Spot Festival took place in Aarhus, Denmark, from May 21 to 23 2009
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice a recurring theme: Scandinavian bands and festivals getting themselves noticed.
Because, while our economy is speeding to hell in a handcart, up north they are still enjoying generous state backing for music; while British bankers are staring tearfully down at the Thames from the middle of London Bridge, Danish bacon-makers are bringing home the Krones which allow Music Export Denmark to put on flash showcases like this.
Think of SPOT as the Danish CMJ or Great Escape. In its 15th year, SPOT is small, but offers dozens of new Nordic bands in several venues around pretty Aarhus.
But why should we care about Danish music? Well past SPOTs have launched the careers of Mew, Efterklang and (drum roll) Junior Senior. So DiS went to see examine the next wave of Viking invaders. What we discovered was a friendly festival in a cute little town.
DiS’ Discovery of the weekend Giana Factory @ Outdoor Stage
So fresh they weren’t even listed in the programme, Giana Factory could be the next great Danes. During the course of their short set DiS was asked in Danish by no less than three people who this exciting, unbilled band on stage was. Well either that or they were asking me the time.
Copenhagen-based, Giana Factory are a quartet led by Loui Foo - sister of The Raveonettes’ Sharin Foo. Loui’s vocal is brooding and bellowing like her sister’s, but Giana Factory’s sound is far more dense and layered than The Raveonettes’ stripped-down rock ’n’ roll. GF crackle with Joy Division’s dark intropsection, but also bash synthesisers to create Eighties stadium stomps.
The quartet’s first ever gig was supporting dour Scots Glasvegas at Copenhagen’s legendary Vega, and their debut album is being produced by techno star Trentemoller. Despite their lack of songs at this stage, it all comes together to make this unsigned bunch of achingly cool kids look like they’ll have A&R men sniffing round them as soon as they set foot on British soil.
Pick of the rest
Le Corps Mince De Francoise @ Musichuset Aarhus
Like a long slug on a sugary drink, these three Finnish femmes fatales proffer sweet and stimulating nu-rave bangers which they yell over the top of. The feisty trio may peek out nervously from behind hipster fringes, but seem to be having fun at all times.
Video: Le Corps Mince De Francoise: 'Cool And Bored'
Emiliana Torrini @ Musichuset Aarhus
This Icelandic angel (pictured, top) fills a packed main auditorium at the Music House with her breathtaking voice. The ex-Gus Gus songstress is criticised in some quarters for having gone bland on us of late, but her tonsils still pack a punch, despite the naysayers' grumbles.
Slagsmalsklubben @ Train
In Swedish, their name means Fight Club, and this hyperactive sextet of geeks are forced to battle against duff sound at Train. But their pumped-up Hot Chip schtick is incredibly enjoyable, gets a packed room of local kids jumping, and is all the more remarkable for being made almost entirely on old analogue machines.
Turbo Weekend @ Voxhall
Dark dance-rock dudes Turbo Weekend proffer slices of doom-laden grunge with synthesised beeps and drumloops jutting out at right angles. As a Nine Inch Nails support band, we could see them excelling.
Diefenbach @ Voxhall
Diefenbach thought their moment might have come when they tried to crack Britain in 2004 with a Wall Of Sound album, Run Trip Wall. That didn’t exactly work, but they haven’t given up and they still mine the rich seem occupied by Doves and South.
Wildcard of the weekend
Je M’Appelle Mads @ Train
Imagine Tim Harrington and the weedy drummer from Les Savy Fav performing songs that would soundtrack the end credits to Eurotrash. These two plonkers (one fat, one thin) are primetime Danish TV comics who change leotards between each song, bare their backsides, and despite having the same exactly amount of musical prowess as Gary Go, provide us with 20 minutes of belly laughs.
Foto: Steffen Jørgensen / www.photo.jint.dk / Gaffa Magazine