NorthSide 2018

author LL date 17/06/18

After skipping Aarhus' indie-focused festival last year due to a lack of rock and metal favorites, we are back this year for a nicely mixed line-up that spans some very hip names primarily in indie rock and pop as well as hip-hop and party-focused EDM. As always, the festival feels very proper and neat and while the audience is generally down to party in the late hours, the atmosphere is not so loose, perhaps exactly because it is a city festival with no camping attached. Everything runs smoothly and feels structured and safe and this year we experience next to no serious queues for food, drink, toilets, stages or entrances at any point even though the festival site is generally full of people. Perfect!

All photos by Hasan Jensen/Homage Photography

Good vibes in the sun

SET-UP

This year sees better weather than ever before with only one very light hour of tiny raindrops appearing one day. It's glorious to not have to think too much about conditions outside of experiencing the music itself but the super dry weather also means that the grounds get very dusty which is never a favorite for a contact lens wearing person late in the evening. Upon returning home after the festival, it feels like an entire coating of dust has settled inside the airways of our bodies but no matter, we recover quickly. These conditions bring us swiftly to one of the most striking things about the festival this year, namely that they have become really excellent at making everything feel personalized and catered to the audience. By the entrances, maid-dressed volunteers greet us holding little fans and spraying cans with water for the ones that need a little freshener in the hot weather and they are there again when we exit every evening, just to smile and tell us goodbye and thanks for the visit. Other things in the same personal vein include highlighting of properly hashtagged audience Instagram posts on the big screens next to the stages, encouraging people to post reviews of the music they see online through a certain app, a number of live streaming handheld little wooden cameras in the pits, and volunteers walking around simply offering polaroid photos of the guests as extra memorabilia to take home.

In the midst of the very different areas like Outside, Upside, Sideshow, Bikeside, Skovbunden, and not least Red Stage, different installations and seating options abound and because of how each area feels more and more like its own mini-world, the festival begins to shape its own identity better for each year we visit. Especially the carbaresque feeling of the Sideshow, offering things like silent disco and glitter wrestling, and the random appearances around the grounds of dressed up people and street performers - examples include a loud and fun drums and dancing troupe colourfully dressed or a kazoo band playing themes like Star Wars' "Imperial March" - serve to make the event feel more loose and mysterious even as the audience remains mostly proper, politely watching instead of joining in the festivities in a more unhinged manner.

Sideshow

We experience very good and properly loud sound for pretty much every show we see this year and for the quieter more delicate performances, the conferenciers are super good at encouraging people to save the talking for later so as to not ruin the experience of others. It doesn't always work and obviously only for the areas closer to the stages but nevertheless, it's really nice to see the festival address the issue head-on, also occasionally running the same message on the big screens between sets.

Another disturbance that has been experimented with this year is trying to get rid of more aggressive pant collectors in the pits by simply removing the pant system. Instead of being able to cash in by collecting, the system works this year in a way where we pay a sort of fee on each cup or pitcher that we then don't have to pay again if we bring it back to the counter. It only works 1:1, though, so bringing a pitcher when you want just one new beer or a beer glass when you want a pitcher, doesn't help you at all. Furthermore, there seems to be some confusion among the volunteer staff who don't always do things the same way. The result is more plastic cups floating around the grounds as people stop caring about the slight amount of money they could save but still, Northside feels like one of the cleanest festivals we've visited.

LINE-UP

As mentioned initially, this year has a bunch of very relevant names for this magazine, primarily in indie rock but also some heavier names, most notably A Perfect Circle, Queens of the Stone Age, Body Count, MC5, Kellermensch, and Rival Sons. Body Count is definitely the odd one out here and much has already been written of Anders Bøtter's interview with him where he addresses how we constitute the weakest audience he's encountered. Apart from that somewhat odd booking, it's nice that the most relevant hard names are all scheduled to play on the same day - Friday. It does mean that we have some unfortunate clashes and a constantly busy program this one day but it's super convenient for fans that can get a one-day ticket and save some money for other more genre-focused festivals like e.g. Copenhell.

The festival only suffers from two cancellations this year, the first one being the rapper Earl Sweatshirt who canceled his appearance a week or so before the festival due to problems with depression and anxiety. He is promptly replaced by Danish soul act D/troit while the Norwegian pop singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør has to cancel only a few days before her appearance and is replaced by the Danish electro-pop queen Lydmor (who by the way played an amazing set although a review is not inside the scope of this article). In short, then, luckily nothing that has any impact on our planned rock coverage of the festival this year.

