Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Another Dutch date for Europe’s bandspotters

There is nothing on the European music calendar that can compare with Eurosonic, the two-day festival which takes place in the northern Dutch town of Groningen every January. Attracting festival bookers, agents, journalists and broadcasters searching for exciting new musical …

Fri, Jan 18, 2008, 09:28

   

There is nothing on the European music calendar that can compare with Eurosonic, the two-day festival which takes place in the northern Dutch town of Groningen every January. Attracting festival bookers, agents, journalists and broadcasters searching for exciting new musical talent from all over Europe, Eurosonic has become the perfect way for any live music fan to start the year.

The festival began in the late 1980s as a European Broadcasting Union (EBU) event called Eurorock, which established permanent lodgings in Groningen in 1999. The EBU is still involved, which explains the huge number of mobile studios in situ for the weekend, recording proceedings for 30 different radio stations covering the festival.

Live bands attract most of the attention. More than 250 of them cram into two dozen venues located cheek by jowl on or off the city’s main drag.

With reps from 50 or so summer festivals on the prowl, looking for bands to book, the quality of acts playing is usually extremely high.

You could easily imagine bands such as Chrome Hoof, The Heavy and The Kissaway Trail turning up on summer stages. The 12-strong Chrome Hoof may dazzle with their glittery cloaks and capes, but their space-jazz, prog-metal is also a wow. The Heavy have both heavyweight funk and a hugely charismatic frontman on their side, while Danish band The Kissaway Trail have oodles of epic atmospheric indie sounds.

98887388_l.jpgThis year’s festival had a deliberately strong showing from Sweden and included I’m From Barcelona, Moonbabies (right), Kleerup, Mapei and Robyn, whose set was an excellent showcase for her well-received album from last year.

Other acts who impressed over the weekend were The Ting Tings (they may only have six songs to their name, but they’re six wonderful tunes), Hanne Hukkelberg (lush slow-mo orchestral pop from Norway), Jakobinarina (the most energetic band in Iceland today), Olga Kouklaki (icy electro torch songs from the Greek singer based in France) and Miss Platnum (high-kicking brassy tunes from the Balkans by way of Berlin).

Make a date in your 2009 diary now – Eurosonic returns to Groningen next January.