Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Eurosonic 2012 – Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon

The hits kept coming at Eurosonic on Friday. After chairing the Irish music in Europe panel – which came to the conclusion that Irish acts need to work harder and smarter (and get a few lucky breaks) to make a …

Mon, Jan 16, 2012, 09:02


The hits kept coming at Eurosonic on Friday. After chairing the Irish music in Europe panel – which came to the conclusion that Irish acts need to work harder and smarter (and get a few lucky breaks) to make a splash in Europe – it was time to get on the bike and hit the road again.

We started with Hauschka playing at the gorgeous Stadsschouwburg music hall (the German composer’s prepared piano pieces were the stuff of wonder and made us appreciate his last couple of albums all the more) and ended a couple of hours later with the haunting, twitchy, slo-mo hypnohouse of Stay+ at Simplon. There were a couple of duds encountered inbetween – buzz bands like Citizens!, Zulu Winter and especially the risible Tribes (the world’s first Razorlight tribute band fronted by Bryan Adams’ fans) didn’t quite zing as much as their champions hoped – but you could quickly move on to the next venue and experience something much better.

Acts earning a mention in the OTR despatches include Honningbarna (our band of the weekend turn out to be a bunch of Norwegian brats playing fast, fierce and furious punk rock. You won’t forget their intense, wild-eyed frontman in a hurry, especially with that blue jumper and how he wielded his cello like a machine-gun), Iceage (menacing, thrilling and edgy punk rock from the Danish teens behind the bracing, brave “New Brigade” album) and New Build (the latest Hot Chip offshoot played their fourth ever live show and impressed with spacey, vibey disco jams).

We also had mad love for Philco Fiction (sweet, dreamy fjord-pop from the Oslo-based trio Philco Fiction whose current album “Take It Personal” is full of graceful, striking, off-kilter pop ideas), Vondelpark (the act named after an Amsterdam park turn out to be four-strong in number, all the better to embelish their deep, dreamy, snowblind, slo-mo shoegaze beats and abstract Night Nurse bleeps), The Cast of Cheers (on the evidence of new songs like “Animals”, album number two from the now tighter than a mosquito’s tweeter Cast of Cheers is going to blow a lot of minds) and Jennie Abrahamson (dark, spry, hugely likable pop sounds from a member of Ane Brun’s touring band).

Niet stoppen til je genoeg: Daughter (this must be what Other Voices is like as Elena Tonra’s beautiful, hushed, bare-bones, melancholic folk-pop caused goosebumps all round in a lovely atmospheric old church), Cashier No 9 (a band whose swagger is really coming on apace and no wonder given the strength in depth of their “To the Death Of Fun” album), Emeli Sande (we finally clicked that our favourite ex-neuroscience student reminded us of Tasmin Archer), Funeral Suits (a band who are getting better and bolder with every passing show – all eyes now on their debut album which, the band say, will be released in April) and Toby Kaar (corking electronic grooves, bright ideas and smashing new tunes)

Saturday is Noorderslag day in Groningen when the Dutch pop and rock acts come out to play and the vast majority of the non-Dutch visitors leave town. But there was one last act to catch and that was the amazing Lefties Soul Connection playing an afternoon store at a downtown cafe. I’ve known about the Amsterdam band through their stonking version of DJ Shadow’s “Organ Donor” (see video below). Live, they were smoking, throwing down an alluring mix of Hammond organ swing, Daptonetastic soul (especially with soul belter Michelle David out front) and meaty, gritty funk. A big ol’ good time hit.

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