REVIEWS - THURSDAY

Warpaint @ 16:30-17:30 at Blue Stage

The first band we make it in time to see this year is the indie rock/dream pop group Warpaint from Los Angeles. Their three full-length albums so far have moved from indie rock and in a generally more dreamy pop direction so today I'm just pleasantly surprised that their sound mix provides their spacey songs with more oomph than expected. The firm bass and drums grounding makes them power through from the big stage and even their hazy and light vocal harmonies have a certain clearness and take up a more vital role here than the resigned or detached feeling they communicate on the band's recordings. The members are casually active on stage, grooving to their music, while front figures and vocalists/guitarists Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman dance more energetically when they have the opportunity to focus on something else than their guitars from time to time. Still, it's a mellow show where especially the twinkly "Elephants", the mysterious and slightly gloomy "Love Is To Die" (a personal favorite), and the groovy and danceable "New Song" make better impressions than the otherwise more airy contributions. Overall, the setlist spaces out nicely between their albums and it features a few cuts from their first EP as well. It's a soft and pleasant start to this year's festival for us and one that fits well as a soundtrack to relaxing in the hot summer weather without being too spacey but also without being exactly spellbinding. [6½]

Mike D @ 19:00-20:00 at Blue Stage

For those not in the know, Mike D is one of the legendary founders of the seminal New York hip-hop/rap-rock trio Beastie Boys. Since one of the other members died in 2014, Beastie Boys has been discontinued out of respect and thus, solo shows like this one are the closest we can hope to get to their magnificence currently. Sadly this show turns out to be a bit of a disappointment, to say the least, for several reasons. Firstly, any hopes of hearing the original songs that put Beastie Boys on any music history map are killed as we find out that this is mostly a DJ set by Mike D and a colleague that remix Beastie Boys tunes with throwbacks to a wealth of other important hip-hop tracks, new as well as old. Now, this is all fine in theory if you just expected to be here for a club-like dance party but the fact that we only get little tastes of tracks like "Sabotage" or "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" ends up being more infuriating than anything else. As the only one, "Intergalactic" does end the set in something more like full length, oddly, but by then it's too little too late. Secondly, Mike D raps his own parts of songs but is generally not showcasing his extensive talents very well as an overwhelming amount of the time, his contributions are just accentuating single words or simply taking his place behind the turntables and laptops set up in the middle of the stage to take on an MC role and mix in other people's hits without so much as adding his own voice or something like that. Perhaps this assessment just goes to show that I'm a rock fan and not a hip-hop fan and thus I expect different things when I go to a live show. Nevertheless, the final grade here reflects only the sum of three elements: he does do fine when rapping his own parts, the idea of paying tribute to Beastie Boys as well as other hip-hop acts is admirable in theory, and, finally, the crowd make the very best of it and many seem to have a field day with dancing along and cheering for the pieces of songs they know. [3]

The War On Drugs @ 23:15-00:45 at Green Stage

The indie rock band The War On Drugs from Philadelphia has been hailed for a number of years now as one of the very biggest current names in rock. The way they revitalize the Springsteen-esque Americana vibes has gained them exceptionally positive reviews and great success, especially with the release of their third and fourth full-lengths, 2014's "Lost in the Dream" and 2017's "A Deeper Understanding". Tonight, these albums are also their sole focus with an exactly equal division between each on the setlist. The six-piece band has a warm and all-encompassing sound mix that is inviting but also filled with a certain almost unbearably heavy melancholy and sadness behind the rocking guitar jams. Especially the emotional "Pain" with nice guitar details all over make an impression early on, while tracks like the harmonica-tinged "Nothing To Find" and especially the catchy banger "Red Eyes" keep us on our toes later on. The slow-moving "Knocked Down" revisits some of the same moods as "Pain" presented early on but in its quiet nature, it is challenged by a somewhat talkative festival audience. There's a good balance, generally, between upbeat and more ballad-oriented songs although I personally still have a hard time being engaged by their heartland rock style. Still, this show has definitely opened my eyes more than before to the wealth of guitar tones expressed in their songs so what seemed to me before more like a blur of nice-sounding but somewhat toothless music always chugging away like a casual rock train has a lot more nuance by now. And aren't those some of the best experiences with big names - when the discography seems to open a bit and you suddenly feel a lot closer to getting something than you were before. [7½]

