Trailerpark Festival 2014

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author HES date 01/08/14 venue Copenhagen Skatepark, Copenhagen, DEN

Copenhagens hipster elite has one event jotted down in their mulberry covered calendars every summer: Trailerpark Festival. The festival is held on the fashionable Vesterbro in a local skatepark and is mainly a project spurring from Copenhagen's creative elite in the shape of Artrebels. All of this may sound very non-rock and much of it is, but contrary to some of the former line ups Trailerpark has not only managed to book bigger names, but also some quality rock names. The festival overall is still not a rock festival, but an underground festival.

So while wandering in a fairytale-like, art-clad festival area, you can catch a glimpse of everything from pop to electronica to rock. Being a music lover I appreciate the will to support more than just the already accomplished names and maybe show the more quirky or interesting sides of the different mainstream genres. So TL, LF and I bought a one day pass for the Friday to check out a few bands and see if Trailerpark is going anywhere for rock fans. Friday was without a doubt the most rock-centered day, but unfortunately we missed Baby In Vain playing Thursday and other decent names like Communions, Heimatt and Mont Oliver. It only comes to show that the many up-and-coming festivals in Denmark do have an understanding that there is also a market for rock music within their fanbase.

All photos are courtesy of Trailerpark Festival

Get Your Gun

There are roughly three bands worthy of interest at Trailerpark in my view, and due to an irresponsible economy, going yesterday solely for Baby In Vain was not an option, but today both Get Your Gun and Reptile Youth are on, so I make the trip to join HES here at a time when the former band has just started playing on the Royal Stage placed in the indoor skating area. It's still bright outside, and the crowd is spread thin across the cemented floor, but the Danish quintet perform their part stoically regardless, aided terrifically by a great mix that really showcases the power of their lumbering music. With dark nods towards bands like Kellermensch and Alice In Chains, they're hardly the sorts to get the party started in front of a varied crowd like Trailerpark's, but among the early birds heads can be seen nodding (some even banging a bit) from recognition. Frontman Andreas Westmark still looks a bit defiant though, as he strums his guitar forcefully and makes use of the width of the stage, serving as the dynamic focal point in contrast to the other members on bass, drums and violin, who perform rather statically. Regarding the violin though, it's fascinating to hear the surprising sounds Get Your Gun extract from the instrument and how this adds personality to the band's sound. Overall though, no matter the strength of the band's efforts, they're shadowboxing here, with too little of a crowd present for their stuff to provoke much reaction. It feels like a showcase, but with that said it's a good one at that. /TL

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Reptile Youth

Pete Doherty managed to miss his plane for Vanguard Festival which for some reasons was held at the exact same date as Trailerpark Festival. To Reptile Youth's luck they were booked last minute as stand in for the British enfant terriblé. This means Reptile Youth only make it back to do a quick sound check before their gig here. The band took TL and yours truly by surprise at this year's Northside Festival with so solid a live performance, we both asked each other why this band had not been on our radar far earlier. This live performance is mainly driven by lead singer Mads Damsgaard Kristiansen's energetic and neck breaking attitude with a general disregard for safety. And this is why I mention that the band played a concert just earlier: I genuinely fear for whether or not he will be able to pull off two gigs of the same energy level in one night. But even though there's a slight feeling of fatigue in his eyes, Kristiansen still manages to psychically attack his audience, jumping into the crowd more than three times while still hitting every note. So much so that a few times it's hard to hear that the guy even left the stage, let alone is singing from the middle of the crowd being held vertically by the eager crowd. My expectations are fully repaid by tonight's performance, that simply puts so much distance between Reptile Youth and their electro-rock peers, that it's hard to even spot a worthy challenger. Even during the lesser known tracks, the solid vocal performance of Kristiansen and the even more solid backing by the rest of the touring orchestra consistently blow us away with every well-written hook, and with throbbing bass and enough energy to power a small city. If I could recommend just one band for the cynical rock listener to come listen to live, even though it may not seem like the kind of music they'd normally put on their Spotify playlist, it would be Reptile Youth. My head is filled with electrical butterflies and my neck was hurting from too much headbanging still the day after. As the band closes their set with the underground hit "Speeddance" the crowd goes from mad to insane so that even the hipsters at the edges of the floor jump on the band wagon and rock out. /HES

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Sleep Party People

Though our familiarity with the project is limited to pretty much having seen the name around, LF and I decide to have a look at Sleep Party People before calling it a night (having decided that our plans to stay awake for the Felines set at the ungodly hour of 4 AM was over-ambitious). Normally the solo-project of one Brian Batz, Sleep Party People appears in a five piece constellation in the live setting, all members of which appear with iconic, long-eared bunny masks. The music can cleanly be categorized as dreamy, with decipherable lyrics being beside the point in a sound where subtle post-rock-ish guitars mesh seamlessly with soft layers of ambiance on top of simplistic and at times electronic sounding beats. Mew's more elusive moments come to mind as does vague memories of Beach House songs I listened to at one point, and it makes sense to have a band like this envelop us as our minds are starting to get hazy and sleepy at this hour. Critically though, I don't think I'll ever understand bands that employ vocals without caring to make the words understandable, but I suppose that here it's symptomatic of Sleep Party People being content with providing backdrop and atmosphere. Intentional restraint or not however, the absence of a feeling of narrative or captivating dynamic does cost the set its novelty around the halfway mark, however eclectic and fitting for the hour it may have seemed. /TL

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