by / August 18th, 2009 /

Beatday, Copenhagen

Friday

After last years vista-tastic event out by the docks, Beatday have found a perfect spot for this year’s event in Copenhagen’s Valby Park. It’s a beautiful sunny day too and the festival area is surrounded by enormous trees and the sea.
The Danish band Choir of Young Believers who have already had a Fleet Foxes comparison thrown at them, open the festival. Jannis Noya Makrigiannis and the seven band members he chose for this gig gave a noisier concert than expected but Makrigiannis’ buttery voice could easily be heard through the guitar sound and it could give you goose bumps even in the summertime.

The Ting Tings tried to start up a party later that afternoon and Katie White, making an effort with the local tongue said (in Danish, reading from a piece of paper): ‘This is our first time at Beatday and we are happy to be here. My Danish is shit so instead of talking, we would rather make you dance’ – and then duly did just that.

The Ting Tings didn’t start up half as big a party though as Basement Jaxx and Crystal Castles did later that evening. Neither band shying away from giving 100%, they both gave the festival a couple of hours with a cluby feel to it.

After filling up on organic coffee and huge well-made burgerswe arrived at the main stage for the odd last band of the day – Danish band Mew. But it was, sad too say, a mediocre set. The band did not really connect with the crowd. The old songs of course were popular with the Danes but their new stuff is either more quiet or slow and without energy the wind was taken out of the audience who were still lifted after the earlier gigs. With cheeks red from the sun, it was time to go home around 11.30 p.m. The sweet bit of having a music festival in the city is that it’s 20 minutes home on bicycle, you sleep in your own bed, a warm shower in the morning and then off to the festival next day fresh as a daisy.

Saturday

The day started off with a little rain and the few people who did show up in the morning had pulled out their festival rubber boots and raincoats. It stopped in time for Florence and The Machine who played in a tent anyhow.

Beatday was Florence’s first gig in Denmark. The Danes were intrigued and received her with great enthusiasm even though at first they didn’t seem too familiar with the music. The red-haired singer entered the stage in golden spangled hot pants and had a wind machine that caused her to constantly hold on to her chiffon shirt. After two songs she played ‘Kiss With A Fist’ which did catch the crowd’s attention. Shy and giggly she chatted with the audience and came across very humble but also impressed that a handful actually knew several of her songs, even a random old B-side.

Later on, while awaiting the evening’s two big names, we found a great spot in the grass in front of the main stage to rest our feet. While waiting we saw local-boy-and-girl-done-good The Raveonettes. Sharin Foo is back from maternity leave and the band brought the new material. Rumour has it the stony-faced Foo may have even smiled at some point.

Tanked up on yet another organic burger and a beer we sat outside the tent stage listening to the endlessly-touring Lykke Li who had gathered a rather big crowd to fill the tent. How she keeps going is anyone’s guess but we did have to move, up to the main stage again to get a good spot for Band of Horses. We were 10 meters from the stage but still didn’t notice than it was Ben Bridwell and Tyler Ramsey themselves that came on stage and checked their guitars before the concert. Several of the band members had shaved off their beards (not Bridwell though) and looked very trimmed.

The band seemed a bit jaded at first but fortunately the songs themselves has a certain energy which makes it impossible not to feel the joy.They gave us a small taste of new material but revealed nothing about a possible release date. Fumbling a bit between the songs (and during – the drummer lost a drumstick at tone point) the band still delivered a solid set.

Arctic Monkeys gathered the biggest crowd of the weekend but started out a bit weak playing a lot of new songs. The first 20-25 minutes consisted of four new songs, a cover of Nick Cave’s -Red Right Hand’ and just one number from their first album. They are, despite their young age, old hats at the gig game. In just a few years they have turned into a tight, mature and professional band.

A really neat little package, as it continues to grow 2010’s Beatday should continue the rise of this sweet, pocket-sized festival.

Photos by Jakob Bekker Hansen.
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