REVIEWS - FRIDAY

Body Count @ 13:20-14:05 at Green Stage

As already mentioned, the weirdest booking this year at Northside is definitely the Los Angeles rap-metal band Body Count with the infamous Ice-T in front. It seems almost like sacrilege to have them opening this second day of the festival where most people are probably still at home taking care of their hangovers from yesterday. As the hardest name here, Ice-T's usual insults to the sparse crowd they play for suddenly ring a lot truer than usually as he wonders how we can be so lame here in Viking country and speaks to us of "the general pussification of men" before heading into the newer song "Manslaughter". No wonder though, since out of their usual bookings, this is not a metal or hard rock festival, obviously. Still, there's a decent amount of people here when they break out their cover of Slayer's "Raining Blood" released on their newest album "Bloodlust". They are obviously a bunch of musicians with a lot of routine but still, they seem to have fun with their music, especially their insanely skilled guitarist Ernie C who seems super effortless as he prances about the stage, breaking out little solos in almost every track. They play a bunch of fast, older songs like "Necessary Evil", "Bowels of the Devil", and "There Goes The Neighborhood", but it's a few newer cuts that make the very best impressions. Especially "No Lives Matter" with its more atmospheric sound stands as one of the strongest moments of the set. There's over-the-top lyrics all over but with super catchy riffs, not least during "Drive By", as well as the infamous "Cop Killer", and of course "Talk Shit, Get Shot" that comically gets introduced with a family value spin as Ice-T's 2-year old daughter is presented to us as well as his older son who is part of the touring band. Overall, their set is just as heavy as one would expect and despite the surroundings, they do not tone down any aspect of their performance although they can only do so much to get the mood right and the audience isn't quite good enough at picking it up from there. [7]

Gang of Youths @ 14:15-15:00 at Blue Stage

The Australian indie rock group Gang of Youths from Sydney surprised me last year with the release of their delicate album "Go Farther In Lightness" that is somehow both readily accessible and catchy as well as winding and somewhat caught up in itself. They fit the genre mix at Northside perfectly with subtle music where sweeping guitar melodies and dynamic breaks nevertheless abound and their sensitive frontman David Le'aupepe runs the proceedings here with a casually trained demeanor. Still, they only relocated to the UK last year and they don't seem to have really broken through in Denmark just yet even though the space in front of their stage fills up steadily throughout the set. For a fan in the know, they play only bangers, starting out with the danceable "Fear and Trembling". Their blend of heart-on-sleeve lyrics and dedicated vocal delivery shines further in a glorious rendition of "The Heart Is A Muscle" but the show only really clicks in during "Let Me Down Easy" where Le'aupepe stops during the first verse in frustration with a somewhat stiff Scandinavian mentality. He tells us to embrace the Viking in us, ending his short shoutout with simply "Apathy is fucking poison, Denmark" before starting the song over again. And it works somewhat - the assembling crowd begins to groove more and let Le'aupepe lead the way with his smooth dancing. This is also where the Asian-sounding plucking in their soundscapes gets to be properly heard for the first time today, and generally, it would have been nice if the various layers of glockenspiel and brass instruments and whatnot had been more audible. Overall, the vocals are a little low in the mix as well and the music sounds somewhat thin at times, lacking a bit of grounding to really vibrate into our dancing feet. The older "Magnolia" makes a welcome appearance, though, and sees Le'aupepe go for a run into the crowd, skipping around with the most swagger I've seen in a while. With "The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows", the sound mix seems to wake up a bit and finally the high-strung "What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?" sends the audience into a deserved clap-along. Here's to really hoping they come right back for a show of their own sometime soon. [7½]

