England!

Will soon be off to the UK in one of my rare excursions outside of Europe 😛

Originally I was just going to go on a road trip with a mate to see Christy Moore play in Swansea.  This is still the case, but since booking that, it seems I have to stay a little longer in Britain.

Neil Brophy Band (of which, for those who don’t know, I am the bassist) have teamed up with Blackbeard’s Tea Party (one of my favourite bands) and will be warming up for them in Hull, Chester and Manchester in October.  Plus a couple of other dates without the Tea Party, one in London at the Dublin Castle and one in Northampton at The Black Prince…look on the “Live” page for the dates and venues!  This will be fun in more ways than I can express.  And even more fun if I get to see some of you Brits I so rarely catch up with!

I will also be doing a solo tour (just a couple of weeks) in April next year…watch this space

Foreign culture invading Denmark

The Danish right wing consistently harp on about how Danish culture is in danger of eradication from foreign cultures…they also consistently ignore the fact that the only foreign culture that has been eradicating Danish tradition is American.  McDonalds, Hollywood, baseball caps, hip-hop, , the many english words in the Danish language, valentines, TV shows like X-factor and Friends, halloween, neo-libaralism, consumerism…why is DF not up in arms about THAT?

new discoveries

Newly discovered favourites:

Robert Ellis – what a guitarist!  Almost makes me love country music

Phil Ochs – I completely missed him until now, despite him being a big name in the protest song and folk world that I grew up with.  Now newly discovered his songs 30 years after his death.

The Felice Brothers – I know nothing about them, but the songs I’ve heard sound fab.

Damien Jurado –  Music to melt to!

The Leylines – They sound almost identical to the Levellers, which is a shame, but do it very well.

Topskat in Denmark

Imagine yourself in the situation where you earn 750.000 kr a year (that’s insanely huge amounts of money – over twice the average wage).  You currently pay 15% “topskat” (highest level income tax) on what is over ca 500.000.  You now get to pay 10% on it instead, giving you lots of extra money for doing what you do now.  Do you:

a) continue as you were but enjoy having more money

b) work more

c) work less for the same money as before

d) not even notice any difference in your lifestyle.

Anyone who thinks b) is the answer is clearly deluded.  But that is the whole basis of LA’s government falling ultimatum.

Jutland tour blog

Sometimes I have to write things down just so I can remember some of what’s happened. Life seems to whiz past in a bit of a blur, where I just take moments here and there to take it all in before it all just zaps off again into music-fuelled, people filled hecticness. so…
On the 14th I was up at Vejlby Klit playing to a frozen audience outside Café John Wayne. Hats off to the determined revellers who stayed to the end in the cold wind. Next stop was a Strong Ale gig at You’ll never walk alone in Kolding. The weather meant it had to be held inside but it was still great fun and an enthusiastic audience. No time to hang around afterwards as I had to be in Aalborg for a midnight start at The Old Irish Pub on Jomfru Ane Gade. I was greeted by the fabulous barstaff with sambuca shots and had a really fun gig – slow to get going but always something happening. A lone Nowegian lad was sitting alone at a table with a whole bottle of vodka and 6 cans of red bull – clearly the way to make new friends. I helped him out.
Which explains the hangover on Saturday when playing the same gig, but to a bigger audience.
I got a day off which I spent back home on Fyn, and then Monday drove up to Fur. I love this island, and I love the gig, which is outside on the harbour in a kind of beer garden sort of space outside the tiny “Skuret” pub. Again the weather was awful, but people wrapped themselves up in blankets and we had a grand old time.
Tuesday was at Nørrelands Dansested in Holstebro and was the biggest audience I’ve seen there. Again a great atmosphere (and now with a new stage). Stopped at a lovely B&B out in the countryside. Then on to Fjand Gårdbutik – one of my favourite “regular” gigs. I say regular as I have played there every summer for the last 4 years or so. The audience is a sit down and listen sort of crowd, and they join in with everything and are always really receptive. Per and Majbritt, the owners, are also such lovely people and the whole farmyard atmosphere is so charming and completely different from pretty much everything else I play.
Thursday I went back to Vejlby Klit – this time with good weather, which meant we could set up in the better position across the car park, with much more audience room. A fabulous night, with a wonderful international audience, and plenty of CD sales (that’s what we like!).
I drove home afterwards (with a doubly whisky in the cup holder which I drank on arrival home!). And that was it for Jutland.
Friday I headed east and did Ballerup Festival with Strong Ale. Great weather, great crowd. I had 40 minutes to get off that stage and onto the next stage at Mulligans in Roskilde (made it with 10 minutes to spare!) and, again the Danish summer happiness was everywhere. Great fun, and a meet up with old friends. Saturday I was back at Ballerup Festival to play bass with Neil Brophy Band – at possibly the best performance we’ve ever given. Great audience, great sound (from Powerstage) and great atmosphere again.
I was up on Fur again yesterday where the weather was better and thus the audience bigger. Now, having got through my paperwork, I am free for a couple of days, and the sun is shining, so see you all later!

recent past and imminent future

So this week is a little more laid back.  I’ve been learning some songs and tunes – only gigs this week are a trip to Café john Wayne in Vejlby Klit,  Friday early evening at You’ll Never Walk Alone in Kolding with Strong Ale and 2 nights at the Old Irish Pub in Aalborg on the crazy Jomfru Ane Gade with a midnight start.  Sorry liver.

