by:Larm Day One: Tussilago, Dråpe, Sin Cos Tan, When Saints Go Machine and James Murphy | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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When Saints Go Machine

by:Larm 2014, by:Larm 2014 Day One, Dråpe, LCD Soundsystem, Sin Cos Tan, Tussilago, When Saints Go Machine

by:Larm Day One: Tussilago, Dråpe, Sin Cos Tan, When Saints Go Machine and James Murphy, February 27th, 2014

Mar 05, 2014 LCD Soundsystem Photography by Laura Studarus Bookmark and Share

The first official day of by:Larm brought intriguing sets from Tussilago, Dråpe, Sin Cos Tan, When Saints Go Machine, and James Murphy (yes, THAT James Murphy). They weren’t all flawless performances—but when did the course of any festival ever run smooth? (My deepest apologies to Shakespeare for that appropriation.)

But first, a word on the seminar element of by:Larm. Judging by the social media class I sat in on that morning: it rocks. (Yes, that’s technical term.) The majority of the sessions offered are in English by people who have the kind of credits that make them authorities on their subject. Learning is awesome.

One of the more unusual aspects of by:Larm are the inspirational Q&As. Sure they’re sponsored by Red Bull—but if energy drinks are enough to bring James Murphy to Oslo, well then, as the Norwegians would say, “skål!” Over the course of an hour, the former LCD Soundsystem musician covered a variety of topics: from people watching him while he DJs (he likened it to watching a chief), to his thoughts on modern dance music (“I just don’t like it. It’s not for me, but it’s also not designed for me”).

The evening program was stretched across a variety of small venues in the Oslo city center. While the smaller venues made it hard to catch some of the bigger names (sorry Jenny Wilson, I tried), it gave a sense of intimacy to the performances we were able to catch.

Tussilago (helmed by Lykke Li’s younger brother) churned out Tame Impala-like psych rock at Sentrum Scene. Well, Tame Impala on Quaaludes rock. The Swedish four-piece have found their sound—a delicious dream jam concoction. However the hook-free songs of their debut EP made for a somewhat mild live experience. Still I’ll be listening to see how they evolve when it comes time for the full-length.

Over at Rockefeller, Dråpe was far more engaging. The Norwegian shoegaze quintet combined sugary-sweet vocals with a wall of My Bloody Valentine-like guitars and pop hooks. A perfect live translation of last year’s album Canicular Days with (obligatory joke coming) everything turned up to eleven.

Going into the festival, Sin Cos Tan was one of the artists I was most excited to see. They like Pet Shop Boys—and I like Pet Shop Boys! Clearly this is a match made in heaven, right? While I’ll still probably toss their album Limbo on from time to time, the Finnish band’s performance at Stratos was embarrassing at best. Horribly out of tune, it was like the two band members couldn’t hear each other—or simply didn’t care. Less a slick electro pop and more like contemptuous shouting match. The bright side? Stratos—also called “The rooftop of Oslo”—offers stunning views of the city, making the set almost worth it. Almost.

Thankfully Denmark’s When Saints Go Machine offered far more challenging and downright fun fare. Hip-hop with an electronic core (or perhaps electronic music with a hip-hop swagger), capped with frontman Nikolaj Vonsild’s idiosyncratic falsetto, everything about the set came across like a weird/wonderful mash-up. And perhaps more importantly, it was delivered with passion.

The night was capped off with a DJ set by James Murphy. During his Q&A, he encouraged people to “get weird” while a DJ was spinning. For the first few songs he played, people stood and stared. But soon one fan jumped on stage (for a selfie with Murphy—but you have to start somewhere) and others began to follow suit. Soon the whole venue was dancing. Just like the DJ/chief had intended.

Check out photos of day one here.








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