Rival Sons @ 15:15-16:15 at Green Stage

The bluesy Long Beach, California rock band Rival Sons waste not a second today as they go on stage to the sound of the theme music from the western "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" and break right into ridiculous renditions of the hits "Pressure and Time" and "Electric Man". Way to kick off a set in this afternoon sun! Everything sounds crisp and warm apart from some initial troubles with the bass drum but after the first few songs, this is properly fixed. Vocalist Jay Buchanan impresses continually with his insane vocal control as he belts out powerful lines complete with well-placed vibrato and general cheekiness. Later highlights that change up the pace include the slow and ballsy "Tied Up" followed by a slew of more ballad-oriented songs where especially the simmering "Memphis Sun" and an emotional performance of "Jordan" stand out, ending in a jammy solo. This track also really underlines Buchanan's perfect mic control as his voice is always perfectly leveled whether the music hammers on behind him or goes into more quiet passages. Still, while I just can't get over Buchanan's skills and the perfect timing of their music and the hammering sun today, the music itself isn't exactly special. Rather, they're a newer band that do a very established genre extremely well but that also means that when we hit some of their more run-of-the-mill songs, the set loses steam a bit. The first of these does feature a groovy Hammond organ solo, though, and gets the crowd singing on to the "Woah-oh" chorus even after the song ends to a few laughs from Buchanan. While I would personally have loved to hear at least the cut "Baby Boy" from their most recent album "Hollow Bones", they do get around admirably in their discography, finally ending with the older hit "Keep On Swinging". Generally, a solid and well-placed set by a band that seems right on top of their game. [8]

Jimmy Eat World @ 19:00-19:45 at Red Stage

Mesa, Arizona legends of emo rock, Jimmy Eat World, haven't played much in these parts for years but after a performance last year at Northside's sister festival Tinderbox in Odense, they have been booked here this year as well, much to my satisfaction. They are playing the smallest stage today which seems a perfect fit as a shred of intimacy is thus established between the band and their not-that-many dedicated Danish fans instead of the potentially awkward situation of seeing one of your favorite heroes play to a dismal not-so-crowded field in front of the bigger stages. Their setlist wisely focuses on their breakout albums "Futures" and "Bleed American" with the fast and rough songs "Bleed American" and "A Praise Chorus" kicking off the set in solid fashion. The all-new single "Love Never" makes an appearance as well as the glossy pop-rock song "Sure and Certain" from 2016 but otherwise, the focus remains on older cuts. Thus, it is a string of hits like "Pain", "Work", "Lucky Denver Mint", and finally "Sweetness" and "The Middle" that get the best singalongs as nostalgic fans finally know the words as well. Lead singer Jim Adkins does a bored attempt at interaction by inviting the audience to ask him any questions they might have but quickly cuts it short to move on. It's obvious that this is very much a routine show for the group before they head back home so while they play just fine, it's not exactly the most inspired session ever although it's of course always pretty great to hear these songs that have meant so much on Danish soil as well. [7]

A Perfect Circle @ 20:15-21:30 at Green Stage

By far the most important reason to be at this year's Northside festival for me, Los Angeles' A Perfect Circle with Maynard James Keenan of Tool and Billy Howerdel in front slam right into it with one of my favorite tracks, the industrial and heavy "Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm Of The War Drums". The stage is thus immediately set for a solid performance where the sound mix, fortunately, stays right on point for the heavy as well as the quiet sections of their very dynamic music. Spanning a simple setup of three plateaus in different heights with an overlay of simple video sequences, there is plenty of room for Keenan to get into his hypnotic state in the back middle of the stage as he sensitively and seemingly effortlessly delivers to us his recognizable vocals that span an amazing width of nuances. The similarly heavy-hitting new song "Hourglass" follows before especially on "The Hollow", the band's beautiful triple vocal harmonies begin to stand out in the sound mix. Amazing renditions of "Weak and Powerless" and "Rose" with an especially potent guitar delivery follow before an extra synthesizer is set up for Howerdel to play. The newer very atmospherically layered songs "Disillusioned" and "The Contrarian" further expand the band's palette and underline their equal capability for experimental as well as more straight-forward songwriting. Their sound here is further nuanced by both glockenspiel, keyboards, and guitar layers. The set goes on to mix older songs "Thomas" and not least a completely magical version of "The Package" with newer and very different singles "TalkTalk", "The Doomed", and the positively-sounding odd one out "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish". For the heavier songs, little mosh pits break out here and there, but in general, the mood is one of dedicated reverence among fans that have waited way too many years to hear these songs live. What primarily detracts from the experience is the band's cover of the AC/DC song "Dog Eat Dog" in dedication to Malcolm Young as well as Chris Cornell, mainly because they play it without really making it into their own song while we're left just wanting more of their own amazing discography. This is worsened as their set doesn't completely fill out their allotted time slot, although the final performance of heavy-hitter "The Outsider" leaves nothing to be desired on its own. Overall, then, it is a show that should satisfy any hungry fan and the negatives are very minor details. Still, I'm also just extremely grateful that the performance has already been followed up with the announcement of a Forum show of their own in December. [9]

