sex as a foreign language

awkward aural adventures

Hove Festival – Day Two

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Hove Backstage by boat

Hove Backstage by boat

Day two at Hove Festivalen and we kick off the morning with a little exploration of the festival Island and surrounding coast by jumping aboard a gorgeous motor boat and pootering along the coast. Our captain is more than happy to extol the virtues of the surrounding countryside, which is by now revealing itself to be so breathtaking it will undoubtedly be slapped with a government health warning sooner or later. Revelation of the trip though is perhaps that last year the captain played host to those lovely Kooks boys who were such models of British politeness that they left a lasting impression. Good to hear!

Musically the second day of the Hove Festival in Norway opened with exemplary exponents of the new Bergen Wave, The New Wine, who those of you in the know may have seen rammed into the top floor of the Lock Tavern last december or possibly whipping up a frenzy at Komedia stepping into Golden Silvers shoes at The Great Escape. Tonight in their home country they seem like a band where everything has been taken to the next level, commanding the stage with a mature confidence that belies their youth.

Part of a new wave of electro tinged bands from Bergen that have forsaken sequencers and backing tracks in favour of pure analogue tones they create a heady mix of disco-intelligencia grooves and driving drums that make them eminently danceable. Fueled by the viral success of two download only demo’s and a raft of support in the Norwegian blogosphere they justify the hype and show exactly why the waves of praise coming out of SXSW and TGE have been so strong. Notebooks out and double underlining for these boys!

Following on from the delicate synth sounds of The New Wine it’s over to the Amfiscenen stage where it’s all getting a bit heavy for a tuesday. Brighton metal merchants Architects may have an excess of energy having taken the schoolboy error decision to drive from Germany to Norway thinking it would be a quick nip along some motorways. Still the boys arrived in plenty of time and are in the mood to see a 40foot wide circle pit, which they duly receive. It’s a breathtaking site at teatime on a tuesday and the band seem more than satisfied with the results of their jaunt north. After this sun drenched brutality I take a trip over the hill into the big pink tent known as the Teltscenen. Now I am sure the irony would be truly lost on him but seeing misogynist gangsta rapper Nercro ply his generic, drear-hop in a pink tent almost makes it bearable….almost. Fleeing quickly from the hideous Necro (if you buy his records it’s you fault… just like watching Transformer’s 2!) there’s just time to hit the backstage beach bar where we find Hockey BBQ-ing some freshly caught pollack before heading back to Amfiscenen where US metalcore juggernaut The Black Dahlia Murder are launching into their own brand of brutality. Featuring new material around the choice cuts of Miasma and Nocturnal the band live up to the hype created by their new live DVD Majesty which surfaced this year. In the home of Death Metal they find new and old friends a plenty.

Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes

Unfortunately we only hear Hockey through the trees due to technical issues but the americans brand of funk rock always goes down smooth like Ron Burgundy. One band who are really getting into the vibe of things is Seattle multi harmonists Fleet Foxes. Guitarist Skylar has Norwegian blood and the band take the chance between songs to ask the crowd to settle once and for all his own dilemmas about how to pronounce his surname Skjelset. Once the band have managed to solve their phonetic quandries they get down to the business of bringing to life last years seminal, self titled debut on stage. Fleet Foxes are an interesting proposition live. There are moments when they play some songs early on and it is easy to get lost in your surrounding rather than the music, but then they will step up everything a gear and unleash moments of pure transcendence. ‘White Winter Hymnal’ and ‘Oliver James’ provide standout moments, whilst ‘Mykonos’ creates the illusion of a new Beach Boys live and in the flesh. There is a strong lineage of Folk and Country Americana bands inspiring devotional followings in Norway, they love the Eagles here, and Fleet Foxes provide the moment of the festival so far as their 4 part harmonies swirl around the main stage and reverberate like ghosts through the trees.

So it’s in a blissed out state that we sumble across British band Golden Silvers expecting them to be Norwegian techno pranksters Casiokids…the two bands have switched set times. The Silvers seem to be going down a storm here and it’s brilliant to see them translate their success at home overseas. Speaking later they reveal their excitement about playing multiple gigs and stages at Glastonbury this coming weekend, if you can get there check them out.

Alas we have to leave the Golden Silvers and head mainstage way as the Killers are fast approaching. The killers are a strange proposition these days, arriving in a flurry of photo bans and orders that noone should talk to the band it’s a bit like Elvis sweeping into the building. They’ve also got a third album which divides people in a way that marmite would have to respect, but from the number of lithe Norse ladies sporting ‘I Heart Killers’ scrawled across various body parts it doesn’t seem like there will be any questions asked of them tonight. Indeed when they launch their set with ‘Human’ you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who wasn’t forgiving of their appalling punctuation.

It’s a triumphant set and, in all honesty, one of the better live performances that they have put in recently. They certainly raised their game to their surroundings and old hits like ‘Somebody Told Me’ remind you that before their new wave Abba on acid experimentation period they just wrote fantastic funk rock pop songs.

You might think this would be the end of the night but it’s off back to the big pink tent to see the Golden Silvers (Who of course you know by now are actually Casiokids) Casiokids are an amazing mix of Sigur Ros and the Teletubbies, a notion further enhanced by their closing song stage invasion that in Flaming Lips style features friends and tour staff dressed up in costumes and oversized bobble head masks.

To close out the night we take one final trip to the Amfiscenen where New York instrumentalists Ratatat. Playing their 3rd set of the festival…apparently when asked to leave the festival site at 4am on monday morning they just refused…and who could blame them!




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