Nordic Noise Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a little gem of a festival among the bigger ones. On 13-14. June, the small festival had its 4th. anniversary. Poor audience turnup, but musically we were in for a few surprises…

The 4th. year of this smaller, but cooler, festival, was very intimate. This was my first Nordic Noise experience, but I’m proud to have witnessed it. Read on about what it was like:

Day one

On day one of the festival I got my press-access arm band, and hauled my camera gear into this former city tram depot (its day job is now a badminton hall). Straight away I was presented with a Jack Daniel’s shot, by a group of lovely pinup girls. After that pleasant welcome, the first band Stonebird (DK) came on. They play psychedelic rock, and if you’re into ‘Purple and ‘Zeppelin, these are your guys. We’ve got keyboard, Hammond, guitars and everything that was right about the 60’s and 70’s.

Stonebird - by Esteban Herencia Bohn - used with kind permission.

Stonebird – © Esteban Herencia Bohn – used with kind permission.

Very, very nice classic rock show, and Stonebird’s performance was top notch and professional, despite an almost empty venue. Seemed like there was more photographers and writers than audience. Nevertheless, we got an awesome retro performance, and I would like to see a tour with Stonebird supporting Wolfmother – that could be awesome! Stonebird released the EP “Who Will Slay The Beast” in 2015, and just released a 7″ vinyl

After a short beer brake, another Danish band came on. Childrenn is a serious rock band, and their songs bear resemblance of Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. This certainly warms my grunge-heart, as I have vitnessed several shows with both bands.

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The song “Submission” from their newly released album “Animale”, has a strange but cool psychedelic vibe that just works

Next in line was Freddy & The Phantoms – this is a genuine, original blues rock band that clearly has a lot of experience. This is a band that surprise you – it is rare to vitness a band that sounds better live than on a recording, but Freddy and the guys accomplish this to A+

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The band just came back from a tour in Germany, will be playing with the behemoth D.A.D on 28. May, and has recently released the single “Brownstone Badlands”, and has several singles and albums under their belt.

Skullclub was next on stage. The Danish band is all about fun – they sing in Danish, and they are like a mix of Red Warszawa and Hollywood Undead. They play punk, and they’re very good at it, and they’ve been at it since 2007.

More audience had now turned up on this Friday, and Skullclub had the ability to get the audience moving and have a party. Well done, and a festival worthy.

SEA was the first band that came close to epic hard rock. It was actually closer to metal, and this show was definitely one of the best concerts of the festival. They didn’t give a rat’s ass about the lack of audience (even though there was certainly more people now) – their epic “Sorry To Be Sane”, and the upcoming-album-teaser “The Stranger Within”, as well as the rest of their set, was tight as a dolphin’s butt (to quote Adam Sandler in the movie “Airheads”), and is one of the shows that people will remember.

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Anders Brink on vocals, has the skills to compete with any rock singer on this planet. In lack of better words, EPIC & AWESOME!! Can’t wait for their album to come out.

It was now getting late, and it was time for one of the main acts. Lucer is well known in Europe, and is three young guys that were born to do this. This is an upcoming band that is on the very brinck of breaking through. They’ve been featured in magazines like PowerPlay and Rock Hard, and are also known for being Mike Tramp‘s band.

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Lucer played a few songs alone, and played the rest of the set with Tramp on guitar and vocals. Lucer play a modern Oasis style rock’n’roll that is actually more rock’n’roll than Oasis themselves. Given a choice, I would buy tickets for a Lucer show over any Oasis show. They are that good! Anders on guitar play the most kick-ass leads I have heard in a long time. As a former guitar player myself, his playing warmed my heart. Thanks!!

The last band standing was Kickin Valentina from Atalanta, Georgia, USA. This is sleeze rock like Mötley Crüe would have played it. Dressed like the rockers that they are, the American quartet recently released the album “Super Atomic”, and tonight they were a long way from home. However, the hard rock band played the Danish festival like it was a stadium show, and they had the charisma and attitude of such a band.

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The heavy riffs and the wailing solos left the now decent amount of audience rattling on the floor for more. Having toured the US with bands like Buckcherry, Queensryche, Pop Evil, Skid Row and LA Guns, this is a band I would very much like to see again. And on that note, day one of this awesome little festival was over.

