Tinderbox 2015

author TL date 02/07/15

Since the cancellation of the otherwise long running Midtfyns Festival in 2004, Denmark’s third largest region Fyn has been without its own festival to compete with Sjælland’s Roskilde and Jylland’s NorthSide and Smukfest, despite the fact that Midtfyn was at one point bigger than even Roskilde. Not anymore however, as the organisers behind NorthSide decided to create the new Tinderbox Festival, adding to an already packed banquet of Danish festival options during the month of June. Much has been written about this, particularly about the ensuing drama between the new and the old festival organisers, and the confusion only increased when unclear communication made the press report that Tinderbox would be a new rock festival, making for some disappointment when the lineup announcements started coming in.

Despite a stormy start however, the festival still ended up boasting a lineup with roughly 25% rock names, and some good ones at that, so to see those, and in the interest of checking out a new festival in general, we made arrangements to make the trip and report on the inaugural event.

Unless otherwise stated, all pictures are courtesy of Homage Photography

SETUP

Tinderbox is hosted in an open glade area in the middle of Tusindårsskoven, a forested area on the outskirts of Odense, Denmark’s third largest city. Getting there proves to be quite easy, as an “event ticket" has been made available for guests to buy via SMS, costing only 20,- DKK and in return allowing you to ride all city buses for 24 hours. These buses of course including frequent shuttles from Odense’s central station.

Arriving at the glade and getting through the entrance gates, you quickly feel like you are at NorthSide version 2.0. The organisers being the same is visible everywhere as the official information signs have a highly similar style and even the kinds of food shops seem similar. Where NorthSide is situated around a hill however, Tinderbox is in bit of a valley. The main area bottoms out just outside of the pit area of the Blue main stage, inclining just a little bit outwards with the Blue and the equally large Red stage sitting on opposite sides of the circular area. The rim of the circle is lined with food and drink shops and toilet areas, while there’s a tent-like canopy raised in the center for people to chill under. To minimise queuing there are also extra bars (although ones with more limited selections) put up in smaller tents out in the open. At first we worry that the incline will make it hard to watch bands when the crowds start to get thick but the organisers seem to have thought of this, as the main stages are so tall that it proves easy enough to see the artists from mostly everywhere.

View of the Blue main stage

On the opposite side of the main area from the gate, a wide path leads past more shops over to the large tent which houses the nearby, smaller Yellow stage. The tent is open on its left side, outside of which there’s a steep hill that people can sit on, though this is also the only place where the festival is bordered with fences instead of stores, meaning that drunk guests could frequently be seen pissing uphill, making the allure of sitting down there less tempting.

Finally, a similar path could be taken away from the main area entirely, leading guests to a nearby outdoor swimming facility. Sadly the pools had been closed off and bridged, making for at bit of a derelict atmosphere surrounding the castle-like Magicbox stage, where irrelevant, knob-twisting artists would be ignored by us for by far the most of the event (the stage was for DJs only).

Similarly to NorthSide, Tinderbox is a no camping festival, meaning that fans had to secure their own accommodation in and around Odense.

People using the central canopy for cover during a period of rain

ATMOSPHERE

The number one takeaway regarding Tinderbox’s atmosphere is that it was cosy. The area looked great, especially in the dark, with Hollywood-style white letters spelling out the festival’s name at the top of a hillside right beyond the festival’s boundaries, and with a lit up ferris wheel giving the area the look of a fairground. The number two takeaway is that people get wasted here. Seriously wasted, as we saw several guests of all ages sway dangerously and knock into each other already in the early evening (even more so than you normally do at festivals). If Denmark has Roskilde for bohemian youngsters, NorthSide for hipsters and indie fans, Copenhell for metallers and their various subdivisions, then Tinderbox feels decisively like an everyman’s festival. If you’ve lived in any of Denmark’s outer provinces, you’ll feel a bit like coming home, and even the presenters on the various stages did their part to boost sort of a unifying provincial underdog mentality.

AWESOME FEATURES

Similarities to NorthSide

The organisers had brought over their experience in offering great toilet facilities, equality in beer/long drink prices and a great recycling system. Consequently, we were once more spared annoying queues, we got our buzz on without ruining ourselves financially and we weren’t sitting in a sea of trash and empty cups.

