Bretschneider & Kanding, Lille Vega Feb 2013

Classical meets electronica: A marriage made in heaven or grounds for divorce?

Most people who have seen Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odysseyhave numerous opinions about it. The music played by German electronic musician Frank Bretschneider and Danish classical composer Ejnar Kanding play is equally divisive, and triggers the same sort of contemplative trance that leaves one eternally trying to figure out whether what they saw was sheer genius or utter boredom.  Whatever your ultimate opinion ends up being, Kubrick’s film and Thursday’s show at Lille Vega seem to be similar in that as they both require plenty of afterthought and reflection.

I arrived at Lille Vega shortly before the start of the show and entered the most sparsely populated concert hall imaginable. Instead of the enthusiastic crowds one is usually accustomed to at Vega, this time the audience consisted of a few onlookers gathered around several tables under dimmed chandeliers. A drum solo, hollow background drone and visuals from Berlin-based visual artist Lillevan got the show on the road, but the atmosphere failed to get any more interesting when the music started.

The first of two sets of the evening featured live analogue instrumentals in the form of a violin, contra bass and bass clarinet, accompanied by micro minimalistic thuds and swaying background visuals.  The second set was slightly shorter and veered more into the electronica niche, flanked by an appealing visual show that synced almost perfectly with the music.

This particular set was far more catalytic than its predecessor as it left much more room for afterthought, triggering numerous flashbacks from films such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Apocalypse Now, in which the sort of music being played would have fit in perfectly.

It would be harsh to say that the show was boring, but it was certainly a long way away from being one of the best shows Lille Vega has hosted. There is no doubt that Bretscheiner and Kanding are talented musicians and their daring fusion of classical and electronica is something few would attempt. Flanked by a live theatrical performance, in the confines of a museum exhibition or even at an art installation, their music would surely have had more of an opportunity to showcase its artistic quality. As it were, in the dim, misty backdrop of Lille Vega, it failed to make a real impression.

Wafande, Lille Vega Feb 2013

Thanks to Wafande, Natasja’s legacy lives on

Danish Dancehall, a music genre that has rocketed to popularity over the last several years, is steered by the soon-to-be-household names: Raske Penge, Klumben, Top Gunn and the stars of Saturday night’s sold-out Lille Vega show, Wafande and Kaka.

When the iconic Natasja Saad passed away tragically in 2007, many wondered if her flourishing reggae legacy would simply fizzle out into the narrative of Danish music history, or whether it would continue to live on. But six years on, Danish Dancehall is at an all-time high, vying for airplay on radio stations and making its way into festivals and concert venues with aplomb, as last night’s entertainment at Vega proved.

It took a while to get the ball rolling, as Bikstok Røgsystem’s frontman PharPhar gave a short, comical intro for Kaka who ran on stage beanie-clad and content. The eager crowd responded well to Kaka’s well-paced lyrics over a catchy beat and had scarcely begun to enjoy the show, three songs in, the show’s main act Wafande took to the stage.

Performing as if the temperature were up in the high 20s on a summer day, Wafande was quick off the mark, delivering a live version of his charged ‘Lang Vej Hjemme’ (‘Long Way Home’). The tune, an emotional reflection on cultural identity, ultimately sounds better on a CD at home than it does live, but it still had a powerful effect on the crowd, who sang wittily along to its anti-Dansk Folkeparti / Pia K lyrics. This was followed by the merry ‘Kom ned til Vandet,’ (‘Come Down to the Water’), a casual tribute to summer in Denmark that radiated through Lille Vega.

With his main tracks seemingly exhausted in the opening phase of the show, Wafande geared down and sung a few less popular numbers that gave the audience a chance to breathe before Kaka joined him on stage to somewhat reignite the show. Things livened up towards the end with a French retake of Sting’s iconic ‘Englishman in New York’ before ‘Giv mig et smil’ (‘Give me a smile’) rounded things off appropriately.

Having already performed earlier in the day at the same venue to a concert hall full of kids, Wafande was still sharp and cheerful come evening. If last night is anything to go by, he looks set to challenge the airplay dominion of pop and R&B in Denmark. Thanks to him, Natasja’s spirit lives on six years after that tragic evening in Jamaica.

Lucy Love, Lille Vega Nov 2009

“Lucy Love” is in the air

 Everyone that turned up at Little Vega on Friday must have done so with high expectations of the highly hyped Lucy Love. They weren’t disappointed.

Denmark’s de facto first lady of all things grunge and grime put on a scintillating performance that rocked the rafters off the concert hall, as she churned out one rough tune after another, stabbing away at the fleshy beats her on-scene Dj conjured with her sharp, high-pitched attitude-infested vocals.

Love started on an easy, conservative tone, mc-ing away in her grime element. It wasn’t long before she tweaked things up a tad though, working the crowd into something of a frenzy with a more raunchier, synth-tinged ensemble of tunes.

With the crowd in her grasp, the likes of the commercially lauded “Daddy was a dj” and “V.I.P” were served, shaken and stirred, with plenty of input from her Dj, who was as much a star of the show as the chequered hoodie clad Love herself. The duo of dancers /vocalists accompanying her every move were just as impressive, nonchalantly moving along to the proceedings, seemingly in their own beat-riddled paradise in a land far far away.

If things were hot and sweaty mid-way through the show, they got sizzling and steamy towards the end, as several unreleased numbers (such as “Poison” and “We’ve only hit the ground”) found their way onto the stage, several of which contained weighty measures of drum & bass influences whilst others came in the form of chunky electro-driven symphonies, each accompanied by one wave of shrill South London vocal after another.

The loco Lucy Love left the building with a wry smile on her face at the end of the show amidst a series of cheers and shouts for more. She came, she saw and she conquered.

Turboweekend, Lille Vega, November 2009

4 out of 6 stars, Lille Vega

The crowds poured in to Lille Vega thick and fast on Saturday, drawn from afar by the prospect of being able to listen to some of the hottest electronic music in the country at the minute. It was always going to be a biggie, what with the likes of erstwhile purveyors Kjeld Tolstrup and Le Gammeltoft headlining the show.

And whilst the aforementioned duo did indeed deliver the wares throughout the course of the night, ultimately, few would dispute that the true heroes of the night were none other than a certain Turboweekend, who stole the audience’s hearts and minds with a veritably consistent and charming performance.

Having missed out on Tolstrup and Le Gammeltoft’s opening set, I managed to rock up just in time to catch the band of the moment, “Turboweekend” doing their thing.

There’s a reason why this quartet is as highly venerated as they are at the moment. Brimming with confidence from the word go, Martin Petersen (Drums), Silas Bjerregaard (Vocals) and Morten Køie (Bass), and Anders Møller (synths) took the already warmed up ground on a voyage through some of the most eclectic rock for miles, touring through a quirky mix of dark synth-singed rock with an electronic / soulful tweak.

The response from those present was as manic and as heated as the on-stage fracas; which seemed to get more intense with every passing hour. Highlights from the performance include “Wash out “ “After hours” and “Into you” all of which inspired downright insanity on the dancefloor.

The end of the show culminated with a stage invasion that saw the better half of the front third of the audience auspiciously ushered onto the stage, for an impromptu orgy of chaos; icing on the cake on what was yet another tremendous showing from the rock band du jour.