The National @ 21:45-23:00 at Blue Stage

As vocalist Matt Berninger and co. of Cincinnati, Ohio indie rock band The National take the stage, he addresses the crowd in a sort of disbelief at how many people are there with the words "You know we're not Queens of the Stone Age, right? They go on after us!" to widespread laughter. They launch into "Nobody Else Will Be There" before a rhythmically complex favorite of mine, "The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness", shakes things up already as song number two. As the sun is slowly painting the sky orange, red and purple, all of their moody music gets a certain magical touch but nevertheless, as a casual fan who mainly knows their two latest releases, it's songs like "Walk It Back", the hit "I Need My Girl" (that receives a fairly loud yet calm singalong), the expansive and fast "Day I Die", "Carin at the Liquor Store", and especially the dynamic "Guilty Party", that make the best impressions here. In general, their musical universe appeals the most to me when the calm soundscapes and keyboard/guitar layers are accentuated with a more active rhythm section than usual and thus their setlist that leans heavily on these newest releases fits me just fine. Berninger with his deep voice performs vividly and with great presence despite his tendency to sound somewhat detached from the words he's singing, and especially with "Graceless" that he sings partly from the crowd, a special connection is established with the audience. The louder "Bloodbuzz Ohio", as well as the rarity "Rylan", make appearances later on but overall, attention seems to drift from the music for all but the fans closer to the stage for a good part of the second half of the set. [7½]

Queens Of The Stone Age @ 23:15-00:45 at Green Stage

The legendary Josh Homme and his alternative rock band Queens Of The Stone Age from Palm Desert, California has been high on the list of important shows for rock fans visiting Northside this year, and initially they don't disappoint. They start out with a banger section of the slowly building "Feet Don't Fail Me Now", the insanely danceable and groovy "The Way You Used To Do", the older and harsher "Sick, Sick, Sick", and then top it off with "No One Knows" ending in a huge drum solo. The lighting especially lifts the whole show and the music and gives it all an energy boost like never before. All the time the lights move rhythmically and specially designed to each song, being especially cheeky during "Evil Has Landed" where singular lamps follow every single guitar note in the main riff in an insanely catchy display. On the stage, vertical bars of light stand amongst the band members that can be knocked down only to bounce back up, and the guitarists especially make use of playing with this and look like they have a super fun time. Homme is all devil-may-care rock attitude tonight as he encourages people to do whatever the fuck they want and even going as far as telling security off during a song because they attempt to get a man to not sit on the shoulders of his friend in the pit with the phrasing that "This is my show and you work for me". It gets a bit tiresome to listen to as it always is when bands trash working personnel who are not being excessive and are in fact just doing their job. After the strong opening, though, the set slowly takes a weird turn at this late hour, as we get a longer stretch of mainly slow songs or ballads which seem to dampen the drunk mood across the audience. "I Sat By The Ocean", the recognizable riff of "Domesticated Animals", as well as "I Appear Missing" that ends in an attempt at an unhinged solo by Homme do provide momentary highlights but without lifting the mood to anywhere near the heights of the beginning. With fifteen minutes to go, they get back in the game with some solid riffage in the shape of the older "Little Sister" which is followed by a banger ending in "Go With The Flow". All in all, then, they play well and the sound is fine but dynamically the set doesn't work super well for a festival show this late. On the other hand, mister Homme is and behaves like a rock star in the truest sense and show- as well as attitude-wise, there's not a lot to be desired. [7]

MC50 @ 01:00-02:00 at Red Stage

The legendary MC5, that historically played a big part in influencing the punk movement in the 60's and early 70's, are celebrating the 50th year anniversary of their debut album "Kick Out The Jams" this year. Remaining member and frontman Wayne Kramer is in charge of this and has for the occasion collected an all-star line-up including notably guitarist Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), drummer Brendan Canty (Fugazi), bassist Doug Pinnick (King's X), and Marcus Bryant (Zen Guerrilla). Despite their obvious ages, they exude a vibrant rock'n'roll energy that really gets to simmer and fill out the space around the stage and under the belonging canopy. They break out extended guitar jams as they play through songs like "Ramblin' Rose" and "Kick Out The Jams" to cheers from the audience who are sadly not as numerous as one could have hoped, most likely due to the late hour and the generally softer musical focus of the festival. As a person slightly too young to know them as more than a historic name, I'm initially impressed at the width of genre elements to be heard in their music, spanning garage, punk, and blues as well as almost gospel-inspired sections. Still, I end up only sticking around for just about half their set before migrating to the simultaneous show on the bigger stage and thus will refrain from giving a grade as it simply doesn't seem fair.

