Saturday, August 20, 2016

Pstereo Festival- Trondheim, Norway Aug 18-20th, 2016

 Aug 18th

I flew up from Copenhagen a week ago to play with Black Moon Circle at Pstereo. This is the biggest festival in Trondheim with 7000 tickets. It is timed to start the first weekend that the students return. This is a big student town with 36,000 students. Anyway, this was going to be our biggest and most important gig since Roadburn Festival but for a lot more people. I had been in town for nearly a week. We had a pre-production studio that we could rehearse in for 3 days. We played through the set once each day and also did some jamming and played some older songs just to keep them a live and fresh. The mood was great all week. We had a really special light show prepared so last night when the stage was finished we could do a test run with the oil projections and this high resolution camera and projector. It looked amazing…
Anyway, today we arrived at the festival around 16, loaded the gear with some help to our backstage tent. At 19, we could move it over to the stage. We had booked dinner for 17:30 (smoked trout, duck comfit and dessert with red wine… amazing food)… I caught a few songs of Dunbarrow, a Trondheim band playing music in the vein of Uncle Acid, Pentragram, Witchcraft..  Pretty good…  I spoke a lot with the guys later in the night. Very cool and I got their record for a future review.
All them Witches were on the main stage at 18:55 and I heard most of their concert. I only have the bands first record but this was much more like the Grateful Dead somewhow. A lot of really cool songs. I spoke to them a bit backstage. Nice guys.  We did not catch too many of the other bands but we were on at 21:40 to 22:24.
All them Witches

I have to say, Black Moon Circle, we played a great gig and the audience was just mesmerized by the lights and the sound. It was a solid set and we still had a lot of time to jam and improvise. We opened with Plains, some space sounds and only Vemund’s guitar to start. Usually, he does this alone but I was just too excited to hold back. Next was a long 15min Magnificent Dude from our latest album, Sea of Clouds. This we could really extend out. Lunar Rocket, which grows out of this one, came natural and I just love the guitar riff on this one. We talked to the audience for 1min and then off with Warp Speed for e last blast out into space… The audience loved it and it must have been 1000 people, at least.. Amazing time..
Foto by Elin... Thanks...
I saw a bit of Sigur Rós from Iceland, and this was very impressive from the view point of the lights, projections, etc…. Pretty amazing at times. We were told this was the largest most elaborate performance ever for the band. They had a crew of 22 people to pull this off. Musically, it was a sort of dreamy post rock, spacey pop music. The crowd was not that engaged and slowly left over their 100min show. The visuals were sometimes stunning and they could reach some heavy parts with this bowed guitar at times.

Sigur Rós
We hung out until the bar closed at 12:30.. It was free good and drinks for the bands. We also did a podcast with the NRK1 and two local comedians. Cool guys and quite fun.

Some of the other acts that played on this Thursday were mostly Norwegian artists like Sondre Justad, Lars Vaular, Ary, Todd Terje, RGB Unit, Husky (Australia), Postaal, and some DJs.

Aug 19th

We had a band promo foto shoot at 16 today and then afterwards we went to the festival. We caught a local punk duo called Barren Womb. Intense drumming and guitar playing. Shouting vocals, sometimes quite funny. Guitar player liked Primus for sure and even wore a short and he played around with some guitar effects and did a bit of double tracking on a few tracks but mostly it was just heavy riffing. Reminded me of the Dutch band Dyse sometimes. Cool..

The Thurston Moore Band was next. I had not seen him since I saw Sonic youth back in the 90s! He had a 4 piece band with Debbie Gibson on bass, a 2nd guitar player, great drummer and Thurston on guitar and occasional vocals. They had some long parts in several of the songs, including the very good last track called Aphrodite, where the bass player, she did some really cool stuff with the drummer while detuning her bass and using some effects. It was way cooler than the noisy guitar noodling, which never really caught me.  I had a chance to speak with Hans from Motorpsycho, which was really nice. He said he had heard the ØSC cds I gave him and that he had really enjoyed them a lot.

