It may be me, but I don’t really understand the hype surrounding I am Kloot. Sure, he writes decent songs and has a pleasant voice, but to me it’s just another singer/songwriter thing.
Someone gave me a tip about Lali Puna from Munich, Germany, and I’m glad I went. It’s rare to see a rock band without a guitar, and even rarer that you don’t notice that fact at first. Lali Puna managed to create a full sound experience with their drums, bass, two keyboards and vocals. The vocals and melody lines may be too light to be memorable, but lucklily the band allowed themselves to let go in long, grooving passages. Here the interplay between the computer tracks and the live rhythm section really made the music move. An indication of pop music to come.
The Fiery Furnaces have built their act around a different approach to songwriting: Their quirky, half-spoken songs are built around little stories of the weirdness of everyday life. The result is naïve, yet complicated and ever-changing tracks with a great sense of humour. This is what singer/songwriting really ought to be.
The reformed Iggy and the Stooges gave an enegertic concert on the Orange stage, showing the crowd where all this garage rock originated. The loud, loud guitars and the primitive drumming served as the backing for the aging Iggy’s relentess thrashing about. If there is such a thing as “positive aggression”, Iggy is its incarnation. Too bad the concert took place during the kind of pouring rain that characterizes summer in Denmark.
I took shelter at the Metropol stage and experienced Luke Vibert‘s set. If the phrase “intelligent electronica” makes sense at all, this should be an example. With attention to every detail, the pure electronic set moved seamlessly from accessible disco-house to fragmented, robotic rhythms. Luke Vibert keept the beat going at all times – sometimes almost letting it fall apart. Live electronica at its finest.
One of my favorite Swedish bands, Bob Hund, has been reformed into Bergman Rock and played the Arena in front of a huge crowd. But I don’t know. Bob Hund’s trademark used to be the quirky, yet deep Swedish lyrics, and some of the charm has been lost as Bergman Rock has adapted the English language. Perhaps even the music has lost some of it’s naïve charm and playfulness? Still, wonderfully talented frontman Thomas Öberg’s off-key vocals and untamed wackiness on stage sets them apart from the rest of the Scandinavian scene.
Complete with live musicians and soul divas, Basement Jaxx turned Orange stage into a party. Inventive as they are, they don’t avoid the major clichés of dance music – maybe they don’t even want to. Instead, their show focused more on having a good time than on musical originality. Okay by me: The crowd seemed to enjoy it.
Meanwhile, I checked out the Puppetmaztas. Whoever thought up this concept? Hip-hop performed by glove puppets. The Muppets in da house! Amazingly, it worked well: Good for a laugh – but also with some pretty funky beats and powerful raps. And these guys are Germans?
Ah – Morrissey! As an old (is there any other kind?) fan of The Smiths, I wasn’t disappointed. His voice is in excellent shape, his songs (and lyrics!) are among the best. And he’s an excellent showman, mastering the art of irony without sabotaging the heartfelt emotion of his songs. A concert experience to treasure.
Fatboy Slim played his DJ set on Orange Stage. Kind of a peculiar act to headline what used to be a rock festival – but he succeeded in making the mud feel just a bit more like Ibiza. Still, a DJ spinning records is not a very interesting act to watch – not even when he’s spinning his own remixes – and not even when these are pretty darn good.
From the description in the festival programme, Baba Zula from Istanbul (!) sounded like an interesting act, but they turned out to be a bit of a disappointment: Over a basic groove of triphop beats and samples, nothing much happened. A bit of supposedly Turkish twiddling, but in the end it was just a bunch of musicians jamming rather uninspiredly. I went home with Morriseey’s “Every Day is Like Sunday” still ringing in my ears.