SPOT festival offers a glimpse into the Danish music world of rock, pop and lots in between. We tracked down the six-strong unholy Copenhagen noise rockers of Pardans for a chat about what makes the city and the festival special.
In the time it takes you to reach Brighton by train to enjoy The Great Escape festival you could also be in Denmark enjoying the best up-and-coming acts from Denmark and Scandinavia at SPOT Festival.
The 90-minute flight from London puts you in Denmark’s second largest city of Aarhus. And since 1994, SPOT has rocked venues large and small across the bustling city. Bands and artists such as Efterklang, ICEAGE, Nico Muhly, Ellis May, Felix de Luca, Mew and Sigur Rós have always made the festival the best place to throw off the shackles of winter and jump into spring.
SPOT is supported by a huge slice of the Danish music world of rock, pop and related genres – all joining hands to back the festival.
Not to be overshadowed by its big sister Copenhagen, Aarhus was the 2017 European Capital of Culture and is home to a friendly mix of students, artists and industry – and is markedly easier to navigate and explore than Copenhagen for a short visit.
This year’s SPOT Festival weekend of May 11 to 13 boasts another eclectic blend of pop, rock, rap and metal from the leading lights of the Danish and wider Nordic scene. With more than 200 gigs across the city in venues large and small, the festival now attracts 8,000 music lovers.
To find out more, we tracked down the six-strong unholy Copenhagen noise rockers of Pardans for a chat about what makes the city and the festival special, as well as their tips for SPOT. Singer Gustav Berntsen dished out a few recommendations, and said: “Aarhus is a charming city,” he said. “You can walk from one end to another with ease.”
Pardans – who are performing at this year’s SPOT – will be driving straight from London to Aarhus after finishing up a European tour supporting fellow Copenhagen bad boys ICEAGE at Scala. If you want to see what the fuss is all about, they play together on May 8. Details here.
And speaking of his home country’s burgeoning music scene, Gustav said: “ICEAGE, alongside a bunch of other acts, definitely led people around the world to fix their eyes on Denmark. So, we’re grateful and happy to come along and bring amusement to their crowd.”
“New acts and musical constellations that felt perhaps inspired or motivated by the musical output of the environment around [Norwegian black metal band] Mayhem and [record label] Posh Isolation constantly emerge – and so much original new music is coming out of Denmark these days.”
“There’s a little greengrocer’s in Klostergade that sells cheap salads,” Gustav added. “We usually go there for lunch whenever we play Aarhus.”
And if you want something a bit more substantial, like one of the fantastic traditional Danish open sandwiches (called smørrebrød), check out the cozy Cafe Drudenfuss. Don’t worry about learning Danish for the weekend as most Danes speak excellent English.
“TAPE is a small venue in Mejlgade,” said Gustav, “which is organized by good people with similar tastes to our own. We had the chance to play there at last year’s Flux Festival and together with Marching Church on a Danish tour, which was always a pleasure. And lots of our comrades are performing at TAPE during the festival – Collider and Himmelrum to name a few.”
Other venues participating in SPOT include the incredible Musikhuset [ADD LINK: https://musikhusetaarhus.dk/] complex. It boasts the largest concert hall in Scandinavia, as well as a handful of bespoke smaller state-of-the-art venues, while also serving as the music conservatory for students. SPOT gigs will feature at the Musikhuset.
BANDS AT SPOT
We also asked Gustav to offer a few recommendations to help decode the dizzying number of unfamiliar bands and venues at SPOT and he said: “I’d certainly recommend Slægt, a black heavy metal group we share rehearsal space with in Copenhagen.
“Also, check out Astrid Sonne, who plays the viola accompanied by electronics to create some quite charming and bewildering compositions.
“And don’t miss our very own Oskar [Dinesen] and Rasmus [Hastrup] who are performing with their group, Ecstasy In Order.”
Drawing on a wide range of genres – including the new wave of British heavy/black metal from the 1980s and 90s – Slægt deliver some epic, darkened heavy metal, played fast, but without the typical blast beats. Slægt released the Beautiful and Damned EP in 2015 and album Domus Mysterium in 2017.
Classically-trained Astrid Sonne plays beat-less electronic music without kick drum, big drum or bass and mixes tenor violin with synth, samples and computer-generated sounds in a grand, beautiful and aggressive whole.
Ecstasy In Order
Ecstasy In Order descend from the independent music collective Vellness Plader, which from 2016 has been trendsetting on the Danish underground scene. Musically they live in the borderland of electronic music and rock, who can really ignite a dancefloor.
SPOT festival runs from May 11-13 in Aarhus