25th anniversary event
The Joy Formidable live at Eurosonic Noorderslag 2011

Eurosonic Noorderslag has become an indispensable annual pilgrimage for the European music industry. The Dutch showcase festival and conference celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. Visited by more than 30,000 music fans - of which one tenth alone are industry delegates - and offering over 150 panels and 250 live performances Eurosonic Noorderslag has firmly established itself as the best place to discover emerging European talent and the upcoming festival season darlings. Wanna know who the new Drums are? Wanna know if copyright is the devil or how to book a tour? Well, this is the place. Let alone Groningen offers the perfect location for such an event: a compact, vibrant student town packed with nice little buildings, countless bikes and tons of concert venues and live music bars.

Step in, here are Clash’s highlights:

It’s Thursday night and The Joy Formidable took to the stage of Vindicat. Although not a completely new discovery the North-Wales trio are surely still among the ones to watch. Their performance was smashing and their tiny singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan restless. Grunge ethics and a partial post-gig gear-smashing made for a perfect Eurosonic Noorderslag opener.

Norwegian songstress Ingrid Olava was next on the bill at De Beurs. Clash was admittedly very mistrustful towards another piano-playing lady from the North - proven wrong. Olava has got a powerful, pristine voice and is deeply talented. “A song about hopeless love, my favourite kind..” she boasted, the room surrendered.

Moving swiftly on to De Spieghel to see the irresistibly charming Icelander Lára Rúnars. The girl has definitely got the quirky looks and outfit to catch your attention, and she’s even got a few upbeat tunes we enjoyed dancing to. Remains to be seen if that’s enough to leave a lasting mark.

Unexpectedly Clash particularly liked Estonian prog/alternative/post-grunge trio Aides at Huize Maas. OK, they might need to work a bit on their stage presence, attitude and especially outfits, but everything else is already there: technical precision, full sound and great material. Staggering.

It’s Friday and Clash headed to De Spieghel to see the band stemming from the ashes of Cajun Dance Party, no other than the overhyped grungegazers Yuck. If you like Pavement and Smashing Pumpkins, you really can’t go wrong with this lot. They’ve got soul too. Nice one!

Norwegian Ost & Kjex at De Beurs verged on the ludicrous: a guy dressed in yellow mixing techno with a gospel choir? Kudos for the originality of the idea, but no, thanks. I’d rather head to Huize Maas to see electropop hipsters The Amplifetes. Is the fella with the curly long hair and geeky glasses Sweden’s answer to Jarvis Cocker? Maybe not, but hey this bunch rocks! And ‘Blinded By The Moonlight’ is a solid dancefloor anthem...

Sadly The Vaccines cancelled due to illness, but thankfully further highlights included a brilliant performance by the much-promising London electronic composer James Blake, token Dutchman Tim Knol and recent Bella Union signings sunshine poppers Treefight For Sunlight.

Words and photo by Vasilis Panagiotopoulos


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