Eurosonic Noorderslag 2013: Day 3

As Eurosonic draws to a close, our man in Holland unearths a few Scandinavian surprises

Blog by John-Paul Mason | 15 Jan 2013

Luckily, due to Chvrches having played at the Minerva Art Academy the previous evening, tonight's first port of call for Saint Lou Lou is on a well kent path. Arriving nice and early to avoid the inevitable clamour to see this Swedish duo whose press shots are just as likely to have created fervour as their music. With only one track, the sublime ‘Maybe You’ having been circulated, which evokes Cliff Martinez' Drive score (particularly Chromatics), there is perhaps a little nervous tension in the room as twins Elektra and Miranda stride onstage. They deliver a pristine, exquisite set of songs and next single ‘Julian’ proves they are no one hit wonders. A fairly special start to the last night of music featuring artists from outside the Netherlands.

Continuing the Scandinavian tip, we venture over to Vera to find a packed crowd assembled for Norwegian indie pop outfit Highasakite. With a sound which lies somewhere between Lykke Li and Arcade Fire, they can only prove a hit when they reach these shores. Fronted by Ingrid Helene Havik, who possesses a beautiful voice and strums at an omnichord to a backdrop of fairylights, songs like ‘Indian Summer’ and ‘The Heron’ are truly special, so much so that there's a collective sigh as they announce the end of their set.

A first visit to the Usva venue next to see an artist that really impressed when supporting Spector last year. Gabriel Bruce takes to the stage accompanied by two female dancers dressed in matching suit jackets, a la Robert Palmer videos, in a room similar to Edinburgh's own Voodoo Rooms. His voice echoes Leonard Cohen, whilst his stage demeanour is reminiscent of Jarvis Cocker. A heady cocktail, then, but the talented man has the crowd in the palm of his sizeable hands when he introduces his “disco” song ‘Zoe’. Thanking the crowd for their “hospitable” applause prior to playing recent single ‘Perfect Weather,’ he closes the set to one of the most enthusiastic audience reactions of the festival so far.

Sadly it's just too busy to get in to the upper Grand Theatre to see Edinburgh’s rising star Nina Nesbitt, instead we head to the News Café to see French electro outfit Jupiter. As we arrive, they've already got the nightclub style venue dancing to their Bangalter-schooled beats. Boasting yet another stunning frontwoman, they're ideal for this time night, calling to mind early Prince as well as having that classic Gallic influence of Jacques Le Cont or Air. Already well known in their home country, surely they are only a hit single away from breaking elsewhere, and it sounds like they have plenty.

The Skinny's last port of call is the De Beurs venue, where we find the striking figure of Swedish singer Karin Park on stage in giant platform shoes, towering over the assembled crowd. Alternating between a Korg and a keytar, she's accompanied by her brother on drums (in a Slayer tee, no less!). An artist who demands your attention visually and has more people taking pictures of her than most of the other bands we've seen all week, it’s a struggle to find a point of comparison, such is her unique style and voice. As she leaves the stage to a reception both heartfelt and raucous, it's an appropriate way to conclude our Eurosonic experience.