Viva Sounds 2018 Review

We were lucky enough to be invited for the inauguration of VIVA Sounds Festival and Conference in December, so I’ve decided to pen some thoughts on the whole experience.

My first time in Gothenburg, I’ve been told it was somewhere west of Stockholm when in actual fact it’s on the other side of Sweden. Three hours passed fairly quickly on a smooth Swedish train, which made a mockery as most trains do in Europe, of the shambles we have in comparison to ride in the UK. Another fine example of how Brexit won’t make things better, Europe is already prospering without us and if we can’t run our trains properly then what hope have we got? Hmmm…

Anyway, Brexit dig out of the way. Friday night:

When invited for food I was worried my found flexitarianism would struggle to be upheld, as it is at most conference/festivals I found myself in (Would you like the burger or the steak today, sir?) but to my utter surprise, in typical Swedish style, we started in a vegetarian restaurant called Solrosen to get some pre-music food. I was strongly recommended the lasagne, so of course went for something else. Mushroom stew with rice, it was delicious and such a great little find.

Enough about food, this is a music blog. Off to see the bands, that’s why we’re here after all. First band up was an aggressive shock to the senses, in a hardcore, yet satisfying manner, watching Bottlecap jump around at The Abyss. We were then dragged off in the pouring rain (apparently it rains a lot in Gothenburg, it didn’t disappoint to demonstrate) towards Hängmattan. And it’s here I spent the rest of the evening, watching three great local acts. Lavette opened up, a 5-piece band with 4 women running the show and a sole male timekeeper on drums, really entertaining. I drunkenly recall naming them a Swedish version of Hinds to my good mate Austin Maloney (who tipped them as a must-watch), and I stand by this now in sobriety. Beverly Kills followed, they were excellent, brooding, alternative and led by the fantastic vocals of a singer called Alma who I met the next day. Hope to hear more from these guys soon. Closing the show were Baby Jesus, performing what I could only describe as 60s inspired psych rock, and dressed to match. It was a fitting end, to a fitting night. At least that was the plan at 1am.

Saturday:

Stupidly, Mattias Tell and I convinced each other it was worth staying out drinking until 4am in a nearby bar listening to Robbie Williams of all things in Sweden. Thus making me late for my speed meetings and missing the complementary breakfast in true conference style. Luckily it’s a quick walk down to Pustervik where the conference was in full swing without me. I spent the next 6 hours meeting, chatting with local bands and industry, it was absolutely fucking brilliant and felt very interpersonal, unlike a lot of the more ‘commercial’ music conferences (SXSW eat your heart out). VIVA Sounds was actually very useful for me and enjoyable it seemed for everyone taking part.

Post-conference began with more vegetarian food (Risotto this time) at a fine restaurant called Byns Bistro, before we were whisked away to watch another night of music. I ended up in Oceanen and had the pleasure of watching Melby, Sic Nis (from Birmingham UK of all places!) and a German act called Capitano. I was a fan of Melby before this and walked out even more impressed by a great live performance, whilst Capitano and Sic’Nis were both great examples of talent imported from other countries and both put on a stellar performance in their own unique ways.

After missing the Closing Party watching the talent at Oceanen, Pale Honey (pictured) showed everyone why they were closing the festival with a solid and assured performance from a band clearly destined for big things. Their take on proggy, grunge infused alternative rock was breath-taking at times, and damn enjoyable throughout. A fine export from a fine city - who said Stockholm carried all the cards in Sweden? Go to Gothenburg if you get the chance, live a little.

Check out the music on show in this well-thought playlist:

More Reviews

Jessie Ware - 'Tough Love'
4 years 5 months ago

9/10

The 2 Bears - 'The Night Is Young'
4 years 5 months ago

9/10

Kele Okereke - 'Trick'
4 years 5 months ago

6/10

Flying Lotus - 'You're Dead'
4 years 5 months ago

7/10

Kindness - 'Otherness'
4 years 5 months ago

10/10

Emperor Yes - 'An Island Called Earth'
4 years 5 months ago

6/10

Caribou - 'Our Love'
4 years 5 months ago

9/10

More News

Skepta announces new documentary 'Greatness Only'

While plans for a documentary about his grime collective / label Boy Better Know are already in the works, Skepta has now unveiled a new film based... 2 years 3 months ago

Billie Marten shares cover of 'White Christmas'

After having a brilliant year with the release of her debut album 'Writing Of Blues And Yellows', Billie Marten caps off 2016 with an enjoyable... 2 years 3 months ago

FKA twigs unveils extensive catalogue of work

Having spent much of this year producing films for her artwork and live dance routines, FKA twigs has now created a website where you can watch,... 2 years 3 months ago

Gulp share new single 'Search For Your Love'

Formed between Super Furry Animals’ member Guto Pryce... 2 years 3 months ago

Arcade Fire announce 'The Reflektor Tapes / Live at Earls Court' DVD

Following on from last year's 'The Reflektor Tapes', a documentary about the band's most recent album, Arcade Fire have announced a new DVD release... 2 years 3 months ago

Raleigh Ritchie returns with new track 'Sicko'

Following on from his brilliant debut album 'You're A Man Now, Boy' earlier this year, Raleigh Ritchie has returned with a brand new single, lifted... 2 years 3 months ago

US Government pushes to criminalise ticket bots

It has been the subject of huge controversy around the world this year, but it looks like the US Government are on their way to making the use of... 2 years 3 months ago

Supergroup Crystal Fairy share new single 'Chiseler'

Featuring The Melvins’ Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover, At the Drive-In / The Mars Volta’s Omar Rodríguez-López, and Teri Gender Bender of Le... 2 years 3 months ago

At The Drive-In return with new single ‘Governed by Contagions’

Having been 16 years since their last record, post-rock outfit At The Drive-In have returned to deliver a brand new single. The new track ‘... 2 years 3 months ago