Tinderbox 2018

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Tinderbox 2018

by jessicajolly / Jul 04, 2018 / 0 comments
Date: 
Thursday, 28 June 2018 to Saturday, 30 June 2018

Just when it seems the festival market is at peak saturation point, a new offering sprouts up in the summer sun. Tinderbox, a 3 day multi-genre festival in a Danish forest, has blossomed in it’s 4th year, offering an impressive line-up and beer logistics so smooth it brings tears to an English person’s eyes. Eyes used to staring at the back of a glittery scalp during a queue that never ends.

An hour and a half journey from Copenhagen, Tinderbox takes place on the outskirts of Odense, a lovely little city that one can explore each day before the acts hit the stage. More on that in a bit. Let’s talk about who we saw this year.

THURSDAY (TORSDAG!)

PROPHETS OF RAGE
This is the act that seduced us to Daneland, as they hadn’t any UK summer dates in their European schedule. My boyfriend and I are both RATM uber-fans who will do just about anything to watch Tom Morello’s fingers fly down the frets. If you follow the GOAT’s Instagram, you’ll know he had emergency hand surgery only days before the European tour began. We had a bet between us that he wouldn’t make it. I won. He was there, and he was as blistering as ever.

We won’t pretend that seeing POR is just like seeing RATM. Zack’s absence is felt. But Chuck D (Public Enemy) and B-Real (Cypress Hill) are powerful vocalists of their own, and the bring their own style to Zack’s lyrics. The band usually does about 70% RATM, 10% each of Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, and original material. It’s an incredible review of 90s rap and metal, from the greatest musicians of that genre.

IGGY POP
He’s 71 years old and was flying to London the next day to do Finsbury Park. That schedule would tire out my 30-something self, but the eternally-shirtless Punk godfather didn’t tire out for a moment. A short set of hits such as Repo Man, The Passenger and a cover of Bowie’s Jean Genie only scratched the surface of what Iggy has to offer, but such is the nature of festival sets.

DEPECHE MODE
Heroes on the European continent, I expected this to be huge, and it was. The band was air tight on both their newer tracks and the old classics. They made the most of the time for sure, ending the encore with the sing-a-long style Enjoy the Silence and a revamped Just Can't Get Enough that layers in even more poppy sweetness. I left sweaty and happy. Even though I couldn't quite get enough...

Tinderbox has it's stage logistics very fine tuned. The Red and Blue stages face each other. Each act plays an hour and 15 there's a 15 minute gap, then an act starts on the opposite stage. This bit of schedule engineering looks flawless on paper, but in practice, huge acts like DM (and on Sunday, Jack White) give only a taste of their offerings, while bands with less material and following are allowed an equal amount. Surely headlining acts should be weighted.

FRIDAY (FREDAG!)

CRAIG DAVID presents TS5
The TS5 project is a way for David to present and perform his own material, as well as the work of others. Basically, a chance for him to mix in new tunes, as no one is writing for him anymore. His couple of old hits gathered a fair few sing-a-longers, but once he started rapping, I had to run. He's a talented singer who unfortunately was written bad material. He's a truly terrible rapper who should go no where near the genre.

ALANIS MORISSETTE
A guilty pleasure you'd never bring yourself to purchase a ticket to is exactly what music festivals are made for. I was super excited to sing-a-long to overwrought anthems from the mid-90s. Miss Morissette made a theatrical entrance to a single note being strummed by her backing guitarist, so I was expected a slick performance from the icon. But her first three numbers seemed strained, made more so with her odd head positioning, as she avoided the photographers by craning her neck to the sky. We stayed for two more tunes then, feeling underwhelmed, stomped toward the tent stage to catch...

THE BREEDERS
Where we entered during “Divine Hammer” and immediately felt the presence of a BAND. Kim and Kelly Deal were so comfortable on stage it felt as if we were in their childhood bedroom, watching them practice tunes together. Kim shone brightest on “Off You”, a stunning track track with simple instrumentation that allows her girlish vocals to drill a hole into your heart.

IAMJJ

We were excited to check out some Danish language acts, knowing they might be well weird. Some were. IAMJJ was a bit, but in the very best ways. Imagine a Scandinavian Alt-J with a Danish blues singer up front. It made for a very satisfying late-night tent stage act. I think they'd do well in the UK, no one would notice what language they lyrics were in anyway.

SATURDAY (LØRDAG!)

MADNESS
I’ve seen the Camden legends twice in their home country, and while they are always musically spot-on, it’s occasionally felt as though they were trying to hard, such are the expectations of an English audience of the ska veterans. But here in Denmark, where half the crowd had shimmied over to the dance tent, Grandpa Suggs and Co were completely relaxed, taking the piss out of the crowd, and being their sarcastic selves. I don’t know if they’d agree, but I think it was the best performance I’d seen of theirs. The numbers were tight, and Suggs banter was as 1970s East London as you could ever hope to hear in 2018. I

VELVET VOLUME
The best part of any festival experience is the new discovery, and VV was it this time. Danish teenage girls make up this power punk trio, and the blew the roof off the tent stage Saturday afternoon with their heavy metal Runaways sound. They sing in English and banter in Danish, and the crowd laughed throughout, so they are as charming as they are talented. They’ll do very well when the visit the UK.

JACK WHITE
The musical genius is listed as a solo-act, but of course there is very much a band behind him. This moniker however allows him to draw on his complete catalogue as an artist, and many White Stripes and Raconteurs tracks were played, to the audience’s obvious delight, though he is not by any means simply drawing on his 00’s past. His new material was stunning. Jack’s new instrumentation of his classics are more layered given his larger backing band, which gives a new perspective to songs like “We’re Gonna Be Friends.” Often bands will tweak their songs simply because they are sick of them, but these new changes feel warranted, making the songs feel fresh and alive rather than simply saying “let’s do a Caribbean version!”

Once again, he suffered a too short set because Tiesto was about to begin on the Blue stage. He even lamented his inability to offer an encore, insisting “I’d like to stay longer but they won’t let me!” Again, slightly shorter sets for afternoon acts would have given these big-font headliners everyone was there to see the space they deserve, and that’s my only big criticism of the festival.

My favorite memory of Tinderbox was at the very end. As we walked through the exit and a teenage girl in front of me was crying. The security guards asked her (in Danish, so I’m assuming here) if she was ok. She wiped the tears off her cheeks and sobbed “{something in Danish} JACK WHITE {Danish lamentation of love.}” The guards laughed and showed her out, where she met her Dad on the street and hugged him, crying harder as she espoused her love of the pale-faced troubadour. My heart swelled in recognition. I think I cried the first time I saw Jack White (Summer 2002 at Irving Plaza in NYC.) I occasionally worry the EDM disco kids will kill off rock music, but no. This weeping teenager assured me that our kind will never die.

Quickly, I’ll talk about Tinderbox logistics.

THERE WERE NO BEER QUEUES EVEN THOUGH EVERYONE HAD A BEER. I don’t know what secret the Viking descendants are holding back about how to serve tens of thousands of thirsty music fans without making them wait, but Glastonbury needs to pay them whatever they want to find out and implement. Maybe it’s just more bars. Maybe it’s a secret underground reservoir of beer. I don’t know but it was great.

If you’re going to venture out to catch a foreign festival, a location that allows you to take in the cultural experiences is your best value for money, as you get your summer festival and a cultural mini-break all in one. Summer of course is the perfect time to visit Scandinavia and enjoy the midnight sun. Tinderbox is a great option for an off-the-beaten-path festival experience.

Rating out of 11: 
8