SPOT festival Saturday – Francine Gorman rounds up the second day of SPOT Festival 2017
Francine Gorman is the Editor of the Ja Ja Ja and Nordic Playlist websites, as well as a freelance journalist, content producer and writer. She’s attending SPOT for the fifth time, and will be sharing daily summaries of the best things that she’s seen, heard and discovered throughout the festival.
Hi again, and welcome to the second day of my highlights round up from SPOT! I’m Francine, the editor of Ja Ja Ja and the Nordic Playlist, and I’ve been asked by the folks as SPOT and MXD to share some of my favourite happenings from this year’s event. So without further ado…
It ended up being a very late, music packed night on Friday that made it pretty hard to get up in time for my breakfast meeting on Saturday – but we’re all pros here, right?! So, coffee in hand and meeting wrapped up, I head to the Radisson Blu to check out what’s happening on the conference side of the festival (SPOT+, ed.). Each year, SPOT puts together a convention full of panels and discussions featuring experts on all sorts of musical niches, from all around the world. This year, there’s a lot of focus on maximizing the potential of the digital music market, and also looking into the various factors surrounding sync. So the start of the day was pretty educational actually, learning more about the opportunities for artists to have their music distributed and placed, and the things to look out for along the way.
From the conference area, I head off to MXD’s Super Ball at Radar, the perfect opportunity to hang out in the sunshine with all of the other delegates at the festival and to talk music, business, more music, gossip from last night, a bit more business, and even more music. And to accompany the mingling is a line up of three acts expertly selected by UK journalist Laura Snapes, showing off some of the best talent present at this year’s festival.
Opening up festivities in truly immersive fashion is School of X, aka Denmark’s Rasmus Littauer. When he’s not working on this project, Rasmus is the drummer for Danish sensation MØ, but having released a few tracks under this moniker, he’s been gaining more and more attention for his solo work in recent months. A solo project on record, School of X has enlisted the help of some pals for this show, so bathed in bright blue lights, the outfit offer up a swaggeringly confident performance – Rasmus’s searing vocals filling the room accompanied by a few saxophone flourishes, which I enjoyed immensely. More saxophone on everything please.
After heading out to catch a bit of between-band-sunshine, we return as the second act of the Super Ball takes to the stage – a brand new artist called Ellis May with rich and dynamic vocals, underpinned by sparse, powerful electronic tones and piano melodies. Her stage set up is simple – she takes care of keys, computers and vocals while her accomplice adds guitar flourishes, and backs up her remarkable voice. It’s one of Ellis May’s first shows in this set up, and it’s surely a sign of great, great things to come from this rising artist.
For those that read yesterday’s update, you’ll know that a concert that I was particularly looking forward to catching today is that of Teitur and Nico Muhly, which takes place in the Symfonisk Sal in the musical labyrinth of Musikhuset.. The pair released an album called “Confessions” together late last year, comprising songs composed to accompany some of the weird clips that they’d discovered while scouring YouTube in its early days. Brought to life at SPOT by members of the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, the performance is just what I hoped it would be – exquisitely arranged, delicate strings blooming into bold formations, and touches of hilarity as Teitur’s unmistakable voice shares tales based on the YouTube videos at the heart of the project. A standing ovation waves the performers off the stage, and then it’s back out into the sunshine to head to the next stop.
Catching the debut performance from True Nord – a new project from members of Danish band Nephew, The Entrepreneurs, Phronesis and Kate Havnevik – is well worth the journey, before I head out to catch the glimmering pop of Denmark’s Soleima. Then it’s off to the Scandinavia Congress Center to see Palace Winter perform to a huge crowd in the festival’s biggest venue, their sublime sun-drenched soundscapes filling the giant space with elegant ease.
But as things get so busy at festivals, there are inevitably going to be some shows that you have to miss. So, I spoke to a few friends, colleagues and newly acquired music pals to see what they’d enjoyed over the weekend and they gave me a few tips to share with you!
The first, and perhaps the most vividly recommended is Luster, a Danish artist who also performs as part of Palace Winter, and who was described to me by more than one person as “incredible”. An “incredible” from one person might pique my interest, but an “incredible” from 3 people? Then it’s definitely something to check out. And the praise has been just as universal for Norway’s Great News, a Bergan based band that revel in melodic indie music, with killer hooks and a really lively stage show.
KOPS, Sigrid, Masasolo, Ayowa and Sekuoia are some of the brilliant artists that round up the evening, and the final major day of SPOT Festival 2017! I have to say, the line up at this year’s event has been sensational – as has the quality of all of the shows that I’ve managed to catch. In fact, the only issue that I’ve had is having to decide who to catch when I’ve been confronted with a line up clash – but if that’s the worst of your problems, then you’ve got a pretty sweet situation going on!
So that’s all for me for now – thanks for having me SPOT! And thanks to you for reading, I hope you’ve discovered some exciting new music and artists at the festival, and I hope to see you all there again next year!