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Trailerpark Festival report

in Live Reviews by

Arriving early at a concert in Copenhagen is tremendously unfashionable, and at a festival doubly so. The benefit of being at Trailerpark in the afternoon is being able to explore the various tents, trailers and assorted installations before they are covered under a mass of pretty people. The festival focuses as much on constructing creative and comfortable spaces as it does on the music, and this year is no exception. As well as the eponymous trailers—one made up to look like a Lynchian crime scene, complete with smoke machine and eerie music, another a Tinder-sponsored shag-shack—there are swings made of recycled pallets, surrealist plush sculptures, rum cabañas and a tent devoted to what can only be described as audio-visual terrorism.

The Tinder-trailer during a quite moment.

Fans of poor decision-making are welcome to try a spot of tattoo roulette—quite literally spinning a wheel to decide what image will be indelibly etched onto your skin—and in the wilder hours of Friday even an over-cautious curmudgeon like yours truly has to exercise a significant amount of self-restraint to avoid it. Those in search of less permanent damage can get a lopsided haircut and a single leg shaved by a bunch of clowns in bondage gear. Pretty standard fare, really.


There is perhaps no better place than here to take stock of the quality and diversity of the Danish scene, the line-up consisting almost entirely of homegrown talent. This, however, is the only constant. One can wander away from a hip hop act at Royal stage and suddenly come across an emissary of the Mayhem/Posh Isolation scene at Outdoor stage. Throughout, DJs and smaller electronic acts are blasting away in the intimate enclave of Rebel stage.


The day starts relatively peacefully with Alice Boman’s wistful folk pop, which transitions neatly into the music of CODY, Copenhagen’s post-folk collective and arguably one of the most talented groups of musicians in the city. Drawing primarily on material from Windshield, their latest album, the six-piece (but depending on the day there could just as easily be eight people on stage, or even just the one) manage to work their wealth of instruments into a beautifully simple whole.

The rest of the day is devoted mainly to electronic acts. Among the most promising newer artists are Mont Oliver, who add a touch of Madchester swagger to their performance (seriously, the guy at the keyboards is even wearing one of those floppy 90s fishing hats). Later on, Ice Cream Cathedral filled Outdoor stage with their pop pyschedelia, followed by a mesmeric Sekuoia.

Ice Cream Cathedral
Ice Cream Cathedral

Baby In Vain did their best to convert the crowd to Satan, before Julias Moon could do is darndest to become the Danish equivalent of Michael Jackson.


Though every day at Trailerpark has its moments, Friday is the one that does its best to physically and mentally destroy festival-goers. In the most positive sense of the phrase, naturally. Hand Of Dust and Get Your Gun bring a dark and twisted version of Americana to town, though their early slots mean that only a handful of the most dedicated are able to witness any of it.

The tone for the rest of the evening is set by New York rapper Le1f. Preceded by a brief display from an acrobat in bondage gear (a phrase I don’t get to use enough), Khalif Diouf exudes equal parts sexuality (consider that barely an hour later will see a DJ set from someone called DJ Cockwhore) and flighty exuberance.  Cutting songs short when he gets tired of them, Le1f makes it clear that he is here to have as much fun as the audience.


Though Sleep Party People’s mix of lullabies and post-rock is both a visually and aurally captivating experience, the true energy of the evening is found with two bands:  Reptile Youth and Broke. Though the former is considerably more famous, the two share similarities in sound and attitude, guitar-led dance music and physicality. I can personally attest to having had Reptile Youth’s frontman Mads Damsgaard Kristiansen land on my head twice during improperly announced stage dives, and Broke’s frontman developed a liking for humping one of the central tent poles of Outdoor stage.

Reptile Youth
Reptile Youth

All this can only be topped by the utter perfection (in the eyes and ears of this reviewer at least) of The Felines, who bring wide smiles and awkward attempts at the twist to the 4am crowd.


Fans of Danish “pop sensations” and hip hop acts must forgive me, but the real stars of the final day of Trailerpark are all at Outdoor stage. First Hate are possibly the dorkiest duo I have ever seen, which automatically makes them cooler than anyone in this tremendously well-dressed audience. It helps that they almost flawlessly channel Speak and Spell-era Depeche Mode, down to the Dave Gahan-esque vocals and dance moves. It’s pure and unabashed synth-pop, and it instantly converts all those present.

