Teitur

support Benjamin + Boho Dancer
author HES date 22/02/14 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

I arrive at Vega with a slowly diminishing hangover from the night before and the room is hardly packed as the first act takes the stage. We are blessed with an unscheduled performance by Benjamin (Petersen red.), the banjo/guitar guy from Teitur's band. When you love music it's always cool to get more music for your buck, however, as a writer that likes to prepare before a show, I am not the biggest fan of these curveballs. In this case the performance was great, so I'll overlook any minor confusion and irritation.

All photos by Philip BH

Benjamin

He is a good-looking guy with a good-looking guitar. This usually means I'll at least be partly entertained - but Benjamin is actually quite the catch. His voice is clear as a bell, mixed with that little pinch of hoarseness that takes him from a regular songwriter to something more rock and roll. His voice still has a boyish ring to it, but I like the juxtaposition against the older-than-time melodies. He serenades us with a couple of Faroese songs followed by a soulful cover of "Sophisticated Hillbilly" in a minimalistic bluegrass styling without the slavishly monotone 4/4 transgression. The simplicity of the set is mesmerizing, formed exclusively by Benjamin, his guitar (on the hillbilly song a banjo) and a sampled bass drum, lazily and affectionately caressing us and keeping the soundscape afloat. Benjamin manages to make this one man band much more symphonic and grandiose than I ever expected an echo-ridden guitar to sound. All in all a thoroughly impressing performance and for once a good surprise to start off the gig.

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Boho Dancer

I love going to folk shows. You always end up seeing at least one uncommon instrument like a banjo, an accordion or maybe a harmonica. In the more exotic departments I have seen theremins, citars and even a guy playing on a saw. Although I know much of instruments, I sometimes fall short and it is the case tonight. I am guessing the guy from Boho Dancer is playing a bass. Now that doesn't sound very exotic, but if you primarily play it with a bow, it comes up there. The weird shape of it was probably to accustom it to the bow, but it has the effect of making it look like an overgrown violin. The sound is low and elongated and for an instrument that is usually in the rhythm section, this elongated sound makes it reminisce of an electronic cello. The percussionist is untraditionally standing up straight so it seems there is not a lot of "normal" about Boho Dancer.

Lead singer Ida Wenøe's voice is clear and cutesy, not unlike the style of Pernille Rosendahl (of Swan Lee and The Storm) but with a nostalgic twist alá early 60's/band stand-era. Opening track "Good Vibrations" is one of the most well written "pop"-songs I have heard in a while - not keeping to the normal verse-chorus-verse structure and taking us from caressing quiet to pompous power. The contrasts of the almost electronica-sounding "bass" and the clear, girlish voice of Wenøe is beyond well-composed. The sound in Vega is absolutely brilliant as an added bonus for tonight and I am also happy to see a folk band go more "Indian" rather than "Cowboy", also using tribe'ish air pressure vocals on the start of one of their songs. Besides Wenøe, whose vocal performance is a solid 10, the other two guys have respectively wonderful voices and the harmonies are beautiful. Overall this is very intelligent music and a very solid performance.

Teitur

So why did I even want to see Teitur perform? I hardly know him, I haven't really heard any of his songs, but for some reason I have gotten it into my head that he is one of the better performers of our lifetime - getting full stars for both albums and concerts in various other music magazines. So perhaps as part of a quest to become more grown up I try fitting into a crowd of seemingly comprised mostly of married people. The set starts with the weirdest mix I've heard so far: Faroese Americana with double cellos in the form of "Ongir Pengar". Despite the oddness of this, it kind of works and my expectations slowly move from "a night with straight up singer-songwriter" to "this is some weird, funky stuff - but I like it". The next song is a playful game of cat and mouse between the audience and Teitur that tauntingly repeats and add/subtract phrases from "If You Wait" as an intro. The soundscape is odd and avant-garde yet convincingly catchy. I absolutely fall head over heels in love with "I Run The Carousel" an artsy play on circus-rock with a hard edge in the form of staccato guitars on full power.

Unfortunately Vega has not sold out today and even though the venue was almost empty when I came, the place is now packed and the usually open balcony has not been taken into use. This basically means the floor is more packed than a usual sold-out gig. The place feels like a mixture between a Caribbean beach and a men’s sauna and the smell is not great and although I try moving to the back it doesn't help the situation much (although I found no bad sound spots - not back there either). But honestly it's almost unbearable to hang in there. The music being very contemplative and sometimes quiet doesn't mix well with the lazy heat and you can feel the distance between stage and audience widening as more and more slip out in the bar area to get some air and a cool drink. Not even the brilliant hit-song "Louis Louis" can pick it back up and an at-first brilliant set turns awry and I leave the show with very mixed emotions. I hate it when external circumstances affect the outcome of my grades, but I can't get past it this time. There is no doubt that both Teitur and band are very talented but instead of creating awe, the theatrical and art rock aura of the show gets lost in the hum of the heat. I hope to catch Teitur in another venue on a better day, but for today we stay in the mediocre zone – and the most regretable thing is that he had my hopes up. It's only the first part of the gig that carries us through the night though, as we all slowly spread into the cold darkness of February.

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