Spot Festival, Århus, Denmark 12/8/00
Gas Giant, Dipsomaniacs, Outlandish, Jimi Tenor, Live Electronic Act
From Aural Innovations #14 (January 2001)
I traveled over with the band in Morten Sporten's van with a trailer for the gear and we almost did not make the gig. The ferry from Sjæland to Jylland could not get the lift down so the big vehicles could not get off and new ones could not get on. We waited for 1.5 hours and Ralph, Henrik and myself got on the ferry to go check in and let them know what was happening and that the band might be late. We had been on the ferry about 15 minutes and it was about to leave when suddenly they had fixed it and everything was cool. Strange. We got there 1.5 hours later than expected but this was fine as we could not get into our dressing room or move the gear in until 8 and the band were to play at 9:30.
This was a big time event for Gas Giant to play as this was a Scandinavian showcase in its 7th year. There were bands from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. It was taking place in the musikhuset and they have 5 rooms with music going on with bands starting at 5 and playing until 2 in the morning, about 60 bands total. Gas Giant got to play in the store sal (big room) where they have operas! They had set up bleacher seats about 20 feet from the stage though but the sound was massive.
The first band I checked out was Outlandish. I thought perhaps they had some promise as they have two middle east musicians playing on a large drum and one on a strange guitar like instrument and wooden flute. They had some cool middle east music to start and then prerecorded beats and then they filled the stage with 4 rappers, one who rapped in Spanish. It turned out they played very commercial hip hop rap stuff, not to my taste at all.
Next I checked out Dipsomaniacs from Norway. These guys had been described as semi-psychedelic and influenced by Bevis Frond. Ralph had just seen them the night before and said they were amazing. Not today. The first song was very cool and some very 60's psych guitar. They had a keyboard player that also played Therimin. After the cool first song it just was all sort of pop music. Not straightforward but not to my taste either.
Then I helped Henrik and Gas Giant get set up on the big stage. Henrik had a 2.5 meter by 2 meter high white backdrop to project the psychedelic images on. This worked out excellent and really would add a lot to the band. The soundcheck was loud, way way louder than any band before in this room. Stefan had his amp cranked and his sound was really in your face. I loved it. I never get to hear him like this except in the rehearsal room. His sound is always so buried. I really hope that the band can have the sound like this from now on as this was so excellent. A Danish announcer said they were a mix of Jimi Hendrix and Black Sabbath stoner rock and welcome. The band, on my suggestion, had decided to drop Desert Call for the opener and went for the new song, There's One (the working title). They kicked ass right from the beginning and Stefan was going to rip your head off tonight. He was mad because I had told him he was a shy guitar player. Well… not tonight. The band went right into the heavy Sit Down and into All Creatures. The band was already experimenting which surprised me but it was working and they sounded great. Jesper is a great singer. The delay on his voice really added to the power of the delivery of the band in this room. The sound in the room was incredible. This is a huge hall designed for classical and opera but they had bleachers up so everyone was up close. Too Stoned was next and sounded so heavy and Eire in the room. Stefan was playing incredible guitar or perhaps it was just that this was one of the first times you could actually hear every little thing he played. Alien Frequency followed and also sounded very cool. The band went for Down the Highway instead of Freak Sensation, perhaps because they sometimes can't really control the direction in which they take Freak. They turned Down the Highway into a cool jam anyway, about 8 minutes. The band's songs were getting longer and longer as well. The new song New Day Rising was killer tonight. Instead of the heavy building ending from Tex, the band went into a very spacey ending and Stefan touched on a few notes of Robin Trower (whom we had listened to in the bus on the way over). The band were already 5 minutes over their time but were totally into it and played Storm of my Enemies, a 9½ minute version. Wow. They really blew everyone away today. Excellent show. 54 minutes.
We hung out afterwards and ate some food and the band were quite happy with everything and Henrik did a killer job on the images, giving the band a real unique look.
We had a few hours before we were going to leave so I went to check out some other bands that were playing. Jimi Tenor was a freaked out guy from Finland. Some of his stuff was real acid jazz improv and some was very funky and groovy and then he played a few pop songs. He was kind of like a jazz-funk version of Elton John, as he had a traditional Finnish long coat and big glasses and was very expressive. Very cool stuff.
I then went and checked out Live Electronic Act, which is two horn players, guitar, bass, drums, synth and a programmer as well as some really cool image projection. Some of their stuff was very cool indeed. I was quite tired so it was nice to sit and just check them out. This was the last music I would see, although I could hear some other, mostly horrible pop music being played in some of the other rooms.
Reviewed by Scott Heller