This is good – I haven’t quite recovered from last weekend yet.

It started with an afternoon gig at Vejby Strand Camping, followed by a fun Friday night at the Old Irish Pub in Holbæk.  Several Jægerbombs and rather fine IPA and a lack of sleep (late night and early morning) left me croaky and bleary eyed before the noontime gig at Nykøbing.  I recovered quickly thanks to a good audience and the new espresso machine.  Then on to join Neil Brophy Band at Vig Festival for 2 sets in the evening.  The 2nd set was really really good fun.  Fabulous audience and the band was rocking…happy days!

Skagen festival with Neil Brophy Band

I seem to be consistently one festival behind at the moment…here’s last week’s as I recover from this weekend at Vig.

It was my first time at Skagen Festival.  I’d heard so much about it, and was looking forward to it, partly because of its reputation, partly to see friends and colleagues I don’t see that often and partly because I was looking forward to playing the new Neil Brophy Band set.

When I arrived The Revellers were playing at the Havnescene.  I love when bands mix folk and rock music, and when musicians have fun on stage.  The Revellers did both, and with an infectious energy.  Top musicians and top blokes.  We spent quite a lot of the next few days in the company of one or more reveller (and they all lived up to the name!).  I saw them again on the Torvescene on the Friday night and they were even better – it suited them being a little closer to the audience.  And they had a guest appearance from the fabulous Perry Stenbäck on Nyckelharpa which was fantastic.  He let me have a go on it the day after – and, goddammit, now I want one!

Other top highlights were Australian Toby Beard who rocked the Havnescene with her great Dutch band, charisma and showmanship.   Bullmilk Leftovers I enjoyed, Hawkeye and Hoe were better than ever (with Torvescenen eating out of their hands – or should I say drinking?), and The McLaughlins with Pia Nygaard did a great late night job at the sports club for those of us still conscious.  Outside the festival Scoops did a blinder at The Old Irish Pub.

I enjoyed both of the gigs with Neil Brophy Band. The lads played grand and the new material went down really well.  Fear of fear is becoming a live hit.

It was “good to see you” as they sing in Skagen…hopefully see you again next year!

Glastonbury highlights

Glastonbury memories are beginning to fade, particularly as I’ve been at Skagen festival since, so here’s a quick recap of my highlights while I can still remember.

Thursday night I played a set at the Peel Sessions bar…of which there are many great photos due to Stone from Stone Free appearing bang on time at the start of the gig.  However, I was there to compere the John Peel Stage, so let’s get onto Friday when that opened.

Friday started fairly quiet at the John Peel Stage with Dan Stuart not pulling the crowds he would have 15 years ago – still a good set though.  X Ambassadors had to cancel their set as their monitor gear didn’t work – their trip was worthwhile though as Sam did a roaring acoustic version of Renegades to a packed tent before they left.

Next up was Elle King who was brilliant.  Top showmanship, a better voice than on record and lots of banjo.  What’s not to like?

Aurora had to be seen from out in the crowd – she and her band are lovely, and the noise they make is tremendous.  A tip for the very top.  She lives out her music entirely when performing and the passion is infectious.  At the same time there is a Scandinavian humility that is hugely endearing.  I remember afterwards calling it one of the best shows ever on the John Peel stage.  I stick by that.

I only caught the last few songs of Half Moon Run, but they were terrific too.  Jack Garrett had the crowd totally in the palm of his hand – amazing to see a one man show with so much power.  Not really my music though…so off I trotted to catch a couple of songs from ZZ Top’s set at the Pyramid Stage.  I hate watching bands at such big gigs as all you can see is the screen, but I guess I can say I saw them.  They sounded great – Billy Gibbons has always been one of my biggest heroes.

I got back to John Peel to take Jack Garrett off and to see Explosions in The Sky who were phenomenal.  This despite the fact that some of them had food poisoning.  Sigur Ros was a huge spectacular show, and a massive crowd to end the day.  Or nearly end it.  Did a set with Jim Fox at the sessions bar following the adorable and talented Charlotte Campbell.

Saturday Nothing But Thieves did an early gig at John Peel that was electrifying.  Amazing band and an amazing voice.  I’ve been listening to them a lot since and can’t wait for the album to come out.  Dua Lipa was on after them, and I hadn’t expected much of her, but she really had the crowd and did a great job.

Mø was another positive surprise.  I know her music, obviously, and she lives not far from me, but I’d never seen her live before.  She sang well and totally owned the stage.  As well as being out in the audience 3 times.  Great performance and a great crowd – she has really arrived as a major act.

But then came the highlight of the highlights.  John Grant on the John Peel Stage.  It was like a religious experience.  Great musicians, great music, great lyrics, a bit of fun and lots of personality.  And no bullshit.  Mostly songs from the new album, but with GMF and Queen of Denmark getting everyone singing along.  Mind blown.

