We returned to a not-so-rainy Gothenburg on the West Coast of Sweden for the second edition of Viva Sounds back in December. As with most things in December, this review was put on hold whilst we worked on our Christmas bellies but now they’ve started to subside, the real work begins and rounding off what was another great festival is top of the priority list.
Remembering back to a hazy Friday night (thank you Fireball shots), the festival started at the cosy Holy Moly watching Danish singer Dopha gently cruise through her set of brand new material stirring up thoughts on a slightly more poppy blend of country folk that reminds me on further listening of a voice of Regina Spector blended with Taylor Swift. Maybe that’s quite a statement, but it was two months ago now and might notes are a little skewed…
Sam Florian followed with amorphous, vapour infused production on lo fi tracks worth a mention here before great dinner of Middle Eastern food at Silvis and a short walk down to Cafè Hängmatten to watch local boys The Bongo Club thrash through their set in the expected emphatic fashion. Ever the live band, the Swedish four piece boasts a rhythm section that would be the envy of any indie band giving guitartists Jesper Jansson and Erik Ahlblom freedom to express themselves as only guitarists know how. A short trip upstairs to Musikens Hus to watch Linn Koch-Emmery, one of my personal favourites for a couple of years now, and still every time I see Linn perform I believe she is primed for bigger stages across Europe. ‘Waves’ has been a track I’ve played on repeat for over a year, if you haven’t heard her yet I suggest you start here.
Without going into late night Friday night antics this year (no late night Robbie Williams being forced down my throat by one Mattias Tell), Saturday was a good day for many reasons. Man Utd thrashed City, Anthony Joshua slapped Ruiz around, and it was a great night for live music, which was obviously why we were in Gothenburg to begin with… We’d been tipped by a friend to check out Toi Let and absolutely loved it, some of the drumming was on another level and really made the noisy instrumentalist standout from the crowd. Another local act and one we are very familiar with here at Mystic Sons HQ in a polluted London, Mimi Bay followed and was a particular highlight of the festival. Armed with just a guitar and a voice that drew drastic comparisons to Nina Perrson, Mimi is an artist to keep a close eye on in 2020 with big things planned. Oceanen hosted Bella Union’s Pom Poko from Norway to claim the prize of the most entertaining act of the festival, purely party hits and energy on stage from start to finish, a very impressive performance.
Other notable performances were from Arvid Nero and Slowgold leaving the only UK act on the bill, Red Rum Club, to close the bill in chaotic fashion with a stage invasion whilst playing final song ‘Would You Rather Be Lonely’ from which we have a video that may never see the light of day. Time will tell, but another stellar effort from a festival that continues to punch well above its weight.
Also – worth a mentioning if Gothenburg in for next years Viva Sound. Go get some pizza from Kafé Magasinet - we live for pizza after all and we will be back I hope next year (well, technically this year because we are so late in writing this). Viva la Sweden xx