Monday, October 25, 2010

Belated Gig ”Reviews” Part 3: Monsters of Pop

I don't like the word “indie” too much anymore.. You can place anything under that term and, worst of all, skip power pop completely! Monsters of Pop, organized for the fifth time in Tampere this year, is an “indie music festival” that presents even quite hard rocking artists these days. I think that is bit contradictory to the festival being called Monsters of Pop.. Anyway, this year's MoP had again some great performances to offer. Here are a few of the bands that played a gig.

Technique is a quite new band, I think, that performs dark, atmospheric, minimalistic, yet entertaining electronic pop music. The songs also tend to have a slow tempo.. It all makes a great combination. I always enjoy seeing this band.

Technique at MySpace

There were also some international guests at MoP this year, some of them from Sweden. Francis, a Swedish pop/rock band, performed fancy tunes at Telakka. It was a good performance from good musicians. I especially remember the soulfulness of vocalist.. whose name I wasn't able to find anywhere. Anyway, a soulful and energetic performance from a female-fronted Swedish pop band.

Francis at MySpace

The most memorable gig was Them Bird Things, a band that I now saw live for the second time. And what a great improvement it was. I read in an interview that vocalist Salla Day would have wanted to make the band's first album an acoustic-sounding one but it was made into more electric in order to give the audience an immediate hit album (Fly, Them Bird Things, Fly! 2009). This acoustic vision was then realised on the band's second album Wildlike Wonder, released earlier this year. So, the interesting part is, that the band had a lot more acoustic live sound during the first album gigs. Now that Them Bird Things have released a more acoustic album, the live sound was more electric nonetheless, and the band sounded better that way. And maybe they had gotten better playing together.

Luckily the gig was even mixed well enough so that you could hear vocalist Salla Day's amazingly distinctive voice over the other instruments. The song material is also a very, very strong asset for the band. The new album is a gorgeous Americana/pop album, check it out on Spotify, for instance. The album has received praising feedback which is really well-earned.

Them Bird Things at MySpace

Lastly, I will mention another Swedish band that was the last performer of Friday. The band, Bye Bye Bicycle, had had problems with getting to Tampere so they were forced to take the stage probably only minutes after arriving from Sweden. Despite all the trouble the band threw an excellently energetic gig and presented lots of catchy, danceable songs. That is the work of professionals!

Bye Bye Bicycle at MySpace

That was this year's MoP. In the future, I might give up my current boycotting habit and even go see all the performers. That way I would at least have better means of criticizing the things I consider to be wrong... Such as the excessive number of electronic music performers, very noisy rock on a pop festival and the total lack of power pop artists. I am still happy this festival exists, even though my most cherished memories from the festival tend to a few years old already. The things used to be better... Or maybe I have just grown more demanding when it comes to my indoor pop festivals.

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