Go Go Berlin

support Nelson Can + Mudhub Inc.
author TL date 09/11/13 venue Gimle, Roskilde, DEN

I don't pay attention to Danish award ceremonies whatsoever, but since checking out Go Go Berlin at this year's Roskilde festival and subsequently their brilliant debut album "New Gold", I've felt pretty confident that if there are any "Best Danish Newcomer" awards being handed out, the Aarhus quintet should reap all of those this year. I've felt this so strongly in fact, that I've ventured all the way out to Roskilde (about half an hour by train), because all the band's shows closer to me have clashed with other things.

Enormous thanks to Gimle for lending me an SLR in the absence of any of our photographers!

Full gallery of my efforts available here

So I'm hungover as hell, I've forgotten my earplugs and I've been unsuccesful at convincing any photographers to come with me, but I'll be damned if I don't find myself at Gimle - Roskilde's premiere concert venue - with half an hour to kill before there's any music. Rendezvousing with a friend of mine who works in the bar, she proceeds to fix all my problems by hooking me up with earplugs, a restoration beer and a Canon 350D. Of course I have never used an SLR before in my life, so I need a few minutes to figure it out - a few minutes I won't have until after I've seen one of the strangest sets in recent memory, which is one you will hence have to imagine without pictures:

Mudhub Inc.

Considering that even the omniscient internet seems to know nothing of Mudhub Inc. my guess is that the lowest spot on the bill has likely been given to some inexperienced, local newcomers and it turns out I'm dead on. Initially coming on as a trio - two guys and a girl on drums and hollow-body guitar and bass respectively - the band starts out playing a warm, mellow pop-rock, which suffers right off the bat, because the present frontman looks overmatched singing and playing his parts simultaneously, and consequently struggles to sing in tune. One song even has to be started over because he messes a part up.

Three songs in, the band then shuffles instruments, the bass and guitars roles getting traded as the blonde left-hander stepping up to the mic explains that they're actually five members in the band, two of which sing and four of which play guitar. With her at the front, things take a turn for the better, for while she still has pitch problems here and there, her singing is both fuller and more confident, and she seems hellbent on rocking out during any parts focused on her angry punk-ish chords instead of her singing. She's also the one to alleviate some of the band's awkward breaks by deadpanning sarcastically "Are you guys excited for Nelson Can and Go Go Berlin.....?" and "So... Anyone here from Solrød?"

The bit of humour is a welcome injection, because the following line-up shuffles create more delays in form of tuning breaks. Stylistically, things change almost from song to song and with one band member to spare at all times, one of the guys is constantly just chilling at the side of the stage. Things are at their weirdest when they bring a violinist on for an ambitiously morose slow-burner with extremely deep boy/girl vocal harmonies that frankly, the band doesn't have the tightness to deliver at this point. Admittedly the set has bright spots: The drumming is unflappable, the audience claps amicably and the band's female member energizes the performance when she's in front - But overall there's a heap of things that need oceans of rehearsal time and this set has "too soon" written all over it, so its probably best to just give Mudhub some time and not expect too much from them for at least half a year's time.

Nelson Can

The next set belongs to the Go Go Berlin tour's regular support band, the all female trio Nelson Can, whose minimalist rock, driven exclusively by drums, bass and vocals has honestly struck me as a bit repetive and superficial listening online. As soon as they get started however, it becomes clear that their highly stylised image is primarily geared towards the live setting at this point: The three of them, to their credit, look like they just walked off a Soundvenue photoshoot despite jokes about not having showered today, and from the word go they rock about with complete confidence and routine, drummer Maria Juntunen emphasizing strokes with arms raised high and singer Selina Gin swaying about with an attitude like she wants to get in our faces.

The gap from the prior set to this one couldn't be wider, as nothing is left to coincidence in Nelson Can's set. The bassist - the curiously named Signe SigneSigne - lays down the main grooves while rockin' cooly and reaching out to the audience with down-to-earth between-song banter, speaking in thick Jysk accent as she accredits the headlining band with an ability to drink lots of beer. Musically, the band's songs about "Apple Pie" and booty calls ("Call Me When You Want To Get Laid") aren't the deepest compositions, but they benefit from the buzzing organicness of the live setting and especially fans of The White Stripes and Band Of Skulls should find something worth writing home about. Still, despite convincing the crowd to approach the stage and despite Gin performing the final song down among them, it's still a politely one-sided affair, which eventually stands as solid without being extraordinary.


Go Go Berlin

By the time it becomes the headliners' turn to step in front of the massive backdrop that bears their name, the population of Gimle has grown from sparse to a what I'm guessing is around 200 people, making the 570 capacity venue look, if not packed, then at least fairly well visited on the evening. Some samples grow in presence as the lights dim, ringing the band on stage like a The Who song rings in a CSI episode, and they quickly get things rolling with "On The Run" and "Gimme Your". Being in the middle of a long tour, the band relies on professional showmanship to get things moving, with guitarist Mikkel Dyrehave brandishing his instrument vividly when he's not occupied by too complicated parts, and with frontman Christian Vium doing his best Steven Tyler imitation, egging the crowd on whenever he has a breath available between lines of lyrics.

Remembering their Roskilde Festival appearance, Vium admits that last time they played in these parts the audience was a bit larger and wilder, but he's still impressed with the turnout, reverting to Danish and addressing us like a country-boy rascal between songs. "You came here to have a good time tonight! Am I right?!". As he gestures encouragingly on his way through songs like the danceable "California Mind" and the ballad "Waste Of Trying", Vium sounds supremely confident in his vocal delivery, and you can't help but to get the feeling that rocking out like a professional is already a routine to both him and the band: Proof of which can be seen in how they effortlessly extend a song with extra drumming and soloing when bassist Emil Rothmann breaks a string early, having to rush to the side to get it fixed.

On the floor, different members of the audience are taking to the performance in different ways, as Go Go Berlin has attracted listeners of all ages. Grown ups are happily nodding, applauding and swigging pints in the rear, while young Gymnasium students sing along more passionately in the front, a few even taking to happy dancing. The reach of radio single "Raise Your Head" is apparent as it commandeers the loudest singalongs of the evening, but you can feel the crowd's appreciation for the band's tapestry of retro influences - referencing everyone from Thin Lizzy and The Who to Rolling Stones yet giving it a youthful energy that makes people feel like the last 50 years of rock didn't happen.

As Go Go Berlin eventually reach their planned set closer, they routinely decide that the show isn't of the intensity which befits the tired walk off/come back maneuvre, instead just opting to power on into "Bad!" and "Shoot The Night", prolonging the latter with extra soloing to ensure that the final refrain does indeed come over as a finale. Walking off, they leave behind a certain impression of a band that's built to deliver the classic rock show night in and night out, with target audiences easily dwarfing even the solid one of tonight. And while I can't shake the feeling that the band is already feeling restless to move on to bigger stages, they're as active and forthcoming as you can ask of any band and everything sounds top notch. It's the kind of set that isn't extraordinary yet has everything you can really ask for at a rock show of this size.



  • On The Run
  • Gimme Your
  • I Want You
  • You You You
  • Waste Of Trying
  • Little Too Much
  • Raise Your Head
  • California Mind
  • Castles Made Of Sand
  • Darkness
  • Bad!
  • Shoot The Night

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