On holiday

As I said in my previous article, I had one week of holiday in the middle of October. I wrote a short summary, gathering information about accommodation and transport, I thought it could be useful if someone wanted to travel in the area. You can find it here. There’s also a map of my peregrination.
After visiting Aarhus, I took an early train to Esbjerg, where I arrived at 9.30. It was sunny, windy and quite chilly, and I soon started to bike in the direction of Blåvand, to find the bird station and meet some birders. Google Maps had told me it should take me two hours, so I was quite enthusiastic. Alas, it quickly turned out that, heavily loaded as I was, in such an adverse wind, it would take me much longer. Luckily, I had downloaded a GPS app on my phone, so I did not get lost on the way (not too much, at least). After three sweaty hours, I reached Oksbøl. My room was not ready yet, but I could leave a bag at the hostel. I travelled lighter to Blåvand (one more hour), where I met two birders. They told me about the species that had been seen recently in the area, the species that one could expect in Denmark during winter… interesting talk, but I wanted to go out and see some of those. Black, White-winged and Surf scoters, three American and Siberian species, had been spotted in the vicinity! Alas, alone and without a scope, I could not spot anything besides Velvet and Common scoters, but that was a start. I enjoyed the beach, took some pictures and went back to Oksbøl, to get a well-deserved rest.

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Wonders of Aarhus

When I discovered that Sólstafir was to give a single concert in Denmark this autumn, and that this would not be in Copenhagen, I was very disappointed. True, I had seen them in Helsinki last year, but this performance was not associated with kind memories: the acoustic had been awful all evening long, and the audience quite disrepectful, so since then I had longed for their come-back. I vaguely envisioned traveling to Aarhus for this concert, but it was on Monday, so I forgot about this idea… until the day I discovered that week 42 was a week of holiday at DTU. All of a sudden, this trip became really feasible! Therefore, before going on a bike expedition to south-west Jutland, I spent a afternoon and an evening in Aarhus. Follow the guide!

Now imagine a rider carrying another backpack...

Now imagine a rider carrying another backpack…

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[Live report] Arcturus

Woland + Vulture Industries + Arcturus – Nosturi, Helsinki


Helsinki’s Woland was the first band to enter the stage that evening. Devastating riffs and a relentless rhythm section were on the menu, but the guitarist also offered a few delicate soli impregnated with melancholy. Vocals sounded a lot like Deathstars at first, a feeling emphasized by the look of the quartet, but after a few songs W’s own touch started to prevail. It’s no easy job to warm up the audience of Nosturi, but served by an excellent acoustic and a polished light show, Woland delivered an astonishing performance, chopped by very few addresses to the audience, to the benefit of an unaltered atmosphere. A solid opening meal.

The biggest surprise came in the form of a quintet wearing white shirts and black braces. Norway’s Vulture Industries set Nosturi into fire with their dark Avant-garde metal. If the whole band was involved in the vocal parts, it’s the singer that caught all the attention: overacting every single move, he didn’t give any respite to the audience, inviting it to participate in the show. The way he chanted his words, like a metalized Charlie Winston singing his Hobo, was mesmerizing. When Woland’s show was all about the music, Vulture Industries’ was all about communion between an audience on the edge of hysteria and a frontman who’ll come to sing forehead against forehead with fans. And how one could not smile when the man formed a human caterpillar to wander through the venue, to the bar area and back to the pit. This burlesque comedy was brilliantly supported by talented musicians, giving the impression of a theatrical play powered by either powerful melodic lines or deconstructed blasts, with no false note. Real rock stars.

After such a revelation, it would be hard for Arcturus to make the audience forget these clowns from Bergen. Disguised, they arrived on stage with assets of their own, the first of them being this music so characteristic, so different from any other one. “Evacuation Code Deciphered”, from their last album Sideshow Symphonies released already ten years ago, received the honor to open the show. Vortex’s voice stood high in the mix and, freed from his bassist’s duty in Borknagar, he could plainly focus on these vocal lines that embody Arcturus’ genius. On the other hand, one can ponder the use of bringing a keyboard and a violin on stage, when they are so badly integrated: inaudible at some point, painfully audible a minute later, the violin was especially disturbing.

The stage presence of the band was impressive, but Vortex’s behavior was surprising: from a music that relies so much on the atmosphere, such a trivial and superficial acting seemed out of place. Of course the singing was exemplary, but I expected more solemnity. This element made it hard to really get into the show, combined with the blast from Vulture Industries that for sure lingered in the audience. From this point of view, Woland made a much better job.

Still, it seemed the show had flown too fast when Vortex announced there would be no encore this evening. A grandiose “Shipwrecked Frontier Pioneer” closed this startling show, which highlight may have well been the presentation of a few songs from the upcoming album of the band.

Finally, although Arcturus’ performance was far from mundane, the sensation of this evening remained Vulture Industries. This crazy band is definitely one to remember for the future.

Picture: Vulture Industries © Abrisad photographer – under Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

Staunings Ø

I was traveling last week, birdwatching on the windy shores of the North Sea. Before that, I went to Staunings Ø (map) with a group of birders, for a stunning morning.

I arrived early on site, and was greeted by the rising sun. Playing with the clouds, it displayed all possible shades of orange. Needless to say that I was delighted; the early wake up was worth it.



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Foggy day

Last week-end, I went to Hellebæk again, hoping to see more migrants. Alas, the day was foggy, both in Copenhagen and in the north of Sjælland, but I still expected to see interesting things. While I was biking in the mist along Utterslev Mose, on my way to the train station (this time I paid a ticket for my bike!), I noticed a lot of birds singing. When I arrived at the meeting point I was greeted by Vicky and her father, and they told me that, although the weather was bad, there was an important bird activity in the area. Good!


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