Great commuting options

As described before, the option to buy a cheap bus ticket via SMS message, which allowed you to get anywhere in Odense for a whole day, that’s just awesome. We paid considerably less for bus fare than at NorthSide and we spent less time walking and waiting as well.

Top notch concert experiences

This was also similar to NorthSide, but we didn’t mention it as explicitly in the recent NorthSide article: These organisers know how to build stages, they know how to hire sound engineers and they know how to put up screens on the side of each stage (except MagicBox). Consequently, we could see what was going on almost at all times, and the sound mix was mostly crystal clear, only dipping down to a modest “decent" very rarely. The only tiny caveat was that since the Red and Yellow stages routinely had bands on at the same times, their proximity meant that quieter bands would not work at Yellow (not that any played there), because the loudness from Red stage was consistently audible between songs.

The ferris wheel looking festive against the night sky

For the next stretch, the article is dedicated to the lineup and the reviews of all relevant rock or rock-related bands. If you are interested in the section where we highlight positive traits for the festival and make suggestions for improvement, you can find that all the way down at the bottom. /TL

Full lineup

Friday:

Sheppard - Go Go Berlin - Nothing But Thieves - Rival Sons - Hozier - Henri Matisse - Echosmith - Marie Key - Tensnake - James Blake - Duke Dumont - Modest Mouse - Kent - Dirty South - Major Lazer - Robin Schulz - Above & Beyond - The Prodigy - Oliver Heldens - Calvin Harris

Saturday:

Milky Chance - Rasmus Walter - Broiler - Julias Moon - Love Shop - Kryder - Carpark North - Thomas Jack - Angel Haze - Bikstok - Toomanylefthands - MØ - MK - Joey Bada$$ - Emeli Sandé - Cazzette - Topgunn - R3hab - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Faithless - Morten - Axwell^Ingrosso

Sunday:

Marmozets - Passenger - Lars HUG - All Time Low - De Eneste To - Royal Blood - Eagles Of Death Metal - The Cardigans - D-A-D - The Gaslight Anthem - Ellie Goulding - Faith No More - Spids Nøgenhat - Robbie Williams

BAND REVIEWS

FRIDAY

Go Go Berlin @ 14:15 on Blue

Among the many flashbacks to the recent NorthSide that we experience at Tinderbox, one is arriving on a sunny, early afternoon with Go Go Berlin being the first band to see, along with the early audience that has managed to get off work and attend the festival already. There are enough people to make the pit area look populated, although with room to spare, so the band has its work cut out for it in terms of energizing the mood. They go about it as they did two weeks ago at NorthSide, opening up with a couple of newer tracks, among the the recent single “Electric Lives", and then gradually pleasing the fans with hits from their 2013 debut “New Gold", among them “California Mind" and of course “Raise Your Head".

Having covered the band a handful of times now, it’s no surprise that they are once again world class when it comes to both tightness of sound and movement on stage. Anders Søndergaard and Christoffer Østergaard hold down the backline on keys and drums, and bearded bassist Emil Rothmann anchors the performance to the right, while guitarists Mikkel Dyrhave and Christian Vium prance around like they sunset strip rock never went out of fashion. Vium’s voice is exceptional as per usual, sliding seamlessly from low hum to a high purr, but Dyrhave and Rothmann also impress with spot on, Bee Gees-esque falsetto choir on some of the new, unreleased songs.

Go Go Berlin’s Christian Vium - Credit: Thorsten Iversen

Odense is noticeably not the same home field for the band as Aarhus was though, and Vium’s gesturing to make people clap gets a bit old over the course of the set, not to speak of the sit-down-jump-up routine the band demands at one point. These over-used tricks seem unnecessary, when Vium can summon up just as much response by simply swaying his hips or one-handedly squeezing out some brazen notes from his guitar. Apart from deploying some slightly too ordinary attempts at getting the early birds involved however, there are no complaints to make about the band, The eclectic, harmonised riffs they borrow from various strains of vintage 70s rock ring sensually in our ears. Thoroughly rocking bridge sections are getting emphasised via deconstruction and rebuilding mid-songs. And both the singing and visible joy of bringing the classic rock experience to life, are once more enough to demonstrate that these boys have it like few others. [8] TL

