SPOT Festival 2011

Our Broken Garden at SPOT 2011I’m currently at sat in a hotel in Denmark reflecting on the last few days spent at SPOT Festival in Århus. I’ve seen so many amazing artists, some of whom I knew already but many I didn’t.

It all kicked on Thursday afternoon with a performance by Our Broken Garden, put together in collaboration with composer Gustaf Ljunggr. Staged in the city’s cathedral, the Århus Domkirke, the performers – a choir, guitar, viola and cello, bass clarinet, and harp – were spread on raised stages amongst the audience along the aisle, with Brønsted at the front calling down to them.

The cathedral itself is a grand, bright building with whitewashed walls inside and the sound of the music echoed around it as it was played. It was a show completely designed just for that space and that time – at this point, there are no plans to perform that show ever again, making it a real one-off. No audio or video recording could ever capture what it was like to be sat in that church with music reverberating around you from all sides. At times it was a little overwhelming, but so beautiful and I’m so glad I was able to see it.

Another big highlight was Oh Land, who in the UK still plays reasonably small venues, but here played a packed room about the size of Royal Festival Hall. Featuring video projections onto a bunch on helium-filled ballons, her performance was flawless, save for occasional difficulty balancing the large headdress she was wearing. By the final two songs, the entire audience were up on their feet and dancing. And although the set was almost entirely made up of songs from her new album, it was great to hear Audition Day from her debut, Fauna, which was only officially released in Denmark.

Other highlights include Asbjørn & The Strange Ears, Orka and Noise Of Art’s two collaborative shows, Giana Factory (who I saw performing a live session for Danish radio, complete with an interview I understood not a word of), CallmeKat and Au Revoir Simone’s Erika Spring, Darkness Falls, Team Me, Bon Homme, Thus:Owls, and Who Made Who.

Last night I finally got to see Fallulah live, too – something I’ve been looking forward to ever since I discovered her debut album, The Black Cat Neighbourhood, last year. She didn’t disappoint with an energetic and captivating performance. Already hugely popular in Denmark, she played to a rammed 1000 capacity room. It’s unlikely there’ll be that many there when she plays her first ever UK show at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen on 15th June (it’s not big enough, more than anything), but I’d urge everyone reading this to make the journey.

She closed on her most successful single to date, Bridges, a song I absolutely love. I have no idea what she’s banging on about in the lyrics, but that’s part of the appeal. Equally, I really dont know what’s going on in the video for the song, but I like it:

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