Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Eurosonic – day two

Over the last few years, Eurosonic has become the lab for the European Talent Exchange Program (ETEP). Bands who impress the ETEP folks in January end up getting very useful and potentially lucrative slots on major European summer festivals because, …

Sat, Jan 12, 2008, 11:20

   

Over the last few years, Eurosonic has become the lab for the European Talent Exchange Program (ETEP). Bands who impress the ETEP folks in January end up getting very useful and potentially lucrative slots on major European summer festivals because, besides the gig, they’ll also get the support of press and radio. It’s why you will see bookers from the likes of Lowlands, Glastonbury, Exit, Oya and dozens of other summer bashes patrolling the streets and pushing their way to the top of the queue. In the last five years, over 200 acts who’ve played Eurosonic have got this value-added bonus as a result.

So who out of this year’s 250 acts should impress these bookers? For instance, I reckon Republic Of Loose should be a shoe-in for some shows as a result of their gig on Thursday night. Tonight, though, there was plenty of acts you could imagine firing up a booker’s imagination.

Swedish band Moonbabies play the most blissful indie-pop imaginable, what Stars might sound like if they hadn’t decided to go off and listen to The Corrs. The Heavy had the most charismatic (male) frontman in Groningen and their heavyweight funk kept a full room grinning.

The high-kicking Miss Platnum and her brass-touting big band were another act you could easily see holding their own on any stage with their funky take on Balkan sounds. Chrome Hoof were, well, mesmeric, the obvious, if previously unimagined, offshoot of Art Ensemble of Chicago and GWAR. And Robyn’s show was well worth the lengthy wait in a packed room, all glittery, super-tough pop hooks and hits from a dynamic, all-action singer.

Yet another full house greeted Irish-Polish combo Halves whose quiet-loud-quiet atmospherics were occasionally quite stunning. I also liked the icy electro pop which Olga Kouklaki was producing and Sunshine’s approximation of nu-rave with Czech accents was worth a look.

At a festival where you give most acts 3 song or 10 minutes before moving on, the act who really held the room from start to finish was Cathy Davey. The audience at the Muziekschool seemed rooted to the spot. Whatever fears Davey may have had about playing live have long vanished, probably thanks to a band who can knock anyone’s socks off and a bunch of songs which are a match for anything else heard in Groningen. A superb, confident, even swaggering set. Here’s one story which has a long, long way to run.

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