Rival Sons @ 15:15 on Red

Moving from one rock & roll experience to another, Rival Sons emerge on the Red stage facing a similar challenge as Go Go Berlin did just before, and drummer Mike Miley seems excited to take it on, so much so that one of his sticks escapes his hand after his very first hit. Suppressing the embarrassment, the band gets things going by restarting the banging “Electric Man". Soon after another mishap occurs though, as the power cuts at exactly the moment the band is about to lift off into a riveting solo, leaving both band- and crowd members confused. It’s not so surprising though, because the band is playing deliciously loud, and as things are fixed in a matter of seconds, things develop more smoothly from then on, with the steady grooves doing their work on previous fans and new listeners alike.

Rival Sons’ Scott Holiday - Credit: Hjørdis Jonsdottir

Taking a temporary detour over to the Yellow stage to also sample Nothing But Thieves, we notice to our satisfaction that heads are nodding and faces are smiling as the riffs go to work even far away from the stage, and when we return later to catch the long end of the set, we also make note that a) guitarist Scott Holiday’s mustache is so pointy he could probably impale a person on it, and b) frontman Jay Buchanan has ridiculous pipes, giving an impression of a modern day Joe Cocker, somehow finding the extra air to top a bone-chilling scream off with some extra airy clean notes in the same breath. Overall, the band - all looking like walkoffs from the cast of Californication - play their songs more true to recorded form than Go Go Berlin, yet with the benefit of getting through even more of them. And though they sound similar, they have obvious and positive impact on the mood felt across the glade, in the way that solid, powerful blues-rock riffage that you can feel pumping in your stomach rightfully should have. [8] TL

Nothing But Thieves’ Conor Mason - Credit: Johanne Teglgård Olsen

Nothing But Thieves @ 15:15 on Yellow

As the young Londoners in the alternative rock band Nothing But Thieves take the stage in the tent this afternoon, there are not a lot of people present. The band has as of yet not released a debut album but they're well on their way up with just the singles they have out so far, for instance supporting Muse in the near future. They lead with an impressive performance of one of their most recent singles "Itch" and it doesn't take too long before it attracts a bigger audience although the tent never gets properly filled. Their vocalist Conor Mason is at first listen their most impressive asset as he slides seamlessly and playfully in and out of a delicate falsetto with his powerful voice. What makes them a very likeable band to me is that they seem to put an effort into playing their compositions as much live as possible, meaning that their drummer will for instance provide some extra sounds by playing on a pad next to his kit, instead of just adding them through an immense backtrack. Most of the band members will likewise provide supporting vocals so Mason's more delicate melodies don't get lost in the loud and more explosive parts of the music and the careful placing of this support goes a long way to make the band sound very good here today. They're very comfortable on stage even though this seems more than anything like a showcase for them, and as they end with an energetic performance of one of their more rhythmic songs, "Ban All The Music", we're really just left wondering when, oh, when their debut record will be ready for release. [7½] LF

Hozier - Credit: Thorsten Iversen

Hozier @ 16:30 on Blue

Having opened the day with a banquet of masterful singers in Christian Vium, Jay Buchanan and Conor Mason, it becomes clear that while Irish soul/blues musician Andrew Hozier-Byrne is recognised for his singing, he’s merely a competent vocalist when appearing in succession of the aforementioned. There’s a great ring to his voice in his mid-range singing though, which clearly has drawn a lot of young ladies to the blue stage, and an increasing number of Tinderbox guests are now picnicing across the law outside of the pit area. The sound is well-adjusted and Hozier’s set feels almost like listening to Motown in the sense that it’s just pleasant in a way that nobody should be able to dislike. The down-to-earth singer seems modest yet in good spirits bantering with the crowd between songs, so while the set overall is less energetic and impressive than the three that came before it, we get the impression that people are still satisfied, both the proven fans and the casual festival guests that are just hanging out and enjoying some new sounds. [7] TL

Echosmith @ 17:45 on Yellow

As concluded in our review back in 2013, the California-based sibling band Echosmith hardly has enough edge in its soft, pop-rock universe to be a priority for our site. But the only other thing that’s on is Marie Key, so even though our warning lights are already flashing from the knowledge that the group is a bit of a major label pet project, we check out the group that has had their song “Cool Kids" as number 1 on Danish charts for 9 weeks straight. And clearly, we shouldn’t have, because their performance is as fake and void of any real passion as we could have feared. Jamie and Graham Sierota, on guitar and drums respectively, wear blank facial expressions, as if they don’t really want to play, while Noah on bass tries his best to look like cool a pop star on stage right. In front, singer Sydney sings well enough, but in the way you imagine a tame Hayley Williams would if she had been raised in captivity.