Day two

The next day started weird. I thought the music started at 12 noon, so I was ready to rock that early. I was informed that the music wouldn’t start until 4pm, but luckily the bar had happy hour – two beers for the price of one – my slight hangover from yesterday was quickly gone 😉

Devil’s Gun was the first to play. The Swedish five-piece may come off as the usual AC/DC clone, but if you listen closely you’ll soon find out that there’s more to them than that. They have their own sound and attitude, and singer Joakim Hermansson is the essence of how rock’n’roll should sound. Accept and Motörhead comes to mind, and members of the band was involved in the debut album of another Swedish band, Bullet.

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Their performance at this festival was over the top from the first chord, and people behind me tried to form a mosh pit. The hungover crowd from last night was woken up very quickly, and the awesomeness and fast riffs  left no one standing. Hermansson doesn’t try to sound like Brian Johnsom, he has his own voice and attitude. Hats off to that!

Black Oak County is a solid Danish rock band. They’ve been labeled as southern rock. I guess they are, but I really think they have their own style. I haven’t heard anything like this before, to be honest. With elements of Tool, Pantera, Black Stone Cherry and 80’s-90’s hard rock’n’roll, B.O.C. impressed with their tour ready songs. Singer Niels Beier, who really reminds me of a young Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), has a very rough and hard core voice, that sometimes almost transitioned into growl.

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Tight and spectacular performance from this quartet of musicianship, I was very impressed! This is a band that I will have to keep an eye on, because they could be the next big thing.

Dear Delusion was up next. Also from Denmark, they are in the same ballpark as Black Oak County. They do have their own sound, though, and it’s a little more hardcore than the previous act, in fact this was probably the hardest sounding band this festival. A well played show with reminiscence of Velvet Revolver and the like, Dear Delusion was among the best playing acts of this festival.

PowerPlay was a whole other ballpark. We were in Toto territory all the way through the set, and even though they played extremely well, their music just didn’t appeal to either myself or much of the audience, who was there to get a rock-fix. They just didn’t seem to fit the bill with what the rest of the bands was like, and many took this as a smoke/beer brake with background music. Well played, but boring, in my opinion. So much that I didn’t take any pictures.

St. Prostitute Now we’re talking! St. Prostitute came on and served us rock’n’roll again, after the break…I mean the Powerplay set – and the Danish hard rock five-piece served their up-tempo classic rock’n’roll, and they have genuine rock songs with something to say.

St. Prostitute - ©Mighty Music

St. Prostitute – ©Mighty Music

The songs sound somewhat alike, but are still different enough to each hold their own. We got anthem-like choruses that sent us to Sunset Boulevard in the late-80’s, Whiskey-a-go-go further down the palm tree lined street, and sold out sweaty shows. I could see this band on tour with Lucer.

The Treatment from UK was all over the stage, and beyond it. Not as hard as the other bands, but still high tempo beer-binging guys. With sing-along rock songs, they had the late audience rockin’.

Now Or Never is a mix of ex-Pretty Maids/Sultan/Nightmare members, so I kinda knew it was going to be great. They put the “C” in classic rock, and there’s really not much to say, other than they gave us a perfectionist set with lots of different genres from slow(ish) rock songs, to metal-esque riff slingers.

Mustasch from Sweden had the honor of closing this year’s Nordic Noise, and they did it with style, attitude and grunt! With 9 albums and 20 years of hard rock, they were the perfect choice for closing a festival, where the crowd was tired, drunk and hungover from the day before. Not an easy task, but they totally pulled it off. Drummer Robban Bäck has a kick drum made from a tyre (digital drums), and singer Ralf Gyllenhammar’s laid back, superior “I’ve got this” attitude, made it totally OK for him to leave the stage, go to the bar for a beer, and shrug his shoulders with an “Sorry….I was thirsty”. Ha ha, classic rocker attitude.

Summary

To sum up the two days, I would say that it’s a festival with room to grow. It was a little sad to see such a poor audience turnup, the halls wasn’t that big, and you could easily have had a few badminton matches going on next to the stage area. However, Nordic Noise is only in its fourth year, and the logistics and timing of the different bands was flawless and professional. You never had to wait in line for drinks and food, you were welcomed with free Jack Daniel’s, toilets was working and usable (by festival standards). The bands were well booked, even though Powerplay seemed like a weird detour. Very well organized, and I will be back next year to see if they are more lucky with the amount of audience.

If you would like to read more about the festival, check out their website or their Facebook page.