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats had a decent crowd of 500 or so and said they were here to ruin our day. Their set is very much the same for 50mins. Not a lot of dynamics. High pitched bee gee vocals with a sort of Black Sabbath like vibe but no progressive rock elements at all. Some great songs but it is all too much the same in the end If you have seen them once, then you know exactly what you wil get. Plays mostly all the same songs every show as well. I had hoped to hear something new. Nope…

Set List: Waiting for Blood, Mind Crawler, Over and Over, Death's Door, Poison Apple, 13 Candles, Pusher Man, I'll cut you Down, Melody Lane, Withered Hand of 

Beach Slang from Philadelphia were really good fun. Great lyrics, funny front man and a lot of passion. A heavy hitting drummer that really drove the band hard. Musically it was melodic rock-indie vibe but we enjoyed it quite a lot. 
Beach Slang

A Norwegian band called Highasakite was the main headliner and this was not my kind of music at all. Apparently they play nearly every year for the past few years.  It was a cool festival but more mainstream music. One of the most beautiful festival sites I have ever seen. Just amazing. Trondheim is a super beautiful city and I got to see a lot in the week I was there. Thanks to the amazing Black Moon Circle guys and Kim the organizer for taking such amazing care of me… Love you guys….

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Kildemose Festival 2016

This is probably my 7th or 8th Kildemose Festival and still Denmark’s best outdoor festival. Very relaxed on the grounds of the Refvindinge Brewery. Cool festival site, great laid back vibe, excellent beer and great music. Perfect combination. This year was the smallest crowd I can remember for the festival but it was the right people. I am surprised how many of the bands from Denmark, they all love Kildemose and say amazing things about it but if they are not invited they don’t show up to support the festival!!! Can’t be bothered????  This is the best festival in Denmark and always a great weekend. It was so nice to see my friends Anders, Morten, Freddy, Lone, Sabine, Ann-Carin and Anders (from Sweden), Dan, Jan, the Måneskjold guys, and many more.

Sadly, I missed the first day, as I had to pick up the guys from Black Moon Circle who were flying in from Norway on Thursday night. The Thursday had Giobia from Italy as the headline band and people said they were really excellent. I met them the next day and they were really cool people. The Sensational Psycho Poppers, a Diff side project also played. I had seen them at least once or twice at the festival before. Sonic Dawn, Dead Pan Interference, Orcas and Love Coffin all played as well. People said it was a cool evening but many really drunk people late at night.

We had a lot of complications with the rental car, crazy stuff on the highways etc.. but we managed to arrive around 14 after leaving CPH about 11:15… I had hoped to see Gaia but we were too late. While I was setting up my tent, I could hear Late Night Venture play. This was pretty heavy at times.  Skifting was a real surprise. They were supposed to play last year but had to cancel due to the health of one of the guitar players (who actually died this year). I thought the band was no more but Kasper from Måneskjold/CPH Psych fest organizer, was filling in now. They were much more heavy and aggressive punky psych rock with Danish lyrics than I had remembered from seeing them back in 1999! There were not a lot of people about.

Elevatorfører (Elevator Driver) have played the festival many times in the last years and usually have a late nightspot and put on fun shows. This show as a bit different in the late afternoon but I really enjoyed it a lot. The new songs seem to be longer with more solo parts while the band grooves. Some really cool stuff and a great vibe. Someone said they were a bit like the Black Angels, a band I don’t know. People were having fun, the 60 or so that were watching. They had a new album and 12” out but I have not heard them.

De Forbandede (The Cursed) is a totally new Danish band for me. Around this time the Yuri Gagarin guys had arrived and they asked me if I would play with them again. I was not really expected to play with them and their synth guy Robin was there but they convinced me. Anyway, the Cursed, are a 4 piece band with organ, guitar (he also sings), bass and drums. A young band playing melodic hard rock with a edge at times and some cool ripping guitar solos and organ solos. All the songs are sung in Danish. They rocked for sure but did not do much to take me to the next level.

It was now time for some food and this year they had a great Indian place called Paprika, a Peruvian food van and the people making pancakes were back as well.

Turquoise Sun (used to be Ancient Monument) played the 1st CPH Psych fest and I had not seen them since. They have grown and it was a really mixed set for me. Sometimes it was just too mainstream rock music a bit to slick and commercial orienting vocals but then they do weird and strange stuff and have intense solos and lots of great ideas. I really loved some of it and really didn’t like some of it. Hum???

Turquoise Sun
Spez/Revoltage was Danish hip hop thing with computers, a guy how played trombone, tuba, guitar and 3 or 4 rappers. I think it was totally out of place at the festival but the young people were into it and they had a big crowd. I hung out with the Yuri Gagarin guys a lot. Super cool people.