Sydney Sierota twirling her parasol for no reason

Sydney rotates a prop parasol for the duration of a song for no reason other than to look quaint. and treats the audience to routine pop-star “sincerity" between songs, without really saying anything at all. The band plays songs like “Come Together", “Bright", “Tell Her You Love Her" and of course “Cool Kids", which seemingly is the only song the packed audience has bothered to listen to in advance, as it is the only one anyone sings along to. It does not matter that there are lots of people here though, and it is no excuse that the Echosmith family is young - the siblings ranging from 16 to 22 in age. They look like brainwashed monkeys up there, who cannot convincingly fake that they care about the songs which you suspect have been written for them by someone else. It’s the performance of a one hit wonder created to make money off casual music listeners, which anyone who’s actually interested in the music scene should currently avoid seeing live at any cost. [3] TL

Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock

Modest Mouse @ 20:15 on Yellow

The cult indie rock band Modest Mouse take the stage tonight to the speaker sound of thunder crashes and rain to perform for us what will soon unfurl as the oddest show of this festival. In addition to the band's six current members, two touring members have been added resulting in them having all of three percussionists to rattle, shake and beat all manners of various rhythmical instruments. This is a band of many instruments already with fiddle, banjo and a brass section added to a regular setup of guitars, bass and keyboards, and while they have a fine sound mix tonight, the amount of details in their music is almost overwhelming, even more so as we eerily feel more than actually hear all the subtleties of the songs in this open, noisy festival setting. The moody and almost manic performance of vocalist and guitarist Isaac Brock doesn't do much to invite the listeners into these complex songs. "How was your day, Tinderbox?" he asks early on immediately followed up by a dramatic "Wait! Don't answer! I don't care..." proclaimed with wild eyes and a playful smile. All this coupled with the band's mostly reserved attitude on stage makes for a show that feels like it’s reluctantly catchy. With a relatively short set list, memorable hits like "Float On", "The World At Large", "Dashboard" and the more recent "Lampshades on Fire" take up a good part of the time and even though we're left wondering about the intentions behind Brock's odd comments, the crowd doesn't seem to care too much as most people seem to be having a great time just being allowed to listen and dance to their favorite songs. [7½] LF

SATURDAY

Carpark North frontman Lau Højen

Carpark North @ 16:30 on Blue

The popular Danish electro rock trio Carpark North have been around for quite a number of years now and they have many catchy songs to their name. As I haven't seen them live before, I am happy that they manage to play pretty much all their hits today even though I could do without some of their more lackluster new songs. Unfortunately for everyone, the rain starts falling heavily just around the time their first sounds blast out from the big stage but the band certainly do everything they can to get a party started anyway as the electronic parts of their music are emphasized even more than on record, turning their show into something very similar in vibe to the EDM shows that take up the later time slots at Tinderbox. Vocalist and guitarist Lau Højen who takes on the role of audience controller has some trouble with singing in tune to begin with and although it quickly gets better through the set, he never reaches impressive levels. The remaining members of the trio are placed to the front of the stage as well and only after a while do we realize that they have a fourth live member hiding out in the smoke to the back as well. He provides extra guitars, keyboards and vocals throughout the set whenever it's needed, freeing up the regular members to focus on their showmanship and this works quite well for them. Thus Søren Balsner who takes care of bass and synthesizers also does his part to rally the audience as he dressed in futuristic black and pink clothes even gets on the ground towards the end to throw himself around in the mud while still playing his instrument. The one point where their set differs the most from the EDM-approach is with their rendition of what I'd deem their most important song, "Transparent and Glasslike", which sadly leaves me sorely disappointed. They decide to start it off acoustically which would be a cool move if the acoustic part was played with any kind of passion and didn't last all the way through the lyrics, and the rest of the instruments didn't only enter to run amok and provide us with a wall of noise at the end. So despite all their effort, the show never really becomes more than a jump-a-long fest and their songs generally don't make an impact on me that is anywhere near what I expected from them. [4] LF