I didn’t want to see anything else after John Grant.  But it was hard to avoid the vibe that was happening when Fat Boy Slim was on…it was doing my head in backstage, but when I came front of house it was amazing – the biggest crowd we’ve ever had on the JPS and everyone dancing.

I wandered off through the mud bound for Avalon, stopping to catch a few random acts along the way (the best being a group of beatboxers).  The reason for my trudging was to catch The Treacherous Orchestra.  And it was entirely worth the exhaustion it caused.  Anyone who doesn’t know them check them out.  Particularly live.

Sunday morning at JPS was opened with the biggest crowd ever for an opening act on a Sunday for She Drew The Gun. Mystery Jets were brilliant, as were Band of Horses.  Things got more anthemic with an incredible set from Of Monsters and Men, and then came the surprise of the festival.  I was expecting nice songs and a bit of humour, but the attitude of Mac Demarco and his band, the contact with the audience, the sheer funniness blew us away.  By comparison Jake Bugg was a disappointment.  However, the green room crew took to the stage for the John Peel tribute at the end and the traditional New York New York farewell…another Glastonbury over.

Except for the Sunday night party backstage featuring a performance by Jim Fox, me and Michael Gillett.  What a week…

John peel stage 2016

Glastonbury festival approaches!  And if you are one of those lucky enough to have a ticket, here’s an invitation to come down to the legendary John Peel Stage, which this year has moved into the next field away from Silver Hayes.

This year we have none other than Sigur Rós headlining Friday night.  I know.  I can’t wait either.  A more amazing live music experience may be hard to imagine, but Explosions in the Sky are on only 3 hours before them, and may well at least come close.  2 of the most symphonic rock bands of the last 30 years on the same night!

The ultimate one man band and utterly likeable chappie Jack Garratt, Canadian harmony kings Half Moon Run and M83 will all be spectacular in each their own way and I’m hugely looking forward to the enigmatic Elle King who’s on Friday afternoon.

We have the pride of the Danish music business – none other than Mø, alongside other huge acts Band of Horses, Of Monsters and Men, Bat For Lashes and Jake Bugg.  Also hugely looking forward to Dan Stuart and the Twin Tones kicking off the festival on Friday.

3 acts I didn’t know until recently, the amazing Ozzy singer Matt Corby, fellow Ozzies Tired Lion and winners of Glasto’s emeerging talent contest She Drew The Gun (check out their song Poem) kick off the Sunday morning. Alunageorge, Mac DeMarco, the chilling Aurora from Norway (she’s fab…and not just when she’s doing Oasis covers at Xmas), Rat Boy, Example, Låpsley, Palace, Mystery Jets (love this band!), the wonderful no bullshit Alessia Cara, Nothing but Thieves and Dua Lipa…sound good to you?

But happy of all happies for me is that John Grant is playing.  Thank you music gods (you know who you are!).

Oh, did I mention Fatboy Slim?  Yeah, he’s on too 🙂  What a party!

If you’re at Glasto, come by, say hello and enjoy some of the most fantastic music on this planet.

Glastonbury

So much happens at Glasto every year that even those who are there miss out on most of it.  I spend most of my time at The John Peel Stage, obviously, so most of my Glastonbury experiences have been here…but to give those who’ve never been an example of what the festival is like (and here I’m just talking music – not the healing fields, green futures, circus, caberet, or the raving heavens of Arcadia, Blok 9, Shangri La and all the other amazing and insane stuff) let me tell you about a Sunday evening in 2014, when I had a couple of hours off.

I saw on the program that St. Vincent was playing at The Park, which is about as far as you can get from JPS.  Being a big fan, I started out a couple of hours before she was due to go on, thinking I could hear a couple of songs from The Wailers at West Holts on the way, partly because it’s the Wailers, and partly because Chris from our monitor crew was playing keys for them.  Passing through Silver Hayes I stopped to listen to an unlisted reggae band, catching a couple of songs before moving on.  Passing by The Other Stage I saw Ellie Goulding, and, as there was quite a crowd, it took me a while to get round to where The Wailers were playing to an immense crowd, especially as there was someone at Leftfield I listened to for a while, treating myself to a sit down.  Moving on after a few Wailers hits (wanting not to miss St. Vincent) I passed a bar area where Coco and the Butterfields were playing.  I’d never heard of them before, but ended up sitting down and listening to a good half hour of their set…banjo, fiddle, upright bass, guitar and beatbox.  Fabulous show.  But I had to get up to The Park.  Passing other promising acts at Croissant Neuf and Toad hall I finally made it to the park in time to see the last 3 songs of St. Vincent’s set.  Well worth the walk.  On the way back I saw (apart from stopping at a jazz tent and wandering around Arcadia) Massive Attack, though I was not impressed.  Finally, just before getting to JPS again I watched the 2nd half of The Beat’s brilliant and exhausting set.  Back at the John Peel,  I missed out on London Grammar, as I was too tired to stand…enjoyed my cider at the bar though.