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

Honeyblood - 'In Plain Sight'
2 weeks 4 days ago

5/10

NEW MUSIC DISCOVERY - 29.05.19
2 weeks 5 days ago

Andreas Moe - 'Out Of Your Body'

Steve Lacy - 'Apollo XXI'
2 weeks 5 days ago

7/10

NEW MUSIC DISCOVERY - 28.05.19
2 weeks 6 days ago

Joya Mooi - 'I Can Better' ft. Pink Oculus

Cate Le Bon - 'Reward'
2 weeks 6 days ago

9/10

Slam Dunk has become the new Reading & Leeds
3 weeks 10 hours ago

Since its conception in 2006, Slam Dunk Festival has grown from a small scale event used to promo

NEW MUSIC DISCOVERY - 27.05.19
3 weeks 13 hours ago

Maybird - 'The Damages'

The Amazons - 'Future Dust'
3 weeks 14 hours ago

8/10

More News

Spector unveil new single 'I Won't Wait'

After returning last year to deliver their blistering EP 'Reloaded', Spector are back once again to share a brand new track. The new single 'I Won... 1 week 6 days ago

Bon Iver returns with new singles 'Hey, Ma' and 'U (Man Like)'

While finishing off his headline set at All Point East over the weekend (2nd June), Bon Iver treated the crowd to a pair of new singles, which he has... 1 week 6 days ago

Pixies announce new album 'Beneath The Eyrie'

Following on from the release of their much-loved 2016 studio album 'Head Carrier', Pixies have now announced their plans for a new LP, arriving... 1 week 6 days ago

Jai Paul returns with new singles 'Do You Love Her Now' and 'He'

Having been shrouded in mystery ever since he first emerged back in 2011, producer Jai Paul has now finally broken his seven-year silence with the... 2 weeks 9 hours ago

Bill Ryder-Jones announces new piano-led album 'Yawny Yawn'

After releasing his critically-praised fourth studio album 'Yawn' at the end of last year, Bill Ryder-Jones has now announced his plans to a piano... 2 weeks 13 hours ago

!!! return with new singles 'Ur Paranoid' and 'Off The Grid'

Following on from the release of their previous studio album 'Shake The Shudder' in 2017, !!! have now returned to share a pair of brand new singles... 2 weeks 15 hours ago

Mark Ronson collaborates with Camila Cabello on new single 'Find U Again'

With his highly-anticipated new album due out later next month, Mark Ronson has now dropped yet another cut lifted from his forthcoming full-length... 2 weeks 3 days ago

Kate Tempest drops new track 'Holy Elixir'

With her eagerly-awaited new album arriving in just a couple of weeks, Kate Tempest has now dropped the next cut to be lifted from her forthcoming... 2 weeks 3 days ago

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds share new single 'Rattling Rose'

With their highly-anticipated new EP arriving in just a couple of weeks, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds have now dropped the next cut to be... 2 weeks 3 days ago