Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Eurosonic 2011: that Friday feeling

It’s quickly obvious after an hour or two on the go on Eurosonic’s third and final night (Saturday is Noorderslag night, where dozens of Dutch pop acts get to sing for their supper) that the festival has entered a whole …

Mon, Jan 17, 2011, 08:56

   

It’s quickly obvious after an hour or two on the go on Eurosonic’s third and final night (Saturday is Noorderslag night, where dozens of Dutch pop acts get to sing for their supper) that the festival has entered a whole new realm. There are tons more people wandering from venue to venue around the town – 33,000 punters have bought tickets – which means bigger queues than in previous years to get into some of the venues and more bicycles trying to mow down dopey Irish pedestrians. It’s good news for the bands because it means that if people find a full house for a heavily tipped act, they’ll move onto the next venue and stumble across someone else.

The first name on my list was Anna Calvi and she didn’t disappoint. Her album has been a constant on the stereo here for the last month and her live set was theatrical, dramatic, powerful and thrilling. She’s got the right mix of pomp and passion to go with those beautiful, loaded songs and her band know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

I’d seen Italy’s My Awesome Mixtape at Italia Wave last year, but they appear to have found a brand new mojo since then, along with even more sprightly, frisky, fun electropop tunes. Over at the city’s lovely music hall, the Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble had hooked up with an orchestra for the first time, all the better to trick out the jazzy, spry electronics of the German trio’s “You Make Me Real” album (thanks to Nero for the heads-up on them).

Others who had me going “yes” included Yuck (former members of Cajun Dance Party getting grungy around the edges), Susanne Sundfor (dark, mystic, haunting avant-garde mightyness from Norway – check out her song “The Brothel”), Frankie & The Heartstrings (the sound of young Sunderland), James Vincent McMorrow (whose live show is now a thing of robust beauty – much improved since last summer’s mis-steps on the domestic circuit – and whose songs had the audience in quiet raptures) and Villa Nah (icy and groovy electronic splendour from Finland). There were also a few acts who had me going “no” – My Cheap Little Dictaphone were atrocious on several previously unheralded levels – but there was always a better band playing next-door.

Next year, I predict that there will be a much bigger bunch of Irish bands and festivals trying to figure out how to get to Groningen. The dates for the diary: January 11 to 14.

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