Yuri Gagarin, some how got people to come out of the forest as it was by far the most people I had seen at the festival so far (still probably only 120..). I was set up on one side and Robin the other synth on the other side. Sound was great on the stage for me but no one except myself and maybe the audience heard anything that I played. Funny….  IT was a super powerful set and at least one or two different songs from what I played with the band in Feb.  People were really into it and we had a lot of fun. Cool guys to play with.

Set List: Cluster, New Order, Zakosmosom, At the Center, Sea of Dust, Psych Disco, Oblivion, Sonic Invasion 2910

Hodja, was a band that I was recommending to the guys in Black Moon Circle. I think I have seen the twice and they were so great both times. They have a black and very good and charismatic singer, drummer and guitar player. They play a mix of intense soul, rock and blues with killer singing and cool powerful music as well. You really can get sucked into it. Just fucking awesome. The BMC guys and myself ended up right in the front by the guitar player. Really captivating…  I wonder what their records are like??? Great live band!

Fribytterdrømme (Pirate Dreams) I had not seen since last year at the festival but they have been having great success with their album, which was one of my faves last year and they played a lot of shows all over Denmark and recently were opening the big stage in Den Grå Hall at the CPH Psych festival. I had been hearing rumors that they had given up drinking before the shows and they were too boring now and not really very exciting. Well, Lau, the leader of the band who sings and plays guitar, was on amazing form and the band were awesome. The sound was not very good for the first 30mins, with way too much bass and drums and a high compressed sound but by the end it was really amazing and all the details of their psychedelic sound were clear. They played two new songs, both of which I thought were pretty good. It was great to hear the long Fribytterdrømen song but it seems shorter tonight.  Fun concert and one of the best of the day. Great band…

Set List: Ørken, 18.09.1986, Himmellegemer, Seer, De Konstruerede, Kosmonauten, Fribytterdrømmen, Fem er det Magiske nummer

 Day 2

I slept until 9 but felt pretty good after a short shower. It began to rain soon after I showered so I just lay in the tent and relax. The BMC guys were staying at a B&B 9km away but I wanted to stay on site.  The music started really early with some band that was not listed as playing already at 10:45. They were great. Three guitars, most instrumental songs but a few with Danish lyrics. Great playing. I wish I had got a picture of them. Tidebound, a duo lead by Dave Müller, he used to go to Roadburn with the Danish crew, and a woman who plays keyboards and flute, etc.. Dave sings and plays guitar. Not sure how many people were watching as there is no shelter near the small stage but I could hear from my tent some people clapping. It was very nice music to start the day off.

Lolou is a new Danish 4 piece band with a female singer, who has one of the voices that sounds like she is 8 years old. She sings well but sounds like a small child. They have two guitars and drums. All the bass and a lot of the music was pre-recorded and they play over it. The singer also occasionally played the keyboard as well. The opening instrumental track was really cool and the best piece they played. They had a few really good build ups but got intense at times but a bit too slick and dreamy post rock like stuff. Sound could have been better, the lead guitar player you could hardly hear him most of the show unless you were right in front of the stage in the middle. Nothing in the PA hardly. They even had their own sound person! 

Do not Settle
Do Not Settle is a band that Jan, the festival organizer’s son plays guitar in. It was pretty standard melodic pop rock stuff. I did not like them but they had their own small following that dug it and were watching them.

Doublestone was next up on the main stage. Really cool guys. Their drummer was insanely drunk the night before but seemed ok today. I was setting up to play with Black Moon Circle so I could only hear but not see them. They are moving a bit away from their stoner rock roots to a more 70s sound, which is cool. Super nice guys..

Black Moon Circle, were lucky that LA Sued were delayed so we were able to play a longer set, I think about 75mins. It was a decent crowd, 50 people I guess and no rain. We started with American Eagle and into Plains. We were all so eager to play and we had a great sound on stage and good interaction with each other and some amazing jams. These two songs were from the first EP we made back in 2013. Next up were 3 tracks from the latest record, Sea of Clouds. The Magnificent Dude, we must have jammed this out to 20mins. I had a long synth section, which was fun. Vemund played some killer guitar. Lunar Rocket is played pretty much like the record and then Warp Speed gets jammed out to nearly 20mins. Phew.. The show flew by but we had a really great response and people come up who wanted to book the band and say how great it was.. tak.. Thanks

Agusa, sort of a Swedish house band were next and I heard most of their set but did not see much of it. Sounded like they played excellent. A lot of their songs begin to sound quite a lot. I really hope that their next album they have some totally new ideas to take what they do to another level as they are great players and have a great chemistry. They just released a new live album recorded in Greece earlier this year. I will review the record shortly.  No idea what the set list was but they generally play nearly the same set most of the time.

