Babylove & The Van Dangos

support Gustav Foss + Plök
author PP date 20/03/10 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

The New Era tour is another brand new initiative by the forces behind the music scenes in Denmark, this time focusing on a wide breadth of genres, with the goal of promoting and recognizing young Danish talent through a tour that spans all major cities in Denmark and a few smaller ones, too. It's organized by the same people as Copenhagen Showdown, so many of you have by now learned what to expect from these type of shows. The first tour included hardcore heavyweights Last Mile, pop punkers The 20Belows and The Hitchcocks, a very punked up arrangement in other words, while this time the focus has clearly been on genres that seduce those who are into dancing. Headlining on the bill we have Babylove & The Van Dangos, possibly Denmark's premiere ska/reggae export with over 250 shows underneath their belt, with up-and-coming indie hipsters Gustav Foss supporting together with electro rockers Plök.


Opening the night in front of a modest and irritatingly/fashionably late audience (depending on your outlook) were Plök, a foursome from Odense, who had heaved an impressive amount of stage equipment with them despite being a band just taking their first babysteps in the music scene. The backdrop was covered by two white sheets, onto which strange, but yet somehow curious animations and clippings were projected from two separate video projectors in perfect mirror images from each other. Lots of really weird things going on there, and certainly a point of interest whenever plök slowed down the tempo or played just a liiiittle bit too experimental for my taste in a live environment. Then on top of that, each band member (excl the drummer) was utilizing a few band's worth of effect pedals and other equipment (like home made drums next to the keyboards), which they used to produce some of the experimentalist guitar, bass, percussion, synth and vocal sounds that you might've heard on their new record. So if your eyes weren't glued on the video backdrop, they were probably closely following what the guys were doing with their effect sets. But it wasn't all about the props for Plök, and particularly the guitarist's breakout moments into rock/metallish hypnotic movement at times was something that stuck to my mind from their show. Overall, Plök's groovy dance/electronica rhythms, spiced with a pinch of rock/indie on top, felt like they could get much bigger crowds going than the few people present at this early (ahem, 22:00) point of the night, and as such it suffered a little from the emptiness of the dancefloor. Otherwise, a very interesting show.


Gustav Foss

As opposed to Plök's stage setup, Gustav Foss's equivalent seemed almost minimalistic in comparison, with wireless guitars and no big effects panels in the mix, it was just the drums and four (VERY) young, slim, fashionable guys occupying the stage area. But what Gustav Foss lacked in terms of experimentation, they more than made up with an energetic, remarkably bouncy stage show. I don't think there was a moment where their frontman Gustav Foss wouldn't have either been up in air as if he was on a trampoline, or alternatively acting out his (occasionally juvenile) lyrics like a hip hopper or something. Good stuff in terms of stage performance. Musically, however, these guys were a mixture of pretty much everything that's wrong with the British music scene when it cancerously spreads its wings to mainland Europe. One half Arctic Monkeys, another half The Streets, yeah it makes sense why these guys refer to their hometown Esbjerg as "Birmingham, Denmark" on their Myspace page. To be fair, their dance rock expression is very sexy and a couple of the songs are catchy beyond belief, but I just feel that the Brit rock scene has been overdone in recent years and a band like Gustav Foss needs to be much more original than they are as a direct consequence. That said, it could also be that the guys just don't have enough great songs yet, because at least a few of their tracks felt almost irresistible despite this being the first time experience of them for this writer.

Babylove & The Van Dangos

A few beers and a handful of minutes later, it was time for a genre change again, The New Era tour now venturing into relaxed, chilled out ska/reggae combo delivered by Babylove & The Van Dangos. With the whole six-piece dressed up in fancy suits and tie outfits, the sensory attention of every crowd member was grabbed immediately, and it didn't take many rhythms before people were moving en massé. The fashionably late arrivals had all finally arrived; it rather surprised me to see Babylove pulling a crowd size not too shy from the ones most international bands draw here when they play at Loppen. A few songs in, it became clear that Babylove sets aren't about crazed ska-punk mosh pits or even skanking, rather than casual drifting from side to side to their reggae-influenced rhythms, all orchestrated beautifully by a sublime performance of their vocalist Broman, the absolute centerpiece of the band's set tonight. He's one of those guys with an engaging aura surrounding him as a result of the small exaggerations he puts in his performance on stage. When not casually dancing on the stage, he was either making funny faces or small tricks with the microphone to make things interesting. A feel good, easily accessible, and easily absorbed set that went down well with the crowd.

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