Fribytterdrømme

support Skalkeskjul
author BV date 07/05/16 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Similar to my experience with De Underjordiske just a day prior, I found myself once more in a situation where a band I’ve watched on several smaller stages has risen to the point where they were actively filling Lille Vega to the brim. Sure, Fribytterdrømme have released a phenomenal debut album but the growth of the band seems to have picked up at a rather rapid pace. Surrealistic as ever, it is indicative of the direction the psychedelic scene is moving in, ultimately leading me to pose the question; how long will this last? Bracing myself for what was sure to be a sweaty bounce-fest, I entered Lille Vega to watch one of my favorite acts of the Danish psych scene.

Photos courtesy of Stefan Frank thor Straten

Skalkeskjul

Naturally there was also a support band on this night in the form of Skalkeskjul, a young quintet from Kolding that is following in the general footsteps of the 1960’s beat music – pairing it with an occasional outburst of Madchester influenced mania. With lyrics entirely in Danish, they make for a rather logical pairing with Fribytterdrømme – especially considering that Lau Pedersen from Fribytterdrømme has apparently been involved in the creation of Skalkeskjul’s upcoming album. After a slightly rocky start, Skalkeskjul seemed intent on making the most of their time on the stage – quickly adopting a rather vibrant stage presence which involved communicating actively with the crowd and, in particular, one very drunk and very enthusiastic dude. It was a successful move because by the time Skalkeskjul unleashed some of their more danceable material most people up front seemed as involved in maniacal dance moves as Skalkeskjul’s front-man Alexander Mahaffy. Tracks like “Buldrer Afsted” show quite a lot of promise, but at times the set seemed rather uniform and monotonous, effectively showing that Skalkeskjul are indeed a young outfit, albeit one with significant promise – so much so that I’m looking forward to their coming album.

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Fribytterdrømme

Following Skalkeskjul’s performance it would take a rather lengthy changeover before Fribytterdrømme would eventually appear on stage. At one point it makes sense since they’re dealing with equipment and the like for seven musicians. Nonetheless it made for some tension up front with people waiting anxiously for the headliner of the night. As Fribytterdrømme entered the stage and started their set with “De Konstruerede” it was like a collective sigh of relief spread across the audience whilst lyrics like ”Jeg har et vindue hvor solopgangen går ned” resounded ever-so-clearly across the now packed venue.

The sound came off delightfully crisp even though the bass had far too much of a presence in the mix at first, effectively feeling like a fist to the gut for the first few minutes. Whilst it was a delightful experience to really get things going, I was quite content with the mix becoming far more balanced after those initial minutes. Not ones for letting things go stale Fribytterdrømme opted to throw a bunch of new tracks onto their setlist of the night. Most of the titles eluded me, but these tracks did indicate a progression towards material that seemed a tad heavier than what people might be used to by now – then again, it was the certain kind of dirty heaviness most people would associate with the pseudo-hit “Kosmonauten”, so there’s probably nothing to really worry about.

Still, it was naturally the more well-known tracks that got the room cooking. As Fribytterdrømme set off the gloriously hypnotic riff for “Himmellegemer”, the first several rows of people started dancing frantically in time to the music – ultimately resulting in a minor frenzy every time the chorus of the track came around. If that’s not a great reception, I genuinely can’t imagine one. “Ørken” received an equal amount of attention albeit in a far more controlled, almost stoic way where you would, at most, see head-bopping and distant gazes from the clearly fascinated crowd. It’s quite grand to see a band like Fribytterdrømme being able to maintain some sort of intimacy whilst the venues seem to only be growing bigger. With cheeky little remarks like; ”smells like someone’s getting high… lovely smell” and the like, there was still a connection to the crowd even though the physical distance seems to only be growing larger.

Then again, as Fribytterdrømme ventured into their 20-minute epic ”Fribytterdrømmen” my notion of lacking physical contact was all but vanquished as the notorious middle segment of the track once more entailed the vast majority of the crowd lying or sitting on the floor of the venue, gazing at a band slowly unfolding a track I’m sure most people wouldn’t mind having twice the duration if the mood was right. - Couple that with crowdsurfing and the like, and my notion of lacking physical contact was simply gone. With “Kosmonauten” the band achieved sing-a-longs of a rather impressive quality whilst set-closer “Fem Er Det Magiske Nummer” enveloped the room in a trance-like state before releasing the crowd to the shackles of reality once more. Fribytterdrømme are still a magnificent live band and although one might tend to miss those magical days of being in on the secret rather than just a part of a pretty large crowd, you can’t help but admire the fact they’ve evolved to this point.

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