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Sweet Spot Festival – Inaugural Estonian event impresses

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Sweet Spot Festival – Inaugural Estonian event impresses

Posted on 23 August 2018 by Joe

It’s no secret that we have become a little fond of Estonia after visiting Tallinn Music Week for the last two years. So how could we say no to checking out the inaugural  two day Sweet Spot Festival with the likes of Tom Odell, Jose Gonzales, Roisin Murphy and London Grammar on the lineup.

Here’s a roundup of the standout acts we saw…

Tommy Cash

Despite being placed on the Sweet Spot Festival B Stage, Estonian rapper Tommy Cash attracted by far the biggest crowd of the entire weekend. We had to use a mixture of politeness, cunning and the occasional elbow to reach the front. Upon his arrival he was dressed in what could only be described as the stinky black pair of shorts and white vest, last seen by the unfortunate few who forgot their school PE kit. This look was topped off by a pencil moustache akin to Poirot and spikey hair not to dissimilar to Keith Flint in his Firestater days, although now the spikes were held in place by condoms.

Tommy Cash

Tommy Cash

Cash is by far biggest star in the Estonian music scene right now, and its well deserved. On performing his song  X-ray we couldn’t help thinking that 90% of the crowd needed X-ray eyes (or at least glasses) to see him. He also performed songs such as his latest hit Little Molly. After completing his set the crowd chanted his name for more than five minutes hoping for an encore, but of course he was too cool for that.

Tom Odell

On arriving to the Sweet Spot Festival stage to watch Tom Odell it was clear to see that the audience was comprised of at least 90% women (and that is probably an underestimate). It was therefore no surprise that when he walked out, the Dennis the Menace of Indie pop had a face like a kid in a candy store.

Tom Odell

Tom Odell

As each song progressed he slowly melted the hearts of the ladies in attendance, until a sudden thunderous downpour saw the crowd run for cover and him calling a 10 minute break. Upon resuming he played the song “Hold Me” and we couldn’t help thinking that is exactly what the sodden ladies in attendance wanted.

Other highlights included…

NOEP

NOEP played on the C stage at club PADA. To say it was packed to the rafters would have been very apt had there been a roof, so instead the spectators headed in to the trees to grab a better view.

With the evening sun sinking and temperatures beginning to cool his song “San Fransisco” matched the mood of the crowd and climate perfectly. It is no surprise that his brand of electronic pop has gained international attention in recent years.

Jose Gonzales

With the mercury hitting 30C and the sun beating down, the crowd were in need of a little bit of cool. And then, outstepped Jose in a Hawaiian shirt, nonchalantly carrying a cold glass of white wine.

Jose Gonzales

Jose Gonzales

He proceeded to play a mixture of older songs such as “Teardrop” and newer ones like “The Forrest” (we certainly could have done with the shade of a few trees as we baked slowly in the sun). With as much desire from himself as the crowd, Jose played two extra songs, one of which was “Heartbeats”.

Special Mentions…

Kodaline

With Sweet Spot Festival first night headliners London Grammar cancelling just one day before, the upmost respect must go to the organisers for securing an equally well known headline act  –  Irish songsters Kodaline.

They didn’t disappoint either, playing a mixture of well-known hits such as “All I Want” and “High Hopes” as well as songs from their new album due later this year.

Little Dragon

LittleDragon were Jose Gonzales’s recommendation, and they certainly didn’t let him down. The Swedish electronic group were the first act to provide real energy and get the crowd going on the first day.

Little Dragon

Little Dragon

Charismatic lead singer Yukimi Nagano certainly grabbed the attention of the crowd, along with drummer Erik Bodin whose antics and spotty t-shirt likened him to a musical Mr Tumble.

Words by Mark Taylor, pictures courtesy of Sweet Spot Festival.

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Tallinn Music Week 2017 Review

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Tallinn Music Week 2017 Review

Posted on 21 April 2017 by Marc Argent

Earlier this month we dropped by  Tallinn Music Week, the annual event held in venues across the Estonian capital. Here we showcase some of the standout acts and other highlights from this annual event, which is now in its ninth year.

The Standout Acts

 

Dagamba

Latvian power strings quartet Dagamba topped the bill in the Old Town Cinema on Saturday night, during Tallinn Music Week. Taking to the stage several minutes late during an impeccably precise festival, the band cranked up the anticipation and feverish excitement in the audience, before blasting straight into their unique take on classical and contemporary music.

Dagamba

Performing tracks like Prokofiev the Knightrider and a gloriously energised version of the Game Of Thrones theme, Dagamba proved again how to win over new fans and delight existing ones.

Albert af Ekenstam

From hardcore rock bands to instrumental groups and writing songs for others performers Albert af Eckenstam has finally found his rightful place in the music industry. Performing his melancholic songs in a warmup solo performance at Apollo bookstore during Tallinn Music Week, Albert had the support of a full band for his evening show.

Albert Af Ekenstam

Both sets wonderfully showcased his beautifully crafted lyrics, and heartfelt vocals as he continues to build on the deserved success of debut album Ashes.

Erki Pärnoja

Estonia’s very own Erki Pärnoja quite rightly performed more times than anyone else than we cared to notice at this year’s Tallinn Music Week. We managed to catch two of his enthralling instrumental shows which showcased his new LP Efterglow. Erki’s band brought the magic of Efterglow to life on the stage, with it’s undulating soundscapes that sound like the soundtrack to an Estonian Western movie.

Erki

If you’ve ever wondered what a Mogwai, Fleet Foxes and Other Lives supergroup might sound like, then Erki Pärnoja might just be your cup of tea.

Moddi

Norwegian singer and activist Moddi performed songs from his latest album ‘Unsongs’, which is an exploration of banned songs from around the world. Your first instinct would be to think this is restricted to oppressive regimes, but this is not always the case.

Moddi

For example, among his set was a beautiful interpretation of Kate Bush’s Army Dreamers, which was banned by the BBC in 1991 as it was considered inappropriate during the original Gulf War. His final song Oh My Father, I am Joseph was the exception, although brought to court three times for blasphemy, courts in Lebanon cleared the original performer each time. The story and song brought some in the crowd to tears.

Other highlights

 

Mick Pedaja

They say music is special when it takes you to another place. Be it a beautiful summer day or the Mongolian steppe. Mick Pedaja is something different. Songs like Valgeks seem to channel the voice of mother earth herself. His music gives the forests, lakes, bogs and seas a musical voice. When we caught him at Tallinn Music Week his voice was truly breath taking.

Barlast

From the beautiful setting of the Russian Theatre we were blessed to listen to Finnish instrumental group Barlast. In parts it felt like we were at a grand 18th century dance in keeping with the setting. In others such as song Cs-137 we descended to a much darker place more in keeping with a Scorsese thriller.

Úlfur Úlfur

The Adidas clad Icelandic rap duo certainly know how to engage an audience that has no idea what they are saying and can barely see them.

On performing in the botanical gardens palm tree greenhouse they said “It was very moisty. We couldn’t see the crowd. It felt like we were performing to the trees.”

Flamingods

Flamingods are the musical equivalent of the children’s show the magic roundabout. Not only do the exceptionally talented musicians move around the stage swapping instruments with each other (even mid song). Their music and presence gives off that psychedelic 70’s Woodstock vibe.

Flamingods

Special Mentions

 

Siv Jakobsen

Norwegian singer songwriter Siv Jakobsen’s beautifully crafted melancholic songs are like a loving hug for the soul. Her and pianist Einar’s obsession with Britney Spears provided a touch of fun to proceedings too.

Tcheka

Tcheka is one of those artists whose music makes the sun shine and brings warmth even on the coldest of days. With snow and sub-zero temperatures outside he was certainly in the right place.

The Notes

Imagine the trio of embarrassing young reprobrates from Channel 4’s Inbetweeners with musical talent and you would be 90% of the way to describing Estonian three-piece group The Notes. Their perfect harmonies and catchy melodies are noteworthy indeed.

Abirdwhale

A special mention also goes to Abirdwhale (AKA Masato Kakinoki) from Japan. His self made system for creating one-off improvised audiovisual performances might just be one of the most memorable live shows of the entire week

Words by Marc Argent and Mark Taylor.  All photos courtesy of Reti Kokk photography and Tallinn Music Week

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