Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Hove festival, day 1: Stumbled upon treasure

My humble little hometown of Arendal hosts one of the biggest music festivals in Norway. Since it's in my Hometown I usually go every year. This year's lineup was not particularly interesting for me personally, except for the second day when Kasabian, The Strokes, and Brandon Flowers will be playing. However, I want to tell you about the first day which wasn't really looking that interesting to me... Until I found out that one of my favourite DJs was playing.

I like the mood in festivals. People are happy, smiling, laughing, dancing, drinking, and just generally having a good time. Of course there will always be idiots, arrogant pricks, overly drunk yobbos, and a lot of people who seem more preoccupied with looking good than having a good time. But you've got ignore these people, put a smile on your face and keep on dancing. Or drinking. Or festival-ing. The lineup on the first day was perhaps meant to hit a younger, more 'emo' audience with All Time Low, 30 Seconds to Mars and nu-metal heroes Linkin Park as headliners on the main stage. The stage where I was stood most of the day because I was 'working', ushering photographers in and out of the gap in front of the stage during concerts. The view was good, shame the same can't be said about the music.

But then I had a look in the Festival's own newspaper. A 'band' called Carte Blanche was playing the closing gig at the smallest stage. The face of on of the 'band members' immediately caught my eye. Fucking DJ Mehdi! The DJ whose gig I had missed out when he played Manchester at the Parklife festival! Carte Blanche wasn't a band, it was a DJ duo with DJ Mehdi and a British DJ called Riton. So off to this concert I ran, skipped and jumped, giggling like a little girl who had just been kissed by Jared Leto.

About 200 people were there. Everyone else was watching Chase & Status. They missed out, big time. Proper, proper, world class house music from one of the best DJs in the world and this other British fellow who I had never heard of before, but Oh lawd, he knew his stuff. No one in that tent was standing still, it was impossible not to dance to the music coming out of those speakers. They even had dancers! Two girls who came on now and then to spice up the live show. I know what you're thinking, dancers on the stage sounds a little cheesy, tacky, 'techno club in the 90's-ish', but somehow it wasn't. They did all the funny 80s/90s funny dance moves that people in the crowd hopelessly tried to copy, but they also showed of some real skill with both handstands and dancing on roller skates. It sounds silly, and it was but in a good way. Sort of inspired by the music video from their first single:

Carte Blanche and their roller skating dancers. DJ Mehdi in white, Riton wearing black.

Robot dancing never went out of fashion

The masters at work

I know I'm biased since I'm such a sycophant for French house music, but this truly was a good gig. I seriously doubt you would have been able to be at that gig and not dance (unless you were one of the testosterone-overdosed security guards who kept watch in front of the stage but seemed more preoccupied with pointing at people in the crowd giving them menacing frowns). You know you've seen a good gig when you leave with the feeling that you don't need to see any more bands or artists. For all you care the festival could just finish up and close down. And you're smiling so much it hurts your face. Just listen to this:

But I AM looking forward to today's lineup... Stay tuned for more biased gig reviews.

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