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.
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.
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.
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.
View the galleries from Trailerpark Festival here:
Thanks to Sony for letting us try the new Sony a7S camera.
All photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)
Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Ice Cream Cathedral
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Baby In Vain
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Thanks to Sony for giving us the opportunity to try their new Sony a7S camera
Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Baby In Vain
The Brian Jones Town Massacre
Röyksopp and Robyn
Lana Del Rey
James Vincent McMorrow
The portrait of Royal Blood explained in a tweet:
— amanda farah (@amandafarah) June 15, 2014
Day two of NorthSide began for us with the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and specifically with frontman Anton Newcombe remarking to the still-assembling audience, “Party over here, fuck you over there.” Watching them play their thick, jangly guitar pop under the intense sun might be the best way to begin day, unless you have a hangover, in which case it probably just hurts and dehydrates you further. But without such impediments, there is a certain joy and fascination in deciphering any one of the four guitar parts, and watching their delightfully smug tambourine player who is clearly having a better time than anyone at the festival. Newcombe is a bit combatively, stopping in the middle of a song to berate his bandmates about tunings and passive aggressively moving his mic stand to the back of the stage saying, “I’ll just sing from back here if you can’t get that feedback under control.” It’s either hilarious or obnoxious depending on your mood.
After the curmudgeonly the youth exuberance of Baby in Vain is refreshing. Guitarists Lola Hammerich and Andrea Thusen Johansen are lunging around the stage producing sounds that are a pleasing amalgam of sludge and crunch. Their fried vocals come together in twisted, cheeky harmonies. Baby in Vain would be at home on Sub Pop’s late ‘80s/early ‘90s roster. Since we can’t have that, can someone get them on a tour with Mudhoney quick?
On a predominantly rock line-up, there’s always some question of how a crowd will react to a different genre. In the case of A$AP Rocky, the audience collectively lose their shit. Some of that may have to do with the fact that nearly as much time is spent hyping the crowd as rapping, including repeated directives for them to shout “A-SAP!” It wears thin, which is a shame, because as a performer Rocky is anything but boring. He jogs across the stage as he sings “Fuckin’ Problems” and “Purple Kisses,” pays homage to A$AP Ferg and recreates the mix tape feeling by playing samples of “Jump Around” and “C.R.E.A.M.” He repeatedly emphasizes that it’s not a concert, it’s a party, encouraging mosh pits, crowd surfing, and women to “show your titties if you’re over age.” The crowd only complies on the first two points, making securities job a little harder with the no crowd-surfing rule. At the beginning of the set, however, Rocky did emerge from the barricade before the crowd swinging a bra over his head, so he’s knows what he’s going for.
From the outset it’s clear that Mew’s set is going to be an emotional highlight of the weekend. They begin by bringing bassist Johan Wohlert to the front of the stage to announce that he has rejoined the band after leaving 2006. And while the announcement makes jaws drop, it’s a best-of setlist including and “Am I Wry? No” that has people falling on each other in big, swaying hugs. They play a new song as well, though they don’t name it, and remind the crowd that a new record is coming. By the time their final song, “Comforting Sounds” builds to a dramatic close, men and women alike are seen wiping tears from their eyes.
If Mew was the emotional outpouring, then Röyksopp and Robyn is a blissed out catharsis. It’s immediately apparent that this is the wrong place to be if you’re protective of your personal space or object to having beer spilled on you. But if you can stay on your feet and avoid getting elbowed in the face by the people who only know how to dance by pumping their fists in the air, Röyksopp’s beats and airy, surreal synths help you transcend the mental fogginess settling in, while the crowd physically carries you somewhere else.
It’s 40 minutes into the set when Robyn takes her turn, bouncing across the stage in a pair of platform sneakers. She twists around in yogic poses, and turns her back to imitate a make-out session during “Dance on My Own” while the crowd sings the chorus on her behalf. The trio mark a change into a joint set with Röyksopp donning glittery balaclavas and Robyn a puffy jacket that looks like armor. The crowd is thinning, but those that remain are as frenzied as ever. So is Robyn, who continues to contort herself in an array of dance moves that defy description. The set ends just past the two hour mark with “Do It Again” and confetti cannons. An elated, exhausted crowd makes its way out of the festival grounds, trailing confetti behind them.
Baby In Vain have shared new single “Seize The End” today premiering via The 405. The Copenhagen trio have been making waves already this year across the atlantic with appearances at SXSW impressing international media along the way. The girls have also announced several festival appearances over the summer including sets at Northside, Trailerpark Festival, The Great Escape and many more.
Listen to “Seize The End” below: