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MUSIC

Denmark’s ten must-see concerts in June

With several major festivals getting under way and a strong line-up at Copenhagen venues, June is a month filled with musical options for every taste.

Denmark's ten must-see concerts in June
The NorthSide festival is one of several coming in June. Photo: NorthSide

The following weeks will offer more than enough entertainment as the closely contested general election kicks into top gear, but there is plenty to do in June for the non-political junkies out there.

We'll have more on the concert festivals as they approach, but for now here are our ten don't-miss concerts for June. 

Distortion Festival
Various locations in Copenhagen • June 3-7

Billed as “a week of emerging dance music and orchestrated chaos” Distortion has grown from strength to strength over the years. Now one of Europe's most renowned street festivals, Distortion features a street party in Nørrebro on June 3 and in Vesterbro the following day before the chaos migrates to the fashionably grunge confines of Refshaleøen for two more days of mayhem featuring a solid lineup of up and coming acts alongside evergreen establishments such as Fritz Kalknbrenner, Kenton Slash Demon and Eloq.

Hatebreed
Lille Vega • June 4 at 9pm

This will get messy. Hailed as moshpit kings for the last two decades, Hatebreed will be celebrating their 20th anniversary at Vega at the start of June. With numerous performances on Danish soil under their belt, these metalcore stalwarts look to add yet another memorable concert to their impressive local repertoire.

Marilyn Manson
Store Vega • June 8 at 8pm

He may be more than a few years past his prime and not quite as scary as he once was, but Marilyn Manson's 2015 album The Pale Emperor shows that the shock rocker still has a few tricks up his sleeve. The man formerly known as Brian Warner will bring his “The Hell Not Hallelujah Tour” to Vega for what will surely be a hard romp through his catalogue of goth-inspired metal. 

NorthSide Festival
Aarhus • June 12-14

Northside Festival is the music festival amongst music festivals. Retailing at a cool 1378 kroner, the Jutland festival, located in downtown Aarhus is cheaper than both Tinderbox and Roskilde. It's lineup is also less commercial, with quality acts like Anthony & The Johnsons, Alt J, Ben Howard, the Black Keys, Earl Sweatshirt, Wu-Tang Clan, Grace Jones and Placebo gracing its stages. Unlike Roskidle, Northside doesn't feature designated camping areas due to its city centre location.

Copenhell
Refshaleøen • June 18-20

Copenhell is exactly what it sounds like; two days of decibel-defying hell in Copenhagen held in the industrial surroundings of Refshaleøen heavily dedicated to metal; heavy metal. Hellishly unique experiences such as a scene where one can grab a mallet and smash away of heaps of junk metal are some of the attractions on offer at Copenhell. This year's lineup has bands such as Slipknot, Red Fang, Cannibal Corpse, Exodus and Kreator, making Copenhell a heaven for metalheads. 

Tyondai Braxton
Pumpehuset • June 10 at 8pm

Tyondai Braxton's music would be more at home at an art exhibition at The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art than it would at Pumpehuset so this choice is, admittedly, curious. To their credit, Pumpehuset have billed a true pioneer within the field of experimental music whose work sounds what life on a galaxy far far away in an unforeseeable future might sound like. His music is either too nerdy to be understood or the craftsmanship of a genius – figure it out for yourself.

Black Daniels
Rust • June 12 at 1am

M.C Black Daniels is one of Denmark's veritable ambassadors within the drum 'n' bass genre; a niche that often doesn't get the representation it deserves in music circles. Having shared stages with the likes of England's High Contrast (one of the few commercial successes within the genre), Daniels may not have that much material of his own but there is no disputing his lyrical wizardry as an emcee.

Vince Staples
Lille Vega • June 20 at 9pm

Several years after carving a name for himself with a series of recordings for the established Odd Future crew, Long Beach rapper Vince Staples has evolved to become one of the most exciting names in rap music today. His upbringing, run-ins with authorities and past near-misses are frequently the subject of his lyrics, many of which take a poetic stab at some of the inequalities of life.

Tinderbox Festival
Odense • June 26-28

The latest heavyweight addition to Denmark's impressive festival repertoire, Tinderbox, initially received a hostile reception from music journalists and the industry at large, given its bold decision to stage the event just before Roskilde Festival. Retailing for a cool 500 kroner less than Roskilde, Tinderbox have lined up a very impressive artist roster considering that it's their first-ever installation. The Prodigy, Faithless, Above & Beyond, Calvin Harris, Modest Mouse (shown in the video below), Robbie Williams, Faith No More and James Blake  are but a few of the names on a billing that features heavyweight electronic artists and established commercial acts.

Roskilde Festival
June 27 – July 4

Even though we're cheating a bit (the main lineup of music acts doesn't start until July 1), our coverage wouldn't be complete without mention of the Roskilde Festival – one of the largest festivals in Europe and a staple on the local Danish festival scene. Some of the bigger names on this year's billing include Paul McCartney, Pharell Williams and Muse. Beyond the music, there's an interactive art and culture scene and of course, the world famous camping experience that makes Roskilde a gem amongst gems.

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MUSIC

The Danish death metal band that became reality TV stars

The Aarhus band Baest is poised for an international breakthrough thanks to a recent documentary and an injection of taxpayer money.

The Danish death metal band that became reality TV stars
Baest is Sebastian Adildsten, Svend Karlsson, Lasse Revsbech, Mattias Melchiorsen and Simon Olsen. Photo: Nikolaj Bransholm
Death metal is a genre defined by growling vocals, blistering distorted guitars and blast beats. The sound is typically accompanied by dark imagery that borders on the downright evil. In a music world dominated by sugary pop and hip-hop, it’s about as far away from the mainstream one can get. 
 
But a young Danish death metal band is upending all of that. The Aarhus-based Baest found its way into the homes of ordinary Danes nationwide thanks to a documentary series on public television that chronicled their attempt to make music their full-time gig.
 
The series, ‘Den Satans Familie’, follows the young band as they leave Aarhus and embark on their first real European tour. It paints an intimate picture of the five members’ relationships, both with each other and the families they left behind while on the road. Baest only formed in 2015, so the documentary captures how members Sebastian Abildsten (drums), Svend Karlsson (guitar), Mattias Melchiorsen (bass), Simon Olsen (vocals) and Lasse Revsbech (guitar) in some ways still seem to be working out how to co-exist, something that's not always easy when crammed inside a small tour van. 
 
The DR3 series meant that these young, long-haired, heavily-tattooed metal dudes were suddenly reaching a much larger audience, including many who were not necessarily fans of their sound but couldn’t help but be drawn in by their personalities and their raw struggle to make it in the music business. 
 
 
But getting featured in a reality TV show wasn’t the only boost for Baest. The band was named 'best new Danish act' by highly-respected music magazine Gaffa, which also declared their debut album Danse Macabre the best metal or hard rock album of 2018.
 
Baest was also granted 250,000 kroner from the Danish Arts Foundation, a state-run fund for supporting Danish arts abroad. The financial boost is likely to come in handy as the young Aarhusians prepare to hit the road again in support of their upcoming second album, Venenum, which is due on September 13. 
 
Following the band’s standout performance at Copenhell, the annual heavy metal festival in Copenhagen, I caught up with guitarist Lasse Revsbech to talk about the band’s whirlwind success. 
 
First of all, I really enjoyed your performance at Copenhell. What was that like for you? 
 
“We’ve never played a crowd that big before, it was amazing. We’ve been building up over the past few years in Denmark, so to see where it’s gotten to now makes it all worth it. At Copenhell, we shared the stage with some fucking true legends. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. It’s insane.”
 
How do you describe Baest?
 
“Baest is an intense band, with high energy and raw power but with an enormous smile.”
 
How did the reality show come about? 
 
“Our manager was in a dialogue with [public broadcaster] DR and they decided to send a crew to cover one of our gigs at VoxHall in Aarhus. We told them we were on the verge of going on this tour and everyone just thought it would be fun to do it.”
 
The metal world can often seem overly concerned about image and authenticity and in the documentary you come across as this group of really nice, down-to-earth guys. Did you have any concerns about how this might affect your image? 
 
“We were definitely nervous about the metal community’s reaction and how things would be edited and presented but fortunately we really think that DR hit the nail on the head. There’s been such a great response. A lot of true metalheads and touring musicians have told us that it painted such an honest picture of the music industry. A lot of metal bands have a hard time with this concept of selling out but we’ve not been told once – not yet, at least – they were are sell-outs.”
 
You also received a grant from the Danish Arts Foundation. Isn’t it a bit crazy that public money is going to a death metal band? 
 
“Haha, it makes you happy to pay your taxes! It’s so Danish! But really, it’s all about people supporting people and it’s something I think other countries should do.” 
 
What are you hoping to achieve with the release of your new album? 
 
“First and foremost, we’re hoping it allows us to tour more. This autumn, we’ll be heading out for our biggest European tour thus far, as main support for an Entombed AD & Aborted co-headling tour. Entombed are one of the pioneers of death metal, so it’s insane to go on tour with those guys. 
 
“Even if the new album doesn’t make us explode, we hope it will get us one step closer to that. We’re a band that likes to dream big, so we want to play on the biggest stages all around the world. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction.” 
 
 
Baest’s tour in support of Entombed AD and Aborted kicks off on October 18 in London and will take them to 28 cities throughout Europe, including a November 1 stop at Vega in Copenhagen. Venenum will hit stores and streaming services on September 13 and lead single ‘As Above So Below’ is out now. The four-part documentary on Baest is available to stream here.
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