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ 23:15 on Yellow

Saturday has been an impoverished day in terms of seeing any artist of actual substance, so to say our hopes for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are favourable is probably in order. The trio comes on to a fairly well populated tent, looking rock & roll as fuck - not slightly like over the top caricatures like Rival Sons arguably did - just like genuine motherfuckers. Leah Shapiro hits the drums with manic concentration and stoic steadiness, while Peter Hayes and Robert Levon Been brandish their guitar and bass up front, obscured under messy black hair and black leather jackets. “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo" opens up proceedings, and you sense that like at most non-mainstream shows at Tinderbox, the audience is a curious one more than a familiar one.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Robert Levon Been

Hayes, Been and Shapiro do not seem bothered by this though, as Been in particular slings his hollowbody bass around. Hayes and he take turns at singing lead, and while the band certainly leans on blues rock tradition similarly to other of Tinderbox’s rock bookings, there’s no boogie in the mix here, rather trippy, drawn-out hints of noise and psych. The vocals are unclear in the mix, but this seems beside the point, as the trio cultivates an oldschool hypnotic atmosphere where the consistently growing and buzzing power of the three instruments. Overall it’s one of those peculiar concerts that exists in a vacuum apart from ordinary considerations about catchy songs and forthcoming rock stars. BRMC are not about that, whether fans appreciate this fact or not - They’re about chasing the devil in the buzzing guitar noise, and about being a manifestation of the oldschool, enigmatic rockstar. Which is why it almost breaks the illusion when they tip their hand by singing "Whatever happened to rock & roll?" in their last song. For the past hour or so, they had made it seem like rock & roll was still alive and thriving in them, whether accessible to the Tinderbox audience or not. [7½] TL

SUNDAY

Marmozets @ 12:40 on Yellow

With "The Weird And Wonderful" British newcomers Marmozets released one of the most riveting debut albums of 2014, and having already harvested awards and live adoration both in the UK and the US, it’s high time we get to see them here as well, despite the fact that the Danish music media - dropping the ball as usual - has done nothing to expose the band to fans here. That last bit shows here in the merciless noon slot on the festival’s last day, as there are only two lines fanatic All Time Low fans assembled when the Macintyre and Bottomley siblings come on stage. Singer Becca leads the group into a set starting with “Move, Shake, Hide", and while she likely realises quickly that only a handful of people here have any prior interest in the band, she performs energetically, dancing frantically and awkwardly while sending challenging stares in the direction of anyone that meets her gaze.

Behind her, brother Josh is equally animated, often getting off his stool and leaning into his hits, or finishing songs by rising up on his kit and gesturing at the crowd. To the right Sam looks like a young Alex Turner having somehow ended up at a show way smaller than where he belongs, cranking out the band’s surprising, angular riffs sporting a bare chest under his leather jacket. On the far side, Jack Bottomley gradually gets into it as well, soon throwing his guitar around, leaving his brother Will on bass as the only member that grooves about only modestly, while the others rock about, doing guitar spins and generally looking like the riot they’re reputed to be on stage.

Becca Mac finding herself in the crowd after the show

The energy of the performance and the hard-hitting quality of the songs quickly draw more curious guests to the tent, with the crowd gradually growing to a less embarrassing number. Regrettably, they’re not treated to a perfect mix, as “Becca Mac" clearly has yet to learn the perfect handling of mic distance, considering that she both shrieks and screams and sings more mellow clean vocal parts, resulting in her volume being lowered to the point where the cleans are drowned out somewhat. This particularly harms a slower song like “Captivate You", but also steals some dynamics away from the likes of “Why Do You Hate Me?" and “Is It Horrible?". Overall then, it’s not the set Marmozets deserve, as you can clearly see when Becca jumps the barrier and joins the audience in a final attempt to get some action going, only to scream in their faces while they capture the moment on smartphone video. The scattered outbursts of "Wow that was good!" from crowd members afterwards reveal that the group managed to open some eyes, but the words would be closer to the truth if the mix/mic handling had been more on point, and if there had been an actual audience here to see the band. [7½] TL

All Time Low @ 14:45 on Yellow

When we return to the yellow stage a bit later, the size of the crowd is now looking respectable, and as the Baltimore pop-punk idols in All Time Low take the stage, it seems like every single teenage girl is screaming in unison. And that makes sense, because the group has worked tireless to facilitate their career as exactly that kind of band, though never once compromising on the essential liveliness and catchiness of their many hits. They’ve brought along an extra guitarist/backing singer today, allowing guitarist Jack Barakat to roam free and jump high without the sound being at any risk and their delivery of the song is frighteningly professional, to the point where you can clearly sense just how many more shows this career band likely perform, compared to some of the local stars that figure higher up on the Tinderbox poster (Carpark North and D-A-D take notes here please).

Jack Barakat getting some air time

There’s time for the usual goofy, down-to-earth jokes about sex between songs, which solicits some cheap laughs, but mostly it’s just full speed through hits like “Lost In Stereo", “Damned If I Do You", “Weightless" and of course “Dear Maria", all them borrowing the most proven elements from genre forebears like Fall Out Boy, Blink-182 and American Hi-Fi. In particularly impressive fashion, singer Alex Gaskarth handles his vocal duties with such confidence and technique that he puts the live performances of many American singers in more technically impressive bands to shame (we’re looking at you -core bands). He doesn’t even miss a note when his guitar malfunctions and a crew member has to run up and change instruments on him right by the mic.

So then, argue all you want about the artistic legitimacy of pop-punk, and All Time Low’s sugar-coated version of it in particular. But you can’t disagree that in terms of live performance, these dudes are the consummate professionals, always seeming present and energetic when they play and always making sure to sound pristine and consistent at a level that make a lot of other bands look slightly amateurish. [8½] TL

Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr

Royal Blood @ 15:55 on Blue

Following two lively performances from some of the few alternative varieties of rock bands at this year’s Tinderbox, it’s time to head back to bluesy and groovy territory, as the British duo Royal Blood are to appear on the blue stage. They handle this task similarly to how they handled Vega, back in March, coming on, looking cool and laying down the barrage of riffage from Mike Kerr’s customised bass guitar. Kerr is a good singer, not as special in this regard as some of the other frontmen (and -women) that we’ve seen this weekend, and today he seems pretty laid back, delivering the band’s numerous strong tracks with the relaxed confidence of a man that’s already growing accustomed to stages of this size. And save for drummer Ben Thatcher taking a lap around the pits during a prolonged solo from Kerr, that’s really all the words you need to describe the Royal Blood set. Hard drumming, hard riffs, constant grooves, and catchy songs such as “Little Monster", “Loose Change" and “Blood On My Hands". That the sun is out and people seem to be getting in increasingly good spirits also helps, but on the flipside, the performance feels a tiny bit too methodical compared to some of the better ones we have seen over the weekend. [7½] TL

Eagle Of Death Metal’s Jesse Hughes

Eagles of Death Metal @ 17:05 on Yellow

Whether the bras that decorate vocalist Jesse Hughes' microphone stand today are leftovers from the All Time Low show earlier of if they are actually thrown at him before I get to the tent, I still don't know. However, it's not hard to believe the last option considering the sexual energy the man puts forward while grooving about and singing his dusty, pervy rock songs. As most other shows we hear at Tinderbox, the sound mix is solid here but despite the relatively filled tent, the audience don't seem in particularly high spirits except of course all the way up front. Hughes stays vigorous through the set though, at one point exclaiming that since a tinderbox is used to "burn shit down", we should get the fire started right here. Despite Hughes’ good mood and the band’s solid performance, "Boys Bad News" is the only song on their setlist that really makes an impression in the end. Overall their show leaves a way too tame impression, in part due to the fact that the crowd just does not seem up for groovy rock'n'roll at the time. [5] LF

