Going to Aarhus is always a pleasant experience: a semi-large town beautifully situated by the Aarhus Bay with harbour, forests and small narrow streets to walk for shopping or just finding your favourite cafe for relaxation.
As far as concerts concern Aarhus can almost match Copenhagen.
A summer festival called Northside has since 2010 been focussing on the alternative/indie music scene- both international and Danish acts and has gained more and more popularity over the years.
"Aarhus Festuge"(Festival week) has since 1965 been a whole week of a cultural smorgasbord of all kinds of art and concerts- classical as well as rock and pop.
But Aarhus also has a history of presenting international rock acts going back to the early sixties with its own variety of "The British Invation" minus The Beatles, though! (They only played two Danish concerts in Copenhagen both on June 4th, 1964 in the now sadly burned down KB Hall!)
This tradition of presenting international acts is still pending- one of my biggest concert experiences this year has so far been the Japanese band Tricot at ATLAS.
Also Blitzen Trapper were great here!
A good concert experience is not only up to the performance of the band itself but also how the staff of the venue interacts with the audience. This can either enhance or ruin the experience for the paying punter. If members of the staff are smug or downright impolite they are either in the wrong job or badly managed by the leader of the venue.
Funnily enough I've never come across staff members in Aarhus who were rude, impolite or smug- this also applies to the hired bouncer who wishes you, "...a good concert" on you way in!!
If you decide to keep your jacket on inside it's ok- no hidden expences!
"Members of the audience have the right to feel at ease for as long as the concert lasts!" is a well rehearsed maxim of the staff members before they are allowed contact with us, the audience- at least this is what I am made to believe and what you feel when you enter the venue!
But let's go to the real reason for writing this blog post:
Going to last Sunday evening's concert at the venue TAPE in downtown Aarhus was a thrill for me, and why?
I generally find Sunday evenings perfect for live music- it's either at the end of your week or right at the beginning of the next.
This time TAPE was a venue I did not know- neither did my good friend Jan. But with the aid of a GPS and some driving around to find a parking space we managed to locate the venue just behind the Aarhus Cathedral in Mejlgade. Mind you, we'd still had to walk through two back yards to find the stairs for Sunday evening's concert with American Chris Cohen but luckily we did!
Not surprisingly a friendly staff welcomed us to the converted warehouse in this back building with low ceilings that only the Danish word "hyggelig"(nicely) can cover precisely!
A very nice conversation with the band's temporary drummer, Sheridan Riley (perhaps her name rings a bell? She played drums in now sadly defunct Avi Buffalo((go see my blog on "At Best Cuckold" and their Ideal Bar/Vega-concert. They made two beautiful albums for Subpop in 2010 and 2014))- tonight she's just a hired hand) could refrain us from believing that a touring band is just like being on a vacation...plus the instruments- well, it's not!!
It means traveling from venue to venue, town to town, country to country all over Europe for a month playing your music almost every night.
She didn't look exhausted, though, but was keen on talking to us about the music she played and music in general.
So why not turn to the music of Chris Cohen, then?
A very compact touring band Chris Cohen Band is:
Himself on guitar singing his songs, a keyboard player, a bass player and chorus and finally Sheridan Riley playing the drums.
Cohen with a background in Deerhoof has two albums under his (own) belt and the set list was a mix of these two.
Not a lot of talking between songs, no introduction of the band- just eleven songs delivered effortlessly with polite "Thank You"s and "we play two more songs" at the end of the show!
Chris Cohen is singing his songs in the soft understated voice of his thus expressing his lyrics in a way that touches you. And just when you thought you'd nailed it, "oh, melancoly, eh?"...a few garlands of melody sung on a single word send the song in other directions finding different emotions- brilliant, Mr. Cohen!
This is of course easier to detect on his studio recordings- live the instruments escpecially Chris Cohen's own guitar covers his singing in a slightly distorted guitar sound which I believe is done quite consciously.
In fact the sheer volume of the band is impressive when they (are allowed to) take off!! This happens usually at the end of a song or simply in order just to spice up a song. Here in a glorious anti-guitarhero manner Chris Cohen lets his cherry SG loose and delivers some wonderful noise...again: Brilliant!
The hipster audience of Aarhus clearly seemed to love this judging from their unrestrained applause!
All in all another evening of musical delight in beautiful Aarhus and once again:
Thank you, Chris Cohen with band and not least, thank you and cheers, Sheridan!!