Måneskjold (Moon Shield) had to switch places with LA Sued as they were delayed by traffic coming from Hannover (took them 9 hrs in what should have been 4hrs). Anyway, Måneskjold played a really intense show. Going wild in the sand and just having a hell of a good time. They played nearly all of the songs from their Debut album, which they keep promising to give me a copy but never do. I don’t expect to get one and will probably have to buy it. I would give them some press if they did. Anyway, they kicked ass and played two new songs, both uptempo punky psych stuff.. A bit of a one dynamic kick your ass approach to psych space rock but it works for them. In the future they will need some more diverse songs to mix things up.

Polyfeen, a Danish band who I recently saw and reviews from the CPH Psych Festival, played next on the main stage. This band just gets better each time I see them. They were around from 1972-1975 and then about 10 years ago Orpheus Records released their unreleased record on vinyl.  Anyway, they are up and playing again and having a good time. They played good 70s hard rock like Uriah Heep or something with a lot of organ. Singer still sounds excellent. They have a young drummer and also play some new tracks. Great show again. People really liked it as well.

Set List: Leve Livet, Pigen i Skoven, Campingturen, Nattens Nar, Drømmen, Vesterhavet, Kaj, Håvet, Silhouetter

LA Sued was an improvised quartet based in Germany. Chris and Steve were here playing last year as a duo but those were Chris’s songs. This was a lot of cool synths, lap steel, guitar, bass and drums… Really cool stuff and a lot of variety in what they tried to do. They were having a great time and really love this festival. I really enjoyed it.

Grusom, a local Fyn band were next on the main stage and the young people were stoned and drunk by now and ready for some organ driven 70s hard rock with Grusom. The singer is really charismatic and great, despite not having an amazing range but he works with what he has and does a great job. Reminds me of Danzig at times. It was a bit longer set than when I saw them earlier this year but BMC guys and me were up front for the full show and really enjoyed it. I hope they learn to relax a bit more and jam out some of their stuff in the future.  Cool band.

Tales of Murder and Dust was the last band on the small stage. I had only seen a few songs at the CPH Psych Fest last month and did not get the full show like today, where the band really played intense, especially the end. Not sure how to describe this but maybe like a more dark, intense post rock goth rock??? Hum….  They had a core audience right up in their face that was totally into it. The Grusom singer was lying down in the sand in front of the stage at the end!! Blow away…

Papir, closed the festival with a killer 75min set. They were great at the CPH psych fest, where I only saw some of their set but again, the Black Moon Circle guys and I stood in the middle front and just got mesmerized by they great drum, bass and guitar playing of this underrated Danish instrumental rock group. I really love this new song called Acid Rock, which I think was the last one of the set! This was just awesome and a great way to end the festival.

I was back in my tent and some guys played like 3 songs on the main stage, sort of funky rock…. No idea who that was…. I had an amazing time today.

Spoke to Jan, the main organizer as I was leaving today and it seems they will do one more festival next year and then he will leave the helm and maybe some other people will keep it going or maybe it will die. We will see. Would be a pity as it is one of the nicest small festivals in the world with a cool focus on the Danish bands but also a few international ones.

Saturnia- The Real High (Elektrohasch 172)

Saturnia is the one man project of Portugese Luis Simones. He records all the instruments himself and this is a lot of different instruments- drums, bass, guitars, organ, gong, sitar, etc…. and he sings as well. This is his first new album in 6 years and it was all recorded in the last 4 years. The lead off track is….  The Real High (see video below) is a cool Indian psych raga. A Burnt Offering reminds me a lot of MORE era Pink Floyd. Mandrake Scream is a more uptempo affair with a really great multilayered sound and nice organ playing between the sung parts. A bit of sitar and stuff thrown in as well and around 4mins a guitar solo appears over the really stoney groove.  Amazing track. Heavenly Bodies is another slow beautiful gliding psychedelic work. Most Beautiful has some new agey feel with floating organ, wind sweeps and sublime vocals. Tentacles is another floating psychedelic adventure with a nice laid back space jazz feel to it with the Rhodes piano and guitar lines but lots of spacey sounds. Shells is the last track and beautiful mellow piece, again reminding me of the David Gilmour sung tracks from early Pink Floyd. Another great record…. Obrigado!