D-A-D’s Jacob Binzer

D-A-D @ 18:15 on Blue

It's been just about a year since I saw Denmark's favorite rock'n'roll band D-A-D close the Copenhell festival in style and considering the party they started then, there's really no reason to doubt their ability to do the same here. And true enough, a good deal of people gather around Blue stage as they are about to begin and everyone in the pit seem to sing along and dance continually during their set. Despite this success there's no way to overhear how flat and hoarse Jesper Binzer's voice sounds on every single song tonight. Søren Andersen (of Electric Guitars) is still standing in for their bassist Stig Pedersen who hurt his arm some time ago, but Pedersen still makes an appearance at Tinderbox as he shows up for a little while to take on vocal duties for one song in the middle of the set, unfortunately not sounding much better than Binzer. They present a fine setlist including a couple of my favorites in "I Won't Cut My Hair", "Helpyourselfish" and of course "Sleeping My Day Away", but with so many other hard rocking songs in their back catalogue, it's hard to understand why they choose to spend ten minutes of their show time on making the crowd cheer on their drummer Laust Sonne so that he can play us a drum solo afterwards. They even roll in an extra drum kit for him to do it on so that they can put it on fire afterwards while performing "Bad Craziness", and while I'll admit that it's an effective and rock'n'roll show element, it doesn't at all make up for the actual quality of their sound tonight. [4] LF

The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon

The Gaslight Anthem @ 19:25 on Yellow

Brian Fallon and The Gaslight Anthem have steadily spread their popularity far and wide over their five album career, even to Denmark, where another respectable gathering of people has found its way to the yellow stage. For all the warmth of their songs on record, and for all the appeal of Fallon’s characteristic singing, the set the band treats us to is as methodical as they have usually been at festivals. The mix feels a bit too compressed, leaving it hard to hear the verses in particular under the guitars, and considering how similar tempos and moods the group works with, that’s a shame, because the lyrical narratives are exactly what could potentially make songs stand apart more in the performance. Fallon is in good spirits today though, taking a short break to banter in friendly fashion, which is more charming than the pedestrian rendition of “House Of The Rising Sun" that the band decides to play for who knows what silly reason. An airing of an old classic like “We Came To Dance" or “Could’ve Been A Contender" would’ve been better then, to go along with predictable selections such as “Unwritten", “59 Sound" and “High Lonesome". And when you look at the blank expressions of the remaining band playing around Fallon, it’s hard not to be just slightly disappointed once again, with how routinely and uninspired they perform live compared to how unique and immersive they sound on their best recorded material. As it is though, it’s the kind of show that progresses smoothly, where you can feel that people aren’t as much fully immersed, as they are mainly just wait for the choruses they know to come around. [6½] TL

Faith No More singer Mike Patton

Faith No More @ 20:50 on Blue

There are a handful of singers in the world whom I have the utmost admiration for and Mike Patton who fronts funk metal band Faith No More is undoubtedly one of them and has been for years. This is part of why I have the greatest expectations for their performance at Tinderbox even as I'm probably more familiar with some of Patton's less famous bands. They enter entirely dressed in white on a stage that has been filled with summery yellow, purple and white flowers and look like a band that could be hired to play a wedding. As they casually play through their set, it's obvious that they are one of the most experimental bands on the bill musically and while the people in the pit are definitely enjoying themselves, there is more than enough space left in front of the stage. The flower arrangements on stage cram the band in the middle with space left at both sides, and every member is very stationary and thus it's a bit of a test for a crowd that has had many spectacular and show-minded performances up until this point. The band acts very professionally and plays solidly, sounding equally good during light, funky parts as during harder and darker ones and Patton gives a great performance whether he's crooning, rapping, or belting through the songs with his powerful voice. Through a combination of the band's professional distance to the show and the rain that is still falling at this point, I am however not really taken in by their performance tonight even though it is all interesting enough to keep me in the back of the pit for the duration of the set. [7½] LF

