A Scandinavian top chef. A completely booked networking event with 50 Dutch, Belgian and Danish music industry people. And powerful concerts with Go Go Berlin, Ocean View and The Foreign Resort. MXD and the SPOT Festival’s event at the Dutch Hit The City Festival in Eindhoven left an impression. Read here, where one of Holland’s best-known music writers, Jaspar Van Vugt, from the country’s largest music magazine Oor has written about the SPOT On Denmark event, seen through Dutch eyes.
It’s a mellow Sunday afternoon in the city center of Eindhoven. People walk their dog, do some fun shopping or head inside a cafe for some tea. The atmosphere inside the café of live venue The Effenaar is more lively, as key figures in the Dutch (and Flemmish) music industry meet with their Danish colleagues during a business lunch before the Hit The City festival kicks off. The festival has a special focus on Denmark with four Danish bands. The business event is organized by the office of Music Export Denmark and SPOT Festival in an effort to bring Danish music and Dutch industry closer together.
Giant mussels, soup, crab and prawns
If the professionals needed a conversation starter, they’ve been given one in the form of Birgir Enni. The mouth watering smells coming out of the kitchen, the well known NOMA affiliated chef. His business lunch is a feast for the senses, with delicious giant mussels, soup, crab and prawns. The 80+ audience quickly bonds over such a treat. Menno Visser, musical director of national Radio 3FM VPRO, even asks for a doggy bag. He’s here to see Schultz & Forever. Menno: “Bands like Efterklang, Iceage and Asteroids Galaxy Tour show there’s something interesting happening there. And not only in pop music; also in dance.¨
Jeps Salfischberger, booker at Hollands biggest organiser of concerts in The Netherlands with over 200 concerts and a total of a million visitors a year, praises the initiative for this business lunch. He goes as far as to say the Dutch government can learn something from the way the Danes introduce other countries to their music. Jeps: “It’s quite an effort to have someone like Birgir prepare a lunch for an event like this, but it pays off. A lot of key figures showed up and it brings a positive vibe to the event. It’s an investment into the sharing of knowledge, and an opportunity to extend one’s network.”
“The Dutch audience is …eager to discover new bands”
That is exactly what made Thomas Bredahl of Heartbeat Music drive down from Denmark to Eindhoven this morning. The manager of Danish rock band Go Go Berlin hopes to meet with potential partners for the Dutch market. Thomas: “It’s a logical next step to do shows here; it’s closeby, the mentality is similar to Denmark and there are a lot festivals. The Dutch audience is enthousiastic about live music and is eager to discover new bands. We already did some shows as support for Kensington, a very popular Dutch rock band, and will release the debut album of Go Go Berlin here in mid 2014.”
His band is one of the four scheduled Danish acts that perform at the festival, as part of the SPOT On Denmark programme. The festival is organised by local promotor Tom Ketelaar of the Effenaar and Roel Coppen, co-owner of booking agency and artist management Friendly Fire. They came up with the idea for the festival on their way to SPOT festival in Denmark. Tom: “We saw a lot of great Danish bands at the festival. Roel and I booked some of the bands directly at SPOT to play the first edition of Hit The City. There’s a lot of quality in a wide arrange of genres in Danish music at the moment. We wanted these bands to come play shows in the Netherlands and introduce them to the Dutch audience.” Roel adds: “It’s also nice doing business with people in the Danish music industry; they have a professional attitude and know what’s going on.”
Like Joy Division on steroids
The last bits of food are taken along as the party breaks up and heads for the two rooms of The Effenaar, where The Foreign Resort and Ocean View kick off the musical part of the festival. The Foreign Resort plays in the small room in front of some 200 people. Even though it’s still mid-afternoon, the four-piece from Copenhagen is giving it all. In a matter of a few songs singer/guitarist Mikkel B. Jakobsen is sweating all over. Their eighties wave with post punk influences, like Joy Division on steroids, is made for a far bigger crowd and so is their show.
Despite the quality of the songs and the hard effort of the band, it’s quite a heavy opener of the festival and not an easy starter for a Sunday. Nevertheless, few walk away to check out Ocean View in the main room. The three youngsters find themselves in an intimate, cozy setting with floor lamps and couches and an eager crowd of about 250 people. The punk rock of their latest EP “Ocean.Puke.Future” is played with a ferocity that does not strike with the corporate look of the singer, but goes down well with the audience. It’s a chaotic, uncompromising and short set that reminds one of their peers of Iceage, a fellow Danish punk rock band that is loved by Dutch audiences. “Are you listening?” asks the singer at the end of the set. The question is directed at the audience, that is barely moving but listening and watching a good first show of this band on Dutch soil.
Christian Vium is a star that reminds the oldsters in the audience of Rod Stewart
The first dancers and a fair amount of Dutch media and professionals come to the show of Go Go Berlin, in The Rambler venue. It’s the perfect setting for the Danish rock n roll band; this local outlet is a pub breathes live music and has lots of music paraphernalia on its walls. The five piece had a hard time making it in time for the gig with a bus that broke down, but they made it. It was definitely worth coming, as they wow the crowd in no time and get the crowd moving. Singer Christian Vium is a star that reminds the oldsters in the audience of Rod Stewart and his band has the songs, the looks and the energy to back him up. It’s still early, but a definite highlight of the festival that sees an unfortunate, cancellation of Schultz & Forever and headliners like Metz, Yuck and Temples.