of music has its limitations, if you aren’t the story teller this music (and its audience) demands. I didn’t take me long to start thinking about Jonah Blacksmith as a Band of Horses without the stories and charisma. I mean, telling us, that this one goes out to the fishermen from Thy and their wives, or about a grandfather and the good old days aren’t enough if the story is gone again with the stroke of the first chord. Harsh, I know, but I’m only saying this, because I want them to succeed, and I really want it to be good, but at the moment, it’s one of those bands that you can’t give less than four out of six, and you can’t give ‘em more, even if you want to.
15:45 – Mikael Simpson (Stjernescenen)
Written by Julius Holst Hvarregaard
Not many people had found their way down to Stjernescene, on a sunny thursday afternoon, but when Mikael Simpson entered the stage people suddenly showed up, and as the show continued more people got closer to the stage.
Mikael Simpson and his band is playing live electro music, no backing track, a lot of iconic synths and drum machines, and they are really good at it. They are jamming along in a way that drags you into their cozy electro universe, and in a way that makes you wonder why any musicians would ever want to use a backing track? The tracks that are recorded in a more acoustic set up are re-arranged to fit this electro set up, and it sounds like they’ve always been played like this.
Mikael Simpson is the perfect front figure; he gets the full attention of the crowd with his charisma – from the first second he enters the stage. He’s a solid vocalist, a wonderful dancer, and an entertainer like not many others.
Their was a lot of complaining about the sound on stage and I know that Stjernescenen have had some sound troubles for the musicians on stage, but in the front speakers, the sound was perfect.
23:30 – Ukendt Kunstner (Stjernescenen)
Written by Malte Weis
If you compare Ukendt Kunstner to any other of the Danish rappers, this is without a doubt one of the best artists – in that category. So, my expectations to this concert was pretty high – unfortunately, my expectations weren’t met.
To be honest, I was bored! Hans Philip is a talented guy, and he is one of the rap artists that actually brings something to the table – but he can’t accomplish the task alone. Well, he has the other half of Ukendt Kunstner, Jens Ole, and a “band” on stage, but those guys was all hidden behind their computers in the dark; the computers might be necessary to perform, but as a part of the audience, it’s impossible to figure out if the band can actually play.
So, the performance was left to Hans Phillip alone, and we saw a brief glimpse of what he is capable of. After half an hour, I was standing by myself thinking: I wish they would bring something exiting on stage … and then they brought KESI …?! Hans Philip had so far performed without that much backing track and I was impressed, but when KESI came on stage, in an outfit looking like he was prepared for a Sunday on the couch, the backing track was turned up so much, that I couldn’t here anything else, except a little bit of KESI yelling as a fan on a soccer stadium.
He went out, and Hans Philip continued as a rollercoaster with a lot of ups, downs, and loops. I don’t think it’s important to mention that SIVAS was on the stage performing Stein Bagger, it’s not worth many words. Hans Philip is a skilled artist and text writer, but I need something more, and that “more” is not KESI and SIVAS.
It turned out to be a rather good day, if you think about the line-up being a bit, well, not to good. Thanks to Mikael Simpson, who had that 'something special'.