Spids Nøgenhat frontman Lorenzo Woodrose

Spids Nøgenhat @ 22:30 on Yellow

After checking out the beginning of Robbie Williams' lackluster show that is to end this first edition of Tinderbox, I quickly retreat to the Yellow tent to end my festival with the psych rock of Spids Nøgenhat instead. A good choice it turns out as the spacey sounds that fill the entire space accompanied by psychedelic visuals are impressive to behold and soothing for a tired festival-brain. The amount of people in the audience increases slowly as time progresses but the tent remains no more than half-filled at the end and this makes it a very intimate set as well. I'm surprised at how well-articulated vocalist Lorenzo Woodrose is tonight as I'm not used to actually being able to hear what is being sung at shows like these where the sounds are often caked in reverb and others effect. It is a more than welcome feature though as the stories of the songs become an anchor I can hold on to in the floating music that will sweep you away before you even know what is going on. As such the sound mix gives us exactly the best of both worlds and the show stands as one of the very best-sounding of Tinderbox overall. Psych rock is not the kind of music that makes the biggest impression on me normally even though the music of Spids Nøgenhat can be a pleasant enough listen for me at home. Tonight however, it's has an almost gravitational pull and I would advise anyone that feels like me to give the music a chance live if you haven't yet. [8] LF

SUGGESTIONS

Here we give our suggestions for how the festival could improve, as usual in our “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" categories.

● THE GOOD

Keep copying NorthSide

Toilet facilities, bar selections, recycling system, stage features - Keep copying these from NorthSide as they are all just as awesome features in Odense as in Aarhus.

Choices of rock bands

While we would obviously always wish the portion of rock bands at the festival was even bigger, we would at least applaud the bookers for hiring acts that could deliver and get across the gap to the diverse types of casual music fans the event had drawn. It seemed like the organisers had taken care to only host bands that turned out to play entertaining shows, whether known in Denmark or not. It wasn’t hip and it wasn’t pretentious, it was just a quality selection of names that had already proven to play entertaining rock both here and in other markets.

Good selection of food/drinks

It could be slightly better from a vegetarian standpoint, but otherwise Tinderbox had a good selection of both beer, long drinks, cocktails and energy drink at reasonable festival prices. Similarly there was a wide variety of different foods, including bakery goods, vietnamese, various burgers, gourmet hotdogs, sushi, quality ice cream and freshly made pancakes.

● THE BAD

Lack of areas to just hang out

With there often only being one band on at Tinderbox, there will be times where you’re not interested in the music and you just want to relax and drink with friends. Sadly, with no camping area and the relatively small confines of the festival, you could choose between being part of a concert or being in the middle of a transit area. Unless of course you had been hogging a seat in some of the areas that had them. There was quite a bit of room outside of the gate that the festival could have perhaps used to create more places to take a break from the noise.

Corridor from yellow stage slightly too narrow

The corridor leading from yellow stage to the main area proved to be a bit too narrow when the tent had been full, as it was during the Echosmith concert for instance. After that set there was some of the claustrophobic mass-movement traffic chaos in this area, and opening up the space a bit could probably be a good idea.

Unfortunate scheduling

As a rock fan it was a bit of a bummer to have a ticket for Tinderbox on the Saturday where only Carpark North and Black Rebel Motorcycle club stood out among the various pop and EDM names. Especially considering that Kent and Modest Mouse played at the same time the previous day, and Nothing But Thieves and Rival Sons did the same. Scheduling a festival is hard, we know, but when artists are so clearly divided by genre, it’s unfortunate when the bands in a minority genre conflict.

● THE UGLY

Train volunteers better, just as NorthSide should

Just like at NorthSide, we arrived at the festival and were told that we were not allowed to bring sunscreen in… - On a hot June afternoon with no shops at the festival selling sunscreen. That’s what we call an actual health hazard, and it’s frankly a bit ridiculous that volunteers at the gate had not either been instructed in or selected with the necessary common sense to understand something like this. Furthermore what was allowed in seemed to vary erratically, with some being told to leave umbrellas out, others being let in with them. Just like at NorthSide, the managers need to pay more attention here.

Sound bleeding over from Red to Yellow stage

As described earlier, you could consistently hear music from Red stage bleeding over between songs at Yellow, thus knowing that if a quieter band was to play at Yellow the result would be bad. The loudness at Red was generally awesome, but maybe see if Yellow can be turned even more away or just moved a bit further perhaps.

FINAL WORDS

Overall our experience at the first Tinderbox festival was quite positive, and things panned out with few issues, as the organisation clearly drew on the experience gathered at NorthSide. The surroundings definitely felt cosy and made the thought of returning during following years appealing. That being said, the bookers will have to do at least this well, preferably even better, at booking good rock bands, otherwise the scheduling of the event makes it hard for rock fans to justify attendance in an already stacked month of June.

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