Dizzy Mizz Lizzy @ 01:00-02:30 at Blue Stage

Arriving one third into the set of national treasure Dizzy Mizz Lizzy's set, the last chorus of "Rotator" rings out and from there, we only get solid gold in terms of song choices. "67 Seas In Your Eyes" moves right along and soon extends into a longer solo section which will soon prove to be an element in almost every single song they perform here. Now, some of these solo bits are actual parts of the recordings while others are added on presumably for extra rock credit live and hopefully because the band find it more fun or rewarding to play like that. And don't get me wrong, well-placed and inspired guitar solos are great and can heighten the mood of any rock show, but with the amount of time spent on them tonight, they end up stretching out several songs more thinly than they can really carry. With the status this band has for most rock fans of my generation, though, it's like they can do no wrong and when Tim Christensen breaks out a solo acoustic rendition of "Love Is A Loser's Game", it seems the entire festival ground is helping him sing it out and he breaks away from the mic to let us completely take over several times. During this as well as the following "11:07 pm" and the set-ending "Silverflame", it seems a lot like the band don't feel ownership of their biggest hits anymore, for good and for bad. On one hand, it means that what we're celebrating with these songs is a more communal nostalgia which is special in its own right. On the other it makes the songs come off as very routinely played and as something that just has to be there to create goodwill and space enough to play some of their more recent come-back songs. We also get one completely new song called "In My Blood" which is frankly a bit boring with its slow, dusty, somewhat very metal guitar vibe that leaves plenty of room for Christensen's voice to ring out but also at the same time feels a bit empty compared with the group's more dynamic earlier stuff. But who can blame them - presumably every band wants to evolve and striking a balance between old and new stuff can be difficult. The two newer bangers "Made To Believe" and the encore-filling "I Would If I Could But I Can't" make worthy contributions to the setlist, though, and I can certainly appreciate cuts like "Glory" and "Thorn In My Pride" getting space towards the end as well. Fortunately for the band, their audience is super grateful throughout the show and it makes for a good ending to the second day of the festival despite my criticisms. [7½]

REVIEWS - SATURDAY

Deerhunter @ 15:15-16:15 at Green Stage

Presented by the conferenciers as the perfect band for this slightly cloudy but warm day, the indie shoegaze band Deerhunter from Atlanta take the stage at a still not very crowded festival site on this last day and go on to play a mellow set with many new and unreleased songs. Their music is mostly slow and light in tone with twinkly guitar melodies as well as heavy soundscape layers that build up most of their tunes. "Agoraphobia" leads in after a few problems with the guitar sound from the start. It doesn't take very long to get fixed, though, and they're off to an organically flowing but also very toned down set. Their meditative music works almost hypnotically at times, lulling us into a sort of stoned vibe. And yet, I am slightly surprised at how relatively varied their set proves to become, with various crescendos presenting themselves dynamically in several songs. Especially the new "What Happens To People" makes a lasting impression as well as the older, very recognizable cuts "Helicopter" and "He Would Have Laughed". Overall, though, it's not the most eventful set partially due to what the band has to work with crowd-wise and partially simply due to the nature of their soft music. [6½]

