Online music magazine based in Copenhagen, Denmark

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September 2019

LIVE REVIEW: Daniel O’Sullivan, Alice, 19.09.2019

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Daniel O'Suillivan live at Alice Copenhagen

Few performers are quite as prolific as Daniel O’Sullivan. A cursory look at his career shows, quite apart from his own three solo albums, a breadth of work that spans from the left-field prog of Guapo and the psychedelia of Grumbling Fur to collaborations with avant-metal acts like Sunn O))) and Ulver. The last time we saw him on this stage he was sandwiched between the fiery personalities of This Is Not This Heat.

Tonight he is accompanied by no less than six musicians, including a bassoon and autoharp, as well as sometime Spiritualized and Coil member Thighpaulsandra on synths. Although his collaborative work is incredibly diverse, as a solo artist Daniel O’Sullivan focuses on a pastoral, quasi-psycho-geographic psychedelia. His latest album, Folly, might be his most lush to date.

I arrive just as Peter Broderick, who will rejoin the stage to play fiddle with O’Sullivan, is ending his opening set. The soft, hypnotic folk is in stark relief with Thighpaulsandra, who starts by announcing that his will be “something different.” His outfit alone, something straight out of Flash Gordon, is enoguh to signal that. Noise from a messy patchwork of modular synths saws through the air, followed by some Doctor Who inspired sound effects. The backdrop for most of the set is a video of two naked men painted in gold circling each other with wooden rakes, underscoring the ritualistic element to Thighpaulsandra that is a clear chime with O’Sullivans interests.

After a quick costume change into some cultish white garments, the band huddle themselves to the right of the upright piano. With so many people on stage, it takes a couple of minutes for the sound mix to broaden out, but when it does there is an almost baroque quality to it. As obviously energetic and prolific as O’Sullivan is, he is also soft-spoken, announcing songs with enigmatic one-liners. “Rattleman” and “Under the Knife” set the pace for the first part of the set, with frequent instrument changes. O’Sullivan’s “song about dragons,” “HC SVNT DRACONES” is a fast-paced piano-led romp that marks the band at their most energetic.

The lushness of his latest material starts to give way to introspection, particularly in a sparse track composed only a couple of days before in his aunt and uncle’s apartment here in Copenhagen. And in “Apocryphonium” we hear O’Sullivan at his most mystical, as a huge, otherworldly voice recites the gnostic “Thunder Perfect Mind” prayer above the band.

The set ends with a long suite that will be coming out as an EP, dedicated, in O’Sullivan’s words, “to Amazonia.” The pastoral gives way to the apocalyptic in the image of burning trees. And so Daniel O’Sullivan is already moving forwards, and we’re more than ready to see him again at the next stage.

LIVE REVIEW: Tacocat, Loppen, 13.09.2019

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Tacocat live at Loppen Copenhagen

Photo by Amanda Farah

Tacocat are a brightly-coloured pop-punk outfit set against the grey rainy backdrop of Seattle – a juxtaposition emphasised in the first single, “Bridge to Hawaii” (2013). Combining catchy choruses, workhorse riffs and internet humour, they gained notoriety with “Crimson Wave”, an ode to menstruation whose video was famously ripped off by Katy Perry in 2015 during her Super Bowl performance.

With their wonky technicolour wigs and weed references, Tacocat seem perfectly at home in Loppen. It’s a long way from home, but even here they have enough of a following that there is a solid first row chanting the words back to them. Four albums into their career, the band still has the feel of a local underground favourite.

Knowing a thing or two about living in rainy, dark places, the band have arrived in Denmark at the perfect time to counteract the effects of early-onset seasonal affective disorder. Between vocalist Emily Nokes’s energetic dancing and the fans (the machines rather than the humans) blowing everyone’s hair into glam-rock crowns, the band feel like a self-contained tropical micro-climate as they launch into songs about science fiction and Scully off of X-Files.

The set is a brisk one, with the exception of some technical difficulties with the aforementioned fans, a rush to the closing of Friday night for a band who end their set singing about how much they hate weekends.

LIVE REVIEW: The Wedding Present, Lille Vega, 11.09.2019

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the wedding present live at lille vega copenhagen

It’s 30 years since the Wedding Present released Bizarro, and this low-key anniversary is what brings the indie rock quartet to Lille Vega. It’s not an especially reverential anniversary show. The set opens with “Rotterdam,” from the album Seamonsters, and frontman David Gedge eventually mentions in passing that the Bizarro songs are going to be scattered throughout. “See if you can spot them,” he suggests.

But there’s something energizing about arranging the set this way. It’s not only that the Bizarro songs are scattered through the set, but that new songs crop up with the same verve as the songs that are ostensibly being celebrated. It inspires cheers when a new song is announced and prompts Gedge to admit, “[that’s] not the reaction I was expecting.” The mid-set raucousness of “Kennedy” spills over when immediately followed by the incessantly catchy new tune, “Panama,” the audience readily clapping along via the band’s instructions as if this was an old tradition.

Much of the energy of the show can be attributed to how this current incarnation of the ever-changing line-up of the Wedding Present has also gelled. That the band introduce the song “Telemark,” completed only days earlier, is a testament to their own excitement. This isn’t just meant to be a nostalgia trip, but still a living, breathing project. When Gedge announces that the band don’t do encores, almost everyone in the crowd already know this because they’ve already seen them play. But the crowd don’t want the band to exist in the past and you can see in their performance that having their newer work celebrated breathes life into the songs from 30 years ago. In this respect, this is exactly what anniversary tours should be: It should be a band, and a crowd, in love with what they’ve done in the past, and still in love with what they’re doing now.

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