If prizes were being awarded, one would have to go to Communions, who have transformed into a much more mature band in the intervening months since our last encounter with them. The punk attitude is still there, but it no longer has a stranglehold over their sound, and finally they devote themselves to the wiry jangle-pop that was always lurking underneath the discordant tone and shambolic compositions. Those of us who spent the bike-ride to Enghave listening exclusively to Felt (or is that just me?) are in for a very pleasant surprise.


As people gather to watch Shiny Darkly, it is evident that they are precisely the same hand-picked audience that attended First Hate and Communions. Apparently I have become a stereotype, though what that might be is unclear. Though perhaps the most obviously post-punk oriented of all the acts at Trailerpark, Shiny Darkly do not simply emulate their elders and betters. The raw riffs and chanted vocals are driven by a spartan and effective rhythm section, and on occasion even joined by a violinist or a trumpet player. The extra instruments are used with an ear for noise and harmonics as much as they add an extra layer of melody to the songs. At any rate they bespeak a level of ambition that is the mark of a healthy music scene. The likes of S!vas and Christopher might bring in the punters, but visitors looking for the true energy of the city should follow the leather jackets.

Shiny Darkly

 View  the galleries from Trailerpark Festival here:




All days

Thanks to Sony for letting us try the new Sony a7S camera.

All photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (

LIVE REVIEW: Anna Calvi, Amager Bio, 20.03.2014

in Live Reviews by

Anna Calvi often elicits hyperbolic pronouncements. Brian Eno referred to her as the “biggest thing since Patti Smith”, and certainly her self-titled Mercury Prize-nominated debut had journalists scrambling for musical references. But it is always something of a disservice to focus too much on the comparison game, and Calvi’s second release, One Breath, confirms that her musical identity is much more than an aggregate of classical rock and post-punk tropes.

No opener is more likely to contrast with the headline act than Alice Boman, the Swedish singer-songwriter who has been making a name for herself in Copenhagen opening shows for the likes of Matthew E. White. Everything is low-key, from the keyboards to the shy little vocals. The most intense part of her set was when someone carrying her kick-drum bashed me in the knee.

Amager Bio fills up to a comfortable level, and it is gratifying to be surrounded by people who are genuine fans of the act, as opposed to those who go to gigs out of some sense of cultural duty. The stage background is a huge blow-up of a desert vista, which in the case of Anna Calvi could as easily refer to Spain as to the American West. Accompanying Calvi tonight are a drummer, a keyboardist, and a woman who the singer describes as playing “all those instruments”, including a harmonium, bass, and assorted percussions.

Anna Calvi (Photo by James Hjertholm)

The presence of the percussionist should be revealing in itself. Anna Calvi has cultivated a meticulous and mesmerising live sound, with a guitar tone that her records simply cannot do justice to.

Opening with “Suzanne and I”, it takes a minute or so for her voice to warm up, but when the song really requires it, she slips into gear and belts out the chorus. From this point Calvi breezes through most of her two albums with a passion and control that are hard to reconcile with each other.

“Rider To the Sea” is vastly extended, and slowly abandons its cold façade as Calvi lets rip. I can honestly say I haven’t been this taken with a guitarist since I was a twelve year old pretending to be Jimmy Page. The flamenco flourishes and Hendrix flashes are genuinely exhilarating, and Calvi achieves this effect completely unaccompanied.

Anna Calvi (Photo by James Hjertholm)

Though there are moments where Anna Calvi’s sense of the dramatic places her squarely as one of Roy Orbison’s few genuine descendents, there is nothing strictly “retro” about her. Songs like “Piece by Piece” showcase her canny sense of composition and use of incidental sounds over a sparse keyboard riff. The fast guitar riffs are so delicate that they end up melting with the keyboards, until they are displaced by overdriven guitar lines.

While it is true that for the most part the audience is in love with Calvi’s voice and guitar playing, rather than her song writing, the latter is a skill she is fast developing, and which will certainly come into its own on her next release. But it is no exaggeration to say the audience is in love. The enthusiasm in Amager Bio is undeniable, the applause heartfelt. Calvi, who says very little in between songs, seems truly affected by this, and finally exits the stage in a shy glow.


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