C.V. Jørgensen @ 16:25-17:35 at Blue Stage

Being a somewhat ignorant young person when it comes to older Danish music, C.V. Jørgensen is not a songwriter whose music I'm very familiar with despite the obvious few singles that one cannot avoid coming into contact with while growing up. Thus, I don't feel very well equipped during his Northside set as the very slow-moving songs and his special somewhat flat and dragging singing continues the lull that Deerhunter started before him. So instead of being entranced by his lyrics, I find myself mostly drifting except for a few moments, mainly due to the circling nature of the riffs and the very slow ebbs and flows in the songwriting. One of these moments is the initially captivating "Indian Summer", while another is the melancholic "Elisabeth" closer to the middle of the set that somehow signifies a slight change in the coloring of his music compared to what has gone before. Several songs feature plenty of casual rocking out and longer guitar jams, as well as that significant tone that is somewhat Middle Eastern and especially reminds me of the fellow older Danish act Steppeulvene. "Flik-Flakker" finally picks up more of a pace in the last third of his set with a firmer and faster rhythm and some playful and silly lyrical rhymes. "Sæsonen Er Slut" from the iconic album "Tidens Tern" as well as "Det Si'r Sig Selv" make endearing appearances towards the end and if nothing else, I can certainly understand why people of my own generation still revere the songwriting of this man. For me, it remains a show of historic interest more than actuality but at least I get a sense that a more committed dive into his universe might yield something I didn't see there before although I'm not quite there yet. [6½]

Father John Misty @ 20:15-21:30 at Green Stage

The American singer-songwriter Father John Misty a.k.a Josh Tillman has been a popular name in Denmark for years and he just can't seem to stop putting out new well-received albums. He just released "God's Favorite Customer" before the festival, following 2017's "Pure Comedy" and 2015's "I Love You Honeybear". The second song "Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)" kicks off a line of songs that appear like pearls on a string filled with poignant lyrical content: the moody "Strange Encounter", the humorous tragedy of "Total Entertainment Forever", and finally "Ballad of the Dying Man" all make great impressions with crystal clear vocals on top of a complex live sound shaped by his regular band where both guitars and piano take up space as well as a full brass and string section for the occassion, creating a massive and yet well-balanced sound all over the festival grounds where his set seems to be one of the most well-visited of the festival in general. He dons a guitar himself most of the time but despite keeping on his sunglasses and not talking a whole lot to the audience, he expertly establishes a really good connection through dynamic gesticulation and a general active attitude, sending him walking about the stage despite the very calm and somewhat glossy and unremarkable instrumental side of his tunes. A big section in the middle presents five songs in a row from his new release, accompanied by among other things a humorous ad for it on the huge video screen behind him. Of these, it's mostly "Mr. Tillman" that makes an impression on me, with its focus on subtly funny lyrics of a hotel clerk addressing our singer himself and spiced up with a little guitar solo and whistling section as well. "Pure Comedy", "Holy Shit", "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings", and finally "I Love You, Honeybear" return us to his older songs in each their own style towards the end. Yet, even though it feels like he has been playing for a long time, the set ends almost fifteen minutes early which is a bit of a shame. [8]

Beck @ 21:45-23:00 at Blue Stage

Somewhat stupidly because we have extra time between sets due to mister Tillman's early end, Beck begins his own set fifteen minutes late, creating somewhat of a pause of extra time but fortunately it seems the party-ready audience is just using the time to get a proper buzz on for the last stretch of bands this year. Beck and his band are just as ready to get down when they appear, and as it pleasantly turns out, their set this year is also more rock-oriented than the last time they were here. Leading off with the indie-tinged "Devil's Haircut" that sends Eels-vibes all around the grounds, a focus on the newest album, "Colors", mostly takes over with the danceable, warm-sounding cuts "Up All Night", "Colors", "Wow", and "I'm So Free". "The New Pollution" and "Mixed Bizness" send out jazz and gospel vibes respectively and especially their talented drummer gets to shine here. In general, the sound mix is vibrant and the drums sound nice and dry, really accentuating the light, funky feel of a lot of Beck's music tonight. Beck himself is sharply dressed as per usual and with the help of the colorful and playful visuals covering the back of the stage, he has no problems getting the audience to dance and groove with him all over. For a seasoned musician, it's inspiring to see how fully present he seems to be despite his no doubt busy touring schedule. He bursts into a session of slow jams, acoustically modifying the humorous "Debra" slightly to fit the Northside-location and from there goes straight into a tribute to Prince by covering his "Raspberry Beret". A single slow song, "Blue Moon", then appears, apparently because someone requested it to him before the show, and he uses the occasion to further assure us that he is going to keep it entirely party the rest of the time to cheers from all around. Especially the newer hip single "Dreams" and the very oldest one of his, "Loser", get the audience moving again and fortunately, Beck makes up the initially lost time by playing over the announced end time instead. Ending in superior fashion, he mixes in a bunch of other hits with his own "Where It's At", and as the last show for us to cover this year, he certainly ends the festival in style. [9]

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